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Blog: Age Scotland's Wellbeing Flower takes root

8 August 2023

Last month the team at the Multiple Sclerosis Centre in Arygll took part in a Wellbeing Flower session, a free Age Scotland resource used to enhance the contribution that groups and services can make to older people's health and wellbeing. Here the centre manager, Karen McCurry, shares the experience:  

We started out 25 years ago to support people with Multiple Sclerosis.  To overcome stigma, we evolved into a whole community service, with a specialism supporting those with long-term health conditions.  People can now come to a craft, or knitting, or exercise class without fear of being labelled.

Our Lochgilphead centre has 214 members with long term conditions receiving self-management support, and we support around 100 members of the community accessing our food share, public living room, warm-space, and social activities.  We also provide outreach support to around 80 households across Mid Argyll, Kintyre, Islay, and Jura.  With only three staff currently, burn-out is a big concern, so we decided the Wellbeing Flower could help us look at that alongside how we support our community.  We took the unprecedented step, for us, of closing the centre for the day to use the resource at a relaxed pace. 

As facilitator, I found the Wellbeing Flower very user-friendly.  Participants really enjoyed it - at no point did anyone feel stressed or unsure.  I loved that the Wellbeing Flower enabled us to start discussing our own wellbeing in a very gentle way.  I had some really nice messages from board members afterwards – they were blown away by the amount we were doing and went away feeling quite positive. 

The Wellbeing Flower has highlighted areas for action.  One is ensuring that someone coming in off the street for the first time feels welcome, without putting extra pressure on staff.  We’re considering improved seating, a water fountain, a coffee flask, a whiteboard we, and visitors, can communicate through, and meet-and-greet volunteers.  Another change is that each Monday we’ll open an hour later, so staff can catch-up, prioritise, and look after our own wellbeing.  Also, we’ve realised we could do more activities outdoors, taking full advantage of our beautiful local area.  These solutions will, we think, be fairly easy. 

I would absolutely recommend the Wellbeing Flower.  We were able to look at our centre from outside in, instead of being in a bubble and just ‘doing’. It enabled us to be a bit more open about mental health, and to explore the holistic approach to wellbeing. The question and discussion cards gave everyone an opportunity to talk, so no one voice dominated.   We talked about important subjects - but had fun while we were doing it.