Wednesday, November 25, 2015

More Highlanders turning to foodbanks for help

A report going to the Highland Council Resources committee today states: 

"Local figures show that, in the first 8 months (Jan-Aug) of 2015, 3,652 people, including 1,097 children have been provided with three day’s emergency food by Trussell Trust food banks in the Highlands. The number of people referred during the 12 month period in 2013 was 4,056 (inc 1,103 children) and in 2014 was 5,254 (inc 1,340 children); an increase of 30% in demand."

The report also states:

"The Scottish Welfare Fund, administered by the Council, also provides assistance to applicants for food when awarding Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants. Since the implementation of the fund on 1st April 2013, £335,860 has been award specifically for food:
 • 01/04/2013 – 31/12/2013: £47,156 
 • 01/01/2014 – 31/12/2014: £174,202
 • 01/01/2015 – 30/09/2015: £114,502"

The document for councillors is entitled: "Welfare Reform Update" it is a joint report by the Director of Finance and the Director of Community Services. You can download a copy by going  to this Highland Council resources committee page and clicking on item 15.

On Saturday in Nairn there will be a food bank stall outside the Courthouse. Details in the image on the right. 

If you can afford to donate a few items suitable for the foodbank please pop down the street at 10 am on Saturday morning. 

Test pits to be dug at former Kingsteps Quarry to ensure site can be used safely by the public

A press release from Highland Council:

The Highland Council is carrying out further ground investigations at the former Kingsteps Quarry in Nairn, which will be undertaken by specialist contractors commencing at the beginning of December.

During the two week survey period public access will be maintained at all times, although localised restrictions may be necessary for short periods. The work comprises excavation, by hand and mini-digger, of trial pits across the site and is being carried out to ensure the site can be used safely by the public as an amenity area in the long term.

Findings of the ground investigations are expected to be reported around the beginning of March 2016.

Results from a radiological survey carried out earlier in the year showed that although some naturally occurring radiation was identified, there was no indication of radium recorded. The survey was a precautionary measure due to anecdotal evidence of possible buried World War 2 military aircraft at the site. If present, aircraft parts disposed of may have contained very small amounts of radioactive contamination in the form of luminised paint which was used on dials on wartime planes.

The 4.2 hectare site at Kingsteps Quarry is owned by the Council and was acquired in 2001 (at no cost) from the neighbouring Lochloy Housing developer. The site was formerly a sand and gravel quarry and then used as an unregulated local dump. There are informal paths on the site used by locals for dog walking and countryside amenity.

Staff in the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Service and the Council’s Contaminated Land Unit have been liaising with SEPA, and local Ward Members.

Speaking on behalf of the Nairn Ward, Councillor Michael Green, Member of the Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee said: “I am comfortable that the due processes are being followed and I look forward to the findings of the survey being reported in due course in March next year.”

Once all survey results have been analysed - and if required - appropriate actions will be taken to remediate the area for continued public access. If required, the Council will apply to the Scottish Government for Vacant and Derelict Land Funding to improve the site.

Nairn County operating loss - first time since season 2010/11 - Wednesday night fixtures blamed

Chairman Peter Mackintosh is adamant he knows why too:

"Observing on the outturn, I am disappointed to report an operating loss of some £6,100 which is the first loss we have experienced since 2010/11. Analysing the reason for the loss, it can be attributed to the imposition by the SHFL of introducing a series of midweek fixtures during the opening months of the playing season. Each of the selected home midweek fixtures were, by record, high revenue earners. Consequently, financial recovery over the remaining Saturday fixtures of the season proved impossible."

More on the Nairn County website where the chairman's statement for December has been published. 

The Big Christmas Lunch and Nairn 101

Morag and Helena told the Gurn:

"Nairn 101 is a community enhancement initiative, with a view to Gathering together curious people of Nairn and local area, to think, be and do something more - exploring what is possible, exchanging stimulating ideas, challenging pre-conceptions, creating new awareness.  How much fun can we have being ourselves and changing the world? Lets see!

Nairn101 launched on 18 September with an event at The Little Theatre in Fishertown, where we enjoyed some amazing speakers, and also heard from other fabulous speakers from TED talks (online) - inspiring ideas, experiences, thoughts, insights.    One of the ideas hatched  was to hold a Big Lunch in the community, to get people together round a table to talk and know each other more  and thereby contribute to a happy, healthy, connected community.

