Out & About in South Edinburgh
The project focuses on getting a variety of individuals, communities and groups engaging in their outdoor space through lots of different avenues to help improve their health and wellbeing
Our aim is to introduce communities to outdoor based activities in an affordable way, making them more sustainable for the future. These should be offered in a comfortable and fun way – with lots of positivity to encourage further attendance.
To get people involved, relationships need to be built and trust formed, which requires ongoing preparatory work with professionals such as support workers and the lifelong learning team, by working with these professionals and organisations we can reach as many people as possible in the communities we work in.
Our programme of healthy lifestyles aims to help improve the health and wellbeing of the local community in South Edinburgh. This involves outdoor activities including; bootcamp, boxercise, walking and jogging .We’ve also been working with Edinburgh Community Food to deliver healthy eating courses. Giving the local community the tools to move forward with a sustainable and achievable plan to improve health and well being in these areas.
Nature of Scotland Award: Health & Wellbeing
We were delighted to win the first health and wellbeing award as part of the RSPB Nature of Scotland awards. The judges saw the value in our community engagement work especially during Covid-19 pandemic. See here for the video
Thank you to the staff at Morrisons who welcomed us into the store at Hunters Tryst to promote our work in Oxgangs. We also had a great afternoon at Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre promoting our project with NSPCC Scotland’s All Of Us family event.
Continuing our important work in South Edinburgh we’ve been running a programme of activities for families over the summer period working with the local community centres at Goodtrees and Valley Park. It’s been great to have some new faces and we want to welcome as many people as possible into the fold to get outdoors, to get cooking healthy and nutritious food and to have fun together in a social and relaxed environment!
Our Fitness Roadshow is something that was developed by Out & About in response to COVID-19, looking to address the issues of so many people living in isolation due to social limitations for those shielding at this time. Bringing gentle fitness to people’s doorsteps, where we attend and engage with sheltered housing complexes and areas of social housing that accommodates people with long term health conditions and people with disabilities and other areas where people can be living in isolation.
Our short sessions to uplifting music with simple, safe movements. We aim to engage with harder to reach groups, connect individuals with neighbours and the wider community, improve fitness, mobility and wellbeing. Creating further opportunities in future. This allows us to reach many people in one day.
Woodland Activities with Health in Mind Equal Access Group
In conjunction with Health in Mind and as part of our equal access program to support people from ethnic minority communities in Edinburgh we do walks across Edinburgh involving various fun woodland activities so participants can learn about the forest and the trees and have a bit of fun together.
In our recent trip to Moredun Woods participants learned about the varieties of tree species, heard tales about the secrets of the forest and how early peoples might have survived here by using the bark to ward off infection and elderberries to make a tasty brew!
We shared some sage advice about the tree species, told stories about the woods and went on the hunt for twigs to help make Woodland Eyes. Later we sat down together to make them and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
One person from the group said she really enjoyed walking about and connecting with nature rather than just going for a drive and said she couldn’t wait to come next week. She said: “It’s nice to hear the sound of birds in the woods, rather than being stuck in the car.”
Another said she really enjoyed learning about where she could take her kids to play and discovering new play areas.
Our jogging group in Oxgangs has been a great success so far, encouraging people to connect with their community, make friendships and get out and about. We hope that by creating supportive and social jogging groups participants can reap the benefits of exercise and learn to love the outdoors.
We’ve had some very encouraging feedback from some of our participants who take part in our beginners jogging group.
One happy camper said: “I am so glad I made it today. I feel energetic and good. I will try to take the same route once or twice before I see you next week.”
Another participant mentioned:“It means I can get out of the house, exercise and meet new friends. It motivates me to get fit and healthy and I feel it’s a great opportunity to run as a group rather than alone. I look forward to it every week, I enjoy meeting the girls and I’m amazed I have been able to take part.”
Another mentioned how she has taken it upon herself to go running on her own now because of her involvement with the group and how its given her a new lease of life. She mentioned that she was worried about joining groups in the past because she felt anxious that she might get left behind or not be fit as other people. She said she was really pleased with the pace of the group and felt really reassured by Kim and Ruth.
