Tuesday 2 June 2020

A Big “Thank You” to all our Volunteers - Volunteers Week. 1st-7th June.

Building Healthy Communities Machars Volunteers have had a busy year supporting groups in the area. Without these volunteers, a number of sessions that promote Health and Wellbeing would not be able to continue.

Norman has been continually supporting individuals within the Login & connect group. Without his consistency and patience, many people would still be troubled by technological issues. His volunteering is invaluable to the group.

Lesley has been the rock for the Monday club, supporting the group by always being there, sorting refreshments, keeping the register, assisting with trips out etc. Without Lesley’s gentle encouragement and care the group would not be the same.

Veronica volunteers to run the Boccia and New Age Curling at the ARC. On a weekly basis over the past year, she has travelled to and from the venue, been supportive and encouraging to all members. They are missing her during these difficult times.

Kay and her team of volunteers have been running the Isle of Whithorn youth group for what seems an eternity. Without their infective enthusiasm, the group would not be as popular as what it is today.

David and Ann have continued delivering Heartstart courses throughout Dumfries and Galloway up until the current covid 19 crisis. Their contribution as volunteers is immeasurable!

Maggie is the voluntary treasurer of the Machars Area Partnership, which fund all the Building Healthy Communities activities.  She also assists with the Jills in the community alongside Claire and Mary, both long standing volunteers.
Fiona is the vice chair of Machars Area Partnership and with her expertise, has assisted in leading the partnership towards a new direction. She also volunteers for other organisations and has been actively supporting members of her community during Covid-19 by doing their shopping, collecting prescriptions and checking up on them.

Sue is the voluntary Chairperson of the Machars Area partnership. She is committed to the partnership and improving the Health and Wellbeing of all in the Machars area.

Ann has established the Rhythm Circle group in Newton Stewart where African Drums are used to create various music. She has also been instrumental in assisting with setting up a new African drumming group in Whithorn. This was the idea of new volunteer Alex, who will be leading on the group when it restarts.

Alyson and Ben have been volunteering in Schools and community homes giving people the experience of being close to and talking to dogs.

Angelique has been assisting people who have been isolating with their shopping and exercising their animals during the current pandemic.

John and Jon, both volunteer and sit on the partnership giving their views and assisting where possible. Jon also gives a lot of time to the South Machars Community Centre.

Although not BHC Volunteers, we would like to mention Barbara, Julie, Betty and June for their support in maintaining the dancercise groups in both the Isle of Whithorn and Newton Stewart.

To all Building Healthy Communities Volunteers, present and past, 
we say a big THANK YOU!!

Monday 16 March 2020


Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation,The Machars Area Partnership for Building Healthy Communities have been advised to cancel all groups until further notice. This has come into effect from this morning. Any group users who want further information please contact 01671 404267.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Monday Club

On Monday 3rd February we had Jamie Clark from Scottish Fire and Rescue  come along and give us a talk on Fire Safety. The talk was very successful and a wide range of questions were asked.

Members were given advice re safety in the home and were made aware that FREE Fire Safety Checks were available. To book your free check, contact Jamie via the photo below.


At our next Monday Club session on 17th February we have Elaine Grubb, Stroke Liaison Nurse Services. If you would like more information please contact Wigtownshire Health and Wellbeing Team: 01671 404267 or email: samanthaomalley@nhs.net

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Isle of Whithorn - Dancercise

The Dancercise group at the Isle of Whithorn meets every Tuesday from 10.30 - 11.30 at St Ninian's Hall in the Isle. For a short video of the group dancing, click here.

This is a vibrant expanding group supported by Building Healthy Communities and the Machars area Partnership and they are pleased to announce that a new facilitator, Emma Louise Abel, will be taking over the teaching of the group from Tuesday 10th February 2020.

Emma Louise is very well known within the area providing dancing sessions at all levels and to all ages across Wigtownshire. Her popdance classes are very popular everywhere! It is expected that new routines will be learned at a pace that suits all. Emma Louise has her own website, www.emmaloisedance.co.uk 

The group sees this as an opportunity to grow and expand as well as learn new routines. New members are always welcome, just turn up and join in. there is a voluntary contribution of £2.00 for each session.

For further information about this, or any other activities, please contact Building Healthy Communities on 01671 404267

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Heartstart Creetown Youth Group

More Lifesavers in Creetown

Monday saw the Creetown Youth Group invite the team from Heartstart to run an Emergency Life Support training session for them.  Team members David Hirst, Anne Hirst and Margaret McAllister, together with a member of the Wigtownshire Health and Wellbeing team, Samantha O’Malley, presented the 2 hour hands on course to 25 participants covering recognition of a Heart Attack, how to deal with it (including the use of a defibrillator) how to deal with someone who is unconscious, is choking or has severe bleeding.

