As we take time to reflect on 2019, we’re realizing what a busy year it’s been and how many changes have taken place.  From everyone here at B Healthy Together, we wish you all a happy Mid-Winter and good luck for your plans in 2020! 

We’re now safely ensconced in our new home in the Broomhouse Hub after making the move from our old faithful shop premises.  This vibrant community space enables us to keep in touch with what is going on locally and get the chat off people coming and going.  The move had a particularly long tail to it and we’ll miss some things about the shop but we have started a small fruit and veg stand here to keep supplying to our customers and are taking the stall to local GP practices to promote healthier eating choices and keep that link in the community.

Jocelyn is continuing with the Adult Cooking classes as well as Tasty Bite Drop Ins at local schools, showing people different and exciting ways to use fruit and vegetables and get children interested in healthy food choices.  Jocelyn also makes the Community Meals where people from the local area can come together and share a meal and each other’s company once a fortnight.

Alicja has been busy running the amazing Buggy Gym Classes, Family Fit and Baby’s First Foods. These groups concentrate on helping family members to join in activities together and you can bring your children to exercise and play together.  Seeing your parents eating well and exercising is really important in establishing a healthy lifestyle in early life and it means parents can squeeze some fitness into their busy lives too!

With the help of local residents, we finally finished painting the amazing mural in Broomhouse this Summer over a long and very hot weekend.  It was designed by local children and it’s brought a total ray of sunshine to the area; a really nice short film was made about the project –

This Summer also saw over 1000 people attend the annual Broomhouse Street Party – a Summer bonanza with all sorts of stalls, games and general craziness.  It’s a real showcase of what is happening in the local community and it’s a really good opportunity to interact with local residents and find out what people would like to see happening in their area.  This year B Healthy Together decided to run a Science Experiment stand and a smoothie making bike stall where you had to earn your delicious fruit based reward!  The weather was perfect and the activities went down amazingly well, with children and adults alike fascinated by the interactive science experiments.  Vegware supplied hundreds of cups and straws and we eventually ran out of ingredients to make drinks with on the two smoothie bikes, such was the demand.

Our weekly Friday walking group has had a great year with new members joining and some memorable trips.  We had a tour of the National Portrait Gallery, a wonderful afternoon at The Secret Herb Garden and a trip to see Craigie’s farm.  The group have really pushed themselves this year – even taking on Corstorphone Hill in ‘sub-optimal’ conditions and have braved floods, high winds and my awful ‘banter’.  We shared a wonderful Christmas meal in the Broomhouse Hub Centre to see the year out – a wonderful group of individuals and genuinely lovely people.

We’ve tried some new activities this year as well in response to suggestions from local residents.  We generally pilot activities for around 6 weeks to see if people attend and if it’s something we can fund into the future.  Often it just needs people to try something to see if it’s what they thought or just to try something new.

This year, we’ve run pilot sessions in Caribbean Fitness Dancing, Walking Netball and Seated Yoga.  The seated yoga was a clear favorite with over 30 people attending the first session.  Off the back of this, we have made it a regular weekly session and there is something amazing about so many people coming together to do an activity and how silent a group of 30 people can be!  We run this in partnership with Edinburgh Community Yoga who have been really lovely to work with and it’s now a solid part of our activity schedule.

We’ve been running our Introductory Mindfulness courses this year too where people come for a 7-week course, culminating in some outdoor walk where we try to integrate some mindfulness techniques in a real life setting.  We are going to tweak this format for next year by making the sessions broader to include more relaxation techniques and breathing and stretching exercises.  By opening up the remit of the class, people will hopefully bring all their experience to share with the group and participants can learn skills off the practitioner and each other to take away to be able to better relax at home.

We have also been running regular workshops designed to address gaps in provision in the local community.  The topics are varied and have been chosen in response to what local residents have asked to learn about; the menopause, managing seasonal stress, mental health and the outdoors.  By engaging and responding to the needs of our community, I hope we will be able to empower people to take back control in their lives and help grow in confidence to take on positive steps in 2020 and beyond.

To recognize the amazing contribution people make to their local community, nominations are now open for the annual ‘Shona Douglas Achievement Award’.  This award celebrates the memory and qualities expressed by Shona Douglas who sadly passed away in 2017 aged 34.  Shona was an incredibly active volunteer who dedicated time, commitment and enthusiasm to our work and other local organisations. This award recognises the contributions and differences that local people can make to their communities.

A huge thanks to Vegware for their help this year – it is very much appreciated by us all!