Feb 172017
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

A football-mad Aberdeen family firm is helping local youngster to gear up for local football festivals. Greenwell Equipment (Greenwell), which is based in East Tullos, has provided high quality track-suit tops and bottoms to 27 boys at Newmachar United Football Club. 

The boys, aged 6-8 years, attend football festivals across the North-east and train at the Newmachar Axis Centre.

Mark Turnbull, managing director of Greenwell, is a big supporter of the club, and his son Cal, age 6, has been playing with Newmachar United FC for over two years.

Greenwell Equipment supplies modular buildings, containers, warehouse shelving and pallet racking and office furniture across the world, and the family run firm employs 15 people.

Managing director Mark is a keen football fan, and played himself as a boy and young man. He has recently started assisting the coaches at the club, with a view to training to becoming a qualified coach.

Mr Turnbull said:

“I am delighted to help out Newmachar United FC. It is a great, local club, which gives youngsters the chance to get some exercise, acquire new skills and learn how to work well in a team. Greenwell Equipment also supports Aberdeen Football Club’s Youth Academy, as we see football as an important local activity and also a great discipline and training ground for young people.”

Derek Reid, one of the coaches for the club said:

“We are really grateful for Mark and Greenwell for their support. We often attend football festivals and the other teams all look great in their kit, so we are thrilled to see our boys all now looking professional. It gives the players a real sense of pride and belonging. Newmachar United FC is an inclusive club, there are no try-outs, and we are open to every child of any ability, so we try to keep our costs to a minimum.

“Kit sponsorship is important as it makes the boys proud to belong to Newmachar United FC, and encourages them to try their best for the team. The cost of football strips, equipment and transport can add up, so we welcome all the support we can get. The boys are delighted with the new, warm track-suits which they are wearing with pride.”

Greenwell Equipment comprises of four divisions, encompassing: Greenwell Warehousing, a supplier of high quality shelving and pallet racking; Greenwell Cabins, a distributor of accommodation and welfare modules; Greenwell Office, a supplier of a wide range of business furniture both new and second-hand, and Greenwell Containers, a supplier of high-quality shipping containers.

Family-run business Greenwell, which has 15 employees, is the North of Scotland official trading partner for Containex modular buildings. Greenwell holds a large stock at its depots across Aberdeen and Angus, enabling the firm to respond quickly to customers’ demands.

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Dec 232016
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Leading north-east transport operator Whytes Coaches will celebrate 50 years in business next year as it makes a long-awaited return to the tours market.
Staff at the Newmachar-based company are putting the finishing touches to a new tour brochure which will be rolled out in the New Year when bookings open for 2017.

The company came under new management earlier this year and is getting its tours business back on the road after a three-year break from the market.

The management team comprising Andrew Urquhart, David Campbell and Jason Carrison, who have between them have been with the company for 30 years, took control of the company in April and were keen to get back in to the tours sector to further diversify the business from coach hire and driver training.

The new tour guide will offer trips across the UK in 2017 and will run from the end of March to the first week of October. Thereafter, a winter programme of Christmas market visits and New Year tours will be available.

Mr Urquhart, who is a grandson of company founders Bill and Nora Whyte, is the driving force behind the company’s decision to re-enter the tours market.

He said:

“We’re very keen to get back in to the coach tours market and are looking forward to an exciting year as the company celebrates 50 years in business.

“The current economic climate and the value of the pound following the Brexit vote are making foreign holidays less attractive to people so we hope to tap in to what should be a buoyant ‘staycation’ market for 2017 as people opt for UK holidays.

“Coach tours have always been popular with north-east residents and we anticipate significant interest from across the region in our exciting tour programme.”

Customers from across the north-east will be able to take advantage of Whytes’ feeder service which provides collection from across the region as the coaches leave from Newmachar.

Once the coaches are on the road south bound pickups will also be available from Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth.

For more information about Whytes Coaches, please visit: www.whytes.co.uk

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Jan 212011
 

Old Susannah has been constantly on the go the past week. Here’s her travelogue…

On Friday I attended most of the public hearing on the Loirston Loch proposal at the Town House. Admittedly, I left before the full meeting ended, so missing Kate Dean’s concluding remarks, but I would have lost the will to live altogether, and I had to be at Peacock for 6pm.

Sorry I only lasted 8 hours at the hearing, but seeing as Kate was doing a great job of being impartial as convener, I left, in the knowledge that the stadium was in safe hands. See the article elsewhere in this edition of Voice.

Next day, the P&J printed an article favouring the stadium development which ignored all the practical problems and local objections, alongside a piece on Cove Rangers being allowed to move to new premises. Of course, these two developments in the Aberdeen footballing world are completely unrelated. Old Susannah must have wandered into a completely different public hearing from the one the P&J wrote about, as I missed the parts that proved how this stadium will not only make us all rich, but also make us the envy of the northern hemisphere. I came away with the subtle feeling that one or two of the residents might not be onside with putting a 21,000 seat stadium on their greenbelt.

The Peacock exhibition features Alicia Bruce’s photographic portraits of the residents facing potential eviction through compulsory purchase, so that Mr Trump can have the world’s most kitsch – sorry – most excellent, perfect, wonderful, swell, expensive golf course. A review and photos of the exhibition is elsewhere in Voice.

