The organisation Long Term Conditions Hebrides has continued to provide opportunities for all its members including activities which enhance the life experiences and well-being of people living with a long-term condition, the group' AGM heard recently.

Self-management techniques, mindfulness and meditation practices, social gatherings with the purpose of offering mutual support and encouragement, development of skills – particularly IT, yoga sessions, liaising with local community groups – Neuro Hebrides –  and ongoing interaction with each other are all examples of the ways in which we have developed and enriched our group, said Gordon Scott who chairs the group.

"This has been made possible by funding received from The National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All and The Robertson Trust, to whom we are very grateful.

"A sample of the activities included during the year was supporting Neuro Hebrides at their Open Day. This took place on 8 September at Grianan Day Centre. As well as displaying information about our group, some members were on hand to answer any questions/queries about our organisation and to encourage anyone who expressed an interest to come along to our weekly group session. Gail led two Mindfulness practices - morning and afternoon-both which were well attended.

"Tuesday 19 November we welcomed Lara Murray from the Alliance to our group. After an early start on the Glasgow flight, she was met by Belle who gave a whistle stop tour of the local beaches and she was particularly impressed with the Traigh Mhor at Tolsta. Lara then joined us for our weekly session where she was happy to assist in our evaluation activities on that day. She was impressed by the work being done and could see how valuable the sessions were for everybody. Lara left with a very favourable view of our work and our island, and I know she would like to come and visit again for a longer spell.

"On Tuesday 4 February we met together at Digby’s Restaurant for a belated Christmas lunch! This opportunity to meet together socially and enjoy delicious fayre was appreciated by all!

"Our weekly two hour sessions of Self-Management and Mindfulness continued at the Fire Station with Gail Cunningham as our project facilitator.  These sessions have provided valuable support, guidance, encouragement, motivation, self-help skills along with a range of other benefits.

"With the advent of the COVID 19 pandemic we had to adjust our approach to meetings and interaction and so responded positively to this challenge by initially setting up a daily chat on a Whats App group, followed shortly thereafter by weekly meetings via Zoom.

"In spite of some initial apprehensions, this has proved highly successful. In order to support new members who have joined the group, a second session has been set up on Thursday afternoons.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gail for her unfailing diligence, enthusiasm and support in keeping our group together and for ensuring the best interests of all are met. I would also like to thank Gordon for his invaluable IT support, setting up Zoom, sorting out IT problems adeptly and for his valued ongoing contributions to the group. Thanks also to the Fire Station for allowing us the use of one of their rooms.

"Lucy Harness continues to deliver yoga sessions on a weekly basis. This activity has been successful and appreciated by many members of the group who attend. These sessions were held at the Bridge Centre initially but are now on Zoom. I would like to thank Lucy for her efforts and also the Bridge Centre staff who have always been accommodating and helpful.

"The committee has undergone some changes in the last few months. This is inevitable at times given that members have long-term conditions but may also have other commitments. 

"Jane and Donald both resigned from the committee. They are now honorary members of our group and we will continue to welcome their advice and expertise going forward. We look forward to inviting new members this year who will bring new skills, experiences and knowledge which will contribute to and complement our efforts. Thank you also to our treasurer, Michelle, who consistently provides us with clear and concise reports to keep us all well informed and to every other member of the committee who has given willingly of their time, effort and commitment to LTCH.

"Finally, I would like to thank all members of this much valued and mutually supportive and positive group for their contributions and ongoing participation. We look forward to the next phase and development of LTCH."