Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

April 20, 2016

Some Peace of Mind

In any community there will be a sizeable number of people who for reasons of health, age or disability can become isolated and completely unable to participate in what most people would consider to be normal community life. As the new systems of health and social care are rolled out, the extent to which this vulnerable section of the community can connect to all the resources and supports that already exist locally is going to be vital. An initiative designed to make these important connections has plans to spread Peace of Mind across Scotland.


Jim Withers, Respite Now.

Peace of Mind, a collaborative project between Respite Now C.I.C. and SPAEN, was awarded funding through the Scottish Government’s Self-Directed Support “Innovation” fund is about to host it’s first open day on the Isle of Arran. 

“We’ve invited community leaders, community groups, local service providers and interest groups to come along and meet people from their communities who are furthest removed and excluded due to disability; long-term impairment or health condition” explains SPAEN CEO and project co-founder, Colin Millar

“Many of these people are still reporting they are socially isolated and excluded; they perhaps don’t know what’s going on in their local communities and are unable to share and participate in community life.”


“Often, their basic support needs are met but their social interactions are extremely limited,” says Jim Withers, Director of Respite Now and co-founder of the project. 

“Respite Now and SPAEN recognised through our own experiences that this remains a problem for so many people being supported in the community so we decided that it was time to shift the community care model on and drive proper integration and interaction at a local level.” 

The project has been working hard to engage with the local authority councils in the target area but this has been difficult as much of the focus was on preparing for the integration of health & social care.  However, Colin explains the referrals are now starting to come in and there’s a real excitement about the project and what it could achieve.

“We’ve been working with web developers to identify ways of drawing communities together online in the first stage,” he advises. 

“This will include an online referral form for people using self-directed support, either through self-referral or a 3rd party referral with the individual’s consent, but it will also evolve to allow people to look online and very quickly identify activities and hubs in their area that they might want to try or engage with. 

“The fully interactive map will also allow potential Personal Assistants or carers to self-identify support opportunities based on their location, availability, skills set and interests. The project will then facilitate matching employers to employees and community based activities.”

What are the next steps for the project?

“We want to replicate the model across Scotland,” Jim advises.  “We started in Ayrshire as we have a base in Cumnock, but eventually we want Peace of Mind community hubs starting up all over Scotland.  Everyone should have the same opportunities to participate in their community and we believe this model will help cultivate that.”

The Peace of Mind team are hosting an open day at the Ormindale Pavilion on the Isle of Arran on Wednesday 25th May (all comers welcome) and are planning further information and engagement days throughout Ayrshire in the coming months.


You can find out more about the project by visiting or through their social media channels ( and (  Enquiries also welcome to