Finally, George Galloway and his moustache are in the news this week. He seems to be saying he will end his political career in Scotland. Has no one told him that his political career well and truly ended when he was on Big Brother pretending to be Rula Lenska’s cat?  Respect….?

..and she shares the week’s defining moments in her Dictionary, Part 21

Embezzle

(Verb) To embezzle is to appropriate goods, property or money fraudulently when in a position of power, rather like when we pay Council Tax to local government with the false promise we’ll get something of value in return. Now it looks as if a City Council employee has been taking his work home with him literally – to the tune of somewhere between £300,000 and £400,000. It is understood the person and his wife are now ‘helping police with their enquiries’.

there is no fraud to worry about really, except the odd half million pound case like this one

Yes, it’s hard to understand how our well-run, efficient, properly audited and controlled City could have allowed such a thing to happen; ‘financial impropriety’ and ‘Aberdeen City Council’ are words you’d never expect to hear in the same sentence, I know.

Stringent controls are in place to prevent, for instance, property being sold below market value, property being sold to private developers when the City thinks it is really selling property to the NHS, or building work contract values escalating out of control, and the like. In fact there are ‘Investigation Managers’ and ‘Budget Analysts’ on the City’s efficient payroll.

But relax –  there is no fraud to worry about really, except the odd half million pound case like this one, which clearly is a one-off and will never happen again.

Incandescent (Adjective) Incandescent is the ‘condition of glowing or emitting heat and light’. Indeed, it is often associated with lightbulbs but presumably less so with the new mercury-filled ones which don’t give out quite enough light for my taste. John Major famously took the word ‘incandescent’ and coupled it with his anger, coming up with the phrase, ‘not inconsiderably incandescent with rage’ to describe how he usually felt. This may have been his greatest contribution as Prime Minister, although we might want to ask Mrs Edwina Currie her opinion.

This adjective is still being used by the brightest stars in the political firmament, as no less a luminary than our own Kate Dean has told the press she is incandescent. No, not just her natural glow of warmth, charm and beauty; she is incandescent with anger.

Who’s upset Kate? The Scottish Government transport authorities have had the gall to criticise Aberdeen’s public transport management – the nerve!

outsiders might mistakenly think we have problems. I hope that an apology to Kate is on the way

As if there was anything to criticise. Kate’s main problem is that she didn’t have a chance to defend the City’s sterling record on public transport. The frequent bus services, the low prices, the potholes, the bus lanes.Apparently we’ve created one million pounds worth of bus lanes recently, part of the reason traffic moves so swiftly.

The well thought-out transport arrangements for Union Square and the bus and railway stations are greatly appreciated by people with mobility problems as well as car drivers and bus passengers, who, in rush hour or late night shopping days, can spend ages window-shopping at Union Square from the comfort of their own cars. Building the new AFC stadium is going to add 80 buses at current estimate and 1400 cars to the mix on Wellington Road, pollution levels on which can be higher than national recommended levels, but with the new bus lanes, well, it will be fine.

Part of Ms Dean’s problem is that Aberdeen wasn’t invited to the particular meeting where the criticism was levelled, so she could not defend our excellent system. Clearly a system as perfect as ours would not be able to stand on its own merits for others to marvel at – outsiders might mistakenly think we have problems. I hope that an apology to Kate is on the way.

Joined-up government.

How do things in the public sector work so well?

How do our governors manage to accomplish so much good with our tax money so efficiently?

The answer is that we have ‘joined-up government’.

The term ‘joined-up government’ is defined as ‘a method of governing wherein all departments and branches communicate efficiently with each other and act together purposefully and effectively towards well-defined objectives – but you don’t need me to tell you that’s what you’ve got in the ‘deen.

It is little wonder that international property developers want to come here when they see how ‘joined up’ we are.

It’s hard to pick out just one example pertaining to our government in terms of its ‘joined-up’ thinking, so I’ll take the most recent one. In the P&J on 19 January, there’s a story of how Scottish Enterprise and Aberdeen City Council work in harmony to our benefit.

Peacock Art Gallery, you may recall, had managed to secure a large grant from the Arts Council to build new premises. Like vultures smelling blood, the City and Scottish Enterprise moved in to offer assistance. They assisted Peacock right out of its plans for the Union Terrace Gardens arts centre it had proposed.

But what becomes of the grant from the Arts Council? It’s now probably lost forever, and we have the amusing spectacle of Aberdeen City v Scottish Enterprise. The blame game is on.  Who did what and when is being argued over in the press as these two entities try to blame each other for the loss. Strangely enough, many years back, the Arts Council had ring-fenced a few million for an arts centre in the Castlegate. This money too was lost forever. A deadline approached, and the City Council seems not to have known anything about it, despite having a Council representative attending the relevant meetings. It is little wonder that international property developers want to come here when they see how ‘joined up’ we are. They know when they see examples like the latest drama over Peacock funding unfold, that we are people to be reckoned with – smart, astute business minds working in conjunction. There is no way we will be fooled or taken advantage of when great minds are in control. Not here.

