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Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Martin Ford.

Two planning enforcement notices have been served by Aberdeenshire Council on Avant Homes in respect of the former Kingseat Hospital development near Newmachar.
The action by the Council’s planning service follows a report on Kingseat, instigated by East Garioch councillor Martin Ford, that went to the Garioch Area Committee in June.

Cllr Ford has welcomed the decision to serve enforcement notices. He said:

“I am very pleased by the response from the Council’s planning service to the Member Promoted Issue report on Kingseat discussed at the Garioch Area Committee in June. Actions are now being taken that will put real pressure on the main site owner to complete at least some of the outstanding planning requirements.”

The planning enforcement notices served relate to the storage of spoil and materials and failure to install a play park, required from the developers as part of the overall Kingseat planning permission. The developer has 12 weeks from 20 October to clear the spoil storage area and create a new open space including play equipment.

If the developer wishes to appeal the enforcement notices, it must do so by 19 October.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“Under the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, councillors are not allowed to press for particular planning enforcement actions. Such decisions are for officers in the planning service. The decisions officers have now taken regarding Kingseat have my wholehearted support.

“I do think Aberdeenshire Council was far too passive for far too long in dealing with the stalled development at Kingseat. Of course, the Council cannot simply order the developers to complete the whole development, it doesn’t have that power. But the Council can proactively pursue obligations the developers have under the legal agreements associated with planning permissions, and take enforcement action over non-compliance with those permissions.

“There is clearly now a new determination to use the powers the Council does have to try to force the main site owner to undertake further work stipulated by the permissions granted and agreements signed. That has got to be very welcome.”

Aberdeenshire Council hopes Avant Homes will comply with the enforcement notices. In the event of non-compliance, officers in the Council’s planning service will decide what action to take. This could include the Council undertaking the work required and recovering costs from Avant Homes and reporting Avant Homes to the procurator fiscal for non-compliance.

The Council is also reviewing other options for action to get work progressed at Kingseat, including Avant Homes’ obligations under Section 75 legal agreements.

In order to preserve the historically important former hospital site, Aberdeenshire Council granted planning permission for a mixed use development at Kingseat in December 2004. The first new homes at Kingseat were completed on 21 February 2006 – so some residents have now been living in an unfinished development for over eleven years. The lack of a play park is just one very obvious failure by the main site developer.

The Council’s long-standing policy on preserving the historic buildings at Kingseat is reflected in the agreed development brief for the site.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“The goal has to be to get the whole development finished and see the fine buildings that are currently derelict brought back into use.”

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Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

With just a few days to go before the round one pound coin ceases to be legal tender, a leading north-east cancer charity is urging people to donate their old coins.
CLAN Cancer Support is encouraging people to clear out their piggy banks and hunt down the back of sofas and support the charity in the process by donating their old coins.

The new 12 sided £1 coin was brought into circulation in March 2017 and has security features to combat counterfeiting.

From October 15 the existing coins will no longer be legal tender but can be given to charity or handed into banks or Post Offices.

Fiona Fernie, Head of Income Generation and Business Development at CLAN Cancer Support, believes donations received from £1 coins stored in people’s piggy banks and car gloveboxes could help make a real difference in the coming months.

She said:

“The Government estimates that £1.3bn worth of coins are stored in savings jars across the country, about a third of which are £1 coins. If just a fraction of that total was donated to charitable organisations it could make a huge difference.

“We are encouraging people to have a look in all their old purses and wallets and down the back of sofas and donate what they find to CLAN. Each £1 we receive will help to support people affected by cancer in communities across north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.

“By donating just £25 you can help to fund breakfast for one day for everyone staying in CLAN Haven, our bed and breakfast facility which provides accommodation for people travelling to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for cancer related treatment.

“Every single donation we receive helps us to continue to provide valuable wellbeing and support services for people affected by cancer.”

CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort, support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness.

Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Banchory, Elgin, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Lossiemouth, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

For further information about CLAN Cancer Support please call (01224) 647 000 or visit www.clanhouse.org

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Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, PR and Marketing Manager at Think PR.

Two young professionals based in the North East have launched an entirely new approach to people and asset resourcing, which they believe has the potential to provide massive cost savings to the oil and gas industry.

Having recently won the backing of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Leximo is the brainchild of Alex Crossland and Simon Patterson, both of whom are passionate about facilitating a cultural shift in employment patterns, how company assets are maximised and how innovators collaborate.

Leximo comprises three online platforms.

