Henry receiving his PHF from President Ray Walker. Looking on is AG Jim Hatter.

ALEC (Aberdeenshire Life Education Centre) is a huge success in Aberdeenshire.  It began over 20 years ago as a joint initiative between a group of Rotary Clubs, Aberdeenshire Council and Coram Life Education.  As more Rotary Clubs joined to provide funding ALEC eventually expanded its reach to every pupil in every Primary School in Aberdeenshire as well as some of the earlier year pupils in all the Secondary Schools and Academies.  The specially trained Educators provide programmes to 5-14 year old pupils to develop the vital knowledge, skills and attitudes that they will need, to make informed choices about their own health and well-being and life in general.  The programme is instrumental in allowing pupils to express and gain understanding and knowledge of their body and allow them to make good choices.  The ALEC Mobile Classrooms which were used to deliver the lessons in a unique environment were well known in the area as they travelled to every primary school in Aberdeenshire once a year and created great excitement and anticipation amongst pupils. 

 

In autumn 2016 when Aberdeenshire Council was under severe budget pressure, the delivery of the service was put at risk.  The chair of ALEC, Henry Riddoch a Rotarian from the Rotary Club Of Kintore Kemnay & District and his colleagues on the ALEC committee decided that the service was too valuable to the children of Aberdeenshire and made a commitment to Aberdeenshire Council that they would find a new way of delivering the service without the use (and cost) of the mobile classrooms, resulting is an annual saving of £110,000.  Over the next eighteen months the use of the mobile classrooms was phased out and transportable kit of resources has been developed which can be moved from School to School in three suitcases in the back of a car.  This kit contains everything that the educator needs to deliver a session in the school, audio visual resources, pop up screens, laminate displays and most important Harold the Giraffe Derek and Kiki , all of which are used in a “Life Space” inflatable structure contained in the kit, which with its unique design, and the use of Technology and Virtual Reality recreates the special environment that was previously achieved within the mobile classroom, but at a fraction of the capital and operating costs, and can be set up in the school by one person in less than 45 minutes.  The Kits have been extensively trialled in Aberdeenshire and from October 2018 will be used by all the educators in Aberdeenshire, fully meeting ALEC’s commitment to Aberdeenshire Council to find a way of continuing to delivering the service at a fraction of the previous cost, and also of course opening up the possibility of other areas to pick up on delivering this valuable service to the children in other areas of the country.

 

Paul Harris said, “Rotarians are very much more favourably disposed towards action than they are towards words.”

 

It is with great pleasure that Kintore Kemnay & District Rotary Club has made Henry Riddoch a Paul Harris Fellow. 

 


 

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