Susan Deacon


Susan Deacon visiting the Whitecraig Primary forest school
Susan Deacon visiting the Whitecraig Primary forest school

 Susan Deacon who is a local parent as well as a professor of social change at Queen Margaret University and a former Scottish health minister has become part of the Support from the Start team as an external advisor.

Susan will bring great experience to the network of service and community champions that has developed around Support from the Start. Susan will work to improve comunication about Support from the Start both within services and communities. She will advise the planning board that has overall responsibility for Joint Health Improvement planning in East Lothian as well as the champions for the test site

Susan is pictured above with the children of P1/P2 and their class teacher – before spending a morning with the class to take part in their forest school session.

You can contact Susan by emailing her at

Children’s Mental health

Support from the Start was asked to give a presentation / workshop at a conference on Perinatal and Infant mental Health held on the 30th October.Eilleen Blackie from the East Lothian Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services gave the presentation which can be viewed here


‘Improve emotional well being’ is one of the ten medium term or intermediate outcomes identified for reducing health inequality in East Lothian. We are currently working on a map or pathway of what contributes to achieving this outcome that is already in place in East Lothian.

FREE tickets to a Children’s Classic Concert

Having successfully secured a partnership between East Lothian Council and Children’s Classic Concerts (CCC) this year, I invited schools in the 3 test site areas for Support from the Start to participate.

Children from Wallyford Primary School, Whitecraig Primary School and Elphinstone Primary School will now have the opportunity to attend a concert in The Usher Hall in Edinburgh this Sunday 1st November.  CCC offer a fun and lively introduction to live orchestral music for children in upper primary.  The concert features the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and allow for lots of audience participation and is equally engaging and inspiring for adults as much as children. 

I have spare FREE tickets for this Sunday’s concert and would like to invite YOU and yours to attend.  It begins at 3pm and last just over an hour.  CCC is a very highly regarded organisation, and would be a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Please e-mail before 2pm on Thursday 29th October.

For further information 

A helpful questionnaire

 The public health team had a useful debate about how best to evaluate and record the effectivenss of our work. The result is the following  – hopefully – very user friendly questionnaire.  Use it if you like and think it helps – and not if  you don’t! Right click on the link below to find it. Any comments or problems let me know!


Long-Term Monitoring of Health Inequalities

The following is a summary of a recent report from Scotland’s chief statistician and is taken from the Community Health Exchange Bulletin – Snippets-

I find this bulletin really useful as a way of keeping up to date on health improvement  / health inequalities issues. It is well written with short concise summaries and lots of web links for more detailed information. For more information on CHEX and to register for Snippets visit



Scotland’s Chief Statistician published the report Long-Term Monitoring of Health Inequalities: Headline Indicators, September 2009 last week. This report represents the second of a series of annual updates of headline indicators of inequalities and has been published following a recommendation in the report of the Ministerial Task Force, Equally Well.


The report includes both absolute and relative measures, which assess the size of the health equalities gap between the most deprived and least deprived groups in Scotland and how steep the inequalities gradient is.  The main findings were:

  • Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) at birth: Inequalities in HLE are stable in both absolute and relative terms.
  • Premature Mortality from all causes, in adults aged under 75 years: Inequalities are stable in absolute terms but are widening in relative terms.
  • Mental Wellbeing in adults aged 16 years and over: The data for Mental Wellbeing measured by Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) are reported here for the first time. The mean score in the least deprived decile was higher than that of the most deprived decile (a higher score indicates better mental wellbeing).
  • Low birthweight: Inequalities are narrowing in both absolute and relative terms.
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), first ever hospital admission for heart attack in adults aged under 75 years: Inequalities have decreased in both absolute and relative terms in recent years but increased slightly in the latest year.
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), deaths in adults aged 45-74 years: Inequalities have narrowed in absolute terms but are widening in relative terms.
  • Cancer incidence rate in adults aged under 75 years: Inequalities are stable in both absolute and relative terms.
  • Cancer deaths in adults aged 45-74 years: Inequalities are increasing both in absolute and relative terms.
  • Alcohol first ever hospital admission in adults aged under 75 years: Inequalities are stable both in absolute and relative terms.
  • Alcohol deaths in adults aged 45-74 years: Inequalities are increasing both in absolute and relative terms.

 For more details, visit  Download the report at

Scottish Storytelling Health & Wellbeing

Scottish Storytelling Centre 

Training and Development Events:

Health and Wellbeing



“We never had so much need of storytelling and its healing powers.”
George Mackay Brown, poet, storyteller and patron founder of the
Scottish Storytelling Centre 


Stories play a crucial role in our ability to relate to each other and the world around us. In an ever-changing world, storytelling provides an invaluable vehicle for the creative sharing of thoughts, experiences and feelings, and is a useful tool for building confidence, communication skills and resilience, and facilitating personal and community development and transition.
It’s no wonder then that Health and Wellbeing plays a key role in our 2009/10 Connecting with Stories training programme. Ranging from events exploring emotional literacy and sensory stories, to intergenerational storytelling and storymaking, the programme brings together a wealth of skills and experience from professional storytellers working across a range of health and wellbeing settings with people of all ages.