LexiResource is helping businesses and individuals improve their workforce and career flexibility; LexiEdge adopts the key characteristics of the Circular Economy, enabling companies across a wide range of sectors to communicate asset requirements and availability, including equipment, tools and facilities; and Lexi-X will provide clear visibility of company and industry innovation challenges, providing the opportunity for companies and academia to collaborate in order to focus resource and expertise to deliver commercially viable solutions.

Leximo co-founder Alex Crossland describes the impetus behind Leximo:

“Simon and I have spent several years realising that there are flaws in restrictive traditional resourcing models whether the requirement is skills, assets or ideas. A fundamental lack of communication is hindering some obvious cost efficiencies. With that in mind, we are in talks with a number of oil and gas industry bodies, all of whom are keen to adopt and promote the Leximo approach.

“We’re all familiar with the process of online connection between a requirement and an offering – think airbnb, or any online retail system for example. In the context of the North Sea oil and gas industry, Leximo is allowing businesses to survive downturns and maximise upturns, by gaining access to resources and expertise that may not previously have been possible due to costs or lack of contacts.”

Aberdeen-based ITCA Training is amongst the first companies to adopt the Leximo approach. Managing Director, June Jones explains:

“We are excited to have ITCA’s course and resource availability already published on Leximo and look forward to starting our pre-apprenticeship learners on their career journey by engaging them with the platform. Leximo is an extremely forward-thinking innovation for marketing all types of resources, which has great potential to meet business and individual needs.”

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Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Organisers of Nuart Aberdeen have made a ‘call for walls’ to identify city centre sites for new street art murals to be developed when the festival returns in 2018.
The international award-winning festival made its debut earlier this year and a team of globally acclaimed artists showcased their talents by producing powerful murals attracting large crowds over the Easter weekend.

Nuart Aberdeen was brought to the city by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired and Aberdeen City Council, and was supported by main sponsor Burness Paull LLP.

In anticipation of the festival returning next year, work is already underway to find prospective new walls to use next year and the festival project team are keen to hear from property owners and business that would like to be involved.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Nuart Aberdeen festival and it has been truly transformational, attracting significant footfall over the summer months. 

“We are delighted that the festival will be coming back and the festival team has started work to identify prospective new walls in the city centre for street artists to use next year. I’d encourage property owners and businesses in the city centre who would like to be considered to contact us.

“Already we have noted interest from city centre businesses, however we want to maximise this opportunity to shape Nuart Aberdeen 2018.”

Held in the Norwegian city of Stavanger since 2001, and widely regarded as the world’s leading celebration of street art, Nuart Aberdeen was the first overseas version of the festival.

Martyn Reed, director and curator of Nuart, said:

“The artists, team and partners had an incredible first year in Aberdeen, a truly remarkable event that we took a lot of credit and accolades for alongside our partners, Aberdeen Inspired.

“It’s always a little humbling taking credit for Nuart, because the reality is, the event is a huge collaborative undertaking between so many different talented and passionate individuals and partners. This is where our ‘call for walls’ comes in. It’s a truly democratic way to have the public and local businesses involved in where the art might be placed.

“We can’t wait to see what comes in and to get feedback from artists who will be with us next year. We’ll be in town shortly to scout locations, and the more options we get the better.”

Shaun Hose, Assistant Director of Rockspring, which owns Aberdeen Indoor Market, which was the centrepiece of the inaugural festival has encouraged property owners to come forward.

He said:

“Rockspring have been fortunate enough to work with Nuart on three artworks which exceeded our expectations. The art is now an integral part of the Indoor Market space overlooking The Green and the trendy Merchant Quarter.

“We are proud to have worked with Aberdeen Inspired and Nuart by providing them with a canvass to enhance the urban landscape and breathe life back into our building.

“We and the stakeholders of the Merchant Quarter have benefited from Nuart Aberdeen and look forward to working with them again on other projects whilst continue to invest in Aberdeen.”

The call for walls comes as discussions with Aberdeen City Council are ongoing to secure Nuart Aberdeen for the future.

Councillor Jenny Laing, Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader, said,

“Aberdeen City Council was both proud and delighted to be the joint delivery partner for Nuart Aberdeen this year.

“The festival showed the very best of the Granite City and this is reinforced by the overwhelming response to the festival by residents and visitors alike. It is therefore right that discussions with partners are continuing as to how the council can best support this very special festival going forward.”

Walls must be in a good condition for paining and interested parties should contact the Nuart Aberdeen project team via: 01224 566291 or email: callforwalls@aberdeeninspired.com

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district.

For more information about the Nuart Aberdeen Festival, please visit: www.nuartaberdeen.co.uk

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Oct 132017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

Organisers of Aberdeen Comedy Festival have hailed residents and visitors who have flocked to see their favourite comedians and urged people to enjoy the final weekend of shows.