At our in-between get-together on Friday 13 November, ideas gelled for a Big Christmas Lunch, for anyone who wanted to come - for whatever reason.   We had heard that the United Reformed Church was already hosting coffees, lunches and community activities, including a Christmas Lunch, so it seemed perfect in that there is already a precedent, plus the space is fabulous - light, bright and open.   We are delighted that it fits for everyone!

So we are excited about offering a lunch open to all - free, sit down and tasty - donated by our generous community - for anyone who would enjoy a true spirit of Christmas, being present together - whether people are alone, wondering about cost of feeding themselves or their family, or simply wanting to do a different or something more  Christmas!  All welcome, and anything is possible! Including take-away for neighbors, family members or anyone who would enjoy or be grateful for nourishment on Christmas Day.  If youd like to bring contribution to the meal, please do!  And who knows what is possible?"

More on the Nairn 101 site here and also the facebook page here. 

"Highland motor neurone disease sufferer’s emotional plea to safeguard his care"

Nairn pensioner Michael Laycock is among 18 people in the Highlands whose lives are slowly succumbing to the incurable condition of motor neurone disease - he speaks to the P&J's Iain Ramage  the video is on P&J site here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Police appeal for information following death of red kite

Police are appealing for information following the death of a red kite in the Nairn area.

The kite was discovered by a member of the public on farmland in the Glenferness area at the end of October. Police were contacted with immediate action being taken to establish the cause of death. Subsequently, test results returned this week have confirmed the bird had ingested an illegal pesticide.

Commenting on the investigation, Area Commander Chief Inspector Colin Gough said:

"Sadly it has been confirmed the red kite had died as a result of consuming a poisonous substance and an investigation is now taking place into the circumstances. It appears to be an isolated incident involving a single bird of prey. Police Scotland and partners are committed to tackling wildlife crime and will utilise all available resources to bring those responsible to justice."

"Investigations into wildlife crime can be very complex and challenging, with a major part of our enquiries involving liaising with members of the local community who may hold essential information.

"We would appeal to anyone who has any information to make contact as a matter of urgency via 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111"

Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations for RSPB Scotland said:

"It is very disappointing to hear of yet another incident of raptor persecution in this area. It is thoroughly depressing that in 21st century Scotland, there are still those who have a Victorian attitude towards birds of prey, as well as a criminal disregard of the law.

"The continued targeting of our raptors is a stain on our country’s reputation and has no place in modern Scotland. I urge anyone who has information about this incident to contact the police as soon as possible."

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Red kite found dead near Nairn had eaten illegal pesticide"

"A red kite found dead in the Highlands last month had eaten an illegal pesticide, it has emerged.

Police Scotland said the bird of prey was found near Nairn at the end of October."  More on the BBC site. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christmas Lights switch-on entertainment Friday 27th November from 6 pm

A comprehensive programme of festivities planned for Friday November 27th in Nairn. Details in the poster below. Michael Green told the Gurn:

"As per the attached programme , there will be a Santa’s Grotto distributing free gifts, pantomime characters ( Calamity Jane @ The Little Theatre ), elves and musical entertainment

There will be a professional fireworks display from Scotland’s premier fireworks exponent. Hot food and drinks will be available outside the Classroom and the roads will be shut off from 5.00pm onwards.

All in all, it’s going to be a another great night of Nairn festive entertainment and cheer."

Here's how it looked last year. The Gurn understands however that there will be no Christmas Tree Festival in Saint Ninian's Kirk  as permission was refused for this year. 

Voting for local good causes to receive a cash windfall on the Co-op website

There are three awards for the Nairn area - £2500, £1500 and £1000 - all three on the final shortlist will get something but in which order those sums are distributed depends upon the popular vote. The projects are improved Disabled access to Nairn County Football Club, a project tackling loneliness from the British Red Cross and Computers for the Nairn Hydrotherapy Pool. You can read more about these projects and vote here but you will need a Co-op membership number - you can get one of those here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Despite "committee fatigue" Tom nan Clach windfarm community benefit agreed and memorandum of understanding signed

Last Monday night at the regular meeting of Cawdor Community Council it was revealed that from 2019 the Cawdor area will receive £60,000 per annum from the Tom nan Clach wind fram developement the benefit will last 25 years and will also be index linked. Since then the developers have issued a press release: 

"On behalf of Nanclach Limited, wind farm developer Infinergy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with all of the communities surrounding the Tom nan Clach Wind Farm development. 

