I recently visited Aberdeen Cyrenians to discuss their involvement in the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Housing First Consortium.
Housing First is an evidence-based approach to successfully supporting homeless people with high needs and histories of entrenched or repeat homelessness to live in their own homes.
Widely adopted across the US, it is central to the national homelessness strategies in Canada, Denmark, Finland and France, and growing in popularity in countries including Italy, Sweden, Spain and increasingly in the UK.
Housing First consists of five partnership organisations: Aberdeen Cyrenians, Aberdeen Foyer, Turning Point Scotland, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, working together as the first response for people whose homelessness is compounded by experiences such as adverse childhood experiences, abuse, addiction and mental ill health.
Following concerns highlighted to me by Aberdeen Action on Disability Official (AAD) regarding Aberdeen City Council’s decision to restrict Blue Badge Applications to only being made online, I wrote to Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, regarding his role in in this decision-making.
I was assured that whilst The Scottish Government's remit is to set down the eligibility criteria and other associated legislation for the scheme, local authorities are wholly responsible for the administration and enforcement of the scheme at a local level.
I then wrote to Aberdeen City Council asking that they reconsider their decision, allowing ease of access to all users - as there is a clear risk that many individuals who qualify for a Blue Badge will find themselves unable to access the online form, thus creating a discriminatory situation.
Bearing in mind that those applying include people who are registered blind, who have mobility difficulties, and those with terminal illnesses, it seems unfitting that Aberdeen City Council's advice for those without internet access at home is to visit their local library to use one of the self-service computers, with no concern for the inappropriateness of asking vulnerable people with disabilities to divulge personal information in a public place.
Even for those who would be able to complete the form on-line it is also necessary to attach various documents requiring appropriate equipment and the ability to scan/photograph the supporting evidence, and upload it.
I hope that Aberdeen City Council will reconsider their approach and will reinstate paper copies of the blue badge application form with immediate effect.
You can read the Press & Journal coverage here.
This year's theme, set by the Mental Health Foundation, is Body Image - how we think and feel about our bodies.
Having body image concerns is a relatively common experience and is not a mental health problem in and of itself; however, it can be a risk factor for mental health problems. Research has found that higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life, psychological distress and the risk of unhealthy eating behaviours and eating disorders.
Clearly action is needed to build and promote positive body image and support good mental health and wellbeing in relation to our bodies. Everyone has a right to feel comfortable and confident in their own bodies.
The Mental Health Foundation recommends we all #BeBodyKind.
Local mental health and wellbeing organisations include: Mental Health Aberdeen, SAMH and Penumbra. Reach out...help is available
Project SEARCH is based at the University of Aberdeen and is a collaboration between the University of Aberdeen, Inspire PTL and North East Scotland College, operated under a licence from the Scottish Commission for Learning Disabilities (SCLD) and funded by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils.
Have you decided to revamp your work wardrobe?
Maybe you’ve lost weight? Maybe you’ve gained weight?
Before you start throwing stuff away, have you considered giving your new or gently used work wear to the Aberdeen Cyrenians?
They accept donations of business suits and other work attire, and in addition to distributing professional clothing to job seekers, also provide assistance with CVs and offer online job search assistance.
Yesterday I donated three suits, gently worn, which fitted a larger me. I’m thrilled to learn that these can now help those less fortunate make the best first impression when interviewing with potential employers.
Just because your wardrobe isn’t working for you, doesn’t mean it can’t help someone else dress for success!
Congratulations to Dyce In Bloom / Gardening Club!
ScotRail has announced shortlisted nominees for its first annual ScotRail in the Community Awards, and Dyce In Bloom / Gardening Club have been nominated for the Adopt a Station of the Year award.
The ceremony will take place on Friday 7 June at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow, and the awards will thank and celebrate the hard-working volunteers across Scotland’s Railway, recognising their contribution to the wider local community and railway.
ScotRail Head of Economic & Community Development James Ledgerwood said:
“We are delighted to host our first annual ScotRail in the Community Awards.
“Supporting our local communities and their projects is incredibly important, and these awards are a great opportunity for us to showcase the fantastic work of our many volunteers across Scotland’s Railway.”
On June 22nd I will be joining a number of others to take part in the Aberdeen Airport Runway Run.
Every participant has to commit to raising a minimum of £100 towards the nominated charities Befriend a Child and VETERANS WITH DOGS.
You can make a donation here. Thanks in advance for your support.
This is Deaf Awareness Week, an annual event to raise awareness and challenges of deafness and hearing loss faced by 1 in 6 people in the UK, to promote the positive aspects of deafness, to promote social inclusion, and to raise awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support deaf people and their family and friends.
There are almost 9 million people in the UK and 758,000 people in Scotland with some degree of hearing loss. Most are over the age of 60.
There are 50,000 children with hearing loss across the UK.
At least 24,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language (BSL) as their main language.
North East Scotland College offer an introduction to BSL, giving you the basic skills needed to communicate using British Sign Language. Find out more
North East Sensory Services run an Independent Club for Deaf people in Aberdeen. Any Deaf person can become a member. Hearing people can become associate members. BSL is used at the club.
This social club holds club nights, bingo, a video group, a signing and singing group, and special events like a Burns supper, Christmas party etc. It meets at NESS on John Street every Saturday from 6.30pm.
Find out what Mark McDonald has been doing in his Aberdeen Donside constituency.