Now in its second year, the eleven-day festival, which is delivered by Aberdeen Inspired, started on Thursday, October 5 and will run until Sunday, October 15.

Festival organisers have urged comedy fans not to miss out on the final shows over the weekend as the comedy extravaganza culminates with a final show at Aberdeen Arts Centre at 8pm on Sunday evening with Paul Tonkinson.

Best known for his presenting work on The Big Breakfast and the Sunday Show, Paul will be joined by guests, Mick Ferry, Carey Marx and Ray Bradshaw.

Sponsored by McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale, the festival has attracted large crowds to stand-up comedy shows at a number of city centre venues.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, is delighted with the response from the public who have turned out in numbers to enjoy the shows.

He said:

“Support for this year’s comedy festival has been fantastic and feedback from customers, volunteers and city centre venues has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Many of the shows have been attracting strong numbers or even selling out which is very pleasing and shows there’s a very strong demand for a comedy festival in the city.

“Though we’re entering the last few days of the festival it’s not too late to enjoy some comedy gold at one of Scotland’s top comedy festivals. We hope people join us over the weekend as the festival draws to a close at Aberdeen Arts Centre on Sunday evening.

“It’s great to see that people are travelling to the city from Aberdeenshire and further afield to see their favourite comedians on stage. They’re giving a welcome boost to our city centre businesses, restaurants and hotels, which is one of the main aims of the festival.” 

Tickets for Aberdeen Comedy Festival, which has been organised with programming partner Breakneck Comedy, can be bought at The Lemon Tree or HMT Box Offices as well as online via the Aberdeen Box Office website or: www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com/whats-on/

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Oct 132017
 

The final curtain at ARI.

Duncan Harley reflects on Life, the Universe and Everything. A sideways look at the world and its foibles.

That’s me back from ARI. It’s a fine place if you are just visiting if truth be told. If you are an inmate, then maybe that’s quite a different story.

I went in with an open mind. After all the nice admission nurse only asked me stuff about the months of the year and my CHI Number. Seemingly if you are old and ill, they need to check that you are not mad.

What the feck is a CHI, I wondered while reciting the months backwards from D to J.

“Who is the Queen?” she said. I reflected on the various times I have almost met the monarch and still had no answer.

How should I know? After all she – that is if she is a she and not an ageing robot – only asked me what a spurtle was. Or was that her dead sister Margaret?

Fortunately, she refrained on this occasion from asking the dates of the beginning and end of the first war. I had that in my sights. Well it really depends on whether you think that the war ended on Armistice Day in 1918, or on Peace Day in 1919 or in 1946 after the surrender of Japan. Revisionist historians all around the globe have been arguing the point for decades and who am I to disagree.

Whatever, I doubt if Royals eat porridge anyway. And, if they did, they would probably deny it.

The folk in hospital-land were mainly really nice.

When the queen came to open the Chelsea Roof Garden, they served cake on a red tray complete with a bowl of Royal soup and something called Balmoral Chicken.

The folk on the ward ate it if they could apart from the man in bed four who was on a fast – before a procedure.

Like in Ramadan, we all – apart from the man in bed 2 – tried to eat unsuspiciously lest bed four became jealous.

In the end it came down to the keeping of the Royal menus. Bed 4 donated his meal to newly arrived bed 1 on condition that the Royal menu was kept for him as a souvenir.

More fool him. The kitchen staff, who normally issued copies of the food order, had that day decided to keep the food trays pristine.

Not for us the usual check-list of what we had – often in a morphine-induced dream state – ordered. For today there would be no auditing of food and no chance of complaining about a mis-order.

In my case, I ordered Glamorgan Cheese something or other from the Duchy of Cornwall plus a bowl of Royal Game Soup.

What arrived was Balmoral Hen complete with a stuffing of Game Haggis.

It was fine. And I can’t really complain. In fact, in all of my ARI days – the food was fab.

The company was generally good and there was a fine view of the new Wood multi-story car park from the window of the day room.

The dark side of the coin …

Well, there was the blood man.

Sad and a relic of a former self, he made me feel humbled as he stumbled around the ward.

Here is his tale. Read it if you dare and reflect quietly that it could be you or yours in a future year:

‘After the bloodbath of the night before, all seemed quiet in the ward. The blond bigmouth in the corner lay curled up beneath his hospital blanket and the sun streamed in through the blinds at the far end. An occasional phone went and the buzzers summoned the bustling staff.

Us of us patients who could, slept or read. And, just above the hum of the air-conditioning, an occasional snore could be heard.

