Feb 072017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Four Scottish youngsters with special needs have received play equipment that will help them build their independence and get out and about in their own communities to socialise and play.
Aberdeen Asset Management granted more than £3,900 to purchase two trikes, a standing frame and a walking frame for youngsters living in the Edinburgh and Aberdeen areas.

The global financial management firm responded to an appeal from Handicapped Children’s Action Group to fund the apparatus, which is not available on the NHS, and at purchase costs averaging £1,000 per  item, is usually cost prohibitive for families to purchase.

The charity receives over 800 referrals a year from health professionals, but only has the funding to help around 180-190 of these cases.

The charity  would love to be able to help every single applicant but with no government funding the charity is dependent on fundraising and the support of organisations like Aberdeen Asset Management to help it provide the much-needed equipment.

Carole Davies from Handicapped Children’s Action Group said:

“A trike gives independence and mobility to a child who has had to rely on an adult for every movement; a walking frame gives a child the ability to get up and walk freely without assistance while a buggy enables a family to take their child into the community without fear of safety issues. Play frames enable a child with autism to play safely and explore in a controlled environment.

“All equipment brings fun, movement, mobility and integration to children all over the country and without the help of people like Aberdeen Asset Management we would be unable to achieve this.”

More than £3,900 was spent on the purchase of two trikes, a standing frame and a walking frame for three children in Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen.

Handicapped Children’s Action Group is a registered charity based in Lincolnshire which assists children and families across the UK. When it started in 1988 it helped about a dozen families a year, but now it helps well over 100 with the purchase of equipment varying in price from £500 to £2,500 per item. Requests come from physiotherapists who recommend that the equipment will help the youngster with day to day living. All the items funded by Aberdeen Asset Management were delivered to families just in time for Christmas.

Euan MacNeish of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Edinburgh charity committee said:

“Equipment provided by Handicapped Children’s Action Group will help give children with special needs the independence and mobility they deserve. Through the support of Aberdeen’s Charitable Committee we hope we are able to give these  children the ability to join in with the activities of children their own age and no longer watch from the side-lines. We are proud to support the local communities in which we operate in this way.”

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Jul 242015
 
Aberdeen, Tuesday, 24th March 2015 Clark Integrated Technologies, Auchterless, Turriff, Aberdeenshire, AB53 8EP (Picture by Michal Wachucik/Newsline Media Ltd)

Austen Clark, managing director of Clark IT. Picture by Michal Wachucik/Newsline Media Ltd

With thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.

Clark Integrated Technologies (Clark IT) is helping businesses in the North and North-east to tap into a government grant of up to £3,000 to enable them to benefit from faster broadband.

Clark IT is participating in the Connection Voucher Scheme (CVS) available to businesses in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and
Inverness.

CVS aims to assist businesses to meet the upfront capital costs of a high speed and high grade broadband connection to the premises.

The CVS covers grants of up to £3,000 for setting up superfast broadband services and is a great opportunity for small and medium enterprises to upgrade their current services and reap the benefits, says Austen Clark, managing director of Clark IT.

“Upgrading broadbrand brings real benefits to businesses and a better connection can help you to boost your bottom line in so many ways,” Mr Clark says.

“This scheme offers businesses, charities, social enterprises and sole traders the potential to benefit from speedier response times, increased staff productivity and perhaps provide real options to migrate to Cloud based solutions such as Office 365 and more.”

Already more than 25,000 vouchers have been issued across the UK, allowing businesses to grow and have the scope to:

  • Increase profits by offering better services to more satisfied customers
  • Improve customer experience with quicker communication and faster file-sharing thanks to higher upload and download speeds, especially for large files
  • Reduce software and hardware costs by helping you switch to online data storage solutions
  • Enhance communication and collaboration through online video conference and cloud-based information sharing
  • Future-proof business with the latest technology to meet customer needs

Broadband Connection Vouchers are available to Small or Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in qualifying areas where installation of a new broadband connection will cost over £100 and where the broadband service selected delivers a speed or performance improvement on the current connection.

