How do we promote the positive aspects of coastal towns?

Conversation starter: Vanessa Garrity, Yorkshire & the Humber NHS Leadership Academy 

Vanessa was keen to find a way to shift the focus away from the negative stories we tell ourselves about the place we live. Coming back to Scarborough for today’s event, she could see the beauty of her hometown with fresh eyes. How can we work together to play to our strengths and build a more positive culture around our community? 

The group discussed how, in a professional setting, there is a tendency to focus on complaints and problems. There is no time for – or no culture of? – celebrating success. 

We need to find better ways to celebrate the good care that’s been received rather than over-focusing on the problems. It’s not only bad for employees, it’s a barrier to patient trustOnce you are programmed to expect problems, you begin to look for them.  

Conversation turned to the benefits of coastal living, and how they are often taken for granted. All agreed that being by the sea has a positive impact on mental healthIf you’ve had a difficult day there’s nothing better than the wide open space of the coastline. It’s a fantastic resource,  but how well do we use it?  

Vanessa talked about the concept of ‘blue space’ (see link below for more info)Internationally, there have been studies and discussion about the benefits of living by water, but it doesn’t seem to be as much of a hot topic in the UK. How can we engage with it? 

Emma talked about her family being very close to moving to Scarborough, but negative stories about deprivation put them off. In theory, it should be a really attractive place to move to. In the digital age, it should matter less that it’s some distance from a large city centre. You can still be connected, and have all the benefits of living by the sea and surrounding countryside. 

The group discussed the way local and national media feed into negative images and make people feel bad about where they live.  

We also talked about the need for solutions to come from the ground up. If decision makers aren’t part of the community they serve, they will not have the depth of understanding needed to provide the answers. 

Scarborough head office is currently in York, which is a very different community. How can that set-up work? They are addressing it by sending more senior people to Scarborough, but it is a problem. 

We agreed that “solutions are found in the place where problems occur. 

More information on the positive impact of ‘blue space’: https://bluehealth2020.eu/news/bluehealth-review/ 

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