The blood-man, for that is what we called him after the night before, had quietened down and was brought back into the ward. Bigmouth continued to complain to anyone who walked past. Seemingly he had been a victim of the night before and had had to have his bed changed due to spilt blood-soaked urine. Shamefully he told the night’s tale to the relatives next day despite ample warning from bed four that all that happens in the ward, stays in the ward. Such abominable patients can be a pain.

Naked and full of good intentions, the blood-man had – in the best possible taste – become unpopular. But what he had done must remain secret, for if revealed then heads might roll and his unpopularity might become infamy amongst his peers. And, we shouldn’t countenance that at any cost.

Suffice it to say that he had lost both his Press and Journal newspaper plus a full three pages from the Daily Telegraph. The loss of the P and J was easily solved. They say they sell 60 thousand of the bloody things each day in Aberdeen alone and the man in bed two happily donated a copy to compensate the blood-man’s loss.

As for the Telegraph, we were all at two’s and three’s. After all, the blood-man’s wife had seemingly taken the missing pages.

“I can’t find three of the pages of my Telegraph” he had said.

“My wife has probably taken them. It’s exactly the sort of thing she might do” he concluded.

We, apart from the blond bigmouth – who was by that time AWOL and possibly meeting a friend with vodka at the lift on level three – remained sceptical. But, of course you never really know what’s going through a man’s mind.

Maybe Mrs Blood-man had it in for the man. Or maybe she was simply looking out for him. Or maybe it was all in his imaginary world of pain, urine and shit.’

Grumpy Jack.

P.S. A huge thanks to the folk on 209. You do it well.

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Oct 132017
 

Sheena Mann with her father, Alex Mann who passed away Feb 21 2017.

By Sheena Mann.

‘The Alex Mann Memorial Event’ will take place on 20 October 2017 in aid of Diabetes UK, to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes.

I am organising the event because my father passed away in February of this year from complications arising from type 2 diabetes.
He was only diagnosed five years before his death, but like most people he unknowingly had it for many years before this.

The complications associated with diabetes are many and symptoms are few if any until the disease reaches a dangerous level. Many people are unaware of how dangerous and deadly a disease this actually is and many are unaware of even having it.

People who are affected or are at risk need to be educated, along with doctors and nurses they need to know what to look out for, they need to know what can happen and the speed in which things can happen when it becomes too late to treat.

Diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, weight loss, amputations to name but a few. My father needed an amputation of his lower leg to save his life but he was too ill and frail for such a major operation, he passed away four weeks after being admitted to hospital.

We had his 81st birthday in hospital on the 16th of February and he passed away on the 21st.

The Diabetic Association was set up in 1934 by novelist HG Wells and Dr RD Lawrence – both of whom had diabetes. It became the British Diabetic Association (BDA) in 1954 and Diabetes UK at the turn of the millennium.

Radical from the beginning, the charity aimed to ensure that everyone in the UK could gain access to insulin, whatever their financial situation. Its mission statement was:

“to promote the study, the diffusion of knowledge, and the proper treatment of diabetes in this country.”

The Association campaigned for the creation of the National Health Service and argued that people with diabetes should take an active role in managing their condition. In 1939 the first diabetes voluntary self-support group was set up. There are now over 400 local voluntary groups, providing support and information to people with diabetes across the UK.www.diabetes.org.uk 

The event called ‘The Alex Mann Memorial Event’ will take place at Nigg Bay Golf Course, St Fitticks Road, Aberdeen from 6.30pm, entry is free.

We will have various retailers present including; Usbourne Books, Forever Living Products, Creepy Robot Collectables, Beauty and Jewellery, a reflexologist doing facials, Lily’s Dough pizza van, also Glitter Tattooist Cat on the Moon, a photo booth by Niall Bain Photography and more.

There will also be sideshow games including a tombola with prizes from North Link Ferries, His Majesty’s Theatre, Flash Photography and many more.

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Oct 132017
 

Managing director of Zenith Energy, Martin Booth.

With thanks to Donna Ross, Senior Account Manager, Frasermedia Ltd.

An Aberdeen-based well engineering and project management company has marked five years in business by opening new
bases across the globe to meet growing demand.
Zenith Energy, which provides a range of services to the oil and gas sector within the UK and internationally through its Aberdeen headquarters, has opened offices in Abu Dhabi and Perth, Australia, following contract wins with major names in the industry.

The specialist firm has built its client base to more than 34, with continued repeat business, since its establishment in 2012, going from a two-man business, to a global organisation employing 23 people.

The firm provides specialist expertise for the complete well life cycle from the conceptual design phases through to field development planning, well operations, well intervention and well abandonments, using both rig and rig-less solutions.

