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Working together for wellbeing

I firmly believe that the wellbeing of people is paramount. It directs the work we do at Inspiring Scotland, as well as the work I do personally as a member of several community and advisory groups. It directs the work I do as a sports coach for children and young people.

That’s why I was so encouraged when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the 2019-20 Programme for Government with wellbeing at its heart. This came weeks after a TED Talk she gave in Edinburgh, which argued the objective of economic policy should be collective wellbeing, not just to increase wealth.

Scotland is now at the forefront of a global wellbeing movement as part of the network of Wellbeing Economy Governments along with the governments of Iceland and New Zealand.

These are heartening developments but improving the wellbeing of people and society is not just the responsibility of the public sector. It is everyone’s responsibility. We in the third sector are particularly well placed to support this agenda.

To me, wellbeing means the accumulation of many, often simple, things that a lot of people take for granted – but far too many others in Scotland live without.

To be well means having confidence and self-esteem. It means being and feeling safe, loved and encouraged through supportive relationships with others. It means having hope and aspirations for the future and the opportunity to realise them; to be able to live independently, free from poverty, in happiness and health.

The charity sector can support people to achieve these things. Charities can help people to build confidence and self-esteem, through something as simple as giving children the chance to play with their peers or through a structured education programme. They can offer trusting relationships and non-judgmental safe spaces to those who have experienced trauma and have become isolated.

Charities can help people develop supportive relationships with others through shared activities or volunteering opportunities where they can reconnect with their community and develop new interests.

They can nurture aspirations in young people who struggle in mainstream education by helping them to learn the skills and gain the qualifications to get a job – a job that can be the means to a financially independent life and a hopeful future. Sometimes, all charities need to do is listen to people and help them to share their experiences.

All these things are predicated on human relationships – people working together to support one another. That is the foundation upon which we can improve wellbeing, for everyone. If elected members, public sector heads, charity staff, philanthropists and investors, businessowners and workers, community leaders, local people, families, friends and neighbours all worked together, supporting one another and those around them to improve our wellbeing, we would truly be a wealthy nation.

At Inspiring Scotland, we want a healthy, happy and thriving Scotland without poverty and disadvantage. We all must work together to achieve it.

Celia Tennant
Chief Executive

Read our annual review Working Together: Inspiring Scotland in 2019

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