Tuesday, March 28, 2017

NICE meeting Thursday night (30.03.17) Chair Alastair Noble reflects - video interview

There will be speakers at the NICE AGM on Thurday in the Little Theatre King Street at 7.30 pm.

Michael Green will speak on the Harbour proposals.
Michael Boylan will give an update on the BID
Michael Barnett will talk about the Town Centre Development
Iain Bruce will have the latest information about the Spa/Lido proposal

To hear a longer interview with Alastair on a range of subjects affecting Nairn's future please go to the Gurn Youtube pages here. 

Police in the Highlands warn public of bogus callers

Police in the Highlands are urging the public to be vigilant following a number of cold callers, bogus workmen and scam incidents being reported.

Officers have also been informed of a number of telephone scams where cold callers advise victims they have an outstanding debt and need to purchase iTunes vouchers to pay the debt. On 22 March 2017, a report was received that a 71-year-old man in Inverness had received such a phone call and was conned out of £950.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jim's taking a rest after 17 years working in Nairn's Blythswood Charity Shop

This is Jim Rae's final week in the Blythswood shop in Leopold Street, a familiar part of the Leopold Street fabric is moving on. The shop has expanded a bit in his term as manager and seven years ago the upstairs area was opened up. “It's more than a shop it's a hub,” he told the Gurn as he reflected on his time in the premises. Many of his customers have opened up to him about  the problems they face and hunger has been a very real experience for some who live in the town, he is very concerned that things are getting worse and has done what he can in recent years to highlight the problem through the local media. 

Jim has enjoyed his work for the charity but wants a bit of a rest and then a change. He has one or two ideas on how he can continue to help those in need in the town and beyond through some of the new initiatives cropping up like the Nairn Cares group and working with others highlighting issues in Nairn.

Recently the shop has been provided with a few loaves every day from Ashers Bakery, the loaves are free to customers on a no questions asked basis and Jim is certain that poverty is very much on the increase in Nairn with many folk going hungry and that a more informal approach is often necessary to help some of those “under the radar”. He worries about the direction society is going and wants to do what he can to help the increasing numbers of those in need. So a well earned rest for Jim and then he will be back.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Another in our series of election leaflets: Michael Green " A strong Independent Voice for Nairnshire

We've received another leaflet and present it here, the third so far. If you are a candidate in the Highland Council election that will take place on Thursday May 4th please send us a copy of your election leaflet and we will be delighted to publish. The images below should all enlarge if you click on them. We've also put the leaflets up on the Gurn Flickr pages here. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

“Nairn is a great place to live, there is no poverty here – False!” CAB workers give presentation at showing of I, Daniel Blake In Little Theatre

Friday night (24.03.17) saw the third showing of the moving film “I, Daniel Blake” in as many months. Film goers heading to the Little Theatre brought with them donations of food, toiletries and pet food  that will go to local foodbanks. Total cash donations to the foodbanks over the three showings have now raised
Food, toiletries etc donated by film goers 
approximately £1,000. 

Before last night's showing there was an informative presentation by Pamela and Dawn from Nairn's Citizens' Advice Bureau. What they had to say was shocking in its own right. Nairn may look prosperous to holiday makers or anyone passing through but for many of our fellow citizens poverty is a daily reality. In the last 12 months Nairn CAB has dealt with 5,439 enquiries and 51% of those enquiries were benefit related. In the past 12 months, the CAB has issued 193 Food Bank Vouchers. This is a last resort after they have exhausted all other options to help clients maximise their income of obtain crisis finanacial assistance. Please find the time to read a little more and find out what Pam and Dawn had to say and how perhaps you could help our local CAB with your existing skills or with training from the local branch. 

