More than 40 Health and Social Care Professionals travelled to the Western Isles last week for a 3-day learning event.
The NHS Western Isles mPower project team hosted the 2-day meeting at the Community Trust run Talla na Mara, Pairc Niseaboist, Isle of Harris.
mPower is a cross-border EU-funded project set up to support people living with long-term conditions and chronic illnesses across remote areas in the West of Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
In the Western Isles the project has operated across Lewis and Harris since November 2017 and targets people over 18. In recent months it expanded with project representatives now working to cover the Uists and Barra.
Martin Malcolm, Head of Public Health Intelligence NHS Western Isles opened the meeting and welcomed all to Talla na Mara giving key facts about the Western Isles and setting the context for the project in the area. He spoke about the challenges that come with the environment and how coming together for shared learning opportunities benefits all.
Speakers included Lisa MacLean from the Galson Estate Trust, several of the partners who shared their latest activity and learning, John MacDonald from SCVO talking about the development of Community Transport and Dr David Ross, a Respiratory clinician doing innovative work in the Western Isles using Video Conferencing for health consultations. A third day’s events aimed at targeting wider local healthcare professionals was held at the Calaidh Inn, Stornoway where attendees were invited to listen to the RNIB give their ‘Need to Talk’ presentation and to hear Martin Malcolm present his recent and future work looking at Digital Innovation in social and mental wellbeing in the Western Isles.
Sue Long, mPower’s Implementation Lead for the Western Isles, said: “It was fantastic to welcome so many visitors to our beautiful islands and to learn more about what’s happening across the project partner areas, particularly identifying anything that we can look to implement here in the Western Isles.”
Martin Malcolm said “We were delighted to welcome everyone to the Islands and to support local businesses and Community Trusts in the process, we specifically chose Tarbert and Pairc Niseaboist for the bulk of the event as these are some of the more rural areas of the Islands”.
Attendees arrived in Harris from Monday evening and stayed in local hotels and B&B’s in the Tarbert area. The final night was spent in Stornoway. Catering for the group meals were provided by the Hotel Hebrides and Isle of Harris Hotel, both in Tarbert. The final night in Stornoway saw visitors free to sample the local delights from local eateries.
The visitors to the islands, many of which had never been before, were taken aback by the beauty of the surroundings. Many commented on the friendly welcome they received from locals during their stay as well as the delicious food they were served. At the end of the second days’ formalities, there was an optional visit to the Isle of Harris Distillery, where many visitors purchased a souvenir of the local delicacy.
The mPower project in the Western Isles aims to help people with long-term conditions such as diabetes, COPD, dementia and Parkinsons, by connecting them with activities in their community as well as introducing them to health and wellbeing technology designed for home and mobile use.
You can be referred to the project by your GP or other healthcare professional. You can ask them to be referred if they haven't already suggested it. Or you can submit a self-referral form. Forms can be picked up from local libraries, your GP Surgery or from a healthcare professional. Or you can contact the project team directly for a copy of the form, contact details are below.
The mPower project has a budget of €8.7million and is funded through the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. The project is match funded by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government and the Scottish Government.
PICTURE: Attendees at the mPower Project Assembly outside the meeting venue Talla na Mara.