It’s amazing how people’s lives can be touched by positive experiences with exercise and it’s really heartwarming than when positive connections can be made people can do a 360 on how they’ve felt about exercise. Transforming peoples attitudes towards exercise, empowering them and encouraging them to get outdoors is all part of the work we do at ELGT. The supportive and inclusive ethos of our groups makes a real difference to people’s lives, enhancing people’s quality of life but also their willingness to look after themselves.
We have been working with different fitness instructors to enable Boxercise groups that we have set up In Oxgangs which creates a sustainable model. Chris from Rabble ran a group at Moredun. Peter at Fit Lab has been working with a group at Oxgangs. Both are a great way for people to enjoying being active outdoors. Boxercise has been tough and fun at The Crags Centre, but we couldn’t resist getting out in the sun for some challenges on the climbing wall. Big thanks to Finlay who has been delivering the sessions. It has been great working in a new area and the participants are very enthusiastic.
Getting out into the park helps to clear peoples heads and gets the blood pumping and there’s nothing like a good box to help exercise away your stress and worries. On happy participant said:”I’ve really enjoyed the class, I feel better about defending myself but mainly its just a bit of fun and a get together, what a nice way to do some exercise! You never know I might join a boxing club one day and get into the ring myself.”
Grow Your Own Veggies
As part of our Healthy Eating initiative we’re getting communities involved with their local garden patches, to learn how to grow their own food and to make lovely food from the fruits of their labours.
We’ve had many a great turnout for our Grow Your Own veggies gardening programme at Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre over the past year. During one of gardening sessions a delighted mum said ” It was a lovely afternoon getting everyone together, my kids loved it and so did their friends.”
That afternoon we made a delicious bruschetta to have with our lunch. The group then went out to the garden to plant basil seeds in pots to take away and grow at home. What a treat!
In preparation for our End of Summer Bash we had around 70 volunteers who prepared the back field, helping to make the area more sustainable and pleasant for future groups to come and use. Of course ELGT always have fun when working together so we had a silent disco whilst helping ensure the area was in perfect shape for the party. Everyone had a great time and it was great to see everyone really getting stuck in.
One participant mentioned: “It really helps to bring the community together like this, with a common sense of purpose, it’s a bit of fun and people like helping out, feeling like their involved in making the event as special as possible.”
Together we lifted lots of litter at our family litter picks. We noticed that the area is looking much better since coming out regularly. That’s all thanks to the families who get involved and continue to keep their greenspaces pleasant and clean for their kids to enjoy.
We see that communities really care more about their green spaces and the more they engage with them the better they feel about them. Helping to really bring families and communities together to enjoy their green spaces is a really important fundamental part of the work we do at ELGT, because green spaces are for everyone and families want to have somewhere for their kids to play that’s pleasant and welcoming.
We couldn’t have done it without the young people who came along to help out and we really appreciate all the efforts the local community made. Thanks also to the Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre and Edinburgh Police Division who supported us.
We had a lovely group of volunteers who helped us to complete the last bulb planting session of the year at Gilmerton Park in Moredun. A rainbow above us really set the scene as we planted thousands of daffodils and narcissi- hopefully a great omen of all the beautiful colours that will come to the park in spring.
Autumn is the time when we carry out a lot of bulb-planting across the area. Few have matched the towering achievements made by our volunteers at St. Katherine’s park. With a super inter-generational dream team of gardener volunteers, we were able to dig over a hundred holes for several hundred bluebells and daffodils. As the sun beamed down on our patch volunteers were egging each other on and several members of the public were caught up in the enthusiasm and joined in!
The enthusiasm was palpable and one participant said it was “such a joy to be together for some physical activity in the great outdoors!”. One of the younger members of our volunteer team decided to make the experience the basis of a school project on making a difference to the community, what a wonderful impact indeed. Although it was one of our first times collaborating with Friends of St. Katherines Park they couldn’t be more positive about the experience, telling us it was a “ wonderful partnership working perfectly together and it must be done again!”
“It was great to see some of the young people engaging with the litter pick, Fantastic project supporting local community and environment”.