Pamela began the presentation:

"Firstly, thank you to Colin Macaulay for inviting us to speak before tonight's showing of I, Daniel Blake. I'm Pamela and I am the volunteer support worker at the bureau. Myself and a number of colleagues came to see the film at the last showing. And I can assure you that the portrayal of a man falling through the cracks of the benefit system you are about to see is in no way an exaggeration of the types of situation some of our clients find themselves in here in Nairn. I actually think it should be obligatory viewing for everyone. This film may make you laugh, cry and it may make you angry. You will see why anyone who has ever tried to deal with the DWP on the telephone has developed a life long aversion to the The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. It shows that our current benefits system is flawed and often injust. But it also shows that not all DWP employees are “the enemy”. Many of them want to help their clients as much as we do, and without the strong links we at Nairn CAB have with members of staff and Inverness Job Centre, the Job Club, local Housing Officers, social landlords and our links with all departments at Nairn Town and County hospital through our outreach project, and many, many other partner agencies, our clients would be considerably worse off. A special thank you must go to the volunteers at Blythswood Foodbank. I have visited the foodbank on a number of occasions and can attest that the volunteers are so welcoming, so friendly and empathise so strongly with the people referred to them. Like us, they know that once you are struck in the trap of poverty, it is difficult to escape the cycle, and time and time again they offer an invaluable service to users who find themselves and their families in dire straits. "

Dawn then spoke:

"Hello, I'm, Dawn – I am a welfare rights worker in the Bureau. I deal with more complex casework and help people to challenge benefit decisions. Since I started with the bureau, more than 5 years ago, I have witnessed many changes to the welfare system. Each change designed to simplify and improve. In reality the changes have served to create a system that is harder to access and harder to understand. This film looks at one benefit – Employment and Support Allowance. Since the time of this film, Universal Credit is being rolled out across the country and will eventually be the only means tested benefit for people of working age regardless of their circumstances. Inverness Jobcentre is amongst the first to have gone live for the full service. Unfortunately, this means that people living in the Inverness Jobcentre area who claim benefit are subject to the teething problems associated with this new benefit. Situations that could lead to a claim for Universal Credit: include being made redundant; becoming too poorly to work; being a carer; or being in work but on a low income.

Nairn CAB workers Dawn and Pamela

The amount of complex casework continues to increase while the options open to people become more and more limited. That said – it is of the utmost importance that people do get advice and do challenge decisions. One of our key roles is to help people understand their rights and responsibilities. The options are more limited but people do still have options. We can identify possible benefit entitlement and support people through the claim process. If an initial claim is unsuccessful we can help people challenge the decision all the way to an independent tribunal if necessary. There is everything to be gained by taking action – people who appeal a benefit decision have more than a 70% chance of success if they get help. If you are affected by any of the issues raised in the film tonight, or know someone who is, please take action – get advice or urge your friend or family member to to get advice. We have placed a flyer with details of our service on every chair."

Pamela then finished the presentation. 

"In the past 12 months we have verified client financial gain of £1,480,000 . That sum is made up not only of the benefits that we have helped people claim, but through helping clients get the money they are owed by employers, challenging debt liability, resolving consumer disputes, saving money on their energy bills and so much more. We are free, impartial, independent and confidential. So, if you leave here at the end of the film feeling that you want to challenge injustice, if you want to give something back to your community, if you want to learn new skills or put the skills you already have to good use, consider volunteering with Nairn CAB. Pop in, ask for me and find out more about what we do and how we do it. Our spring recruitment campaign is on now, we can provide you with accredited training and will welcome you to become part of our friendly, supportive and dynamic team. Our volunteers make a difference. Do you want to make a difference too? By the end of this film, perhaps you will.

Enjoy it, think about it, tell others about it. And tell them about Nairn CAB too."

The leaflet distributed by Nairn CAB at the showing of I, Daniel Blake

Friday, March 24, 2017

Meanwhile over on the Gurn twitter account

If there's not much being posted here it's worth having a look at the Gurn twitter account. Quite a lot happens in the Nairn twittersphere these days. You don't have to have an account to look at tweets either. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Another day and another Highland Council election leaflet - Peter Saggers Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Yesterday we had Tom Heggie's leaflet and today we have another candidate in the Highland Council election that will take place on Thusday May 4th. Here's Peter Saggers. 