During the first quarter of 2017 Zenith expanded its client base and successfully completed work in the UK, Italy and Equatorial Guinea for new and existing clients.

All projects were delivered on time and on budget, with zero HSE accidents or incidents showcasing the company’s ability to deliver the correct technical and commercial solution for our clients. 

Managing director of Zenith Energy, Martin Booth (pictured), said:

“Zenith Energy was set up with the intention of creating an Independent Well Engineering and Wells Project management company, and over the years we have diversified our services to meet demand.

“We have experienced the highs and lows of oil price and one of the longest, worst recessions in the oil industry that most of us remember. However, five years later we are still here, growing and developing our company and capabilities.

“We are now looking forward to the next five years from a position of strength in the market and an ability to deliver in a low cost environment.”

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Oct 062017
 

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

An Aberdeen sports facility is the first in Scotland to achieve the highest possible standard in the leading UK sports and leisure quality scheme.

Aberdeen Sports Village, which is based on the city’s Linksfield Road, is the first facility in Scotland to have passed the toughest assessment offered by Sport Scotland’s leading national quality scheme, Quest.

Quest is the best-known improvement programme within the leisure industry and its rigorous assessments challenge all leading leisure centres in the UK.

ASV has achieved Quest Stretch, which is only available to high performing centres, and is the highest possible achievement.

In order to qualify for a Quest Stretch assessment, centres must have been rated ‘Excellent’ in their previous Quest assessment. To achieve the top award, ASV went through a two-day assessment plus a mystery visit. To make the process even tougher, managers were not informed when the assessor or mystery visitor would be arriving.

ASV was particularly commended by Quest on its programme for older people, Evergreens, which helps participants remain active for longer, as well as its opportunities for children and disabled people.

Duncan Sinclair, CEO for ASV, said:

“Everyone at ASV is dedicated to providing the best service and facilities for all of our customers. We are delighted to achieve this award, as it is a testament of the high standards we strive to provide.

“Quest is an ongoing programme, which looks not just at our customer service but also the important work we do developing sporting opportunities in the community. Congratulations to all staff and volunteers at ASV, this award is very well deserved.”

Quest’s operations director, Caroline Constantine, said:

“Quest Stretch is the highest accreditation that can be achieved and as such it is an extremely demanding process. By meeting Quest Stretch’s very high standards, ASV has shown its commitment to providing quality facilities and service to its customers. In these tough economic times it is more important than ever that local leisure facilities can demonstrate their value, and Quest Stretch accreditation helps them do just that.”

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Oct 062017
 

 With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Jasmine Ltd.

A leading north-east cancer support charity has appointed a new senior manager to shape the future of its income generation strategy.

CLAN Cancer Support has recruited Fiona Fernie as the charity’s new head of income generation and business development.

Fiona was previously membership network manager at Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce where she was responsible for the recruitment of new members and for the management and development of the chamber’s third sector activity.

This included managing 270 membership accounts across four sectors, with 65 in the third sector.

Fiona also played a lead role around business engagement for large, regional projects such as the Aberdeen’s City of Culture bid, the Wild Dolphins project and the Great Aberdeen Run. 

In her new position, Fiona will spearhead income generation for CLAN, developing fundraising activities throughout the CLAN in the community network, and be a key member of the senior management team.

Fiona said:

“It’s an exciting time to join the third sector as its contribution to the economy becomes increasingly recognised at local and national level. I am very passionate about charities developing as businesses which can lead to greater sustainability and stronger futures.

“CLAN has already come so far in its lifetime and I believe that it has so much more scope to develop and grow. I feel strongly about the work that CLAN does to support so many in the north-east, Moray, Orkney and Shetland and can’t wait to play my part in the charity’s future success.”

Dr Colette Backwell, chief executive of CLAN, said: “Fiona’s experience gathered throughout her career is a fantastic fit for CLAN and I am delighted to welcome her to the team.

“How organisations approach fundraising activity is crucial, especially in the current economic climate. Fiona will lead the way on our fundraising and business development activities which are crucial to the provision of cancer support services across the region. During 2017, CLAN’s presence in local communities has continued to develop which has seen us open a new centre in Inverurie and plans are already in motion for further development our community network during 2018.

“The dedication of our team ensures we can continue to develop our services and help anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis and I look forward to working closely with Fiona to build on CLAN’s achievements.”

CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort, support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness.

Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Banchory, Elgin, Buckie, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Lossiemouth, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

For more information about CLAN Cancer Support, please call (01224) 647 000 or visit: www.clanhouse.org

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