Tom nan Clach Wind Farm, a joint venture between Infinergy and Cawdor Estates which was consented in July 2013 has a community benefit fund set at the Scottish Government’s recommended level of £5000 per MW of installed capacity, equivalent to around £195,000 per year for the 25 year life of the wind farm.

The communities involved; Cawdor & West Nairnshire, East Nairnshire, Strathdearn, Carrbridge, Dulnain Bridge and Grantown on Spey & the Dava have been working with the developer for a number of years to decide how best to manage such a fund, which will be delivered on the first anniversary of the commissioning of the wind farm in 2019. 

Esbjorn Wilmar, Managing Director of Infinergy said: “We are delighted that the communities have been able to work together to come to an agreement about the distribution of the funds.”

“Whilst this process has been a lengthy one, we felt from the outset that it was right to bring all concerned around the table to make a decision rather than imposing a management structure that might not have been effective in delivering benefits to local people.”

Tom nan Clach Wind Farm currently has consent for 17 turbines, each with an installed capacity of 2.3MW, but a grid connection date of 2018. Wind turbine technology and design principles have evolved and improved a great deal in the last three years and so, given the time available between consent and connection to the grid, the site has been the subject of further research and environmental studies. This has enabled a redesign with 4 fewer turbines that, with an increase in tip height of 15m, will deliver substantially more renewable energy and reduce the environmental impacts on site. An application for the 13 turbine repowering, with a total combined capacity of 39 MW, has now been submitted as a Major Development Application to The Highland Council and is expected to be determined in the coming months. 

Once constructed, the wind farm will start to make important contributions to the ambitious renewable energy targets that have been set by both The Highland Council and the Scottish Government as part of their policy to ensure greater diversity and security of electricity supplies.

At that time this joint venture with Cawdor Estates will also enable further investment into the area by the land owner, as a long-term stakeholder, providing income and sustaining jobs both directly and indirectly.

Picture shows some of the local CC members on a visit to Moy wind farm with Eneco
Fiona Milligan, Inverness-based Project Manager for Infinergy, said: “Whilst our original idea was to have one single fund representing the communities, as with other wind farm funds in the area, discussions with those communities brought up a number of issues, including ‘committee fatigue’. We wanted to make sure that whatever solution we arrived at, it would be one that best served the communities for the future and I believe we have reached just such a solution.” 

“By signing up to a Memorandum of Understanding, the communities and the developer have made a commitment to working together to ensure Tom nan Clach Community Benefit fund is able to contribute to stronger and more sustainable communities for the long term.”

Margaret Robertson, outgoing interim Chair of Cawdor and West Nairnshire Community Council, said: “Each of the communities surrounding Tom nan Clach is at a different stage in terms of community planning and we certainly felt that our needs would be best served by agreeing a set share of the fund so that we know exactly how much money we have to work with annually and be able to plan for large projects in the future.”

Vivian Roden, Chair of the Strathdearn Community Council added: “Committee ‘fatigue’ is an issue in a small community like Strathdearn, and so we are delighted that Infinergy was able to work with us to deliver a community benefit fund solution that suits our needs and those of the other parties involved.” "

Friday, November 13, 2015

Can you help decorate Nairn's Christmas trees on Thursday 26th November?

Laura from the "Nairn Rocks!" group tells the Gurn:

"The two main christmas trees in Nairn will be decorated by local children, families and grown ups on Thursday 26th November, to coincide with the Christmas lights being switched on the following night.

Everyone on the Thursday is invited to come down with hanging decorations between 3pm and 5pm to help make the trees outside the Royal Bank and Castle Square look beautiful and festive. 

If anyone would like to donate decorations beforehand, The Inside Scoop on the High Street has a box for them. They will also be giving hot chocolates to every child who takes part. The whole idea is to create some festive community spirit and make Nairn Christmasy this Christmas!"

