Despite the pandemic and all the social distancing, Long Term Conditions Hebrides has been maintaining and expanding its support for people throughout the islands.
In a report to the group's AGM recently, Gordon Scott, Chairperson, explained that in the past eight months since their previous AGM, Long Term Conditions Hebrides has been able to continue to build upon their weekly group sessions.
"We have been delighted to add additional sessions which has allowed for more participants to join us and benefit from our activities. Our activities continue to aim to enhance the life experience and well-being of people living with long term conditions and their carer’s.
"Our core activities of self-management sessions, mindfulness, meditation practices and light yoga classes have had a beneficial impact with everybody involved.
"We have experienced very positive feedback from our base line questionnaires, which have allowed our participants to give their feedback on our session work. We continue to enjoy the company of many regular participants and have been delighted to invite many more to our group over recent months.
"Currently, we have 35 regular session users each week and 67 people benefit from our session activities. We also offer a Whatsapp group which is a very friendly and supportive community, where our facilitators and participants have positive conversations each day, this group also benefits from daily posts from our self -management and mindfulness facilitator Dr. Gail Cunningham.
"Our weekly activities are all delivered via Zoom online video calls. We are delighted to have our long-standing facilitator and committee advisor Dr. Gail Cunningham continue to deliver her outstanding self-management and mindfulness classes.
"Our weekly yoga sessions are facilitated by experienced yoga practitioners, Lucy Harness and Mairi Thomson. On Mondays we provide a mindfulness session followed by a chair yoga session, these classes offer people a gentle introduction to our course activities; on a Monday we work collaboratively with a local organisation, Neuro Hebrides, which has allowed their service users access to our Monday group, we thank Neuro Hebrides for their support.
"On a Tuesday we continue to provide our long-standing Tuesday session which lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes and provides participants with self-management and advanced mindfulness and meditation practices.
"On a Wednesday afternoon we provide our Sunshine yoga class, which offers participants the opportunity to partake in light yoga practices, led by one of our qualified instructors, Mairi Thomson and Lucy Harness.
"Our Thursday group sessions provide self-management and mindfulness teachings at an easier level compared to our more experienced Tuesday group. We are delighted to have cultivated a safe, friendly and respectful environment, where our participants can relax, be comfortable and enjoy our sessions.
From the start of November 2020, The Foundation Scotland Resilience fund provided us with valuable support for weekly session work and the Robertson Trust Grant provided financial assistance for the light yoga sessions. Since the start of April 2021, the Lottery Community Fund has provided funding to support weekly group sessions and the Caledonian MacBrayne Community Fund has delivered financial support for the weekly yoga classes.
"We are very grateful for all the vital funding support we have received from our funders, without whom we would be unable to deliver our valuable work to people who benefit from our services.
"As Long Term Conditions Hebrides looks to the future, we hope to reach as many people as possible who may benefit from our services. We aim to start a Friday group session, which would mean we would deliver group sessions five days a week, providing greater accessibility for all participants and may encourage new participants to join us. We also hope to launch our own YouTube channel and our own website over the summertime, which will also feature professionally recorded audio material from our mindfulness facilitator, Dr. Gail Cunningham.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Gail Cunningham for her continued hard work, enthusiasm, skilled delivery and valuable advice to both the LTCH group sessions and LTCH committee. I would also like to thank our yoga facilitators Mairi Thomson and Lucy Harness, both of whom have delivered very well received yoga classes, while creating up a nice rapport with all of our participants.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful secretary, Belle McKay, who’s contributions have been invaluable for LTCH, Belle’s due diligence and reliability are fantastic and she is such a positive presence to work alongside.
"I would also like to thank our trusted treasurer, Michelle Paton. Michelle has been our treasurer for sometime now and her continued clear and accurate work is of great benefit to our organisation. I would also like to thank all of our committee members, who provide such valuable input and are an absolute pleasure to work alongside. It is with great respect and gratitude that I thank our committee as a whole for their continued volunteering, time and presence, without whom we could not do what we do. Finally, I would like to thank all members of our LTCH family for their contributions and ongoing participation. We look forward to the continued growth of Long Term Conditions Hebrides and a bright future for the organisation.