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Update: Latest resilience and service information from Aberdeenshire Council


By David Porter

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Aberdeenshire Council has issued its latest update for residents -

Resilience/Military Aid

• Following a formal approach to the UK Government for assistance, military personnel arrived in Aberdeenshire this morning to support our ongoing resilience efforts in the aftermath of Storm Arwen

• The troops will focus on welfare checks on the ground within those communities still impacted by loss of power and will supplement what our own teams have been doing since the weekend

• Council volunteers have again been mobilised and have been deployed from strategic locations reporting to area coordinators - Police, Fire, Coastguard for deployment into our communities to complete door-to-door contact with remainder of the most vulnerable still without power

• We continue to appreciate all the wonderful examples of community assistance which continue to be evident across the region – whether it be supplies of hot food and drinks, checking on elderly residents and neighbours or helping to deliver supplies

• Thank you for your all your endeavours and rest assured we continue to work tirelessly to provide the support our communities require at this challenging time

Service Points/Helpline

• HAC (assistance centre) Storm Arwen - telephone 0808 1963 384 – continues to operate from 8am to 8pm to provide assistance/signposting to residents

• Aberdeenshire Council Service Points continue to provide that assistance to communities

Welfare centres and community facilities

Banff and Buchan

Cornhill Hall (Hay Memorial Hall) 3-8pm Catering van after 4pm, welfare, water

Crudie - from 5pm - catering van, water

Macduff Knowes Hotel 12noon-8pm

Whitehills, The Galley 12noon-7.30pm

Banff Fife Lodge Hotel 12noon-2.30pm and 5-7.30pm

Buchan

Hatton Hall Car Park 8am-8pm Catering van

Boddam Library 10am-4pm Hot drinks and biscuits, heat and charging facilities

Crimond Medical/Community Hub 10am-4pm Hot drinks, hot food, heat and charging facilities

Maud Resource Centre 10am-4pm Hot drinks, hot food, heat, charging facilities

Formartine

Balmedie Leisure Centre 9am-8.30pm Hot food, tea/coffee and showers

Fyvie 11am-2pm Catering van

Methlick 3-8pm Catering van

Garioch

Echt Hall (community-run) Hot water, charging facilities, water, hot food from 5pm

Sauchen/Cluny (opposite village notice board and bus stop) 8am-8pm catering van

Marr

Torphins – Learney Hall, 9 Beltie Road 12noon-5pm Council provision of meals

Lumphanan Village Hall 8am-8pm Council provision of meals/catering van

Glenkindie Garage 8am-8pm Council provision of meals (also supplying Glenbuchet)

Strachan Village Hall 8am-8pm Catering van

Bellabeg, Strathdon lay-by across from shop 8am-8pm Catering van

Aboyne Car Park by the Green 8am-8pm Catering van

Alford Transport Museum Car Park 8am-8pm Catering van

Tarland (in the Square) from 11am Catering van

Torphins (in the Square) 8am-8pm Catering van

Bogniebrae, Bognie Arms Car Park 8am-8pm Catering van

Inchmarlo 8am-8pm Council provision of meals

Farquharson Court, Finzean 8am-8pm Council provision of meals

Kincardine & Mearns St Cyrus Village Hall 4-6pm Council provision of meals, tea and coffee

Castleton Farm Shop 4.30pm-5.30pm Hot meals and drinks

SSEN catering vans update (Scottish Water bottled water points also here):

Turriff Haughs - from 6pm.

Bellabeg, Strathdon – Lay-by across from the shop – Serving

Strachan – Strachan Village Hall – Serving

Aboyne – In the car park by The Green

Alford – Transport Museum Car Park

Tarland - in the Square

Torphins – In the Square

Hatton – Hall Car Park

Bogniebrae – Bognie Arms Car Park

Banff – Banff Springs Hotel Layby, One Pot Shop Food Van

Lumphanan – Lumphanan Village Hall

Sauchen – opposite the village notice board and bus stop

Macduff – The Knowes Hotel – serving noon-8pm

Whitehills – The Galley Restaurant – serving noon-7.30pm

Banff – Fife Lodge Hotel – serving noon-2.30pm and 5pm-7.30pm

Scottish Welfare Fund

• Available to provide financial support to people who are facing a crisis or need help to live in the community. It can be a crisis grant in the form of a cash voucher to help a family or individual in an emergency or it can be a community care grant, which usually takes the form of goods to help someone to support someone to continue to live in the community.