Nairn Rocks will also be organising an event in the Showfield next summer, more details on the group's Facebook page here.

Note: flashback to December 2013 when River CC and the Nairn when you were a bairn group decorated the trees - more here. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A good night in Grantown for the Wee County

County's recent change of form continues with another win. They achieved their highest score of the season last night as they put seven past Strathspey. All eyes now on the game away to Inverurie Locos on Saturday and then the North Cup Final on the 21st against Wick up at Brora. 

Recently the County were languishing in 11th place in the league, last night's result saw them climb into fifth spot.

Community Council round-up 2) Nairn River

Another local Community Council had its last meeting this week before the change over of membership. Some old faces at Nairn River CCwill be staying on but a few also will not be there when the new Council has its first meeting. 

Tommy Hogg and his colleagues held their last meeting of the current term in the URC hall and a presentation was made to long serving member and current secretary of the organisation Stephanie Whittaker. Stephanie has been on River CC for 11 years. Tommy said:

"Our current Secretary, Stephanie, has decided to call it a day. She's been with us for a long, long time. She's done a tremendous amount of work in that period. She's put in a power of different contributions and I'm really sorry to see her go."

To a round of applause Stephanie was then presented with a bouquet of flowers. 

Stephanie told the meeting that Nairn she owed Nairn a tremendous debt as it had been a fantastic place to live over the 32 years she had been here and she hoped that she had paid some of that back over 11 years.

The meeting then had quite a full programme and went on to discuss South Nairn in detail and the meeting between community councillors and the planning department next week on the 17th. The planners have hired Transport Consultants and will be going to that meeting with data from the latest traffic assessment. Those present, both councillors and members of the public highlighted the concern that any development at South Nairn would have on the dangerous situation for pedestrians and traffic on the Cawdor Road. There was also concern that the town's infrastructure could not cope with development in that area and that there is no link from that area to the proposed bypass. Tommy said that he had signed a joint letter from all three of the town's present community council chairs to the planning department outlining the terms under which they were prepared to attend this consultation. One member expressed exasperation that the community had to go through all this again. 

There then followed debate about the paddling pool. More about this on the Gurn later this week if time permits. 

This time round River CC had seven planning applications to consider although only two of them were discussed by those present. First up was the Parkdean application to turn part of the present East Beach car park into a touring and camping area with the construction of a shower block next to the existing toilets. 
Those present had concerns which seemed to centre mainly on the terms and conditions of the lease being proposed - they wanted to know more basically. The members agreed to write to Highland Council with their concerns. 

There was some debate about the proposed turning/delivery area at the new restaurant on the site of the Sandancer but although the question of tarmacking over a part of the grassed area at the harbour was raised most members seemed to be happy with the  addition to the restaurant development. The question of how the revised access might impact on the  of the Kayak Club and Sailing Club's plans for the area that is currently enclosed by wire fencing was raised however. The Gurn understands that the Sailing Club also met last night to discuss the application. 

And that was it - well there were a few other things we hope to mention if time permits later this week. The date of the next meeting for the new Council is not known yet. 

Community Council round-up 1) Cawdor

On Monday night, the Cawdor and West Nairnshire CC had its final meeting prior to the new council forming post-election. They had a fairly short programme which included an update on the Whitebridge situation from Michael Green. There was discussion about safer routes to school and the Pineneuk bus shelter. On the agenda too was the Tom na Clach windfarm community benefit. Fiona Milligan, the Project Manager for the scheme, was present. It will be 2019 before the Cawdor area sees the first community payment but it will amount to £60,000 and will last 25 years and will also be index linked. There will have to be some sort of local management device in place however. The Chair also stated that they had made a donation to the Nairn Christmas lights. 

Stevie Webster outlined a programme of events for the Christmas week including a traditional children’s party and a ladies night fashion show. Highland Councillor Kate Stephen and Stevie Webster then made a presentation to outgoing councillor Margeret Robertson. Stevie told the meeting that Margaret had served twelve and a half years on the Community Council. She had agreed to be the Chair, after the resignation of Tim Smith earlier this year, only after it was suggested to her that it would be a quiet summer. Of course what was to happen only 2 weeks into her term of office was that the Whitebridge issue would come to the fore. 

