News from U Lab Scotland team

As we go into the last week of the online course, we’ve been reflecting on what’s been happening so far and of course on what our “emerging future” together shall be.  We’ve been helped enormously in this reflection by those of you who have very kindly offered us the chance to come into your hubs, either in person or through our learning journeys.  This has been both encouraging and enlightening and we’ll soon share the themes that have come out from that with you.

We’ve also started to look forward to seeing many of you again on 17 December. Here’s a link to book a place if you’ve not had a chance to do so so far.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed the content of U Lab Scotland and from our part we’ve been really encouraged by the questions you’ve submitted to the interviewees.  To allow you all to see how our interviewees replied to the questions here’s the questions and answers (and don’t forget if you have further questions just send them on to Angie).

You asked Harry Burns:-

U lab Harry Burns1

Where is Scotland in exploring, understanding and building on the Alaskan model?

Harry replied:-

The Alaskan model is, I presume, the South Central Foundation’s Nuks system of care. Culturally, the challenges in Alaska are a bit different but the public health department in Fife has an interest in this model.

Where in Scotland are we seeing something approaching the social prescribing model ideally as lived and practised by the Bromley by Bow centre in London working or at least being developed.?

There are a number of social prescribing projects underway in Scotland. Again, we would see it important that models of care were appropriate to local conditions and not lifted from elsewhere. Elgin is one area where “wellbeing: is the focus of attention.

What can change agents within the health service today do or expect in the way of support from above ie from those who employ them as they try to move towards these different ways of thinking and acting.

A key feature of the collaborative model is visible leadership with Chief Executives being visible and supportive. Everyone is a change agent in this process and there is no sense of division between bosses and frontline staff.

You asked Elizabeth Dirth:-

U Lab Elizabeth Dirth2

When I listened to Elizabeth talk about the fork she’d come to in her life and explain that she took the decision herself not to speak to her friends about it because they wouldn’t get it, it made me wonder about support. I imagined that if she sought support when making a decision, it’d be for that person to give her the space to connect to her gut feeling? Is that assumption true? Otherwise I’m interested in hearing from Elizabeth what is her support mechanism? What practices she has to stay connected to her self, vision and deeper purpose? Does she have an image for listening to her gut feeling?

I think my decision to not seek support at this stage was that I was worried that the support I might receive would pull me away from what I wanted.  I think I was worried that people in my life would encourage me to take the job that I knew I shouldn’t.  Perhaps this demonstrates that I knew from the start, subconsciously, what was the right thing to do…  So, I think the answer is yes, to the first question (I imagined that if she sought support when making a decision, it’d be for that person to give her the space to connect to her gut feeling? Is that assumption true?), but I don’t think I was that consciously aware of that, I was aware that I thought the people in my life would respond with bias that wouldn’t be helpful and I needed to decide for myself.  The reality is that no one in my life pushed to give advice and were content with allowing me to brood over the decision quietly, and so in that way they did support me to make my own decision.  I wasn’t consciously aware of this being a type of support mechanism at the time, though, but certainly would recognise it as such now. 


I’m very lucky, in that I’ve wanted the same things in life for as far back as I can remember, as far back as I thought about what I wanted in life.  I imagine this won’t necessarily be very relatable to people.  Though there are thousands of little moments, I can only pinpoint three occasions where I really lost this connection to my self and my vision.  The first two were situations where I tried different career paths/interests and during each found after a few months that I felt like I was missing something.  I felt like there was a part of me that wasn’t being fulfilled and I knew I needed to change what I was doing.  These first two occasions happened before the fork that I referred to in the interview, however, when I followed these paths, there wasn’t another direction I could have gone in.  My options on these occasions were wait around for something else to come up, or give this a shot, and I suppose I’m the type of person who always leans towards the ‘give this a shot’ path.  These weren’t quite as defining because I didn’t know what was the right thing to do, I just knew that what I had tried wasn’t right.


The third was what will probably forever be the most defining moment of my life, when my brother was killed very suddenly in an accident.  This sort of thing de-rails ones life in every possible way.  I was encouraged by everyone around me to keep going through the motions of my life as it was before the accident until I could see straight again.  Three days before he was killed I was having a conversation with my partner and his family at dinner and we were playing this quiz show and the question was “What age is the best age to be?” and I said, and I will never forget this, “Next year, because the past year had so many transitions and challenges but I am now in a place where I can honestly say that I love every part of my life and I can’t wait to just BE in the life I’ve set up for myself”.  Everyone around me knew this, and I think the advice I was given then was the best advice that I’ve ever gotten.  I don’t tend to seek advice from others, I am quite introverted when it comes to big decisions, connecting to myself and assessing purpose and vision, but this was the right thing at the time.  Eventually I found my feet again, and in many ways my sense of purpose was stronger than it ever had been before.





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