Click on the images to enlarge and copies of all election leaflets as and when we come across them  also on the Gurn flickr pages here. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Successful meeting for Gaelic speakers and learners in the Community Centre earlier this evening

The "Cearcall Còmhraidh" (learners circle) regulars that meet every Saturday 12-1 in the library held a meeting in the Community and Arts Centre tonight as their advertising material stated:

"Looking for ideas of the kinds of things people of Nairnshire would like, with a view to starting up a new Highland Cultural and Social group where Gaelic would have priority but also where learners of the language would be welcome and supported in a friendly environment."

The cearcall folk had thought that an attendance of around 20 would have been a success but on the night it was neary 40 who turned up for a blether and to exchange ideas on ways of creating opportunities for using Gaelic and for learning the language. Some very interesting ideas were brought forward and a committee was set up. Abair thusa gur e toradh brosnachail tighinn as. 

— A Gurn from Nurn (@GurnNurn) March 22, 2017

More info on future events coming soon and a warm welcome awaits you. In the meantime want to try a bit of Gaelic? Here's a very good page to get going - just give it a few minutes every day - you never know you might get hooked :-)

Tom Heggie standing in May 4th Highland Council election "putting people before party politics"

The first of the leaflets has arrived at Gurn HQ. Please send us yours if you are a candidate in the election to Highland Council on the 4th of May and we will be delighted to display it on the Gurn for the benefit of our readres.

If you find these images hard to read then please try this Gurn flickr page where all leaflets received will be displayed. 

Toshy's Testimonial - Pictures Donald Matheson

Individual images here and also pictures of the Lossie game here. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

John Finnie MSP to Lead Ship to Ship Debate Tomorrow

Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands, John Finnie, will lead a Scottish Parliament debate on ship to ship oil transfers tomorrow.

Mr Finnie, who joined campaigners from the Cromarty Rising campaign group at the Public Petitions Committee last week, has been campaigning against the proposals to allow ship to ship oil transfers to take place in the Cromarty/Moray Firths since last year.

A parliamentary motion (1) submitted by Finnie has received the necessary cross party to allow it to proceed to the chamber as a member’s business debate.

Members of Cromarty Rising will be present for the debate, which will take place following decision time, at around 5.30pm.

Mr Finnie said:

“If ship to ship oil transfers are allowed to go ahead in the Cromarty Firth the consequences for marine life, including the iconic pod of bottlenose dolphins, could be catastrophic.

“The overwhelming majority of communities in the area, who would be in the front line of any oil spill, are opposed to ship to ship oil transfers, as are thousands across the country as the 103,425 signatures on Cromarty Rising’s petition demonstrates.

“The potential impact on the tourism sector, so important to the economy of the Highlands and Islands, cannot be overstated. I am therefore glad that my motion has achieved cross party support, and I look forward to leading a debate on ship to ship oil transfers.”


(2) Debate will be live at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-39328313

John Finnie speaking at Nairn Beach anti S2S demo 11th December 2016

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fantastic memories made and others rekindled today at Toshy's Testimonial

It finished Nairn County 3 Toshy's Select 3.  What an afternoon for the fans as cult hero Toshy led first the new Nairn County side that has played with so much pride, skill and passion this season against former players in the select - he switched to the select too (as is the testimonial fashion) for the second half and what a treat to see so many former players once again in County Colours. 

Kenny MacLeod of Cutter photography was there to capture the starting line-up. And a match report is available here. Thank you Toshy for all your years of service to NCFC and the Station Park Loyal and thank you too to his colleagues old and new who turned out today for our local hero. 90 minutes that will never be forgotten!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Optimism for Nairnshire's future - a wee blether with Alastair Noble

Get yourself a cup of tea or a dram and have a listen to Alastair Noble outlining some of the things that have been happening in the background recently - Alastair is optimistic that we have finally turned the corner thanks to recent Scottish Government policies and a few initiatives that have been bubbling away for a while will soon come to fruition.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Toshy's Testimonial Match Sunday 1 pm Station Park

Highland Council elections 4 May 2017 - Are Nairn's apathy levels unsustainable?

Last time round in 2012 only 44% of those on the electoral voted in the Highland Council election. Can we sustain that level of apathy or will we break the 50% barrierr? 