Bookings: 0131 556 9579 or

Storytelling and Mental Health
Saturday 3rd October 2009, 10.30am-4.30pm
Join storytellers, professional staff and carers in a full day event exploring storytelling across a range of health and wellbeing contexts. Share and discover ideas, best practice examples and innovative and exciting approaches to stories and storymaking with children, young people, adults and older people. Led by a creative team from the Scottish Storytelling Centre, including Millie Gray and Lesley O’Brien.
£32 (£26 Scottish Storytelling Network members)
Stories to Live By: Storytelling and Emotional Literacy
Monday 26th October 2009, 10.30am-4.30pm
Emotional and behavioural issues in the 10-14 age range can be a pressure point and spill over into a additional learning support needs. Can story provide a language for emotional literacy and a way of addressing the big themes appropriately? Journey, transition and growing up are at
the core of the world’s great stories. Led by Michael Williams, Ruth Kirkpatrick and Wendy Woolfson.
£32 (£26 Scottish Storytelling Network members)
Life Storying: Reminiscence, Autobiography and the Art of Story
Saturday 21st November 2009, 10.30am-4.30pm
How to evoke, shape and share your own personal stories. Is there a particular skill to life storying, and how do you create personal connection between your story and those of others? Led by Millie Gray and Noel Cochrane.
£32 (£26 Scottish Storytelling Network members)
Between the Generations: Sharing the Stories
Saturday 28th November 2009, 10.30am-4.30pm
Society needs places and spaces that bring the generations together, from Grannie and Grandpa stories to the fresh discoveries of the early years. This day of participatory workshops and storytelling performances is for two, three or even four generations to attend together. Full details to be announced in the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s What’s On events
£32 (£26 Scottish Storytelling Network members)
Sensing the Stories
Tuesday 5th January 2010, 10.30am-4.30pm
Can narrative be a means of exploration and expression for those with disabilities and additional support needs? For this day the whole Storytelling Centre will become a multi-sensory laboratory for ‘learning through the senses’. Led by a creative team from the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
£32 (£26 Scottish Storytelling Network members)


Scottish Storytelling Centre

43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
Reception +44 (0)131 556 9579

The Scottish Storytelling Centre is a registered Charity No. SCO 11353

‘Civic Conversation’ in Prestonpans

 A group of Prestonpans based staff are working together to develop a dialogue with a group of local parents that are disengaged from services, to listen and learn about what kind of services they need and are willing to use. It is hoped that the dialogue itself will help to break down perceived barriers to using services that could be supportive to them as parents.

A proposal has been agreed between a range of agencies and funded from the Fairer Scotland funding



A group of parents were invited to attend an informal session to gather their views on services and what they need and the following document summarises the result.




Posted on behalf of Lorraine Congalton


Community Champions Launch

  Community Champions  On the 30th of July we launched the six community champions for Support from the Start at the home of Hibernian football club – Easter Road Stadium. The six are here seen with (back row) Alan Blackie, Chief Exec – East Lothian Council, Kay Barton Scottish Government Health Directorate and Roger Knox Public Health Spokesperson and depute provost of East Lothian Council.

The six community champions are – Middle Row- Dadswork represented by Kevin Young, Musselburgh & Inveresk Community Council represented by Irene Tait, Hibernian Community Foundation represented by Susan Deacon, Homestart represented by Linden Ross. Front row Patchwork EH32 represented by Katie Barron, Elizabeth Gilbert & Natalie Lees, National Childbirth Trust represnted by Nicky Neighbour.

Hibernian Community Foundation were the first organisation selected as a community champion for Support from the Start – the motto of the foundation is ‘Learning, Health and Opportunity’ and it is chaired by Susan Deacon a former health minister for Scotland. Susan was one of the key note speakers at the seminar which followed the photo opportunity, along with Kay Barlow from the Scottish Government health Division and Liz Cregan the chief nurse for East Lothian. The seminar was attended by those staff from east Lothian services that have been nominated as service champions for tackling health inequaltiy. The theme of the seminar was leadership for learning health and opportunity. The morning was very positive,  and gave all the individuals most directly involved in the test site a chance to meet each other and talk over the role of champion for the process.

Tackiling health inequality is not an easy or straigh forward task and time out of busy schedule to reflect on what can and needs to be done as well as find out more about those you need to work with is sometimes just as important as doing.

Leadership is one of those that we can feel embarrassed about – but for me leaders are people that can work with others to make a difference. Tackling a complex issue like health inequality is not going to happen unless some people are prepared to take a lead and think through what can be done and then make it happen. The East Lothian champions as a team are well able to do that.

 Champions at Easter Road

 east-lothian-champs-event-30-july-2009  leadership-tacking-health-inequality   Presentations