From 11th September 2018 until the end of March 2019, and in partnership with Brechin Community Pantry, Rural Wisdom is trialling an Information Hub for all residents in Brechin. Rural Wisdom is a project run by community development charity, Outside The Box, partly funded by Angus LEADER. The aim is to run the hub at Brechin Community Pantry on a weekly basis to start with; every Tuesday from 12pm-4pm.

The idea comes after research carried out by Rural Wisdom and the Angus Council Communities team (through a survey and an event), which asked people in Brechin how they got their information about local services as well as community groups and activities.

We found that:

  • The main source of information for most people is hearing about things from friends, neighbours, family and other people close to them (78% of people responding).
  • Local newspapers (main source for 55% of people responding) and newsletters from places such as churches are good at reaching large numbers of people.
  • People hear about things through the groups and activities that they go to (42%) and digital sources (40% through social media, especially Facebook, and 27% from other websites).
  • The workers at the services with which peopleare in touch are the main information source for a small proportion of older people (19%).

Shona Laidlaw, development worker at Rural Wisdom said: “Many people in the area told us that they didn’t know where to go for information. They often heard about it through word of mouth and didn’t like the assumption that everyone was on Facebook. A number of people told us that the ideal solution was a central place people could pop in and find out about what is happening across the area.”

Since then, Rural Wisdom has been finding out more about what sort of information people need and have been recruiting volunteers to help run the hub. The two main topics that people want to find out about are local activities and services provided for older people.

As an example, this is the list of local activities that they already knew about and the ones that were not so well known from the people who took part in the planning session.  It’s amazing to have so much on offer in the area, we just need to to make sure everyone is able to find out about this diverse array of activities.

Well known activities most people knew they happen and have a good enough knowledge of the details or knew where to find out

  • Community Garden
  • Singing group
  • Tea n’ Tunes
  • Acorn Club
  • Floral art group
  • Swimming classes
  • Church services at different churches
  • Walking group – Oot n Aboot
  • Tea & Tunes
  • Lunch Club Brechin Campus – weekly
  • Brechin Tea Dance (monthly)
  • Big lunches at Gardner Memorial Church (annual)
  • Brechin Amateur Orchestra Society (annual)

Less well known activities – some people know of them but others are unsure where to find out about details such as time and location

  • U3A (University of the Third Age)
  • Craft group at church hall
  • Gardner Memorial craft group
  • Dementia café run by Alzheimer Scotland
  • Inner wheel Rotary Ladies
  • Exercise class at Cathedral Hall
  • ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) and Computing at the library 6
  • Bowling clubs
  • Church Guild at Cathedral Hall
  • Seated Exercise at Brechin Community Campus
  • Recorder Group

Not so well known only a few people among those we met know of them, and other people do not know how they would find out about them

  • Men’s friendship group
  • Knit and Natter
  • Cinema club
  • Art group at St Andrew Hall
  • Gardner steel drum band
  • Hub café at Salvation Army
  • Line dancing
  • Contact the Elderly Afternoon Tea Group – Monthly
  • Brechin Community Pantry – several days each week
  • Cameo Club at Salvation Army
  • Craft Group at St Andrews Church Hall

When we asked people about services that give care and support provided by the Council, NHS and organisations providing care, there was a similar range with people not knowing about what is available.

Alongside the launch of the hub, Rural Wisdom is planning an Open Doors Fortnight as a chance for community groups and activities to throw open their doors to the wider community. This will run from 10-24 September. A number of groups have already signed up. Any others wishing to do so can enter their details on this online form or get in touch with Shona on 07855 210113 or shona@otbds.org

Read our full report, “Let’s Get a Good Thing Going” – Ideas for an Information “Hub

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