Margaret said: “It’s been a privilege, it’s had its moments but I quite enjoyed it.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Drew Hendry MP Facebook Q&A session until 8 pm tonight 11/11/2015

Drew answering questions online here. 

"One for the ladies" - The Nairn St Ninian FC fun-filled fundraising calendar priced £10.00

Photographer Ian MacRae has put a wee taster of the calendar on facebook - you can see it here. 

He states on the social network: 

"The fun filled Nairn St Ninian FC calendar which has its official launch at The Intoxicating Tea Party held in The Seaforth Club on Saturday 14th November starting at 4.00pm, the calendar is priced at £10.00 & would make an ideal Xmas present it features the players who did all the modeling in various 12 months of posing with each month sponsored by a Nairn business, you are guaranteed a laugh once you see it GIRLS !"

We hear too that the Intoxicating tea party is now a sell out although there is a waiting list for any tickets that become available. More here on the club's facebook page.  

An idea for Nairn businesses - going offshore?

"When independent traders in a small Welsh town discovered the loopholes used by multinational giants to avoid paying UK tax, they didn’t just get mad.

Now local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”."

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Police wish to identify van driver who may have seen fatal accident in Nairn on Thursday 29th October

"At around 15:30 hours on Thursday 29 October 2015, police in Nairn received a report of a serious road traffic collision involving a heavy goods vehicle and two female pedestrians, near to the pedestrian crossing on Academy Street in the town centre.

Sadly, Margaret Ritchie (80) from Inverurie died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.

It has been identified that a red Mercedes Sprinter-type van which was travelling east, stopped immediately after the collision within the entrance to the Fire Station and the driver exited, before assisting at the scene.

It is anticipated that the driver may have witnessed the collision or have valuable information that would be of benefit to the Road Policing Unit officers, who are investigating the collision.

Police would therefore seek this opportunity to ask the driver of the van to contact them on 101."

A96 Nairn Traffic problems - Transport Scotland recently agreed to put their data in the public domain but when will that happen?

On 1st November we reported: "At the meeting of Nairn West Community Council last Tuesday night in the Academy, the Secretary Brian Stewart told his colleagues that Transport Scotland had agreed to have a consultative meeting with the members of the Community Councils to discuss “what to do about the Traffic Lights”. The consultative meeting was to take place the next day Wednesday 28th of October. No word of what happened at that meeting has yet entered the public domain - did Transport Scotland respond to local concerns? Perhaps we will find out soon." Full article here.

Last night at Cawdor a little more information about that meeting between Transport Scotland and Nairn Councillors emerged but the public still has no details of what Transport Scotland had to say at that meeting. 

Last night at Cawdor Community Council's regular meeting, the last of the current term, the members discussed the recent decision of Highland Council to move the WhiteBridge project up the capital programme. Chair Margaret Robertson asked Michael Green for an update. 

Michael expressed his delight that the project had moved up the capital programme. He praised the effort of the community groups, Cllrs Stephen and Balfour and Highland Council officials. He said a time table would appear detailing the next stages in the process: the planning, the implementation, the starting work. He said meetings would now be on a less frenetic basis than prior to the decision. 

He then spoke about the WhiteBridge from a Nairn perspective:

“There are going to be serious implications for the traffic flow going through Nairn. The figures that we are talking about are 50 or 80 artics a day which is the figure that has gained some currency. It is going to cause real problems I would suggest.

At a recent meeting two weeks ago with senior Transport Scotland officials (and we meet with them twice a year). I made the point that it’s no good solutions coming forward from the community, that’s not our job. We have to live with the effects of the decisions that are made. Now, the blue tooth monitoring of the situation and that’s why I was stressing why we need to get this information out to the Community Councils about traffic flows through Nairn. So we can establish what the situation is just now; it’s not just anecdotal, it’s actually qualitative data that should be in the public domain and will be coming into the public domain. 

[...]The combination of the information that we already have on the A96 and the work that the Highland Council will be doing. I tasked them and I said: “You are the professionals. You guys have the information. You must come forward with plans to ameliorate the effects.” [...] Whether it’s they decommission and they set several sets of traffic lights. They have got the knowledge, they have got the expertise. So I’m looking to them in the spring to come forward with solutions. We are facing a pretty dreadful two years. We saw what happened when Scottish Gas unilaterally decided to cross the A96 over a weekend – it was actual gridlock. So we don’t want to go through that on a long term basis. The ball is very firmly in Transport Scotland’s court and working in conjunction with the Highland Council I would have every expectation because that is their job, to come up with solutions.”

