ULab Moray group: notes from 21st September, Elgin meet up.

Below are some short notes on our meeting last evening in Elgin. We aim to meet up in the same time and place next week, and really hope to attract some individuals who already feel they are behind in the course to give them support as well.

As we had all got a bit further in the course it became obvious that meeting to provide support to anyone interested in ULab, regardless of their place in the materials, was possible. We had said last week that we aught to all be caught up to work together, but this created unnecessary pressure, and certainly once you get over the ‘hump’ of week one it is clearer to see that working with a diverse group at different stages is totally possible.

Short discussion notes – 21st September: ULab Moray Wellbeing Hub, 5-6pm

  • Three of us met to discuss where we were at with Ulab and what would be possible for us in terms of meeting as a lab and or coaching circle.
  • We were aware that there were many more of us last week, but that it can be overwhelming to try to catch up already, and that perhaps those who were not yet at speed could connect.
  • We had someone who has been involved last year, another who has done some and another who was new to Ulab.
  • We spoke about our intentions to see how we connect. This is a term that is used in Ulab to describe our reasons of wanting to be part of the learning journey / course.
  • We reflected that the language and the navigation of the web based resources created barriers for us, and that the academic language could make it inaccessible when actually the principles and activities were completely in line with the Moray Wellbeing Hub project approach.
  • We decided that the Moray Wellbeing Hub project would support people to be accredited if they wished as a way of celebrating our input in to this process in relation to the project. This offer will be shared via our blog and our google group – ulabmoray@googlegroups.com
  • We clarified that you don’t have to belong to a hub or coaching circle to be able to do the course, and our intention for a hub is to meet as a shared interest as the Moray Wellbeing Hub and provide support as fellow students of Ulab.

Next steps:

  • Coaching Circle – we decided we would discuss this next week.
  • Google group – we will use this and the blog to communicate with local people interested, and we will link these with the wider Ulab network globally through tweets and facebook.
  • Meeting up again – Will meet up same time and place next week, Wednesday, 5-6pm Dunbarney House, Dr Grays, Elgin. This will be informal and welcoming.


Reflections: Making Recovery Real Partnership event, Aberdeen, 6th September.

Four Moray Wellbeing Hub Champions made the journey to Aberdeen earlier this month to represent the project as part of Making Recovery Real in Moray.crqg37pwaaayip7

This initiative from the Scottish Recovery Network, the national organisation that promotes the concept that anyone can live a full life with or without symptoms of mental illness, was key in securing funding for our project this year.

It presented the opportunity to work with other organisations in Moray that otherwise we would not have had the chance to connect with as an equal partners in a group. These organisations, such as Moray Health and Social Care, TSI Moray, SAMH, Quarriers and local mental health organisation Moray Anchor Project, all supported our application by agreeing to help support our work.

With just two areas in Scotland able to win the support from the SRN as part of this initiative, it was a fantastic boost to Moray to have been awarded this opportunity. Just over a year later the SRN invited us all to share our Moray journey with the team in Dundee who won the other slot, and therefore a trip to a central point, Aberdeen, was arranged.

The event saw both areas give a short presentation on why we had wanted to be part of the initiative, what we had done and where we were off to next. For Moray our presentation was delivered jointly by Joyce Lorimer, from the Moray Health and Social Care, and Heidi Tweedie, one of our Champions and our project’s Peer Researcher/ Development worker. We then split in to groups to get to know one another and share experiences and ideas, as well as heard from key speakers about related topics such as the Government’s 10 year Mental Health Strategy and wider information on the Scottish Recovery Network. We also met other peer leaders from organisations such as the Hearing Voices Network.

For our Champions this was a new experience, firstly it presented a great opportunity to get up to speed with Making Recovery Real, Heidi had been the only link for the initiative back to the main body of the project, and it felt an excellent time to bring fresh perspectives in as well as widen the representation. Secondly it was a great opportunity for an outing to Aberdeen, a change of scenery where we could get to know each other better and strengthen the sense of being a team.

Whenever we do any activity as Champions for the Moray Wellbeing Hub project we record our personal reflections on how things felt for us as individuals passionate about creating change. This also gives us space to look at what needs changed and work out our next actions to improve what we are doing.

Champion reflections:

Looking over our reflection notes it’s clear that the four of us, although very different in our experience in attending similar events and chatting with providers of services, found the event useful in achieving personal as well as shared goals.