Other eligibility rules apply and to find out more about options available to your business, contact Clark IT on 01888 511441 or email  info@clark-it.com

Clark IT has over 20 years of experience in providing industry leading support and delivering business-class technology. The company’s integrated solutions provide industry leading services, productivity and cost effective IT platforms for business growth.

With a client base in both Aberdeen City and Shire, Clark IT has also expanded into the Inverness area.

For more information, see the firm’s website at www.clark-it.com

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Apr 062012
 

Suzanne Kelly, Independent candidate for Torry/Ferryhill in Aberdeen City’s Council elections, speaks out against the Green Party for its apathy over the controversial Tullos Hill roe deer cull, in light of the Greens fielding a candidate in Torry/Ferryhill.

When I was with the Green Party, I explained clearly on several occasions what was wrong with this cull and Aberdeen City’s ‘tree for every citizen’ scheme.

However, the Greens decided that the party was not going to take a stand on this, one of the most controversial environmental and democratic issues in the city.

Some of the longer-serving Green party members sympathised with me, but there were newer members who didn’t see what the big deal was with the city shooting these deer.

I couldn’t believe it, as I’d previously explained and written in detail that the trees are unlikely to grow and the cull is flawed. People wrote to the Greens to ask for their stance on the matter, but still the party didn’t want to stand up against this cull.

I have been campaigning actively to stop this specific roe deer cull for over a year. The Scottish SPCA branded the Tullos cull ‘abhorrent and absurd’ for killing deer to protect trees which don’t even exist yet. Many other animal welfare groups oppose this cull, and thousands of people have signed petitions against it.

Three community councils condemned the consultation and cull last year, and more recently these councils sent an open letter to the city, asking for the scheme to be halted. I don’t believe the trees will grow, as the hill’s soil is very scant and the ground cleared for the planting is extremely rocky, and is covered in industrial and domestic waste (there is a soil report by government officials which confirms this).

Three community councils object to the cull and the city’s so-called ‘consultation’ on the tree scheme. The consultation did not mention deer at all (but it did cover rabbits and rabbit fencing). The consultation also failed to say that a massive 89,000 trees would be put on the hill. No one in the area wants it – and even though the city has started, the opposition will continue.

I’d been writing about this issue for some time, and The Green Party knew that the cull was specifically to plant trees and not for deer welfare issues. I am so very disappointed in the Green Party over this issue.

The Aberdeen Green Party is running a candidate against me in the May elections. I have a chain of emails between members of the Green Party and me from this time last year. Some of the Greens’ comments include:

“I don’t think the party as such should have a position. I certainly don’t want to get involved in this”

“I don’t understand why these 30 deer (or whatever number it actually is) are so different and attracting so much attention.”

“Also within a relatively few miles of Tullos are large numbers of cattle and sheep that will be killed so people can eat them. We do not have a policy of enforced vegetarianism.”

This last statement was particularly, amazingly patronising, and the remark is completely off the point of why these deer are to be killed.

There was no way I was going to stay in the Green Party after this. For a party calling itself ‘green’ to stand idly by while a meadow and its wildlife was destroyed was beyond the pale. How they can possibly stand for election in Torry and expect me to stay silent about their stance is something I can’t understand either.

I have previously explained to a local member and a national member that I would have to publicise how the Greens view Tullos Hill. I did give fair warning that I would go public about how they decided to look the other way concerning Tullos.

I’m happy to have competition in this election, but people need to know the Greens could have helped when it mattered – and didn’t. If I stay quiet, some people will simply think the Greens must care about the hill and the deer – I have to let them know the truth.

The elections are to be held on 3rd May. Torry and Ferryhill will be represented by four city councillors.

I served on the Torry Community Council for three years, and I have always been involved in helping people in my area and further afield whether it be fighting school closures, charity work, or helping some of our older people. One of the newer local Green Party ‘higher-ups’ apparently said ‘Suzanne doesn’t stand a chance of winning.’ Well, I am determined to prove them wrong.

The Peacock Grant And The City Square Project

 Aberdeen City, Articles, Community, Featured, Information, Opinion  Comments Off on The Peacock Grant And The City Square Project
Mar 082011
 

The City Square Project is a highly controversial proposal to replace Union Terrace Gardens with a  three-storey building topped by a modern city square. This week, unlikely as it seems the scheme became more controversial as Mike Shepherd tells Aberdeen Voice.

