The downturn in the oil and gas industry has resulted in a higher number of business closing, with Covid-19 having a further negative impact. New business creation, particularly in the growth sectors of digital, creative, food and drink, life sciences, tourism, social care and health and construction is vital in diversifying the economy. This project seeks to provide the correct support for those wishing to start or expand their own business which will provide essential employment opportunities for our people.
The pandemic has posed additional barriers for people getting into employment. Certain groups (e.g. people with disabilities, people involved in the justice system and older people) already faced significant barriers to employment. This project will provide various pathways into employment and training is vital to ensure equal opportunity for all.
Technological change means that digital skills are increasingly important for connecting with others, accessing information and services and meeting the changing demands of the workplace and economy. This project aims to support people to gain the skills they need to access services and gain access to good quality employment.
The real Living Wage is a UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by businesses and is higher than the Government’s minimum. This project seeks to increase the number of employers with Living Wage accreditation, offering people receive higher wages and helping tackle pockets of in-work poverty within the City. This would have the added effect of increasing productivity and boosting the City's economy.
There are multiple factors that can impact on a child’s early physical and psychological development. These can include breastfeeding, nutrition, smoking and other substances, mental health and the home environment. There are a range of improvement projects which could help nudge and support families to make healthier choices which give children the best start in life and help ensure they reach their developmental milestones.
Whilst it is recognised that teenage pregnancy may be a choice and a positive experience, in many situations teenage pregnancy can be linked to poverty, loneliness, mental health, family conflict and non-completion of education. Young mums are also less likely to complete their education and pursue a positive post-school destination. This project helps young people develop healthy relationships, realise their potential, are supported to achieve their aspirations, and have opportunities to flourish into adulthood.
Public Health Scotland has reported that the COVID-19 Lockdown has had a negative impact on the sleep, behaviour, mood, physical activity, concentration, and eating for children aged between 2 and 7, with similar outcomes for 18-24 year olds. There has been a 280% increase in referrals to the NHS Grampian Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Eating Disorder specialist team in 2020 compared to 2019. We know that the majority of mental health problems in adults start before the age of 18. This project aims to prevent mental health problems from developing by providing support children and young people and their families.
Young people who experience care are shown to have poorer outcomes than their peers. For example, levels of attainment in education, emotional
wellbeing, and reaching a positive destination. This project will seek to make improvements to the transition between care placement, dealing with childhood trauma and the quality of professional support that care experienced children and young people receive in order to have a significant and lasting impact on their long-term life chances.
Broken connections with school can lead to future problems for children and young people. Frequently, children and young people who do not go on to a positive destination have been found to have very low attendance rates in school. Not only does this impact of their ability to learn and gain qualifications, but it can also mean that they will struggle to remain in college on leaving school. Low attendance at school inhibits out of school activities and the role models that pastimes, such as football, can provide. There is also a correlation between school exclusions and youth offending. This project is about ensuring children and young people receive the support they need to keep engaged with school or in a school setting.
There is evidence to suggest that young people experiencing adverse life challenges may be at risk of developing longer term substance use issues. Data gathered from adults accessing specialist drug treatment report early teenage years as being the key stage for starting drug use. This project is about increasing awareness and support through education to prevent drug and alcohol issues now or in the future for young people.
There are numerous circumstances that can affect whether a young person goes on to a positive destination when they leave school. Such as their upbringing, poverty, the area they live in or whether they have additional support needs. These groups can struggle to have positive outcomes in later life if they are not adequately supported throughout school. This project is about ensuring young people receive that support, whether that is to stay in education or moving into work. The economic downturn in Aberdeen and the COVID-19 Pandemic pose further challenges which impact on the choices and chances of all young people in the city when they leave school, making this improvement project more important than ever.
Domestic abuse significantly impacts people’s daily lives and it exists in all sections of our society. All too often people think domestic abuse is physical violence, but it is usually much more than that. It covers many different abusive behaviours which are designed to control and harm a victim. These can be violent and non-violent. Domestic abuse is not usually something that just happens once and can get worse over time. This project aims to increase awareness of all forms of domestic abuse, change attitudes to domestic abuse and ensure people know where to go for help.
Everyone needs good quality housing to live and thrive in and having a home is central to every aspect of our wellbeing, from health to educational attainment to happiness. Yet there were 1,486 applications made to Aberdeen City Council under the homeless persons legislation last year. The health outcomes of homeless people are poor, and the COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the need to reduce rates of homelessness and rough sleeping. This project aims to ensure people have access to a safe and secure home and are provided with the support they need to sustain their tenancy and live independently.