I have really enjoyed these classes and feel I have become fitter from them… Good fun, friendly people… Thank you to everyone who was there today, what an amazing effort…
We’ve been running a regular Yoga class at Goodtrees Community Centre which is always well attended and focuses on a gentle, relaxing engagement with yoga that helps to calm the mind and soothe the body’s ache’s and pains. We have also been running sessions at Inch Community Centre.
One participant said:” I feel really amazing after the class, like a weight has been lifted off me completely and I can just get on with my day with a spring in my step.”
Another said: ” Engaging with exercises in a mindful way lets you absorb yourself in the class and you just put everything else on hold. The instructor was really calming and checked to see who had mobility issues or injuries, so I felt well looked after from the start.”
The classes are facilitated by the fantastic Yoga Health Edinburgh and are suitable for beginners who might never have engaged with yoga before, so it’s full of like minded people of all abilities so you won’t feel like its a competition to stretch the furthest, in fact nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s about engaging with your body so you mind can focus on the task of helping you relax, why not give it go yourself?
Our classes have been really successful, with large turn-outs and everyone who has attended has mentioned how much they have benefited. What a relaxing, nourishing and energising way to start your day!
Gentle Seated Exercise Classes
At the Gilmerton Community Centre we’ve started a programme of gentle, seated and standing exercise. The group is based at the Community Centre’s 60+ lunch club, but anyone who wants to join who would benefit are always more than welcome. One week everyone particularly enjoyed pulling funny faces to help release tension in their neck and shoulder and re-learning the Macarena was a bit of a treat which not only raised a few smiles but helped improve everyone’s wrist mobility and grip strength.
Another of our regular seated exercise sessions was ramped up a notch as we brought in our silent disco kit and had a bit of a seated, and in many cases standing silent boogie. Everyone had a wonderful time singing and dancing along to their favourite classics, one of the participants said:
”It brought me right back to my time on the dance floor when I was a bit younger, it was such a good laugh, it really helped me to get loose and enjoy myself.”
Silent Disco in Moredun Woods
We always do something special as part of our summer sessions and silent disco in the woods was an unusual blend of exercise, nature and music that got everyone giggling and having fun. Mixing all ages and dancing abilities, participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
One said “I had a great time and this is the second silent disco I’ve been to in a week with ELGT!, it’s a bit mad being out in the woods but it makes it that bit more fun and unique.
Healthy Eating Cooking Sessions
Our recent ‘Mexican Kitchen Fiesta’ at Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre was also a great success. Everyone really enjoyed cooking together, meeting new people and learning how to prepare delicious, nutritious food. We made our own guacamole, tortilla chips, different types of salsa and re-fried beans. Everyone loved the fresh, zingy flavours — we shared these delicious, cost-effective recipes which will help improve community members’ diet and nutrition.
Scone and Soup Making
At Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre we do lots of fabulous activities which are great fun, informative and social and our scone and soup making sessions are of course all of those. Turning our beautiful produce from the autumn harvest into lovely food helped everyone to see the delicious possibilities of gardening. We saw a lot of new and happy faces making delicious healthy food from food they had grown, nurtured and picked, lovely!
Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership has been working closely with ELGT on a dedicated part of the Southeast Edinburgh Local improvement Plan which highlights the needs in Dumbiedykes. “Support people living in Dumbiedykes, including those experiencing hardship, and help co-ordinate a sustainable response that builds community resilience and promotes life chances". We have secured funding from Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation and over the last two years, ELGT has established a very successful working group. In partnership with The Cyrenians and Braidwood Centre we have set in place a pantry, and ELGT have set up a range of outdoor activities to support local people" This aligns with NHS Lothians Public Health focus on Social prescribing" Paul Powrie, SE Public Health Practitioner
Funded by: NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council Health & Social Care, The Robertson Trust
- 10 x 6 week programmes of workshops introducing people to physical activity in the outdoors
- A series of cooking sessions to encourage healthy cooking and eating on a budget
- 20 growing workshops to grow their own produce
- 12 environmental enhancement workshops
- Increase awareness of physical activity recommendations by public health professionals
- Increase levels of participation in outdoor activities
- Increase numbers of local people achieving recommended levels of physical activity
- Improve health & wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem and social contact
- Improve the local environment
- Increase awareness of making healthier choices with eating habits