Residents encouraged to get the ‘feel good’ feeling.

Renfrewshire residents are being encouraged to come along to a free event and get the ‘feel good’ feeling.

Feel Good Renfrewshire will take place in the Lagoon Leisure Centre, Paisley, on Tuesday 25 March.

Residents can drop in anytime between 3pm and 6pm to find out about activities in their area and even try some out.

The event is being staged jointly by Active Communities, Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership and Renfrewshire Council.

Councillor Iain McMillan, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said: “Feel Good Renfrewshire will spread the message about all the things available to help your health and wellbeing, and this launch event is a great start.

“Singing, dancing, exercising, gardening – there as all things that make you feel good. Sometimes, you just need to know who else nearby is doing these things so you can get started.”

“Renfrewshire is packed full of clubs and groups for people of all ages, abilities and interests. There are also plenty of agencies in the public and voluntary sectors providing advice and support. This is an ideal opportunity for people to drop in at the Lagoon and find out for themselves.”

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

LtoR Alex Hamilton_ Joanna Boddy_ Liz Snodgrass and Bob Leslie

Renfrewshire social worker wins top award

Liz Snodgrass, from Renfrewshire Council, has won the first ever Wilma MacDonald Mental Health Officer (MHO) of the Year Award.

The Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) set up the award in honour of Wilma MacDonald, a Mental Health Officer who worked in the East End of Glasgow for many years. Wilma died in 2010.

LtoR Alex Hamilton_ Joanna Boddy_ Liz Snodgrass and Bob Leslie

Liz was nominated by her colleagues in the MHO Service at Renfrewshire Council. She said, “It’s a great honour and privilege to receive this award, especially as it’s supported by the MacDonald family. Working as an MHO can be very challenging and the support and understanding of colleagues is an essential ingredient in making sure the decisions reached help the individual service user.

“There is a lot of work to do in the area of mental health, not least to try and minimise the stigma of mental illness and to continue to improve the quality of life, and the lifespan, of people who suffer from mental illness. MHOs can and do make a difference in society and it’s great that the SASW has taken the first steps in recognising this.”

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, said, “This is welcome recognition for Liz personally and for Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work Service.

“Liz is a passionate advocate for the people who use our services. She goes the extra mile to protect people’s rights and puts the individual at the centre of her work. She is an excellent team player and a supportive colleague.

“Importantly, Liz is also keen to pass on her knowledge and best practice. She has been a tutor on the MHO training course and is currently a Practice Assessor. Renfrewshire Council’s goal is to ensure that the Social Work Service is staffed by well qualified and well motivated people and Liz is a shining example.”

Liz’ nomination highlighted an example of her work in dealing with an elderly man on a Guardianship Order. His benefits had built up while he was in hospital but his care home had claimed the money in fees. She navigated a complex system and sought the help of the Office for the Public Guardian, the Care Inspectorate and the Mental Welfare Commission to make sure the care home repaid the money.

A Renfrewshire project which helps people with learning difficulties has been honoured at a national care awards ceremony.

Renfrewshire Council’s Flexicare programme was a finalist in the Care Accolades 2010, the ‘oscars’ for the social services sector in Scotland.

The project featured in the ‘Investing Our Community’ category at the awards.

The Flexicare project was set up in 1989 to help support people with a learning disability of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Over 230 people now receive a service that is tailored to meet their individual needs.

That service is provided as part of the Renfrewshire Learning Disability Service through a combination of 9 project staff, over 30 sessional workers and over 70 volunteers.

Flexicare’s support ranges from promoting awareness and understanding of learning disability and asd, to helping people take part in social and leisure activities, and supporting families caring for a son or daughter with those issues.

The type of support offered includes befriending, childrens’ clubs, youth clubs, young adult groups and social groups.

Fiona Brown, Manager of Flexicare, said:”Everyone involved with Flexicare was delighted to reach the finals of these prestigious awards.

“Our innovative approach has evolved over two decades to provide support which we know is very much valued and makes a real difference to people’s lives.

“This recognition is a tribute to the commitment and creativity of our staff and volunteer network.”

Councillor Eileen McCartin, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, said: “Flexicare has pioneered approaches which have over the years been independently assessed as providing good practice and a high quality of care.

“In addition to the support given by the trained volunteers, all the feedback we have is that the volunteers themselves also benefit from increased skills and confidence.”

Gerry Coutts, Chair of the Care Accolades judging panel, said: “Our social care staff have shown they have the confidence, creativity and skills to provide us with the services we need for the times we now live in. Social services staff are the key to ensuring our most vulnerable citizens have the best possible quality of life.”

The Care Accolades 2010 were organised by the Scottish Social Services Council and presented at a ceremony in Aviemore hosted by broadcaster Kaye Adams.