The latest revelations concern the luckless Peacock Visual Arts (PVA) proposal for Union Terrace Gardens.

The local art group, Peacock Visual Arts, had planned to build a “centre for contemporary arts” in part of the Gardens. The £13.5 million building was to contain a gallery, a TV studio, a print studio, a restaurant and offices for Peacock Staff.

The intention was also to provide a base for Aberdeen City Council’s Arts Development and Arts Education teams as well as extra space for the City Moves dance agency. The project had been awarded funding from Aberdeen Council (£3 million), the Scottish Arts Council (£4.3M) and the Scottish Government body, Scottish Enterprise (£2 million).

See:-  http://www.peacockvisualarts.com/archive/182/over-9m-of-core-funding-now-in-place

After planning permission was granted to Peacock in August 2008 by the Council, Sir Ian Wood then stepped in and in November 2008 announced his own plans for Union Terrace Gardens, a civic square described by him as “a cross between the Grand Italian Piazza and a mini Central Park”.  Scottish Enterprise paid for a technical feasibility study for the City Square Project and then promoted the consultation to gauge public opinion on the issue.  Aberdeen Council now found themselves faced with two projects competing for the same lease of ground.  Councillors later decided at a full Council meeting in May 2010 to support the City Square scheme rather than the Peacock Visual Arts centre.

The Peacock contemporary arts centre was effectively killed off by the May Council vote

In reply to a recent question as to what was spent out of the Peacock grant,  Scottish Enterprise listed £190,000 spent on the technical feasibility study for the City Square Project and  £226,000 spent by Peacock on architect, design and project management costs. No indication is given as to when the agreements to do this were signed off.

See:- http://fraserdenholm.blogspot.com/2011/02/use-it-or-lose-it.html?spref=fb

Thus money intended for the Peacock scheme looks to have been allocated to a feasibility study for a rival project which ended up replacing the Peacock scheme itself as the Council’s preference (Scottish Enterprise, it should be said, have acknowledged that if the PVA plan had been approved they would have honoured the £2 million grant).

It was later reported in a Press and Journal article that Aberdeen Council had secured permission to use a further £375,000 of the grant funding for the City Square Project. What this money is to be used for is not allowed to be, as yet, in the public domain.

See:- http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2153115?UserKey

The Press and Journal  report states that the Peacock grant now stands today at  £1.2 million out of the original £2 million allocated. The grant was left open after the vote in May. According to information provided by Scottish Enterprise the money is nominally available to fund similar projects to the Peacock scheme until the end of March this year, at which point it has to be returned back to central funds.

The Council monitoring officer has been asked to launch an investigation into the matter

The Peacock contemporary arts centre was effectively killed off by the May Council vote. Although Peacock had been asked to locate their arts centre within the proposed city square building, this proved unacceptable to them and there was no chance of an alternative proposal surfacing in time for the March 2011 deadline.

The Council executive confirmed to Scottish Enterprise in November 2010 that the Peacock funding was no longer required; they nevertheless made a request to reallocate the funds to alternative projects under revised terms. Kevin Stewart, the Council’s finance convenor, told the Press and Journal that seven proposals had been drawn up, costed and presented to Scottish Enterprise.

See:- http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2154909

In response to a question I had asked him as to whether the money could be given to Peacock for new facilities, Cllr. Stewart replied that:

“Council officers put forward a number of worthy projects that could use the funding, including Peacock, but these were all rejected by Scottish Enterprise.”

The £1.2 million grant to Aberdeen Council from Scottish Enterprise now looks as if it will have to be returned to central government funds at the end of March. The Council monitoring officer has been asked to launch an investigation into the matter under the Local Government in Scotland Act.

See:- http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2163875

Item Grant Allocated from
the grant
Amount remaining
in grant
Original Peacock Grant 

 

£2 million
Technical Feasibility Studyxx
for the City Square Project 

 

£190,000
Spent by Peacock 

 

£226,000 £1, 584,000  (“£1.6 million)
Additional funding for the
City Square Project (P&J) 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

£375,000

£1,209,000 (“£1.2 million”)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx