OpenNESS – Inclusive Communities

Soirbheas are delighted to support and coordinate the OpenNESS – Inclusive Communities project with local partners including

  • The Patient Participation Group
  • The Glenurquhart Centre
  • The Chamber of Commerce

Nationally, in addition to the new Dementia Friendly Communities and awareness developments, there are a small number of other organisations and charities working on specific conditions and disabilities. But we are taking a more holistic approach to be more inclusive for all.

The Aim

With around one million people in Scotland defining themselves as disabled we are aiming to reduce inequality; prejudice and improve how welcome people feel in our communities. When we get it right for one person, we get it right for all!

We aim to encourage all those who live and work in Glen Urquhart to increase their level of understanding, knowledge and confidence to recognise and support individuals – family, neighbours, visitors and customers – living with long-term conditions.  We are piloting respite holidays; delivering training and awareness sessions and the long-term aim is to ensure that our streetscape and buildings consider the needs of all.

Learning and Development

We don’t know what we don’t know, so to increase our knowledge, become more confident, helpful and supportive we are developing a series of interventions.  These will be available in a variety of formats to suit individual learning preferences; at suitable times and convenient venues.

Bite Size Awareness Sessions – a series of topics have been planned and will  be delivered by specialist presenters, one a month on a Monday, between January and June.  Each session will be held in the Glenurquhart Library between 10.30 and 11.30, and is free to attend.

See our bite-size sessions poster and events on FaceBook. Everyone welcome and if you have an accessibility need please contact Nicky – details below.

Hearing Loss was discussed at the January session. Amanda Wilson showed us some useful aids and provided us with an information booklet about hearing loss.

Useful Contacts:

See Hear Highland Education & Learning Services,
T: 07765 898689   Email:   Web:

NHS Highland Deaf Services & Hearing Support Team,
T: 01349 868711   Text: 08457 023398
Fax: 01349 864438   Mobile: 07887 833889


Accessibility on-line training and audit – developed by Visit Scotland, this on-line resource is useful for all our  businesses regardless of sector. They have also produced a Dementia Friendly Tourism guide which has useful information for everyone.

Dementia Friend on-line sessions – bite-size , easy to understand and informative awareness sessions for individuals developed by Dementia Friends Scotland
The Key Message through these awareness sessions is to  Be Calm   Be Kind   Be Patient

Training  toolkit.  Our new toolkit is currently being developed. We have conducted research to identify a variety of training opportunities available from specialist organisations.  Details to follow shortly.

Respite Holidays

In partnership with Cobbs Group; Glenurquart Care Project; and  Connecting Carers we are extremely grateful to the Clansman Hotel to support this project for carers and cared for people.  A pilot is being offered during February 2020:

See our leaflet for more information and access the booking code to quote to the Hotel

Streetscape and Buildings

Our longer-term aim is for improvements to be made to pavements; buildings; walking routes and access to transport.  These options all dovetail with other initiatives, and through the continued work with out Community Councils.

Next Steps

Nicky is coordinating the project and would welcome your involvement: from offering your time on the working group; undertaking training/awareness; sharing information with friends, family and colleagues about events; and making suggestions on what you would like to see happen: contact email: or telephone 07842 781986.