Growing care and support in Pitlochry – funding update

About project

The Creative Care & Support project has funded six wonderful projects in Pitlochry from its funding pot of £10,000. We will follow the development of the businesses and projects on this blog. Here is an overview of the projects that have received funding (information about dates, times and contact details will be added when available):

1) Heartland Befriending

Heartland Befriending, owned by Gillian Gilchrist, seeks to find ways to keep people connected right across the spectrum of the Pitlochry community. The project will be helping people to establish and maintain strong social relationships and encouraging them to stay connected to their community. At the heart of business values is the passion to keep those later-­on in life living life to the full.

The rational behind setting up the company is that the older section of the population is vulnerable to loneliness, social isolation and poor mental and physical health with the resulting increase in early admission to nursing care. People who are well connected to their community are more likely to be able to remain in their homes. This benefits the whole of the community – it helps to keep people connected across the generations, and people accessing local volunteer groups, businesses and facilities generate energy. Improved quality of life for one person, at whatever stage in life, has a knock-­on effect on those with whom they come into contact.

2) Herbalist Clinic and Dispensary

This business, run by local herbalist and aromatherapist Leila Mayne, offers a number of opportunities for local residents to take their health and wellbeing into their own hands. Leila offers consultations, workshops, walks, massage, dietary and lifestyle advice and herbal medicine, including herbal prescribing.

Involvement with the business also offers an opportunity for practical learning through participation in a range of activities, together with fresh air, exercise and socialisation. These walks and workshops will be a form of therapy in their own right. They will bring diversity to the creative care and support on offer to the inhabitants of Pitlochry.

Initially Leila will be offering taster sessions within local residential homes as well at at the Atholl Centre. For more information: Leila Herbalist website.

3) The Art and Craft Club

The Art and Craft Club, run by Dee Bowman, has been established to offer an informal club for creative and arts interested carers left after the person they were caring for has gone into care or has died. The club is also open for people with Alzheimer’s or other conditions which make them feel less able to join a formal, taught, art class.

This community-led project hopes to encourage a ‘get-together’ every two weeks. Dee Bowman will be assisted by friends and acquaintances with specialist knowledge of e.g. silk painting, modelling, printing etc. At the moment the club is talking to the town’s Welcome All Soup Lunch and other community events to establish outlets where the club’s creations can be sold.

4) Reiki Therapy for current and recent carers

Isobel Wilson and Sarah Renwick, both qualified Reiki Therapists, are offering Reiki Therapy for three hours on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month, with the addition of one full day session by Sarah once a month. This project is available for carers and bereaved carers, that is people who have been carers but their cared for relatives have either been placed in a care home or have died. People can be referred to the sessions – by self-referral or by others such as family, social work or NHS.

The benefits of Reiki Therapy are multiple, as Isobel explains: “I was also involved with the set up of the Perth and Aberfeldy Carer’s Therapy Days and gave Reiki at Aberfeldy for the first few years. I continue to give Reiki at the Carer’s day in Perth. I have witnessed first hand the difference this makes to the carers who attend. Feedback from carers after their Reiki treatment is that they feel more relaxed, more able to cope and that overall they feel better within themselves. The benefits are many.

5) Welcome All Social Club and Games Library

The Welcome All lunch club has been running since 2011 within the Atholl Centre which is a local community hub and fully accessible. The group normally meets for an hour and the hope now is to run for two hours with the addition of a second hour for social and recreational activities. The club will establish over the course of the autumn and winter which games and activities equipment it should invest in. Suggestions currently are board games, quizzes, floor games, reminiscence activities, etc.

By physical and mental stimulation it is hope that these activities will contribute to the health and wellbeing of the people who attend the club and thus reducing social isolation and increasing connections within the local community. The Welcome All Soup Lunch and Social Club runs every Friday afternoon 12.30 – 2.30pm (October to Easter) in the Atholl Centre.

The library of games, once establishes, will be make available for use by other community groups, such as Friendship Hour, the Tryst, Sunnybrae etc.

6) Sensory and Community Garden

The Atholl Centre has received funding for the establishment of a sensory and community garden which will provide a refuge for people who are in a stressful situation or coping with a life changing illness or disability. It will be used both by locals and by residential guests as a refreshing haven and an opportunity to relax and experience peace. The garden addresses both the needs of social isolation and social integration.  The garden project will encourage people to work together and the garden will build bridges both amongst peers and across the generations, serving as an ice breaker to help people meet new friends, countering social isolation and promoting community cohesion. Produce will be shared out to help
people feel valued both as givers and receivers.

It is the aim of the project managers, Anne and Iain Walker, to explore all senses, so the garden will include “scented plants, plants with different tactile experiences, plants which add colour through the seasons and which are placed to be pleasing to the eye and plants which make noise as the wind blows through hem. Wind chimes and a small water feature would also provide aural stimulation”. The community focused area of the garden aims to benefit many community groups such as “4 Ways mental health support, carers support, young carers, adults with learning disabilities, art classes, new business start-up herbal workshops, bereavement support, U3A, Positive Choices (chronic illness support), WA elderly lunch club, youth club and His Kidz. Not only will they be able to enjoy the garden, it would be an opportunity for them to meet each other, working together and having fun together across the generations”.

To get involved please contact The Atholl Centre

– Rikke