Chairperson’s Report 24.04.17
Firstly, as always, I must thank all our volunteers, both in Dundee with NEEDS 2 Bridging the Gap and also in Aberdeen. Time is precious to all, but the time you give to those who are challenged by eating disorders, either personally or as carers, is priceless. We all recognise the benefits of support, especially facilitating self help. Our group members acknowledge this, as do the professional services in Tayside and Aberdeen, so thank you for your time and your individual skills. Thanks also to Irene, who diligently organises meetings and does our administration, and also to George Baird who maintains our website so efficiently.
A very special thank you goes to Emma Lindsay for going that extra mile this year, as well as holding down a job, and doing her finals. She has continued to support patients from the Young Peoples’ Department along with Katie Bedford, which is proving a huge success. She has also been instrumental in inspiring two winning Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) teams, Robert Gordon’s College and also Albyn School, talking candidly to pupils about her experience and raising awareness of eating disorders. She has also shared that experience at the second Aberdeenshire Schools’ Conference, which was widely appreciated by her audience of teachers and other school based staff. She also continues to work as a B-eat Young Ambassador, and support our group members each month. Well done, Emma, and all the best for your Master’s year wherever you choose to go.
We have focussed on looking after ourselves this year, with two very successful Wellbeing Days which were totally free of charge to group members, speakers on Kinesiology and Photography as therapy, and the launch of our Arts and Crafts Group, suggested by a group member. All these were made possible by monies raised by Rosehill TSB, Aberdeen University Raising and Giving Campaign 2016, and £3k from Robert Gordon’s College YPI team.
The attendance at the Wellbeing Days was low, but enjoyed immensely by those who did attend; volunteers, some past group members, some present and some carers. Presentations included Yoga, Mindfulness, Movement as Therapy, and Body Image. There was also a selection of alternative therapy taster sessions, Shiatsu, Reiki, Aromatherapy Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Reflexology available and a Nail Bar. Since we have recently won another YPI, thanks to Albyn School, and we hope to hold more Wellbeing Days next year using this extra funding. Comments ranged from “It was good to spend some time on me.”, to “I feel grounded, relaxed, chilled.”
Our Arts and Crafts Group has also had low numbers attend, but was very much appreciated by those who did attend, and latterly became involved in the Can You Hear Me? Recovery Song project led by 4th Year music student, Nadine Allan. This project used art, mind mapping and music to produce a song for the group. Unfortunately the Arts and Crafts Group will have to fold due to those low numbers, but hopefully we will be able to re-start it in the future.
During Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we were invited to attend a Wellbeing Fayre at Banchory Academy. This was an excellent event for raising awareness, as we were able to chat with pupils from all the different year groups and also school staff.
It has been an immensely satisfying year, with the Wellbeing Days and some group members deciding to move on, acknowledging the role NEEDS(Scotland) has had in their sustained recovery. We have had three new babies born, and we have a wedding, a graduation and an emigration ahead. Life goes on and NEEDS(Scotland) will have to adapt to the changes. It has before, and it will again.
Sourcing volunteers is a constant struggle, but we will survive in whatever way we can to continue to offer support in both Aberdeen and Tayside. I am still keen to pass on the mantle of Chairperson, due to increasing personal commitments, but I will endeavour to do the best I can to keep the group running until someone comes forward.
The following report is from our volunteers at NEEDS2 Bridging the Gap, who continue to provide a much valued and needed service to those in Tayside.
NEEDS 2 Bridging the Gap Report 24.04.17.
Our group was established in October 2015 and has been very successful since then. Our time has been spent developing a routine and settling in to our meeting rooms which are within Dundee Carers’ Centre.
This year we want to focus on fundraising for ourselves and hope to arrange a bagpacking event in a store such as Sainsbury’s, but so far there has been no response. We are also looking at using a pop-up café for an event. Our biggest event is to be a sponsored walk over the Tay Road Bridge on Sunday 11th June. The timings of this event are still to be confirmed. We have also had a team represent us in Carnoustie High School’s Youth Philanthropy Initiative competition. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful this time, but there is always another chance! We hope to publicise NEEDS2 Bridging the Gap so that other schools may select us as one of their charities.
Our volunteers are very appreciative of the local ED Service offering us supervision, which is proving most beneficial. We are most appreciative of the time that this involves out of hours. Unfortunately we have two volunteers leaving. Natasha and Duncan have been a great asset to both groups in Aberdeen and in Dundee, and we wish them well in their new home. Three of our volunteers hope to attend a training event which is being organised by Anne Tremble of the Linda Tremble Foundation in Fife.
Attendance has settled in the group with 8-12 members attending monthly with 3-4 volunteers. Sometimes there can be only one volunteer for carers as there are two needed for group members. It would be good if we could find more volunteers.
Tayside CAMHS have said they would like to become involved. However, there has been little contact so far. They are very keen to set up peer mentoring as in Aberdeen Young Persons’ Department, but sadly there are no younger volunteers available at the moment.
One evening which proved very popular with most group members, was a poetry reading session. Sara Preston’s poem, There is a light and there is a door, was read out and group members discussed their own favourites.
There continues to be regular enquiries regarding the group coming in to South Lodge in Aberdeen, and attendance remains excellent, which shows the continuing need for a group in Dundee.