A Connected Scotland

The Scottish Government is currently consulting across the country on its draft strategy to reduce isolation, and build a kinder, more connected Scotland, where people get involved in sharing responsibilities to tackle loneliness.

You can read the draft strategy here

Living with a condition such as epilepsy can severely impact your confidence and opportunities to mix with other people, due to internal concerns such as anxiety over when a seizure might occur and the often unsupportive responses of the general public.

On Thursday 29th March, the Epilepsy Futures group met to consider some key questions;

  1. What needs to change in your community to reduce social isolation and loneliness and increase the range and quality of social connections?
  2. Who is key at local level in driving this change, and what do you want to see them doing more (or less) of?
  3. What does Government need to do nationally to better empower communities and create the conditions to allow social connections to flourish

 

Our current group live in a variety of settings, from tiny rural villages, to housing schemes that are affected by decades of poverty and attendant issues such as addiction and poor mental health.

This meant that they had slightly different issues to deal with in their immediate environment, from being somewhere with few amenities and poor transport infrastructure, to living close to Scotland’s largest population centre with all its many resources.

It’s not surprising then that for the participants a lot of focus was on the need to raise awareness of the issues faced by people living with conditions such as epilepsy, in order to reduce stigma.

However, a common feeling that our participants shared was that organisations and elected representatives need to find more meaningful ways to communicate with each other and the local communities they serve, as well as how they themselves could be better neighbours and play more of an active part in the community.

The group enjoyed the experience and some of the feedback included

  • “I liked how {this consultation} could make a huge difference to the lives of people”
  • “I enjoyed  hearing other people’s opinions and the information given to me about services that are/aren’t available”
  • “It raised awareness of just how much change needs to be done in different communities to help reduce loneliness/isolation”
  • “I thought I had a really good understanding of this, but it opens your minds up to other people’s views.”

 

Peter Dale