Feb 022017

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Camphill Wellbeing Trust at Bieldside, Aberdeen.

An Aberdeen charity’s consulting rooms are all set for a spring makeover – with the help of a donation from Aberdeen Asset Management. Camphill Wellbeing Trust will be refurbishing rooms at its centre in Bieldside where it provides therapeutic services, known as AnthroHealth , to around 600 patients, including those with cancer, learning disabilities and chronic conditions.

Dr Aileen Primrose, manager of Camphill Wellbeing Trust said:

“Aberdeen Asset Management’s donation is a boost to our fundraising appeal to refurbish three consulting rooms at our centre in Bieldside.

“The upgraded rooms will be inviting spaces where patients can feel comfortable, secure and relaxed. This project is vital to enable us to respond to the increasing number of people who are asking for our help.

“We are very grateful to the Aberdeen committee for supporting our project with a £1,000 donation to help more local people with health conditions.”

The Camphill centre provides AnthroHealth services to help people find new ways to address illness, build resilience and maintain wellbeing. Based on conventional medicine but extended with a holistic understanding of the patient, AnthroHealth programmes include natural-based medicines, therapies and lifestyle advice.

The charity is part of Camphill independent charities whose shared ethos is to enable people with learning disabilities and other support needs to fulfil their potential.  Six independent Camphill charities are based in Aberdeen providing different services to meet the needs of children, adults and older people primarily with learning disabilities.

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Aberdeen charity committee said:

“This donation will go towards the enhancement of treatment rooms which will ensure Camphill Wellbeing Trust can work with the increasing numbers of patients seeking its individualised programmes.”

The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, reflecting the desire to give back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

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Jun 062013

By Bob Smith.

I like the quote fae Mahatma Gandhi faar he said  “There is sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed” A wunner fit the wee mannie wid say noo fin consumerism is the new religion o the warld.
Or foo aboot Vernon Howard, the American author and philosopher faa wrote ” You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need”

If aat’s the case it wid appear nae muckle fowk hiv succeeded in life.

Economist billies keep tellin us we maun spen oor bawbees so aat the economy stairts tae growe again. Iss tae me is a heap o bliddy crap. Iss is foo sum puir fowk git intae debt – bi spennin dosh on thingies they dinna really need.

A’ve heard consumerism described as bein in the business o pinchin siller oot o fowks’ pooches withoot threatenin them wi hairm. An yet a  lot o us div get hairmed bi the consumer business fit is aided an abettit by the advertisin billies an the merchandisers.

The young in society are the eens maist likely tae faa fer aa the bling. Ye ken fit a mean – they’re aa telt they are oot o touch if they hinna got iss or aat, be it the newest smairt phone or the latest fashion accessory. Lead bi the nose tae the cash tills is foo a wid describe fits happ’nin.

I can hear a lot o fowk mutterin, “they dinna hae tae spen their siller if they dinna wint till“. Aye some fowk micht stairt oot tae nae spen sae muckle bawbees bit the power o advertisin an in the case o the young, peer pressure can force them tae dee itherwise. I wark’t in advertisin fer nigh on quarter o a ceentury an ken richt weel foo persuasive ads can be, baith fae a “must hae” situation tae panderin tae yer fantasies.

Tak the ad on TV faar a young chiel douses himsel wi a weel kent body spray an his a the bonnie lassies fae miles aroon comin in bye. Tak it fae me fowks it disna work. A’ve tried it!!!

Noo fin ye’ve aa recovered fae fa’in aboot laachin aat the thocht o a seeventy plus mannie splashin himsel unner the oxsters wi fine smellin stuffie an sittin in his airm-cheer waitin fer a boorachie o gweed leukin young weemin tae pye him a visit (ach I can aye dream), a’ll git back tae reality.

A read the followin bittie jist the ither day fit sums thingies up perfectly.

“Landfills swell wi cheap throwe awa products fit brak doon easily an canna be repaired. Some products are made psychologically obsolete lang afore they actually weer oot. A generation is growen up withoot kennin fit quality goods are. Freenship, faimily ties an personal autonomy are only promoted as a vehicle fer gift gien an the rationale fer the selection o communication services and personal acquisition. Aathing becums mediated throwe the spennin o siller on goods an services. Human beins faa canna spen becum worthless”

Source:- www.verdant.net/consumerism

Noo a’ve nithing agin shoppin as a rule bit faar it gits oot o haun is fin sum fowk gyaang oot fer een or twa bitties an cum hame with aboot a dizzen, jist cos  they war a bargain. A bargain is only a bargain if ye really need it at aat precise meenit.

Ma wife leuks at me in despair as fin I ging shoppin a ken fit a wint an efter a’ve bocht it a buggar aff oot o the shop like a reid ersed bee. Ma gweed wife  likes tae dee a bittie browsin afore an efter she’s bocht fit she wints.

Fit’s wrang wi aat a hear ye say? Nithing, so far as ma wife’s concerned, cos she’s resistant tae aa the sales spiel bit ower mony puir craiturs are catcht hook line an sinker. They’ve noo becum disciples o Mammon, the god o excess. Consumerism is the ivveryday face o iss “religion”.

