Argyll and Bute charity reaches national award finals

ACUMEN: High five your day and look after yourself.
ACUMEN: High five your day and look after yourself.

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The charity ACUMEN, which works throughout Argyll and Bute, including in Campbeltown, has landed a place in the finals of the 2021 Self-Management Awards.

ACUMEN’s Self Care Planning Project is a finalist in two of the categories: Self-Management Project of the Year, where the winner will be selected by public vote; and Self-Management in the Community Award, in partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

And the good news continues with ACUMEN volunteer Zandra Varnham Hunt having won through to the final of Individual Transformational Story of the Year category.

This national awards ceremony, hosted by Alliance Scotland, celebrates the scope and achievements of organisations and groups all over Scotland, as they innovate and deliver projects with a focus on self-management of health and wellbeing, never more important than it is now as the country emerges from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

ACUMEN’s Self Care Planning Project is being delivered in Argyll and Bute, funded by the Living Well Grant programme operated by Argyll and Bute Council.

The project offers people an opportunity to have conversations about their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Support and resources are available to empower people to write a self-care plan as a tool to help and support them through times when their mental health is more challenging.

ACUMEN’s ‘self-care template’ uses five questions to allow people to explore:

  • How they are feeling, and check in on their mental health
  • What they can do if things are a bit tougher to cope with
  • Resources and activities that have helped them previously
  • Who they can talk to if they are struggling?
  • What people around them need to know to be able to help

The Self Care Planning Project is driven by an understanding that most people struggle with mental health at some point in their lives and that it is okay not to be okay.

By working their way through the self-care planning process, ACUMENT believes people are more likely to make it through the tougher times.

And when they do, they have that ‘lived experience’ to inspire others to take a self-management approach to their health and wellbeing.

The feedback from those using the service so far has been very positive, with comments including: ‘Talking to ACUMEN is very therapeutic; I feel like I’m getting a bit of control back in my life doing this self-care plan. This is very inspiring and could help a lot of people,’ and, ‘The self-care plan is a great way to work out how you feel and to get to know yourself better. Once you have some of that self-knowledge you can understand your feelings better, and find solutions when you’re struggling’.

Although some parts of the service are currently only available to those living in Argyll and Bute, there are other useful tips, videos, templates and other resources that can help make a difference to anyone, anywhere when tough times make coping a lot harder.

To vote for ACUMEN in the Self-Management Project of the Year 2021 category, visit the Self Management Awards 2021 page on Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland’s website at

Winners will be announced when the awards ceremony takes place online on Wednesday September 29 during Self Management Week.

For more information on the work ACUMEN does to promote the voice of lived experience in mental health in Argyll and Bute, email