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Airing Pain 62: Independent Living

How to get sup­port in regain­ing inde­pen­dence and the phys­i­cal and men­tal health ben­e­fits of social exercise

This edi­tion has been fund­ed by a grant from the Mof­fat Char­i­ta­ble Trust.

How can peo­ple left dis­abled and house­bound by chron­ic pain be sup­port­ed to live inde­pen­dent­ly? Pro­duc­er Paul Evans vis­its two Edin­burgh-based organ­i­sa­tions with dif­fer­ent approach­es to trans­form­ing the lives of peo­ple in pain.

The Loth­i­an Cen­tre for Inclu­sive Liv­ing (LCIL) is run by dis­abled peo­ple for dis­abled peo­ple with the aim, as its name sug­gests, of help­ing peo­ple to live full lives despite their con­di­tion. A key part of their ser­vice is sup­port­ing peo­ple as they apply for the ben­e­fits to which they are enti­tled in an often con­fus­ing and frus­trat­ing sys­tem. Jacque­line Todd recalls her strug­gle to be recog­nised as eli­gi­ble for the Per­son­al Inde­pen­dence Pay­ment (PIP) and the free­dom she has gained from adap­ta­tions to her home.

At the This­tle Foun­da­tion Paul speaks to mem­bers and staff about how their exer­cise and lifestyle class­es bring peo­ple ‘out of the dark­ness’ of social iso­la­tion and pain. John Cun­ning­ham found the ‘supreme­ly fit’ peo­ple at his local gym intim­i­dat­ing, but the wel­com­ing and sup­port­ive envi­ron­ment has ‘changed [his] life dra­mat­i­cal­ly’. Course leader Lin­da Dou­glas talks about the impor­tance of find­ing a ‘safe space’ where peo­ple can focus on their strengths and find out what works for them.

Issues cov­ered in this pro­gramme include: Inde­pen­dence, social exer­cise, exer­cise, men­tal health, iso­la­tion, wel­fare reform, dis­abil­i­ty ben­e­fits, depres­sion, flare-up, back pain, fibromyal­gia, social care, com­mu­ni­ty health­care, lifestyle course and peer support.


  • Kirsty Hen­der­son, Infor­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Offi­cer, LCIL
  • Jacque­line Todd, ser­vice user and vol­un­teer, LCIL
  • Lin­da Dou­glas, lifestyle man­age­ment course leader, This­tle Foundation
  • John Cun­ning­ham, mem­ber, This­tle Foundation
  • Mar­garet Hendry, vol­un­teer and mem­ber, This­tle Foundation.

More infor­ma­tion:


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