Mar 212018
 

By Suzanne Kelly.

For people who care about animal welfare, supporting an animal shelter seems like a great way to help – but how many know what kind of shelter they are donating to? Last August Zara Brown, who said she was running a shelter, was found to have committed a catalogue of horrific offences.

Investigators found, for instance, a freezer stuffed with seven dead dogs and a cat.

Animals were left in dark, cold buildings with inadequate food and water and without medical treatment.

The courts were told poor Zara was depressed and was unable to cope.  She got off very lightly for the cruelty inflicted.

Then we learned she was a convicted fraudster to the value of some £37,000.

Clearly we cannot have people who are convicted fraudsters handling animals and money.

Facebook posts show that awareness of huge problems at her animal sanctuary existed long before she was ever convicted – why was no action taken?

A recent proposal to the Scottish government would see the SSPCA and police tackle the unscrupulous animal charity.  However, is the SSPCA really the right body to deal with this?

One long-running animal welfare group, Animal Concern Advice Line, likes the idea, but opposes SSPCA involvement. It recently told its supporters:

“We oppose this for three main reasons.

“1: The Scottish SPCA is the largest owner and operator of animal rescue centres in Scotland and as such should be regulated and policed by the scheme just like every other rescue and rehoming operation.

“2: Some of the smaller rescue, rehab and rehoming operatives harbour ill feeling towards the Scottish SPCA and would find it extremely difficult to be part of any scheme administered and/or policed by the SSPCA.

“3: Dumping the administration and policing of any scheme on the shoulders of the Scottish SPCA would mean that yet again the Scottish SPCA would be spending charity donations to do work which should be funded by central or local government thus reducing the resources available to the Scottish SPCA to help animals for whom no-one has a legal duty of care.”

Sadly the SSPCA has come in for a lot of deserved criticism of late. Its issues include:

  • Raising the chief executive’s salary to a whopping £216,000 without any consultation with the army of donors (I collected money for the SSPCA and donated for years – to help animals not to pay a massive salary to an executive – Suzanne).  The latest on this is that the chair has left.
  • Killing a harmless snake which was misidentified as poisonous by putting it in a freezer to die alone in the dark.  I asked repeatedly why, when the snake had already been captured could it not have been left alone until an expert could assess it – no answer was forthcoming.

When the salary of the chairman went up, the SSPCA closed its Shetland facility, with Mike Flynn of the SSPCA making the shocking claim that the SSPCA’s role was not to keep a building open in case there was an oil spill.

The facility was not strictly used for oil-accidents, and the closure dismayed residents.

Keeping the shelter open would have cost a fraction of what the chair’s salary rise was.

Initially Mr Flynn was critical of an Aberdeen scheme to kill deer on Tullos Hill to plant trees (a government report had already said trees could not be established in numbers because of the soil matrix being poor).  He was cheered for condemning the move – but when later asked for further comments on the scheme he called ‘abhorrent’ he simply stopped replying to correspondence.

John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line has been campaigning for licensing and policing of animal rescue centres and sanctuaries for many years.

He said:

“I want to see all animal rescue and rehoming centres brought up to a high minimum standard of animal welfare, public safety and financial accountability. Sadly a small number of rescuers get it very wrong causing animals to suffer and the public to lose trust in the whole sector.

“Some put people at risk of death by placing potentially dangerous dogs in totally unsuitable new homes. Others fail to carry out  proper home checks and risk placing animals with potential abusers. Most of the problems are caused by well-intentioned people who don’t have the space, skills or finances to do things properly.

“Regretfully a few are criminals who knowingly abuse and neglect animals while conning the public and grant-giving trust funds out of money.

“It is a great pity that the many  good and trustworthy rescue centres are going to encounter a bit more red tape and expense to meet a new licencing regime but that is what it is going to take to get rid of the cowboys and criminals.

“One major problem is in finding an organisation to administer and police the licensing scheme.

“The Government wants the Scottish SPCA to run things but that would be wrong as the Scottish SPCA has more animal rescue centres than any other organisation and should not police itself.

“Police Scotland and local authorities, some of which have their own rescue kennels, have legal responsibilities for stray dogs thus rendering them unsuitable to manage the scheme.

“I suggest responsibility  be given either to the existing Animal & Plant Health Agency or to a new body created by the Scottish Government.”

A bona-fide animal rescue will either be a registered Scottish charity or will otherwise let you look at its accounts.

A genuine rescue will not be selling animals for slaughter while asking people to donate to save the lives of other animals – it is not possible to do both ethically, morally or logically (how can one pig be worth saving and another pig be worth killing?).

As the Scottish consultation points to the unsuitability of convicted fraudsters handling public donations, no reputable animal rescue will have anyone who has form as a fraudster or confidence trickster taking in donations.

