Praise for the Network

Volunteers in the Mearns have been warmly praised by local councillor and Grampian Health Board chairman, Bill Howatson.

Speaking at the awards ceremony and the 10th birthday celebrations of the Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network, Cllr. Howatson said the voluntary organisation had made “an enormous contribution” to improving the health of older people.

“You have become one of the local forces that reach out to people in their communities to help, not from the top down, but from the bottom up.

“The network has done a great deal to challenge isolation, to recognise the true nature of life in a rural part of Scotland – and its not all milk and honey –

and help people to help themselves.

“And most importantly remind individuals that there is a network out there of like- minded people.

“You’ve successfully shown that older people can help older people in their own terms, their own language and with a joint understanding of what growing old is all about.

“Above all you’ve sent out the clear message that older people are an asset, not an encumbrance.”

He stressed that the fact that MCHLN had expanded - to the coast, to Stonehaven and Portlethen and now further afield in Aberdeenshire – was a “singular testimony that you have established a track record of work, and action and doing what you do best – unlocking the latent potential in older people not only to help each other, but to show they have the capacity, experience and the will to continue to contribute to society and their communities.”

Cllr. Howatson presented certificates to 52 local volunteers acknowledging their

service that ranged from one to ten years. Some 140 volunteers have played an active part in the network since it was established in 2002.