Margaret Robinson then said: “Well the figures 50-80 are based on actual crossing figures over the bridge currently, that’s daily of HGV or over 18 tonne. So these vehicles will have to find another route. Whether they actually all come along the preferred route through Nairn or find alternatives we won’t know until the weight restriction order goes on but it’s potentially quite serious for Nairn.”

When asked if it was incumbent on Transport Scotland to put the meeting data into the public domain or whether councillors could do that Michael replied that there had been an agreement that the information would be put out on a regular basis. He continued:

“I cited this as an example of the difficulties that communities have if agencies adopt a sort of secret squirrel approach – it doesn't help. Transport Scotland were very keen to get this information out into the public domain via the community councils and the press on a regular basis. [...] So that will be happening. Why is there a delay? That was over two weeks ago. I haven’t received the data yet. I’m not quite sure why that hasn’t happened because I left that meeting with the agreement that it would be forwarded to me. I’ll be following that up bit that will happen because that was agreed.”

Monday, November 09, 2015

"Walking football" coming to Nairn - on Tues November 17th

A new sport being tried out by Nairn Sports Club. We're told:

  "Walking Football is steadily catching on all over the country and is a great way for older folk, including ex-footballers, to stay active and share stories and experiences at the same time. The rules are basically the same as the 'real thing', except you must walk. not run (quite difficult in reality!) nor kick the ball above waist height."

Local loon at the British Junior Squash Championships

David Clem of Nairn Sports Club tells the Gurn:

Up and coming Nairn junior Squash player, Harry Barron, entered the Boys Under 15 Technifibre British Junior Squash Championships in Manchester recently with Alasdair Prott of Inverness. This competition is one of the premier Tournaments of the England squash calendar and is an important step up in performance for Harry. As he was not on the England Squash ranking system he was placed in the qualifying draw which required him to win both his qualifying matches to progress to the final 16 of the draw.

His first opponent in the qualifying draw withdrew so Harry went forward to play Harry Little of Northumbria. A fired up Barron won a tight match 3-0 which put him through to final 16.

His next opponent was Harry Anderson who was ranked No 6 in England. The match was a long, gruelling tight fought affair which Harry, being un-seeded, was not expected to win. However, Barron had not read the script and, after 45 mins, won the match 3-2 (12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7). This was a tremendous effort on his part and gave him increased confidence for the quarter finals.

His next opponent was Louie Martin from Sussex. In the first game Harry was leading 6-0 when he received an injured hamstring during a clash with his opponent during a rally. This, unfortunately, adversely affected his game and he lost 3-1. The injury affected him for the rest of the weekend so that he won one and lost two of his remaining matches. His final position in the Tournament was 14th which he found a disappointment after his earlier performance. However, he has gained a wealth of experience from his first visit to a high level tournament, next year may be a different matter. One of the reasons for his spectacular rise up the rankings has to be due to the expert coaching of Malcolm and Garry McKay plus the fact that he is also in the Scottish Squash Highland squad who train every Friday in Inverness.

Al Prott from Inverness was seeded 2nd and went through to the final without dropping a game in any of his matches, however, he met Jared Carter, the English No 1, and lost 3-0 in the final

It’s great to see Highland Junior Squash players performing at a high level in national competitions and is a real incentive to our large group of young players. Watch this space.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Remembrance Sunday Nairn 2015 - pictures Murray MacRae

Individual images here. 

Nairn 3 Forres 1 pictures by Donald Matheson, Kenny MacLeod and Mashy Young - plus some Gurn video

Images and a few minutes of video from yesterday's home Derby win that saw County climb up the league to 7th place. Another chance for three points at Strathspey on Wednesday night and then a game away to Inverurie on Saturday. Fans are optimistic that the good form will continue towards the North Cup final between the Wee County and Wick Academy on the 21st - that is to be played at Brora's ground and will be quite a day. Wick must be the favourites at the moment given their recent result against us but it is the cup. It will be one big occasion with predictions of as many as a thousand Wick fans making the trip across the County line to the home of their rivals. They would like nothing more than the memory of their team running round Brora holding the North Cup but County will have every intention of overturning that scenario.