The image below (click on to enlarge) gives details of how the preference votes were transferred and who got in. . Remember Stephen Fuller replaced Colin MacAulay at a byelection held on the same day as the General election and he, Michael, Liz and Laurie are all standing again. Here at the Gurn we understand that there may be at least three other candidates that have shown an interest so far.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Nairn Healthcare News March 2017

Phone Scam

NHS Highland has been alerted to a phone scam happening in the area where members of the public are receiving calls from people claiming to be from their local GP Practice.

The caller is reportedly asking questions about their medical condition before going on to ask about their specific medication and advising them to buy herbal medication. Please be advised that under no circumstances would the NHS or any company we work with be advising patients to buy herbal medication rather than what they have already been prescribed.

If anyone contacts you trying to do this do not engage, hang up the call and alert the NHS Counter Fraud team. The NHS Counter Fraud team can be contacted on 08000 15 16 28.

Scottish Primarty Care Information Resource

What is SPIRE?

On 7th March 2017, a national campaign launched to introduce SPIRE to the public and explain what it means for patients. SPIRE is a service that will be used to help NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government plan for Scotland's health and care needs. It allows information from GP patient records to be transferred electronically and held securely at NHS National Services Scotland. This information will help medical professionals to improve the quality of care for all patients, plan services, develop treatments, find out about side-effects and respond to major epidemics.

What information will be used and who will be able to access it?

Information such as date of birth, gender, vaccinations, diagnosis and prescribed medications will be used from the GP record. To protect confidentiality, the details will be encrypted before they are sent so the information is secure at all times. The information will be used by trained and authorised analysts at NHS National Services Scotland. Individual data will then be grouped together to produce national and local Health Board summaries which will be available publicly but the patient will not be able to be identified from these reports. The information will NOT be sold and solicitors, insurance companies, marketing companies will NOT be able to access SPIRE.

Opting-Out and Additional Information

Patients have the option to opt-out of SPIRE if they wish. There will be forms available at front desk that patients can complete. The data extraction is not scheduled to commence until May allowing patients to find out more about SPIRE and giving them the option to opt-out before data collection. If patients requires any further information, they can call NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 or visit the website spire.scot which contains a list of common questions.
Spam Alert

Complaint Procedures

Nairn Healthcare Group is committed to providing high quality care and treatment to people in our communities through the delivery of safe, effective and person-centred care. We understand, however, that sometimes things go wrong. If you are dissatisfied with something we have done, or have not done, please tell us and we will do our best to put things right. If we cannot resolve matters in the way you want, we will explain why it’s not possible to do as you suggest.

Who can complain?

Anyone can make a complaint to us. You can complain directly to us, or if you would rather have someone make the complaint on your behalf, we can deal with your representative. This could be a relative, a carer, a friend or any other person that you choose. We can also give you information about advocacy services, and about the Patient Advice and Support Service, which can help you to make your complaint. If you agree to someone making the complaint on your behalf, it is important for you to know that we will need to ask for your permission for us to deal with that person.

How do I complain?

You can complain in person at the place where you have received care, treatment or advice, or where the incident that you want to complain about happened. You can also complain by phone (01667-452096), in writing, by email (high-uhb.gp55041-reception@nhs.net) or by using our online complaints form at www.nairnhealthcaregroup.co.uk

Wherever possible we encourage you to speak with a member of staff. It’s easier for us to resolve complaints if you make them quickly and directly to the service concerned. So please talk to a member of our staff at the service you are complaining about. They will always try to resolve any problems on the spot if it is possible to do so.

How long do I have to make a complaint?

Normally, you must make your complaint within six months of:

* the event you want to complain about; or

* finding out that you have a reason to complain, but no longer than 12 months after the event itself.

In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to accept a complaint after the time limit. If you feel that the time limit should not apply to your complaint, please tell us why. If we decide that, because of the time that has passed since the incident occurred, we cannot consider your complaint, you can ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to review our decision.

