Case Studies

Maps in the Carse of Gowrie- taking on lives of their own!

Type: Case Study

In one of a series of stories produced for People Powered Health and Wellbeing, Andy Hyde meets colleagues in Perthshire who are testing asset mapping in a rural setting.

The Invergowrie Inn is on Main Street, at the heart of the village and a perfect place to meet and talk about all things local. Robin Falconer, Community Engagement Worker with Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service (PKAVS) and Jackie Doe, Perth & Kinross Healthy Communities Project Manager had organised a get-together to talk about some local mapping that had emerged after the People Powered Health and Wellbeing event in March 2014. We were joined by Ashleigh Henderson, Healthy Communities Collaborative and Val Beveridge, a volunteer at the Carse Community Cafe which is held on the last Thursday of each month, just down the road at All Souls Church.

The cafe acts as an information hub. Initially started up for people living with dementia it has become popular with others in the village. Companionship and local knowledge is shared over tea and cake.
 
Robin contacted the cafe as a starting point when thinking about trying out a mapping exercise. “My role was to start looking at what’s in the community… and to get other people to think about what’s important in their community, what’s really good about it, what assets there are…” He wanted to see if it could be a good way to engage with local residents.
 
The map started as a small exercise but it grew to consider issues around the village, prompting conversations about planning permission and the use of common land – it became a forum for discussion.
 
“To be honest we started off, we didn’t really know if it was going to work well or not. We started off small and got people together and there was interest from a few people in the village… then the actual building of the map started off a lot of interest.”
 
Val remembers “I was really mesmerised by the whole thing – we didn’t really know what we were going into!’
 
The outcomes are fascinating. Members of the Carse of Gowrie Men’s Shed came along to a mapping session and were drawn to the project. They began to make models of buildings to add to the streets and the map soon began to take on a three-dimensional aspect!
 
In Bridge of Earn, for example, a local church minister, district nurse, nursing student, care home and residents from a local sheltered housing organisation gathered to discuss local assets and issues.
 
Some interesting connections were made:
 
  • When discussing the mobile library, the idea of a book club at a care home was considered.
  • When transport issues were brought up, a representative from the local church offered to look into the availability of community minibuses and volunteers who could drive them.
  • Jackie has since helped them to secure funding to send volunteers on a driving training course with a view to improving transport to and from local activities.
  • It was identified that the sheltered housing organisation has a lounge that could be used for community activities. Technology was an area that people felt they wanted more information about. Jackie has access to an IT ‘library’ and student nurses have already helped her to deliver three ‘Tea and Technology’ sessions.
  • Jackie has helped the sheltered home organisation to secure some funding for indoor curling equipment.
  • The local bowling group are concerned because membership has been falling – there are plans to share the indoor curling equipment with the club to provide an additional attraction.
All emerging from conversations around a hand-made map…
 
Jackie also has her eye on collecting some of the data. Using Perth and Kinross Council’s Well Connected website as a hub, she hopes to use local knowledge to populate the database with support resources that really matter to people. Well Connected uses ALISS to power its service.
 
“It’s really just a Perth and Kinross door into ALISS” explains Jackie and she is keen for community groups to take on the role of adding the discoveries themselves.
 
It’s early days, but it seems as though there’s a lot of potential for these map-related conversations to lead to some real benefits for local communities.
 
Key learning points:
 
  • Mapping can be a simple activity that promotes locally-relevant conversation.
  • It can also be integrated into other activities being offered by local groups.
  • At the same time, it can be used as a tool to identify skills, future plans and priorities and provide informal peer support for people who are socially isolated.
  • There are lots of opportunities for intergenerational work via asset mapping- this can depend on where it takes place and who is involved ( e.g. in schools, community centres etc).
  • Take full advantage of any opportunities for ‘spin-offs’ that naturally arise from the initial mapping activity.
  • Information about local resources and activities can be added to ALISS with tags that make them easy to find.
  • Locality-specific ‘doorways’ to ALISS can be created.
  • It is important to encourage people and organisations from local communities to add their own information to ALISS or any local directory.

Further information

This case study is one of a series developed by ALISS in partnership with People Powered Health and Wellbeing to illustrate how health and aocial care teams are being introduced to asset mapping. You can read more about asset mapping on the People Powered Health and Wellbeing website.

 

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