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Start a Fire with Flourishing Borders

Posted January 23rd 2017 by Christine

Rural Wisdom

At Outside the Box you could say that building little fires in local communities is one of the things we do best. We love nothing more than getting together groups of people so we can kindle our idea, find the spark that will ignite the fire inside everyone to take the idea forward and create a bright burning fire within the community.

That is exactly what our Flourishing Borders project is trying to do in the Scottish Borders. For 6 months Lindsey and I visited lots of Borders communities trying to gather tinder to start building our fire, initially we only found damp tinder as we were approaching it from the wrong starting place – asking older people to talk about their mental health and what keeps them well was always going to be a difficult fire to spark. So we decided to change direction and ask the older people in Borders what makes them happy? and from that the ground was cleared to start building our Happiness Habits Cafe fires!

We have visited lots of different groups from lunch clubs to care homes all across the Scottish Borders from Newcastleton to Lamancha trying to build little Happiness Habits Café fires and we have a few that are beginning to show signs of sparking into life!

Down in Newcastleton they had a gentleman Peter who was really keen to start a local ukulele group, we have managed to enlist the help from Jim a ukulele player from Peebles, the local Church Army and the Parkinsons society in Newcastleton to have a ukulele taster session in early February to see if this is something the community would like to have as a regular activity.

In the Burnfoot Community Hub in Hawick we ran 2 cafes, they were very well received by the local people many of whom were lonely and isolated within the community. After seeing the positive impact the cafes had on the lives of some of the people who came along Outside the Box and the Healthy Living Network are now supporting the local people apply for funding to keep the group going in Burnfoot. We have another café booked in February which Outside the Box will film to support the funding application.

Recently we were at Whim Hall care home in Lamancha, many of the residents talked about how dancing used to be something that made them feel happy. We are at a very early stage with this fire but we are hoping to arrange for a local dance teacher to have a little ballroom dancing session at Whim Hall.

It is very exciting to see these fires beginning to spark but we must remember to keep adding the kindling so they don’t just fizzle out before they get going! More information about our Flourishing Borders project can be found on our website.



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