People and families involved in the criminal justice system face stress and stigma throughout the course of arrest, trial, imprisonment and release. They often have difficulty getting the support they need which can lead to reoffending behaviour and reduced chances for the future. There are a range of projects designed to support people involved, or at risk of being involved, in offending behaviour to improve their prospects for the future. This includes diversion from prosecution, support with getting back into employment, and building positive relationships with their families.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on food security. This project aims to increase food security and access to healthy food for individuals, families and communities through community pantries and promoting food growing. Community pantries improve access to affordable, nutritional food to help families mitigate the health and well-being effects of low income. Making use of our green space for food growing provides many more benefits for people in addition to access to healthy food. For example, building skills and confidence around food, nutrition, cooking, health and gardening.
There are a number of reasons that individual and families may find themselves experiencing poverty: low income or unemployment, ill health, an unexpected change in circumstances and some other factor out with their control. COVID-19 has brought additional challenges and people may find themselves facing hardship for the first time as a result of the pandemic. Whatever the reason, it is important for people to know that help is available from a wide range of organisations and this project is about using all the touch points we have with members of the public to make sure that happens.
Physical activity, eating healthy and other lifestyle changes can significantly improve health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. This project aims to help people live as well as they can. There are many support groups available to people to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own mental and physical health. Small changes can have immediate and long-term health benefits and regular activity can reduce loneliness and improve quality of life.
In 2019 there were 25 probable suicides in Aberdeen City (20 male and 5 female). Increasing suicide prevention activities, as well as other supports such as Distress Brief Interventions are vital to saving lives. Providing a compassionate and effective response to people in distress, make it more likely that they will engage with and stay connected to services or support that may benefit them over time. This project improves access to support to people in distress and/or at risk of suicide, to ensure someone asks once and gets help fast.
Smoking continues to be the greatest preventable cause of ill-health and death in Scotland. It causes around 1 in 5 of all deaths and remains the most significant cause of preventable cancer and heart and circulation problems. 150 people per 100,000 of the population in Aberdeen (2016/17-2018/19) suffered from COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) This project aims to change attitudes about smoking so that it is taken as seriously as drugs and alcohol and reduces smoking now and in future generations.
Obesity is not solely about an individual’s willpower. It is about what food is available, affordable and convenient to people and their families. This takes into account considerations such as what is possible to buy in the local area, the space the family has to prepare food, the perceived costs in terms of money, time and safety. A wide range of obstacles also exist to participating in physical activity. This project aims to educate and support people to overcome these obstacles to manage their weight more effectively.
High risk alcohol and drug use has a negative impact on physical and mental health for individuals, families, and communities. There is a high correlation between drug and alcohol use and negative outcomes including worklessness and offending behaviour. Aberdeen has many alcohol related hospital admissions and alcohol related deaths. Drug related death is also an avoidable cause of death. This project aims to ensure that there are effective interventions and treatments available to people and that they know how to access the support they need at all stages of their recovery
Alcohol is one of five lifestyle behavioural risk factors which contribute to the majority of chronic and non-infectious disease in our population. In the period 2016-19, 25% of adults in Aberdeen City were drinking above the guideline recommendations of 14 units per week. This is higher than the rate for Scotland of 24% but lower than the rate for 2014-17 which was 29%. There are indications that the pandemic and subsequent restrictions have increased levels of alcohol misuse. This project aims to reach all parts of the local population to raise awareness of the risks of alcohol consumption.
COVID-19 has shown the vital role of communities and volunteers in responding to crisis and supporting communities in need. Between March and June 2020, 7,000 volunteers across Aberdeen were recruited through national campaigns alone. This is in addition to the volunteering that already takes place, with close to 80,000 people assisting across the City. Volunteering provides many benefits to the volunteer, including a sense of wellbeing, new skills and confidence and reduced social isolation. This project aims to build on the community spirit which arose during COVID-19 and to support communities to have the tools and resilience to respond to all emergency situations, as well as increasing the longer term opportunities available to people to contribute to their local community.
When people choose to walk or cycle to get from place to place in their daily life, they get the health benefits of staying physically active and meeting the recommended guideline for physical activity. They are also improving the environment for everyone by reducing the use of vehicle transport. Covid-19 has had an impact on both the number of trips people make and the modes of travel they use, however travel by car remains the highest. This project aims to provide the environment to support people to make the shift from car to walking or cycling.
Our climate is getting warmer and there are many positive things we can do to help our planet and care for the environment. For example, using less energy by turning off lights and unplugging things, using low-energy light bulbs, driving less, increasing recycling and use of reusable products. This project aims to reduce waste and carbon emissions by promoting changes we can all make to support the environment and move us away from a disposable culture.
Having access to parks has many benefits, they can improve physical and mental health, strengthen our communities, and make neighbourhoods more attractive places to live and work. Aberdeen already has many very successful friend groups and community run green spaces. This project aims to build on this success, particularly neighbourhoods where satisfaction and use is low, and work with and encourage members of the community to lead in running green spaces.