( Above image licensed from http://www.genderforum.org/uploads/media/286ae254d0.jpg  under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.  )

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Jan 112013

Bokwa – the brand new approach to exercise that is taking the world by storm, has arrived in Aberdeen. With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

The brainchild of dancer and fitness instructor Paul Mavi, Bokwa takes its name from BO – light boxing, and KWA – which symbolises the traditional dance Kwaito. Bokwa is not really a dance workout – there is no choreography or counting steps and participants draw letters and numbers with their feet, while moving together to chart music in free form rhythm.

Under the supervision of qualified instructor Jodie Macdermid, Ferryhill Community Centre will host an hour long session on Wednesday evenings from 6.15 pm, at a cost of only £4 per lesson.

As Jodie says:

“If you can move and you can spell, you can do Bokwa.

“From 4 year old kids, to men and women in their seventies, to guys with ‘2 left feet,’ to world champion dancers – Bokwa engages participants of all ages in the same class and to the same music.

“Given you can burn off more than a thousand calories in a one hour session, demand is likely to be substantial, particularly at this time of year.”

Bookings can be made in advance by calling 07517 054125, emailing Jodie at jodie_mac@msn.com or by logging on to www.facebook/BokwaZumbawithJodie

Further information on Bokwa can be found at www.bokwafitness.com

Jan 112013

There’s a 1940’s sang made famous by aat gran jazz trumpeter an singer, the late Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong ca’d “When Your Smiling” faar ae line suggests “the hail warld smiles wi you”. Bob Smith writes for ‘Voice.

Noo ye maybe canna aye ging aboot wi a smile on yer face aa the time, cos mannies in fite coats drivin a yalla vannie micht come by an cairt ye awa tae the nearest mental hospital, bit gyaan bi a nummer o soor faces a see in ma traivels ye’d think een or twa puir craiturs hid lost the winnin lottery ticket.

There are days masel fin a’ve bin doon in the moo bit there’s aye somethin gyaan on fit pits a smile back on ma fizzog.

Openin the curtins in the mornin an seein the sun shinin an hearin the birdies singin are jist twa examples.

A nummer o fowk spik aboot their busy lives pittin them unner pressure an they fun it difficult tae smile. Slowin thingies doon a bittie fowks micht help. As ma grunnie used tae say,

Smile, cos yer a lang time deid”

Some billies get fair vexed fin the growth rate o the Gross National Product o wir kwintra draps doon. Iss gyangs richt ower ma heid as a’m nae an economist, an a’m sure tryin tae wark it oot wid hae ye losin the will tae smile.

As a’m nae fashed aboot the GNP or the FTSE a can affoord tae smile a bittie mair afen, alang wi the gweed fowk o Bhutan faa’s heid yins cam up wi the idea o GNH ( Gross National Happiness ), fit meesured fowk’s quality o life, foo muckle leesure time they hiv, fit’s happenin in their community an foo weel integrated they are wi their culture an the environmint.

Much mair ceevilised wyes o deein thingies in iss wee remote Himalayan kingdom than here a’m thinkin. Cwid iss idea wark in oor kwintra?

We shud bi happy nivvertheless tae bide in sic a placie steepit in history an tradishun

Weel we’d hae tae radically chynge oor ideas aboot meesurin happiness throwe foo muckle spendulicks wi hiv in the bunk or foo wir shares are deein an git awa fae the materialism culture faar spendin siller on lots o thingies wi dinna really need is supposed tae gie us a gweed buzz. GNH is worth a fling if it helps fowk intae a mair smiley mood.

If ye git the idea a think aabody in Aiberdeen are meesrable sods, iss is nae the case. The fowk faa hope the City Gairdens Project is deid in the watter are smilin richt noo fae chik tae chik, and there are a lot o mannies an wifies faa are nae jist smilin, bit are splittin their sides laachin aboot the mair an mair daft haverins cumin fae a certain Donald J Trump aboot the winfairms an Michael Forbes winnin “ Tap Scot” award.

Trumpie is a chiel faa winna be smilin jist noo. Tae use his ain words “Faa Cares?”.

In spite o wir main street in the toon lookin run doon cos o aa the empty shoppies, there are a nummer o gran biggins in Union Street an aa aroon Aiberdeen fit shud hae us smilin wi pride.

We maan cry oot fer the fowk faa ain the biggins tae spruce them up a bittie tho. A’m aa fer a bit o naitur bit young saplins, girss an weeds sprootin oot o gutters an lums is nae eese ava.

We shud bi happy nivvertheless tae bide in sic a placie steepit in history an tradishun in spite o a nummer o silly buggers ower the ‘ears tryin their best tae connach the history, tradishun an culture o oor toon, aa in the name o sae ca’d progress. So next time ye tak a toddle aroon Aiberdeen dinna ging aboot wi yer face lookin doon at the grun. Lift up yer een an see the gran architecture in oor city.

If aat disna mak ye smile an gie ye an uplift then a suggest a whiffie o laachin gas or maybe, in the case o quines, buyin a firmer bra micht dee the trick .

See? A kent ye cwid smile!

Sep 212012

Suzanne Kelly reports on the results of some important research presented at the recent Science Festival.

