Back in the summer, Peter worked with Lisa Pattoni from The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS), Snook and others in Kirkintilloch to help mental health service users to map their local ‘assets’ – the things that help them to stay well day-to-day. You can read more about how we took the results, added them to the Engine and presented them nicely online.
It was a valuable exercise for all involved – we learned about how the Engine might be used, what works and what doesn’t when mapping. Importantly, the service users saw their local area and their own networks in a different (more positive) light and practitioners had a new way see the world through their patients’ eyes. Don’t just take our word for it – take a look at these wonderful videos.
So, way back when we were dreaming up a local ALISS event focussed on Edinburgh we thought it would be useful to repeat the process for service providers, giving them an insight into how this could work here … and on Tuesday, a group of 30 or so enthusiastic people from a wide range of organisations turned up at the Eric Liddell Centre to see what this was all about.
Lisa kindly joined us to share her experiences in Kirkintilloch and gave us some great insight into the benefits of mapping for the service users. You can read more about this here.
Then the fun really began when we asked participants to use similar processes to map areas of Edinburgh, adding their own ‘assets’ – community activities, organisations and resources.
We started them off with a blank canvas and lots of tools and prompts…
By the time we were done the tables were packed full of pointers to outdoor spaces, weekly events, meeting places, cafes, organisations, choirs, film nights, dance classes, libraries….
…and the buzz in the room was amazing. Lots of sharing going on, leaflets and contact details being exchanged, conversations flowing … our challenge now is to try and translate these notes and pictures into digital assets in the Engine. This will help the ALISS coverage of Edinburgh resources but, of course, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We would probably have had just as many ideas had we concentrated on a smaller area – in fact people commented that a city-wide approach was too ambitious. But then as Lisa writes:
This was just a taster session and I think we were a bit ambitious to think that we could begin to map out some of Edinburgh’s self-management resources in a little hour session. It was mostly about showing people a new approach, and giving people a method for which to start thinking about collecting the different resources that are available, as well as learning something new about the area in which they work. We came away with a wealth of knowledge and information which will give a helpful baseline for which to build on.
Exactly, it’s a helpful baseline and hopefully encouragement for others to take the ideas and processes back to base.
Using ALISS to develop new services
After a well-earned coffee break, a small group considered how they might use ALISS to address real-life problems. An example they worked on was a drug being withdrawn from use and stretching exercises being recommended as an alterative – GPs need to get this information out, particularly to older people, and it’s a challenge. Both to get the information out and also to encourage people to do the exercises. Wouldn’t it be good if ALISS could provide examples of local alternatives that would encourage stretching through community activity? walking groups or gentle chair-based exercise or maybe dancing!
As usual the creative ideas flowed and the pictures with them…I didn’t get all the details but it looks as though the service would provide GPs with access to local info ‘at the touch of a button’ and then a way of outputting this in different formats. The results could include getting people together to exercise as groups, making use of local community venues (and maybe GP surgeries?)…the result being ‘happier, healthier older people’.
A self-management network for Edinburgh?
Another group considered how we might keep the momentum of the gathering going. Is there a role for a network that keeps in touch about community activities and organisations focussing on keeping well? Of course, informal networks exist already, but it was an incredibly diverse group that had gathered on the day and the exchange of ideas and experiences was exciting. Maybe we could do more of this as well as other activities … certainly the ALISS mantra is collaborate with purpose. The mapping process had brought us together and we learned from each other by doing stuff together.
So this group wondered if there was a way to use the Engine to connect people around the city (and beyond) to do good stuff together like sharing resources and coordinating bids for funds…
They called it ALISS Springs!
So many ideas, connections, conversations and post-its squeezed into a few hours. I got the feeling there was more to do and more to be shared – but how to do so on a regular basis?
I can’t take credit for the title of this post by the way, it comes from Lisa’s rather nice tweet after our event …
Indeed it was a pleasure – thanks everyone for coming along, joining in enthusiastically and giving us so much food for thought.
Update: we wrote a report on the Edinburgh mapping event, for those who like their material in pdf format.