For more information about what you can and can’t complain about and what happens after you complain, please ask Reception for our Complaints Handling Procedure Booklet or visit http://www.nairnhealthcaregroup.co.uk/website/S55041/files/NHG%20Complaints%20Handling%20Procedure%20Patient%20Leaflet.pdf

Snowdrop planting Sat March 25th on the Riverside - Keeping Nairnshire Colourful

Cinema Nairn's next film 'Wadjda' (PG) 2012 Friday 24th March 7.30pm at Nairn Community and Arts Centre

Cinema Nairn's next film 'Wadjda' (PG) 2012

Friday 24th March 7.30pm at Nairn Community and Arts Centre.Tickets at the door.
Cinema Nairn’s first non English speaking film of 2017 is award winning Saudi film ‘Wadjda’ .
This little gem is a gently challenging look at how the pressures on young women to conform to traditional roles build up through childhood, but how adept some strong minded individuals become at sidestepping the constraints. 

Wadjda is a fun loving young girl who pushes the boundaries, and longs for a green bicycle she has spied in a shop. She plans to beat her friend Abdullah in a race once she has the bike.
Naturally neither Abdullah nor the bike are likely to find favour, so Wadjda plans to find her own way to try to circumvent the traditions arrayed against her.

Cromarty Rising petition to Parliament - Nairn woman joins team giving evidence - link to video

A link here to the Scottish Parliament TV Channel showing the petition presentation by Cromarty Rising today. Siting with the Risers to answer questions from MSPs was Loreine Thomson. 

Ship to ship oil transfers proposed for the Moray Firth are to be debated in the Scottish Parliament.

Ship to ship oil transfers are to be debated in the Scottish Parliament.

Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie joined campaigners from Cromarty Rising at the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee today (16/03/2017) calling for proposals for ship to ship oil transfer in the Cromarty Firth to be thrown out.

Mr Finnie, who has been campaigning against ship to ship oil transfers for some time was delighted to speak in support of the petition.

The Public Petition’s Committee have agreed to write to the Scottish Government and relevant stakeholders seeking their views on the petition and will return to the issue in a future session.

John Finnie has submitted a parliamentary motion on the issue, which will be debated in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday (22/03/2017).

Green MSP Finnie, said:

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the Public Petitions Committee’s session on Cromarty Rising’s ship to ship petition. The petitioners should be commended for the articulate case they made before the committee. The committee have agreed to write to the Scottish Government, and relevant stakeholders and I will be interested in hearing what they have to say on the matter when the issue returns to the committee in due course.

“If ship to ship oil transfers are allowed to go ahead in the Cromarty Firth the consequences for marine life, including the iconic pod of bottlenose dolphins, could be catastrophic.

“The overwhelming majority of communities in the area, who would be in the front line of any oil spill, are opposed to ship to ship oil transfers, as are thousands across the country as the 103,000 signatures on Cromarty Rising’s petition demonstrates.

“The potential impact on the tourism sector, so important to the local economy, cannot be overstated. I am therefore glad that my motion has achieved cross party support, and I look forward to leading a debate on ship to ship oil transfers in the parliament next week.”

As seen on Scottish Parliament TV earlier today Duncan Bowers, Greg Fullerton and Loreine Thomson giving evidence for Cromarty Rising

Monday, March 13, 2017

Supporting Scotland's CABs

One of our regular readers whose family has been helped in recent times by our local CAB has asked us to link to a page which gives details of how you can help the vital service that is provided all over Scotland but now in times of austerity finds itself in the line for funding cuts. 

"MORI research shows one in five people in Scotland visited a local Citizens Advice Bureau in recent years and 98 per cent of clients trust the service and were satisfied with the help we gave them.

We’re cost-effective, with around 75 per cent of the 2,500-strong workforce in our bureaux made up of volunteers.

And we save Scotland money. Independent research shows the work of the Scottish Citizens Advice Service contributes more than £166 million to the common good in Scotland.

Welfare reform, rising energy bills and other increases in the cost of living mean that more and more people need our help. Yet funding for our bureaux is being reduced by the squeeze on sources of income such as local councils."
Please if you can help by giving a donation, skills or your time please have a read of this CAB page.