Engaging Community Assets to tackle Social Isolation

In recent years there has been an increased interest and awareness about the issue of social isolation and loneliness.  At the end of last year Voluntary Health Scotland published a briefing paper identifying 'Loneliness: [as] a threat to Scotland's Health'. It focuses on what makes a difference in reducing loneliness and improving physical as well as mental health. In response to this challenging issue, the Scottish Government committed to developing a Loneliness and Isolation Strategy.

Linking in with this current debate is the Engaging Community Assets project we were involved in with the Royal College of GPs and funded by the Scottish Government (2012-2014) . The project also focused on better health and social care integration and therefore seems very current and relevant in terms of its findings and outcomes;

One of the main findings from the project was that there was an underlying issue of social isolation (...) identified by each of the communities.

The project successfully used social capital to build local relationship networks and engaged with social enterprises to enable partnership working as well as share best practice. The project also

developed a model that could be adopted by other practices in Scotland which could assist them to engage local community assets, focusing on this universal issue [of loneliness] initially.

View the project summary here >>

#endloneliness

Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland – Featured BR: Lake Vänern

Lake Vänern Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, Sweden

As part of our Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve Event in Scotland at the end of the month, we are featuring some of the attendees biosphere reserves who are already working with this approach. As mentioned in our first article, the event is hosted by Assist Social Capital and co-facilitated by Colin Campbell (Assist Social Capital) and Johanna MacTaggart who is the coordinator of MAB Sweden and the Lake Vänern Archipelago Biosphere Reserve.

Lake Vanern BR -Sweden- LogoAbout the Biosphere Reserve

The Archipelago and Mount Kinekulle became an UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserve in 2010. It is covers part of the Lake Vänern drainage basin and involves three local municipalities encompassing an area of ca. 278.600 hectare with about 75.000 inhabitants. The Biosphere Reserve itself is run as a non-profit organisation.

(get more info on the BR here)

A socio-environmentally responsive business model

As one of the largest inland lakes and fresh water reserves within Europe, Lake Vänern also has one of the largest fishing fleets. The sustainability of this ecosystem is crucial for the region to ensure clean water, a healthy fish population and food quality. This aspect of sustainable livelihoods alongside maintaining biodiversity provides a common ground for collaboration from  industries as differing as Ecotourism and Fisheries. Along the same line Social entrepreneurship provides the local economy with a business model directly deriving from social as well as environmental challenges. This provides an innovative and entrepreneurial approach responsive to socio-environmental as well as socio-economic needs in the region.

Additionally, stakeholder collaboration has been encouraged in the region to ensure that local decision-makers, businesses and civil society can overcome issues through taking joint responsibility on developing, ensuring and maintaining the Lake Vänern Biosphere.

 

Social Media Icons - Commons PictureYou can also contribute to and/or follow our conversations on the event and the related issues on Facebook and Twitter @AssistSocCap under #SEBRScotland #Biosphere Reserves #WCBRLima #Social Enterprise

 

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