Boston, at last and the plane's touching down...

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One page summary

Bonus points for identifying the song, but the big news is Project Gandhi is being now presented on the big stage in the US of A by team members; Lynne and Lesley. I am so pleased for the team who have taken to 'social media' in their own individual ways. At first, the news was a pleasant surprise; the equivalent of hearing about them entering the Tour de France and realising you had been there at the stabilisers and first tentative attempts. The secret of their success probably comes down to a supported team work environment and playfulness.

The support framework was vital and very informal. When the initial individual steps into social media began, it became clear everyone ‘got’ different elements of this new world in their own way. It meant lots of sharing, talking and comparing. There was an element of collective learning.

Equally, the playful aspect manifested itself in the ‘let’s try it, anyway’ attitude. I suspect, with a background of rigid NHS IT systems; this was both difficult and liberating at the same time. We had hacks, inappropriate followers and Twitter suspension; without major meltdowns.

Did I like the project, the people and the challenge? Would I work with them again? In a heartbeat; ‘yes’ to both questions.

The graphic of the project created by a gifted designer is a good representation of the whole Project Gandhi experience – you can click it to see it full size as Fraser ( thanks ) intended.

It’s been a real pleasure – so proud to be involved – knock’em over in Boston, Lynne and Lesley.

Finally, it’s Elton John, ‘Holiday Inn’ from ‘Madman across the Water’.

Making the world a better place

I am currently working with a team of health professionals wihin the NHS here in Scotland. The purpose of the project is to raise the profile of this group of Allied Health Professionals or AHPs. Specifically, we are going to use 'social media'.

We are using Twitter, blogs and even podcasts to promote the services. Each member of the team will be blogging in their own right shortly. I will report back here.

Working with bright, busy and interesting people is always a pleasure. I have tried to capture the journey by using a blog as a wiki. You can follow progress over at Project Gandhi.

Mental Health and AHPs


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During my work with the NHS, I am constantly meeting interesting people. Recently I met Elaine Hunter who is the author of the report 'Realising Potential - An Action Plan for Allied Health Porfessionals in Mental Health'. 

What's an Allied Health Professional? It's a simple description for a range of health professionals, ranging from Art Therapists through to Speech and Language Therapists. Like a lot of people, I had made the assumption AHP equals physiotherapist. I was wrong.

This comprehensive piece of work details the challenges of facing up to mental health for the full range of Allied Health Professionals,(AHP). I was surprised to find it was well written and accessible, even to someone like myself, an interested lay person. But I was actually heartened by the recommendations, which appear to have 'best practice' at their centre.

I wanted to talk to Elaine about the way as an AHP adviser to the Scottish Government, she went about putting the report together. What were her reflections on the report writng process?

How did she find the wider AHP community as she compiled the input? So,in this short podcast, from a very echoey St Andrews House in Edinburgh, Elaine and I sat down to talk.

Listen to Elaine Hunter here.



Think FRESh, think Fintry

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Fintry is the village in Stirlingshire. The Development Trust there has a windturbine. The community are doing some amazing things; tackling fuel poverty, insulating and other 'community based' activities.

The most amazing thing about the place is the people. On the evidence of meeting a number of them; surprise surprise; they're normal. They worry about jobs, their kids, and all the general stuff we all do. However, where they are different is this.

They have collectively got off their butts and put together an event which is about passing on knowledge. On Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March, you can come along to see a varied menu of goodies. There will an interesting tussle of words and movie clips between an ice cream magnate and land activist in a 'no holds barred' debate refereed by a TV celebrity. Al Gore will be there, on film. You can visit and touch wind turbines. Local people who are living with bio mass, heat pumps and solar panels are throwing their doors open for a wee nosey, if you like. It's all free and gratis.

If the weather is half way good then it is a stunning part of the country; convenient for all the main Scottish towns. For my part, I will be going along expecting to learn something, meet some great people and generally have a fine old time. Hope to see you there.

More local heroes

Dundee 2012

Only teasing. Lesley and I took a trip out to Dundee and went around the Discovery. Both of us were blown away by the quality of exhibition at Discovery Point. We have stayed across the Tay from this exhibition for a number of years. I guess, like locals, we didn't bother to step across the threshold. But with '100 years of Scott' looming this year, we made the effort. From the explanation of the whole Scott story, the role of Dundee, a real live boat and lots about Antartica; it was interesting and well laid out. Good timing too, because we went off to see our Prosen friends, Jeannie and Hector, who are involved in the Glen's monument for Scott and Wilson. And then, today, we learnt Malmaison have signed up for the Tay Hotel. ( In the meanwhile, 'Table table' at the Discovery Quay is a top noshery. ) The hits keep coming.

If Hospitality and Tourism is to play a big part in Scotland's economic development, then great products like Discovery Point have got to be the norm. I'm off to review it at TripAdvisor.

The IT strategy for schools

There is a simple answer to how you make IT interesting for kids, in my humble opinion. Solve their problems, show them how to do things and engage their imaginations. In getting them to mix ringtones, make fantastic animations and construct unbelievable presentations; they'll go back and figure out the art and science powering the technology. Trust me; I have seen it work so many times. Show someone how to do something and if the kindling of interest catches...then stand back. Just sayin'.

2012 appears

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It feels like a year ago, since I sat down to blog. The reality is more prosaic. Between feeding Twitter and Facebook, blogging for various websites, and keeping in touch with  the communities of interest' I am involved with; life hasn't been quiet at all over "the break". 

The new calendar year promises a lot. New sports projects over at the Glasgow School of Sport, fascinating projects with the NHS 24 team and lots of community based action.

I am trying to keep the big picture in mind as I get ready for another roller coaster ride. It always starts the same way on the 'first day back'; tax return to be completed, people to contact and the next time you look up, it's June! So, as the ride starts up; all the best to everyone for 2012! Let's have some fun and don't be a stranger!


The last post...of the year

Well, the end of the year is in view and all that remains for me is to say "thanks very much".

Between the bike rides, the craic, and the great people I have met this year in the course of working; it's been fun all the way.

Times are tough for lots of people. Yet I have a sense we are all going to be looking back at these times with a special affection. And it's the people, their smiles, jokes and the shared hope,  we are going to remember, rather than the things we couldn't buy or afford.

I have been fortunate enough to meet.  Wild eyed optmists, determined to change their world and this world. Quiet determined types, who are working away at schemes to energise communities. Creative mavens, dreaming of a new way to see, well, just everything.

Thanks to you all. You've made the difference for me this year.