Click the read more tab for the images

Saturday, November 07, 2015

"Consultation" - something that communities get from those with the real power?

This week the West Highland Press's Gaelic columnist Angus Peter Campbell featured his thoughts on "consultation" in his weekly article. Here's part of what he said - in Gàidhlig for those Garlicky Gurnites first:

 "Seo an rud: nam biodh cumhachd aig na coimhearsnachdan mar bu chòir, cha bhiodh feum sam bith air “cocomhairleachadh”, oir chan fheumadh na h-ùghdarrasan faighneachd airson beachdan – bhiodh na coimhearsnachdan cheana air innse dhaibh."

"This is the thing: if communities had the power that they should have, there would be no need of "consultation", because the authorities would not need to ask for opionions - the communities would have already told them."

Nairn Healthcare News - November 2015

November Newsletter from Nairn Healthcare 


Nairn Healthcare would like to wish our Cardiovascular Nurse, Liz Batstone, a long and very happy retirement. Liz has been a member of the NHG team for 27 years and will be missed by both patients and staff.

Scottish Cervical Screening Programme

Cervical screening aims to reduce the likelihood of cervical cancer in women by detecting pre-cancerous cervical changes and we would like to encourage more women to attend for their check-up. Women aged between 20- 60 are invited to have a cervical smear every three years.

From April 2016, the eligible age range will change to 25-64 years with 25-50 year olds being screened every 3 years and 51 – 64 year olds every 5 years.

Bowel Screening

New reports show that bowel screening has been a success last year with 63% of our patients aged between 50-74 years old undertaking the simple test.

The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme aims to reduce mortality from bowel cancer by detecting the condition as early as possible. A home screening kit is sent to patients aged 50-74 years every two years.

For more information about the Bowel Screening Programme, you can call them on 0800 0121 833 or visit their website:

Phone Options

From the 14th November, Nairn Healthcare will have a new phone system. This will give you the option to communicate with the person most appropriate to deal with your call whether it’s booking an appointment, looking for blood test results or a general enquiry.

Text Message Reminder Service
In the next few weeks, Nairn Healthcare will be launching a new texting software to remind patients of any upcoming appointments at the GP Practice. A message will be sent to all mobile numbers we have on record to inform you once we are going live. If you wish to not be included in this service, please email the Practice on to opt out.


Nairn Healthcare welcomed the Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) to the surgery for a week at the beginning of October. NHG staff from all levels, pharmacists and our three patients, Dick Youngson, Karen Henderson and Chris Meecham, took the opportunity to attend. The aim was to improve patient access to the surgery and to ensure that our patients are able to see the right person at the right time. We were also hoping to inform patient’s of other services that are available to them and possibility more appropriate such as the chemist and the MATS service.

Our main focus was to reduce appointment waiting times, have the workplace as well organised as we can and work together with the local pharmacies to improve prescription processes.


With the help of RPIW, Nairn Healthcare found many areas that required improvements.

The self-check in machines are rarely used therefore we will now have a receptionist walk the floor to encourage patients to use this fantastic service that isn’t getting taking advantage of. The receptionist will be available to help so why wait in a queue when you really don’t have to!

We have just done our initial launch of the text message reminder service. This will be up and running very shortly. If you wish to opt out of the service, please email or call 01667 452096. We can only send texts to those who have provided us with their mobile number so again, if you wish to be a part of this service, please let us know!

The surgery also has a lot of patients who “do not attend” pre-booked appointments. In one week alone, we had 110 patients not attend the surgery. This resulted in 18 hours of clinician time being wasted in one week. We have brought out a new policy for frequent non-attenders to now receive an initial letter and if they continue to not attend their appointments, will be penalised and the Practice will be allocating their future appointments, the patient will no longer have a choice of date nor time.


We have implemented the new phone options which will start on the 14th November to direct patients to the most appropriate receptionist to deal with their query.

We will also have a duty Healthcare Assistant for urgent blood tests and ECG checks. This will free up some GP time and save patients having to re-book an appointment at a later date. We have also added an extra 22 weekly HCA appointments.