Article by Barbara Henderson, DCDT Voluteering for wellbeing co-ordinator.
Spend a few hours each week growing food as part of a group. Reduce your impact on the planet by walking, wheeling or cycling for everyday journeys. Improve our town by collecting litter or tending to a local green space. There are many ways that we can boost the wellbeing of our town, the local environment and you, the people who live, work and learn here.
We are passionate about improving the wellbeing of our people, our place and our planet. But what exactly do we mean by “wellbeing”?
People: Individual Wellbeing
Everyone deserves to feel happy, healthy and connected. This is what we mean when we talk about individual wellbeing. It encompasses our physical and mental health, as well as how connected we feel to those around us and to our wider community.
Our sense of contentment and happiness, and how to achieve this in different aspects of our lives, looks slightly different for each person. However, there are common factors that are important for everyone.
The Scottish Government identified eight indicators that are important for achieving individual wellbeing:
Safety, feeling secure, nurtured, and listened to.
Health, being physically and mentally healthy, having access to adequate healthcare, knowing how to make healthy choices.
Achieving, learning and developing skills, having confidence and self-esteem.
Nurtured, having physical and emotional security to help develop resilience and a positive identity.
Active, being active in recreation, play, physical activity, at work, and in the community.Respected, having our voice heard in decisions that affect our lives.
Responsible, having responsibility in different aspects of our lives, including at home, work, and in our wider communities.
Included, feeling meaningfully part of social, work, and community life.
From: Wellbeing (SHANARRI) - Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) Feeling part of something bigger than ourselves is important for our wellbeing as individuals. It is vital to feel connected, included and valued in our community. And by being involved in community activities, for example, by volunteering, we can also improve the wellbeing of where we live.
Place: Community Wellbeing
Communities that are flourishing are more resilient in times of change or when faced with challenges.
Dunoon is our place. And the wellbeing of our town will depend on how well all of the individuals, education and religious establishments, businesses, organisations, charities and local authority bodies that operate here can connect and coordinate their activities for the benefit of the people, place and planet.
Community wellbeing can be described as:
“the combination of social, economic, environmental, cultural, and political conditions identified by individuals and their communities as essential for them to flourish and fulfil their potential.”
A community can enhance its wellbeing through the different groups, organisations, businesses, institutions and individuals working together to:
Develop a strong identity.
Work towards creating wealth within Dunoon and keeping it here.
Identify local priority themes, such as active travel or transition to net-zero.
Take care of public spaces like the town centre and shop fronts, beaches and parks.
Encourage travelling by walking, wheeling and cycling.
Share information as effectively as possible.
Host community events that bring people together and help tackle social isolation.
Make sure everyone in the community has the opportunity to feel visible and listened to.
Provide volunteer opportunities for people to get involved in benefitting the community as well as enhance their own wellbeing.
Encourage sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of living and working.
Planet: Environmental Wellbeing
Environmental wellbeing is:“valuing the relationship between ourselves, the spaces we live and work in, and the planet”.
Everybody wants to live, work and learn in a community where the local environment is respected and looked after. Sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of living need to be promoted within our community and made accessible to individuals.
Each of us can help by doing things like:
Recycling our rubbish.
Using second-hand shops to donate to and buy from.
Travelling around our town by walking, wheeling or cycling instead of driving.
Growing our own food.
Campaigning together for change.
Getting involved in volunteer activities that promote sustainability and take care of our green spaces.
Martin volunteers at the Trust’s Grow Food Grow Dunoon project. He stated:
“Volunteering offers many benefits in different ways. You become involved in a project or situation that connects you with people, both fellow volunteers and others. You feel fulfilled because you are doing something that benefits the wider community. You can feel pleasure and satisfaction that you are connected with something greater than just yourself. Plus, unlike when you are employed, it is flexible and you have a freedom that enables you to choose your times and commitments.”
Volunteering for Wellbeing
Our volunteering for wellbeing coordinator Barbara Henderson comments:
“Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. Picking up litter, doing a beach clean, growing food, serving teas and coffees at a local event or spending time with someone who would otherwise be a bit lonely not only boosts the wellbeing of our community and the planet, but also the wellbeing of the volunteer. Getting involved with these activities helps the volunteer to feel active, valuable and connected”.
Volunteer Scotland describes some of the main benefits of volunteering for individual wellbeing as:
Gain Confidence: Volunteering can help you gain confidence by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement.
Learn new skills: Volunteering can help you learn new skills, gain experience and sometimes even qualifications.
Be part of a community: Volunteering can help you feel part of something outside your friends and family.
Meet new people: Volunteering can help you to meet new and different kinds of people and make new friends.
Make a difference: Volunteering can have a real and valuable positive affect on people, communities and the wider society in general.
Take on a challenge: Volunteering can help challenge yourself to try something different and achieve personal goals.
Have Fun: Most people who volunteer have a great time, regardless of why they chose to do it.
We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities in Dunoon. Find out more here and come get involved!