Pioneering Cairndow helps people stay healthy

The Cairndow NEAR ME hub is now up and running, bring healthcare closer to the community.

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There is no need for Cairndow folk to worry about whether the A83 is open when faced with medical appointments beyond the Rest.

As part of a series of community initiatives, Cairndow Village Hall and Recreation Committee has pioneered a ‘NEAR ME’ hub at the village hall in partnership with NHS Highland.

The service, manned by trained volunteers, is housed in a newly-refurbished clinic room within the hall and is intended to reduce the need for people to travel to access acute services from both NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Highland.

The initiative was funded by the National Lottery, while equipment was funded by Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).

And, with NHS Scotland boards developing social distancing policies and increasing the number of online consultations, the new facility puts Cairndow in a great position to access virtual services.

The area’s GPs will also be able to connect to patients using the facility.

The service will also help minimise exclusion, as some residents will not have the technology at home to access a remote service.

On June 10, hall committee chair Sharon Hepburn and secretary Debbie Donald told the story – to an online audience in the hundreds – of becoming the first mainland Scotland Non-NHS NEAR ME hub.

But the NEAR ME development is just part of the wider vision to promote health and well-being within the community.

Strachur Medical Practice GP Dr Alison Macbeth has offered to advise patients on using gym equipment available in the village hall to improve their wellbeing, while a pilot project to stream live exercise classes to the hall is being looked at in conjunction with liveArgyll and Kirstin Roberson of the HSCP.

The hall has also been granted funding to allow its book exchange to host events for Scottish Book Trust Book Week in November and there are hopes that the hall may become a drop-off/pick-up point for liveArgyll libraries.

Thanks to the huge effort of volunteers the Cairndow Village Hall community greenhouse and raised beds are now available for use and the garden is there as a meeting place.

The hall committee has also joined Keep Scotland Beautiful initiative ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’.

In partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, It’s Your Neighbourhood supports community projects across Scotland which make places cleaner and greener.

Sharon said: ‘Cairndow Hall and Recreation Committee is delighted to join this scheme.

‘It links to the work on the hall community garden and greenhouse, but also all the hard work done by village volunteers to keep the verges, drystone walls, graveyard, and other public areas immaculate and at their best.’