Window to the World

It all started with a tweet…

@DFC_Rural 20 Dec 2013

What about us? Any chance of an art therapist in remote, rural Sutherland? And if not, are there any creative solutions?

The resulting interactive screens project has seen our older folk using interactive screens to access a range of creative pursuits and therapeutic interventions. Not only have they contributed to a photographic bank of images of specific interest to rural community groups but have also learned to become active users of social media, email, tablet devices and many other forms of technology.

The Window to the World project has, so far, resulted in 10 screens being introduced across rural Scotland. We have screens in the following locations:

  • Appin Village Hall, Argyll
  • Assynt Centre, Lochinver, North West Sutherland
  • The Bradbury Centre, Bonar Bridge, Sutherland
  • Brora Village Hub, East Sutherland
  • Helmsdale Village Hub, East Sutherland
  • The Kyle Centre, Tongue, North Sutherland
  • Lawson Memorial Hospital, Golspie, East Sutherland
  • The Mercat Centre, Milton, Inverness-shire
  • Migdale Hospital, Bonar Bridge, Sutherland
  • Seaforth House Care Home, Golspie, East Sutherland

In 2019, a new Window to the World YouTube channel dedicated to the project was launched. View the videos on the channel now.

Background to the project

Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) in rural mental health services face extra challenges. With huge areas to cover, they often spend much of their time travelling and – as a result – less time with those needing their support. So, working in partnership with NHS Highland AHPs and local people with dementia, we used digital technology to bridge the gap.

The introduction of an interactive smart television screen to the Helmsdale Village Hub in 2015 proved an immensely valuable and unexpected resource for instinctive reminiscence work, access to shopping, films and entertainment as well as the remote delivery of health programmes around exercise, nutrition and diet for those attending the Hub. More importantly, these activities are helping to reduce isolation and loneliness for local people.

Following the success of this original screen, and as part of the Scottish Government’s 8 Pillars test site in East Sutherland, we were able to purchase four additional 65″ interactive screens to enable various locations across East Sutherland to benefit from this technology and make connections with each other. At the end of September 2016 screens were installed at the Bradbury Centre in Bonar Bridge, Brora Village Hub, Migdale Hospital in Bonar Bridge and Seaforth House care home in Golspie.

The project has expanded as part of the Highland Compassionate Communities partnership and, as a result, further screens are to being introduced in May 2019 to the communities of Appin, Lochinver, Milton (Inverness-shire) and Tongue, as well as the Lawson Memorial Hospital in Golspie.