• You can get more information or apply online by visiting https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/benefits-and-grants/welfare-reform/scottish-welfare-fund/

Education and Children’s Services

• Work progresses on getting more of our schools opened for pupils – for the latest news on your school, visit https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/Apps/schools-closures/

• For those young people with additional support needs, we are keen to underline that if for reasons relating to the storm families don't feel it is appropriate to make the return to school, then this will be treated as an authorised absence. This may be particularly relevant if there are concerns about access to direct communication with staff due to lack of phone signal. Supporting those with complex medical, social, emotional or wellbeing needs often requires very close parent-school communication and it is absolutely ok if young people wish to continue working from home. Please liaise with your school directly if this impacts you.

• For some schools, connectivity remains an issue but robust plans are in place in case of emergency.

• Please remember that as well as the aftermath of the storm and the impact that has had on many communities including school staff, our schools are also continuing to work within national guidance relating to Covid-19 and are facing the same staffing pressures across many industries at the moment. Teams continue to go the extra mile and are doing their best to deliver on behalf of children and young people and communities. Our ask is - please, be kind. Ongoing mitigations may mean schools can't do all of the things you may like them to during December, and pressures on staff may mean you have to wait a bit longer than usual for an answer to a query.

• The storm assistance centre line remains open until 10pm tonight. Call 08081963384 for advice on where you can access welfare facilities, free hot meals and financial advice and assistance

• Children's services social work teams are also open and available: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/children-and-families/children-and-families-team-offices/

• Those who are entitled to statutory free school meals will receive an additional payment this week to make up for the two days missed in school, plus more if your school is closed for longer

• If you're using Live Life Aberdeenshire leisure facilities – which are now open as normal, with hot showers, WiFi access and mobile phone/device charging still available to those who need this free of charge – there's a similar ask. Colleagues are doing their utmost to ensure centres can run in line with guidance, to deliver all the services you'd like, and with teams who are also stepping up to support things like storm response, vaccination roll out and helping colleagues through a challenging winter in health and social care. Service delivery may be impacted at times and your patience and understanding is very much appreciated.

• If you are back online following Storm Arwen and you know children and young people who are finding things tough right now please let them know about free mental health support services Kooth and Togetherall.

• Kooth is an online wellbeing community for children aged 10 to 18. It offers one to one sessions with counsellors and emotional wellbeing practitioners. They can help children and young people talk through their problems and anything that is on their mind. The sessions are available via drop-in or booked appointments which helps to reduce waiting times for anyone seeking help. This service can be accessed by registering at the Kooth website: https://www.kooth.com/. Support is also available to schools and staff supporting children and young people by emailing aberdeenshire@kooth.com

• Togetherall is available to anyone aged 16 or over. It helps to bridge a gap between youth and adult services with appropriate mental wellbeing support. Trained and accredited professionals are available 24/7 to support the community members and there is a choice of safe therapeutic services, including courses, self-assessments and wellbeing resources to improve your mental health. This means anyone who may be struggling can get support at a time that suits them, from a place of their choice. The Togetherall community is anonymous but you will need to register to access it. During registration, select ‘My area is registered’ and enter your postcode. You will then be asked to create a completely anonymous user account https://togetherall.com/en-gb/is

Live Life Aberdeenshire

• All LLA facilities are open as normal

• Hot showers are available at leisure facilities for residents who still need them - no charge! - and you can still access WiFi and mobile phone/device charging.

SSEN

• Further progress in restoring power has been achieved throughout the night and around 2300 customers now remain off supply across Aberdeenshire, mainly located in the more rural and isolated communities.

• Whilst they expect to make further good progress throughout today, for some customers where overhead network infrastructure connects single house or group of houses, restoration times will regrettably extend beyond today.