We had the opportunity to influence decision makers with our personal experiences regarding subjects like experiences of using mental health services, the role of caring for loved ones experiencing mental health challenges, the power of eco-therapy and gratitude work in promoting wellbeing for all ages, and why access to peer led self-management tools was vital. It also gave us the chance to reflect on our own project as part of the landscape of creating change in Moray, as one Champion reflected,

“I do feel I’m starting to understand more, where the hub fits in with the Moray services. It feels like this could really happen, and things are starting to fall in to place”.

But it was what we gained personally that was most clear from our reflections;

“I spoke to some key people who will help me create change and built on existing relationships. I got very positive feedback from other participants on the day including – “I’ll make sure you get through to the right person.” “I want to continue this conversation”.”

“My listening skills and understanding to speak and add my own views, my confidence at talking in public feeling self-worth, all were increased.”

“I didn’t feel intimidated. People didn’t have their hat on on, so you could be talking to anybody – felt quite comfortable talking, and I felt as if there was a connection between everyone in the room at the event. I felt I was listened to.”

“People were really impressed with our project. They could see that we were trying something a bit different and that we could help them achieve their work as well.”

“I felt proud to be part of a team representing our project, less like a vulnerable lone voice and more supported and powerful. It was really fun.”

There is always room for growth however, and one thing did come up as something that we would like to change.  It was noticeable that when some people from more professional perspectives were less comfortable or wanted to express subjects they were passionate about, they tended to use words that we struggled to understand.

Use of language is powerful, it can create barriers between people where there is actually a lot more commonality, and this reflection is very useful for our project going forward. As well as sharing this with our Making Recovery Real partnership, we will be particularly mindful of this in future, both for ourselves as Champions and the perspectives we represent, but also in our role to try to help others from professional backgrounds to understand how this can make people feel excluded, stigmatised and challenge recovery.

Overall there was a lot of laughter and getting to know each other, things that are vital to making our project successful and challenging the personal barriers we create that limit ourselves. Best expressing the strongest message of success from our trip that we all shared, is this quote from one Champion about what was the purpose of the day,

“To go on a day out with friends and meet new people. This is very important for me just now.”

Reflections: Moray College UHI, Freshers Fayre, 13th September 2016

What a fantastic response we had at this year’s Freshers Fayre. We estimate that between the six of us (champions) that we spoke to around 200 students ! Surprisingly they loved our 80’s style See Me anti-stigma hats. check out the photos on our Facebook album

Another great thing about the day was catching up with so many organisations that we already work with as well as new ones that we would like to work with too. There was a great focus on Wellbeing and mental health throughout the Fayre – really exciting to be in a room where so many of us had the same materials and shared the same values!

One of our partners, the Healtmc-studentsh Promotion Team from Moray Health and Social Care, kindly shared their poll on student wellbeing. We often run a similar reflection sheet, but that day had been unable to fit our stand in the car. What a surprise to arrive and find that we didn’t need it anyway! Thank you to Katie Boddie for kindly sharing their word art on the subject – looks fab.


Reflections: ULab taster 15th September 2016

Our journey in to Ulab started with a warm and friendly group in Elgin, 11 people took part over the course of the evening. Confusion was a shared feeling, but also a willingness to explore what this approach was all about. The space felt supportive and inclusive, with people helping each other to get started on their personal ULab journeys.

We started with a cuppa and a icebreaker, and went on to have a short taster of ULab for an hour. We watched a couple of the introductory films from MIT, thankfully the ULab Scotland blog kept us right for navigating the evening! After some personal experiences from people further along with ULab, the group decided that it would continue that evening with practical matters – making sure we were all registered and could find the pre reading, week 0 and week 1! (instructions for these available here).

We then decided to meet up again on the 21st once we were all up to speed, provide a bit of support to each other and decide on the next steps in terms of ‘hubs’ or ‘coaching circles’ which we still needed to learn about. We also decided to use a google group, that others could join too, in order to keep in contact.

Background to Ulab and the Moray Wellbeing Hub:

As the Moray Wellbeing Hub project was acting as host for the evening, Heidi from the project shared some of her experiences of ULab. Here are a few key points as to why the project wanted to be involved and promote Ulab in Moray.

  • Heidi attended an event last year in Edinburgh, along with several hundred other interested people and the MIT team. The energy and discussions felt familiar from her work with WRAP as a facilitator and the work she was involved in linked to peer leadership. What was very exciting was that this was a group that was not health based, but many people were from business and economics and this fitted with Heidi’s passion to see wellbeing moving toward being a core focus in Scotland.
  • Scottish Government were supporting ULab which gave it a status that opened possibilities of working with new people around wellbeing and access to resources for community action.
  • In the applications for funding for the Moray Wellbeing Hub project, ULab was included as a method for peer research and creating change. Therefore, it was important to bring people together to look at this while the global live sessions were running to give the best opportunity for people to get involved.
  • ULab supports many of the aims of the Moray Wellbeing Hub – empowering a wider range of people to look at ideas on creating change and wellbeing.