On a serious note

Spare a thought for Sandy Ingram, the 79 year-old man found severely beaten in June of last year. He will now need full-time care, and can never return to the home he knew. Apparently he had seen two men on his property before he was assaulted. Whilst the residents in his area of Newmachar are now more vigilant regarding strangers, and are reporting suspicious behaviour to police, it comes too late for the Ingram family.

Someone out there knows what happened to him which is still a mystery to the rest of us. If you don’t come forward you are as guilty as if you’d hurt this elderly man yourself. And the next time someone else gets permanently injured or worse, you’ll have to live knowing you could have prevented it.

Even if you just suspect something, make an anonymous call. Do the right thing.

Dec 312010
 

By Cllr Martin Ford, Aberdeenshire Council

Decisions by the Westminster and Scottish governments have left Aberdeenshire Council facing its worst budget cuts ever.

For 2011/12, Aberdeenshire Council has no choice but to make cuts in its budget totalling in excess of £30 million. The Council’s funding from the Scottish Government has been reduced and it has had to agree to freeze the Council Tax. In real terms, allowing for inflation, the Council’s Government grant has been cut by more than five per cent

In fact, Aberdeenshire Council’s position is worse than previously thought.

Unexpectedly, just before Christmas, the Scottish Government advised Aberdeenshire Council that the grant figure it had announced for the Council was wrong. Instead of a grant of £426.988 million for 2011/12, Aberdeenshire would be getting more than half a million pounds less, £426.477 million. The Council will have to cut a further £511,000 from its revenue budget for 2011/12 as a result of the Scottish Government’s revision of its grant funding figures.

There is nothing Aberdeenshire Council can do about the level of funding the Scottish Government decides it is to get, and nothing the Council can do about what will come from its other main source of income, the Council Tax (see: Council Tax freeze and many cuts decided, Aberdeen Voice, 26 November 2010).

The task for Aberdeenshire Council is to minimise the impact of the loss of income it now faces on the public services the Council
provides.

The bulk of the saving required in the 2011/12 revenue budget was decided at the full council meeting on 25 November when cuts and efficiencies totalling almost £27 million were voted through by the Council’s Liberal Democrat/Conservative administration.

I am sure many people do not yet realise how the cuts that have been decided will affect them. Standing in the middle of Newmachar the other day, by the village hall, the breadth of the impact of the cuts really came home to me.

I am appalled at what is being done to really important services – and angry because at least the worst of the cuts could so easily have been avoided

Behind me, in the hall car park, were the recycling skips. A cut of £350,000 in spending on information about and promotion of recycling was one of the administration’s budget cuts voted through on 25 November. Optimistically, the administration’s budget for 2012/13 also includes a £500,000 ‘efficiency saving’ achieved through a reduction in the amount of recyclable material going to landfill.

It seems unlikely, to say the least, that cutting virtually the entire budget dedicated to informing people about the importance of recycling will lead the following year to such a dramatic improvement in the recycling rate.

Newmachar village hall is in School Road, a lit street with, by the village hall, a pavement on one side. In the 2011/12 budget, spending on footway maintenance has been cut by £200,000 and the amount allocated to installing dropped kerbs reduced by 50 per cent. Over £100,000 has been docked from spending on testing and maintaining street lights.

Next to the village hall is New Machar School. Provision of classroom assistants in primary schools is to be significantly reduced over the next two years. Spending on classroom assistants is to be cut by 50 per cent (£1.3 million) during 2011 to 2013 and by a further £0.53 million in later years. Spending on primary visiting specialists will be reduced by £200,000 in 2011/12. School devolved budgets are to be cut.

On the opposite side of the road from the village hall is a grass verge on which is sited a dog-waste bin. The administration’s cuts voted through on 25 November include reducing the funding for dog wardens by a third in 2012/13. In 2011/12, £200,000 is to be saved by reducing grass-verge cutting. The budget for village orderlies – a much appreciated service that certainly helped keep towns and villages tidy through the summer – has been cut completely from next year.

Behind the verge opposite the village hall is the cemetery. Spending on grounds maintenance in burial grounds is to be reduced by £130,000 in 2011/12.

Beyond the cemetery is the play park. Spending on maintenance in parks and open spaces is also to be reduced by £130,000 in 2011/12.

Next to the play park is the library. A saving of £80,000 is to be made in 2011/12 by reducing the opening hours of some Aberdeenshire libraries.

Then there are the cuts that don’t show – unless you are a person who depends on the service that is being cut.

I am appalled at what is being done to really important services – and angry because at least the worst of the cuts could so easily have been avoided, had the Scottish Government allowed councils the freedom to decide on their own Council Tax. A two per cent increase in the Council Tax in Aberdeenshire, that is 44 pence per week for a Band D property, would bring in £2.4 million that could be spent on schools or social work. For the cost of a cheap bar of chocolate, cuts to classroom assistants or social care for children could have been avoided.

The Council still has to find around a further £4 million of savings to balance its budget for 2011/12. I hope the administration will work constructively with opposition councillors through the rest of the budget process to minimise the impact of these further cuts on the most crucial Council services.