Having mastered the simple techniques which save lives, the Youth Group members were presented with Certificates. This was the third course in Creetown in recent weeks, following the siting of their first defibrillator at the Waverley Hall and means there are now 65 people in the village trained in its use. Creetown Initiative are arranging further courses after Christmas and there are plans by the Creetown Gala Committee to install another defibrillator in the near future. These will vastly improve survival rates following a Heart Attack from less than 10% to as much as 50%.

Courses in other areas of Dumfries & Galloway can be arranged through David Hirst on 01988 700637 or email davidhirsthome@gmail.com. Instructors are volunteers so the only costs are for travel expenses and in some cases, such as this one, can be covered by the NHS.


Thursday 7 November 2019

Launch of the Machars Cancer Drop-In

Today, the Machars Cancer Drop-In was officially launched at the Newton Stewart Health Centre by NHS Board Member Penny Halliday.

The Drop-In is open every Thursday from 10am to 1pm at the Newton Stewart Health Centre.
Please come along to our free service and meet one of the trained volunteers who can provide you with: -

• A listening ear
• Cancer information
• Sign-posting to other services
• Friendly, confidential and relaxed place to talk
• Tea or coffee.

Monday 4 November 2019

Monday Club

Today at the Monday Club our guest speaker was Joan Rhind, D & G Co-ordinator for the Project Linus UK. Joan brought us all different sizes and types of blankets for children of all ages. The blankets go to hospitals,Women’s Aid and Social Work.

If you would like to find out more information please click on the link https://m.facebook.com/ProjectLinusUK/

At our next Monday Club session, on 18th November, we will be having  one of our popular Healthy Cooking Workshop with Dave Groves, Community Healthy Support Worker within the Wigtownshire Health & Wellbeing Team, who helps deliver the Building Healthy Communities Programme with the Machars and Newton Stewart Area.

Thursday 31 October 2019

African Drumming / Rhythm Circles

What a great turnout yesterday at the fortnightly meeting of the African Drumming / Rhythm Circles initiative delivered by a volunteer for Building Healthy Communities.

14 members joined in from a diverse range of backgrounds and abilities. The group is led by Ann, who uses her own drums and percussion instruments to create an authentic sound. It is so good to see people enjoying themselves and creating music!

The group is open to all the community and takes place at the Newton Stewart Centre, opposite the Library, from 10.30am - 11.30am.
The next session is on 13th November 2019.

There are 2 further initiatives also running on Wednesdays at the Centre: "Login and Connect" - bring your phone/laptop/tablet and let people help you how to overcome difficulties that you may be having. This runs weekly from 10.30am - 12.30pm and " Dancercise" runs on alternate Wednesdays from 10.30am - 11.30am - the members take themselves through a series of gentle dance routines for all abilities. Next date for Dancercise is 6th November 2019.

For any further info on these or any other activities offered by Building Healthy Communities, please phone 01671 404267

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Whithorn Drop-in

Good to catch up with some of the Building Healthy Communities volunteers yesterday.
It was lovely to hear about the activities they are involved in as well as plan other community projects coming up very soon like the Drumming Group and a 14 week Self Management course which will be run by the Community Link workers, Michelle McAuley and Susan Sloan, who are part of the Wigtownshire Health & Wellbeing Team.
Watch out in future posts for more details.

The Whithorn Drop-in is held every Monday morning from 9.30 to 12.30pm at the South Machars Community Centre. Anyone is welcome to attend and chat, to the staff and volunteers about the Building Healthy Community Programme.  Advice, information and/or support like completing forms, modern technology, being referred to a local service, etc..... are also available as well as a free cup of tea or coffee.

Friday 18 October 2019

WANTED - African Drums/Percussion

Following a successful taster session of African Drumming and Rhythm Circle at the South Machars Community Centre last week, the Machars Area Partnership for Building Healthy Communities are hoping to set up a new weekly group in the near future.

To enable this, we are asking anyone who may have African drums or percussion instruments hidden away in their lofts, cupboards, garages etc if they would consider donating or loaning them to this exciting new initiative to enable the group to start whilst the partnership look for specific funding for new equipment.

Please spread this far and wide amongst your friends and networks and if you can assist your community with a donation of an instrument, please contact: Nathalie Guillaume on 01671404267 or 07825111684, nguillaume@nhs.net