ULab: Practical starting tips!

Late to the party? Don’t worry! Here are some steps to get you up to speed. If you want support please contact us or the national ULab Scotland team.

The steps below are a series of links to other instructions. We wanted to put these all in one place, both for those starting out but also as a place holder for ourselves.

  1. Get registered on the MIT website & register for the Scottish Content This method of finding the form works for some, but I found that if you register for the course and click through to the screen that shows ‘week 0’ there is a shortcut to ULab Scotland form below the other course content on the left-hand side.
    1. Note that for registration you need a username, this need to be unique and a few of our group struggled to think of something for this. You need the username for your Scottish Content form, so make a note of it!
  2. Complete the pre-course (max 90min mostly wee videos and some reflection)
  3. Join our googlegroup mailing list and say hellohere are instructions on joining a googlegroup.Our group is called ‘ulabmoray’, just search for this and request an invitation.
  4. Complete weeks 0 & 1 of the course. One of our group who has done this says a lot of the pre-course is repeated and it should not be thought of as daunting – this can be at your own speed like any element of Ulab, but if you wish to meet with our group on the 21st September both need to be completed.

Other links:

As ever, if you get stuck just get in contact and we can try to help!

ULab taster and Moray Wellbeing Hub ULab ‘hub’ Autumn 2016

ULab 2016 has already begun! But don’t worry, it’s not too late to join in. The programme began last week online, but we are still keen to help give people the chance to use this tool to create change for Moray.

ULab Taster

We will be running a taster this week on Thursday the 15th of September. It’s short notice, but we’d rather get some people together than have none! To decide if it’s a daytime event or an evening please register your interest in this poll.

ULab ‘hub’ on wellbeing in Moray

We will host our own ‘hub’ with a wellbeing focus starting next week. The date and time to be decided once we get our taster under way. This will be a group consisting of people who are doing the Ulab programme, but as ULab has started we will stagger ourselves to be two weeks behind the course initially till we see who is interested and where we all are in the course. If you would like to take part in this hub, please contact us.

Feeling confused? Don’t worry! We will work it all out together and enjoy a new learning experience that creates change together!

ULab: an overview

You are invited to join U. Lab, a free, global, online course, or MOOC, looking to develop skills around collaboration, co-production and thriving in the emergent future.

What is U.Lab?
(text taken from workforce Scotland)

U.Lab is a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and made available globally.  It blends e-learning (watching videos online and streamed live sessions) with face to face discussions in small groups.

  • It builds skills we need in working collaboratively
  • It is a highly participative approach – anyone can take part free of charge;
  • It builds on people’s and communities’ assets and strengths; and
  • It champions the use of improvement science.

U.Lab builds the quality of our awareness of ourselves and of the context we are working within.  Given the priority which the First Minister has given in the Programme for Government to increasing participation it is well aligned with our operating context right now.    Scottish-specific content will be available to participants with an interest in Scotland.

The opportunity and registration

There are 3 ways in which you can use U.Lab to help you in your own personal and professional development and in delivering your objectives:

  • Participate yourself in U.Lab.   It will require at least 3 hours per week of your time – much of it done online at times that suit you and some of it done in small groups (once per week).  Sign up for the MOOC on the Ed-X website. There is also a short video on how to register for the Scottish content.
  • You can suggest to your networks that they also participate and work with you on issues of common concern.
  • You might want to take a further step and host a hub – a meeting place for participants to engage together in the live sessions and collaborate as they bring their ideas into action.

Thank you to workforce Scotland for the above text. The Moray Wellbeing Hub will be hosting it’s own ‘hub’ looking at wellbeing related issues.

ULab: A Moray Wellbeing Hub approach

Back in July some of our Champions attended a ULab taster and we decided we wanted to support ULab locally through our Wellbeing Hub project. Unfortunately, due to holidays and upcoming time sensitive issues, we missed being ahead of the Ulab international launch this week.

BUT, Ulab is flexible and we are doing things the way we always do, based on our strengths and the resources we have available!  That means we will be supporting ULab, but we will just be staggering our start.

Check back with us next week when we can confirm a taster session and the steps needed to register for this exciting course.