• As a reminder, if any customer is without power and is unable to make alternative arrangements to stay with family or a friend, SSEN will reimburse all reasonable costs for alternative accommodation.

• Anyone seeking reimbursement of accommodation or food costs as a result of the power outage caused by Storm Arwen should contact SSEN as follows:

• E-mail networks.executivecomplaints@SSEN.co.uk with a photograph of the receipt. It would be helpful if the subject of the e-mail was “Storm Arwen – Refund of Costs”

• Send a letter to Aberdeen Depot, 200 Ashgrove Road West, Aberdeen, AB16 5NY with the receipt

• Details http://news.ssen.co.uk/news/all-articles/2021/november/storm-arwen-red-alert/

Scottish Water

• Water restored to all impacted supplies but there may be intermittent faults as further testing is undertaken

Environment and Sustainability Services.

• School transport continues to operate to all schools that are open.

• Social care transport operating to all establishments where required.

• No major problems on the supported and commercial bus network, although there were some diversions with road closures due to fallen trees/cables and some late running because of today’s snow.

• A2B dial-a-bus services all operating with no problems reported.

• Ready2Go around Inverurie normal service reinstated today but we did experience some longer passenger wait times due to road conditions.

• Bus Stop Infrastructure – team continues to try to identify damage and continues to process repair orders.

• Ellon Park and Ride waiting room fully operational - new bus road/turning facility opened yesterday along with associated shelters/displays.

Waste Collections

• Residents are being advised that if they have quantities of spoiled food from fridges and freezers due to loss of power they should not place excess food waste bags next to the food caddy, as this will potentially attract vermin

• Extra food waste caddies can be collected free of charge from our recycling centres. We encourage householders to fill their food waste caddies and hold back any additional food waste for the next week as food caddies are uplifted on both general waste and recycling weeks. If this is not possible, you can put the additional waste in your general waste bin.

Household Recycling Centres

• Stonehaven, Portlethen and Laurencekirk sites were closed this morning due to the snow and ice but opened again by lunchtime

Community testing programme.

• Our community testing programme for people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms and distribution of lateral flow self-test kits resumed today and – Weather permitting - will be in the following communities tomorrow (Fri from 10am-3pm):

Fraserburgh Maconachie House (Testing)

Ellon Market Street Shelter (Collect only)

Oldmeldrum market Square (Collect only)

Inverurie Fire Station (Collect Only)

• For more informationvisit https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/covid-19/community-testing

• You can still pick up self-test kits at many pharmacies or order online at https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-protect/coronavirus-covid-19-get-a-test-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms

Roads/Weather

• The Met Office currently has no weather warnings for the remainder of the week but while tomorrow (Fri) may be a bit calmer there will be windier conditions on Saturday with gusts to around 30-40pmh. Thereafter it’s an unsettled picture with snow and further windy conditions forecast into next week which may cause more damage to weakened trees

• Our gritters were out from 3pm yesterday on all primary routes and again today from 5.40am. Some areas did experience some snowfall which caused some issues on the network but routes quickly cleared.

• Work continues to clear windblown debris from the road network as well as carry out ongoing winter maintenance. Small number of rural roads still affected by fallen trees with some lying on power lines.

• Some of the dangerous trees have been removed and the western section of the A97 closure between Deskry and Glenkindie and the section of road reopened. However, unfortunately, more dangerous trees have been identified, and therefore the closure has been extended eastwards from Glenkindie to Kildrummy.

Tree-felling

• Aden and Haddo country parks have been closed with immediate effect for an initial period of two weeks owing to the significant tree damage as a result of Storm Arwen.

• Recent high winds have blown down a considerable number of trees which are blocking well-used footpaths and activity areas and a substantial number of hung-up and dangerous trees need attending to.

• We have already encountered the public walking up and past our operatives and contractors while they are felling trees.

• The initial fortnight closure will enable us to carefully assess future felling operations which will take some considerable time and we are now putting measures in place to sign entrances and close off barriers and would urge everyone to stay away from affected areas.

• We appreciate that this is very short notice - especially for planned festive - but the safety of the public, our teams and contractors is paramount.


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