Aberdeen Science Festival had an amazing array of lectures, talks, trips and cabaret events which thousands of visitors enjoyed.

One of the more important issues covered was the very serious subject of second-hand smoke and its effect on children.  I took the  opportunity to talk to Dr Stephen Turner ( pictured ) of Aberdeen University and Rachel O’Donnell of ASH Scotland on a promising initiative to attempt to tackle this complex problem.

You smoke, or your partner smokes; you have a couple of children and a cat.  No harm in smoking around them in the house – just open a window and the smoke can’t bother them.  Can it?

You close the window when you’re done smoking.  You don’t smell much smoke and you can’t see any clouds of smoke at all, so there’s no risk to anyone.

The truth is that ANY smoke residue can definitely harm your children and your pets.  Smoke that you can see and other chemicals in smoke that you can’t see or smell are injuring kids.   About 85% of cigarette smoke is invisible.

You might not believe this to be true, but please remember the old ‘canary in a coal mine’ story.  Miners would take canaries down into the mines and if the bird suddenly died, either the oxygen was running out, or there was something dangerous, but invisible and scentless.  Things you don’t see can indeed hurt you and your children.

REFRESH is an intervention aimed at reducing the exposure children get to second-hand smoke which was presented during the Aberdeen Science Festival.  Dr Stephen Turner and Rachel O’Donnell were available to explain how they worked with smoking families when they did their research.  They were not trying to make parents stop smoking, but instead were making people aware what the consequences can be on children’s lives.  The full details are written in a paper called ‘REFRESH – reducing families’ exposure to second-hand smoke in the home:  a feasibility study.’

Families where young children were living with regular smokers were asked to take part in a study which would measure indoor air quality in their homes.  The personalised air quality data were presented to the smoker, then a motivational interview was held and positive solutions were suggested for cleaner, healthier air for the child.

There were about 60 Aberdonian participants in this study with each receiving four visits.  At the first meeting a questionnaire was filled in to get a picture of the household members and their smoking habits; saliva samples were taken for chemical testing and monitoring equipment was set up.  At the second visit the indoor air quality result was given to half of the households in addition to the motivational interview.

The chart below shows smoke levels in one study household.  

Any quantity over 25 micrograms of smoke in a cubic metre of air space is harmful; the higher the figure, the more harm.

When the smoker was asleep, the levels dropped to non-existent.  When the smoker lit that first cigarette, the levels went up to between 500 and 950 micrograms of smoke in a cubic metre of air.

Throughout the day, the smoke lingered – even when the smoker assumed the room was clear of smoke.

This came as quite a revelation for the smokers.  Here is what some of them had to say:

“Seeing the results made a big difference.  It was like a shock because I didn’t realise.  Like I don’t sit here and smoke in front of my child, I do it in the kitchen, but for the readings to be high like that when I’m not like anywhere near it, if you know what I mean, it’s like a shock factor to realise what it can do.  So I think that’s the best thing that like helped me.”

“I showed them how high it was, and some of them was like – you’re  joking?  And I was like no…”

“For it (monitoring) to be done in your own home and for you to know that the level of smoke is so high and you’re putting your children at risk of asthma, emphysema, all kinds of things, it’s quite shocking.”

One comment in particular shows the strength of the motivational factor provided by caring about children’s health:

“For me I think my son’s health, that’s my priority.  So I would like to think that all mothers would think like that, that their kids come first no matter what.  My bad habits shouldn’t be put onto my child.  Because I can’t stop smoking doesn’t mean he has to suffer.”

After one month the research team revisited the houses, repeated the air quality measurements and, this time, gave all the households their results.  During the month the air quality had not changed in the houses where air quality data was not initially given but air quality had improved by more than one third where the graph was used as part of the initial motivational interview.

  personalised measurements of smoke in the home, while shocking, can also be very motivational

The trial was not large, but its results show that a future, large-scale programme would be beneficial.  Like everything else, budgetary constraints are a factor.  The vast sums that the NHS has to spend treating smoke-related illnesses should be sufficient to show that prevention should be actively pursued as one solution to the smoking issue.

The study has shown that lay people can most definitely engage with science and can understand complex matters when it is presented using clear, audience-appropriate, audience-relevant formats.   Crucially, the personalised measurements of smoke in the home, while shocking, can also be very motivational.  As the paper concludes:

“…in almost all participating households, indoor air (quality) approached a threshold considered unhealthy, suggesting a need to reduce indoor air (quality) in many households across the UK, and that many people would benefit from such an intervention.” 

It seems that this combination of personalised data, positive suggestions and active participation of smokers might be the way to tackle smoke exposure to children.  It is hoped this small study won’t be the end of the matter.  The research goes on but, in the meantime, parents who smoke can create smoke free homes and smoke free cars to protect their children from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.

Smoking is still a social norm for many families but in the same way as drink driving and not wearing a seat belt are no longer acceptable, in future smoking will be considered as not acceptable by society.

PS for animal lovers –  according to Dr Turner, the incidence of feline leukaemia is twice as high in cats that live in a smoker’s home than for cats that live in a smoke free environment.

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