Follow the three simple steps:
1. Register by using your e-mail address (your address is not visible to other users).
2. Choose a user name.
3. Begin responding to existing discussions or start a new one.
Edition 352 April 19 ~ April 25 2014
* Use of foodbanks soars
* Concerns over parking at new health centre
* More money for Home Renewables loans
* Nominate a young rising star
* NHS ‘weigh to go’ programme
* Council announces Commonwealth Legacy Grants
* Junior Football: Results – League Table – Fixtures
Simply register to begin making a contribution to discussions affecting the Three Towns.
Let’s choose to become an independent Scotland
The Labour/Tory ban on lamppost posters
* Then and Now
* Lunch for three
* Watch the sky
* OK, I’ll tell you the truth, but don’t let the Scots know
* Try to pay attention, Brian
* He said what?
* Number 1s
* Where am I?
* Where is it?
- News stories throughout the week.
Use of foodbanks soars
Katy Clark MP has revealed a shocking ten-fold rise in the number of local people forced to use foodbanks in North Ayrshire to stave-off hunger.
Figures produced by the Trussell Trust, which operates the foodbank at the Church of the Nazerene in Ardrossan, show that 4,063 people received three-days-worth of emergency food in North Ayrshire in the year 2013/14 - up from 364 in 2012/13. In the same two-year period, the number of children receiving food jumped from 119 to 1,320.
According to the Trussell Trust, half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of changes to people’s benefits or delays in payments.
An angry Katy Clark said, “The jump in the number of people requiring support from foodbanks in North Ayrshire is simply appalling. It cannot be acceptable that in the sixth-largest economy in 2014, people do not have enough food to eat.”
Ms Clark said the shocking figures are a “damning indictment” of the UK Tory-Lib Dem Government’s “austerity measures.”
The Labour MP for North Ayrshire & Arran noted, “The Trussell Trust has identified that the three biggest reasons for people turning to foodbanks were delays in benefit payments, low pay and benefit changes. There can now be no denying that this huge increase in foodbank use is a direct consequence of the policies this Government has pursued. We are now seeing the human cost that punitive measures, such as the Government’s Bedroom Tax and sanctions regime, are having on our communities.
“It is important to pay tribute to the fantastic work done by all those who have volunteered in foodbanks over the past year, particularly those who have worked so hard at the North Ayrshire foodbank in Ardrossan. I very much hope that their workload will be reduced over the coming year. Sadly, however, unless the Government changes course, this will not happen.”
Across the United Kingdom in the past year, 913,138 people received emergency food packages (three-days of food) from foodbanks, up from 346,992 in 2012/13 and 61,468 in 2010/11.
The North Ayrshire foodbank in Ardrossan currently requires donations of food. Volunteers would be grateful to receive any of the following: milk (UHT or powdered), sugar, fruit juice (cartons), soup, pasta sauces, sponge pudding (tinned), cereals, rice pudding (tinned), tomatoes (tinned), tea bags and instant coffee, instant mashed potato, rice, pasta, tinned meat and fish, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, jam, biscuits, snack bars.
Items can be dropped-off at the Church of Nazerene, 150 Glasgow Street, Ardrossan.
Concerns over parking at new health centre
Local councillors are to be told that Ardrossan’s new health centre will have just 42 parking spaces.
The limited ‘official’ parking at the location has led to fears that some elderly patients may be forced to park at the nearby Asda store, leaving them to cross one of the town’s busiest roads to reach their doctors’ surgery.
The health centre, currently under construction in Harbour Street, will be the new home of the South Beach doctors’ practice and will also incorporate a dental clinic. According to paperwork submitted at the time a planning application was granted for the development, analysis of the “parking profile and a review of the travel behaviour at the existing GP Practice” was carried out. The report stemming from the analysis concluded that “day to day operations provided a realistic parking capacity of 42 spaces within the site boundary to address the number of car trips generated by the site.”
In a report to be considered on April 24 by North Ayrshire Council’s Three Towns & Arran Area Committee, the local authority’s Corporate Director (Development & Environment), Mr Craig Hatton, makes clear that “There is no space within the site for further parking provision and no additional parking spaces have been identified as part of the planning consent.”
Mr Hatton’s report acknowledges a “high demand” for parking in the area of Glasgow Street (south) and Princes Street, but argues “there is sufficient capacity elsewhere in Ardrossan between on-road spaces and publicly available off-road spaces to meet parking demand”.
The senior Council official states that the local authority will carry out a review “to identify unnecessary parking restrictions with a view to providing additional on-street parking where it is safe to do so”.
More money for Home Renewables loans
Local MSP Margaret Burgess has welcomed the announcement that the SNP Scottish Government is to invest a further £4m in the Home Renewables Loan Scheme, which helps householders cut their energy bills.
The scheme gives access to interest-free loans of up to £10,000 for a range of renewable heat and electricity technologies. Since April 2011 it has helped reduce dependency on fossil fuels and has allowed householders across Scotland to access cleaner, greener energy.
