Birthday celebrations for Mearns & Coastal Healthy Living Network

Mearns & Coastal Healthy Living Network (MCHLN) celebrated its 20th birthday last week - with a dinner for its supporters, volunteers and partners at the Dixon Memorial Hall in Laurencekirk.

A special dinner was held at the Dixon Memorial Hall in Laurencekirk.
A special dinner was held at the Dixon Memorial Hall in Laurencekirk.

Supporting the voice and health & wellbeing of older residents in Kincardine & Mearns, MCHLN serves an area of approximately 300² miles that is home to over 40,000 people.

Over the last 20 years, the organisation has grown from a fledgling charity to one engaging some 200 older people a week.

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It coordinates a volunteer network of around 80 individuals that, in the last year, gave 3,321 hours of their time – the equivalent of 83, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday weeks!

Running 550 groups, classes and activities for older people a year, MCHLN is focussed on combating the negative effects of loneliness and isolation - as well as working against exclusions, such as digital.

A large part of MCHLNs operation is transport - providing a heavily-subsidised door-to-door service to facilitate attendance at healthcare and other appointments benefitting wellbeing. In the last 12 months, volunteers drove over 24,000 miles providing this service in an area historically poorly-served by public transport - making the lives of so many of its older residents a little easier.

Funding & Development officer for MCHLN, John Duncanson, said: "Thanks to our dedicated board, staff, funders, supporters and partners, MCHLN is an on-going community success story - and we're recognised as an important part of the support services for older people in the area. Our volunteers have done so much, been so giving of their time, goodwill and generosity - they're an amazing bunch! It's proven that volunteering positively impacts wellbeing - so it's a win-win for both the volunteer and the community - and anyone wishing to learn more about voulunteering opportunities with us is very welcome to get in touch! We look forward to the next 20 years!""

Sandra McGuigan, AVA Development and Children & Families Officer, added: “The team of dedicated staff and volunteers at Mearns & Coastal Healthy Living Network are a significant asset to our local older residents living in Kincardine & Mearns and beyond.”