The new money is in addition to £55m already allocated to deliver the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS), which Mrs Burgess previously announced in her capacity as the Scottish Government’s Minister for Housing & Welfare. North Ayrshire Council has already benefitted from a funding award under HEEPS.
Margaret Burgess said, “The Scottish Government is determined to help householders stay warm and reduce their energy bills.
“This further investment will also help to generate work and support jobs – providing a much needed boost to our economy.”
The MSP for Cunninghame South, which includes Stevenston, noted, “To help tackle fuel poverty we are actively working with councils and energy companies to ensure that Scotland continues to get its fair share of funding for efficiency programmes. Unlike the UK Government, we believe it is important to provide this type of funding.”
The extra money for the Home Renewables Loan Scheme was also welcomed by Mike Thornton, Director of Energy Saving Trust Scotland, who said, “Helping with the up-front cost of installing a renewable energy system supports homeowners across Scotland to move to renewable energy sources and save money on their fuel bills. Since April 2011, households that have received a loan will make total savings of over £12-million. Figures like these mean we expect many more to take up this Scottish Government loan and reap the benefits of a home renewables system.”
Nominate a young rising star
An annual awards event aimed at recognising and rewarding inspirational young people in the local area got underway this week.
The North Ayrshire Rising Stars Awards celebrate the talents of young people aged 18 and under who encourage others to follow in their footsteps. The 2014 event will culminate with an awards ceremony in June.
Organisers would like to hear about special young people who deserve to be commended for their achievements or contributions to the community, such as a youth group that has helped to improve their local area, a community champion who has inspired others or a popular classmate who has overcome adversity to get on in life.
North Ayrshire Council’s Youth Services team will shortlist the nominations after the closing date on Friday, May 2nd. A judging panel will then consider the final group of nominations and choose the winners.
There are six categories: Creative Achievement; Sports Achievement; Outstanding Contribution to the Community; Personal Achievements; Outstanding Academic Achievement; and the Group/Club Award. In addition, two special award winners will be decided by the judging panel.
Nominations from those under 18 must be supported by an adult, such as a teacher, social worker, youth worker or play worker who knows the person or group. A signature from the supporting adult is also required.
Young people can’t nominate themselves but can nominate others, provided the nominees are of secondary school age up to 18 years. The application form provides a chance to explain why the person being nominated should receive recognition in the North Ayrshire Rising Stars Awards. Photos, videos, CDs or other examples of work can also be submitted to support nominations.
Mary Docherty, Head of Education at North Ayrshire Council, explained the reason for the awards, “There are many inspirational young people out there who give us good reason to be confident for our future. These enthusiastic and committed individuals help to enrich the lives of those around them and instil a strong sense of community spirit.
“This is an ideal opportunity to recognise and reward the very special young people we have among us.
“I would urge the residents of North Ayrshire to join us in showing appreciation of our young people and their efforts by completing a nomination form.”
Forms are available here.
NHS 'weigh to go' programme
NHS Ayrshire & Arran has adapted its successful ‘weigh to go’ initiative, with new focus on people who have gained additional weight after a diagnosis of cancer.
The weight management programme has received input from the Macmillan Nutrition Team, which has adapted the plan to suit people living with cancer. Debbie Provan, Macmillan Project Lead Dietician, explained, “Many people living with cancer struggle with their weight. They may have gained weight as a result of their illness. The ‘weigh to go’ programme has been successful in helping people manage their weight, and so we decided to adapt it specifically for those living with cancer.”
People taking part in the programme will receive group education sessions every week for three months; four assessments - at the start, at three months, six months and 12 months; and weekly weight monitoring to maintain motivation and promote success.
Debbie Provan said, “These classes are a great chance to get advice and support on all aspects of weight management. You can also meet other people who are in the same boat.”
Classes are held every Wednesday (10.30am to 11.15am) in Saltcoats library.
More information on the programme is available from Lorna Breeze by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Louise Whitelaw at email@example.com. Alternatively, call 01563 525172 (extension 432).
Council announces Commonwealth Legacy Grants
Groups and individuals working with North Ayrshire Council to promote 2014 as a special year for residents can now apply for Legacy Grant funding.
Sums of £500, £1,000 or £2,000 will be awarded to successful applicants whose events and activities meet certain criteria, such as public events and activities taking place in North Ayrshire on the day of the Queen’s Baton Relay (Tuesday, July 15); public events and activities that promote and encourage participation in sport and physical activity; or events and activities that celebrate and commemorate the various special occasions happening throughout 2014.
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer is the showpiece event of a special year, which will also feature a wide programme of ‘Homecoming’ celebrations, commemorative events marking the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and the staging of the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament in Scotland – only the second time it has been held here in 87 years.
Audrey Sutton, North Ayrshire Council’s Head of Community and Culture, said, “There is a lot happening nationally to mark this special year and here in North Ayrshire we have a number of groups keen to participate at a local level.
“Legacy Grants will give these groups a helping hand to stage smaller community events that will extend the reach of the celebrations even further.”
Online grant application forms are available here.