Hopefully a suitable arrangement can be found, but for reasons pointed out by Mr Robins and by this article, the SSPCA should not be involved in regulating an industry it itself participates in – and which has failed in its duty.

Spotlight on Northfield Animal Haven

Despite its continuing threats to close (and its threats and insinuations against its critics), Northfield Animal Haven continues to:

  • Seek donations, buy animals (wrong for any charity, but wrong for one so apparently short of funds).
  • Sell animals at Thainstone market, where many if not all will wind up slaughtered.

Here is an extract from a previous article. Despite false claims from Northfield, neither Aberdeen Voice or Suzanne Kelly (myself) have been in any way prevented from writing about the odd goings-on at this place.

Fact Recap:

  • That Kelly Cable is a convicted benefit fraudster [3]– this calls her honesty into question;
  • That Kelly Cable denied signing for a substantial loan [4]– again her honesty was thrown in doubt;
  • That signs and funding appeals stating ‘all farm animals are rescued are misleading [5].There seem to be two Northfields – one that keeps some animals as rescues – while breeding for sale from these [6.1-3], and one that sells animals at Thainstone Market and privately where slaughter is the almost inevitable outcome [7]This schism is condemned by many animal welfare professionals including John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line [8].
  • When cornered on this issue, Kelly has made posts along the lines of ‘everyone’knows that she operates a working farm and that the reason she uses pictures of animals in her appeal such as sheep and cattle that are not to be rescued is ‘people have asked to see all the animals’ [9]. Donors Aberdeen Voice had contact with were completely in the dark on the point, and would never have donated to money to an institution that breeds from its rescue for sales, and raises farm animals for commercial purposes.
  • That Cable used, without any contact or permission, images of animals she had nothing to do with for fundraising purposes – this calls transparency and honesty into question (the image on the left of an emaciated bovine is not an animal Cable was trying to rescue; it is from 2011 in the USA  [10].
  • That Cable has claimed to different witnesses to have disabilities and illnesses [11.1-11.4]; she has told several people these illnesses lead her to use cannabis on the farm and that alcohol and drug use by others is tolerated by her at Northfield around the 170 animals she says she cares for single-handedly. This clearly poses threats to animal welfare – and that has led to serious consequences as this article will demonstrate. This drug use should also be of serious concern to anyone using her animal assisted therapy programme.
  • There are allegations of cannabis sales which the authorities are aware of [12]. (As an aside, cannabis can be a very therapeutic medical boon to some. The appropriateness of seeking public donations while using/selling cannabis on a farm by a disabled woman who purports to single-handedly care for over 170 animals where neglect and deaths have occurred should raise red flags to animal welfare authorities and those concerned with public safety).
  • Northfield has itself posted about animals that have died ‘from a broken heart’ or overeating.
  • Northfield has also posted that Suzanne Kelly was involved in going to their farm, damaging fences, locking a pony in a food store where it ate itself to death.
  • A previous Northfield Facebook administrator, Fiona Manclark, was ordered to pay Suzanne Kelly £15,000 plus costs for repeated libel (Manclark had months in which to simply make an apology without facing any costs, but forced the matter to court). Ms Manclark spectacularly wrote to the court to excuse her failure to turn up, and in her letter she wrote that cannabis is routinely used at Northfield, a claim which fits in with other peoples’ allegations of drug use and dealing.  While many people feel cannabis use should be legalised, many would question whether a disabled woman who claims to care for over 70 animals, some of whom have died in her care from exposure and feeding issues – and who offers animal therapy to young people – should mix cannabis with an animal welfare charity offering therapy.
  • Ms Cable is a convicted benefit fraudster (see past AV articles).

This all adds up to irresponsibility fiscally, operationally, and safety wise on a worrying scale.

https://aberdeenvoice.com/2016/10/northfield-animal-haven-haven-hell/

Northfield and its supporters first began to attack Aberdeen Voice and myself when we repeated a press release (the Press & Journal printed it too) merely calling for a voluntary registration scheme for shelters which would ensure animal welfare.

What Northfield will make of mandatory regulation excluding fraudsters from running animal charities remains to be seen, but whether or not the SSPCA is involved, a regulator in this sector will spell the end for any fraudsters operating animal shelter charities.

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Oct 062017
 

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

A leading north-east legal firm has strengthened its teams of specialist solicitors in Aberdeen with three new appointments.
Mackinnons Solicitors, with offices in Aberdeen, Cults and Aboyne, has announced two promotions and one new appointment, each of whom will complement the firm’s existing legal teams.

Angus Easton, who recently completed a master’s degree in Maritime Law, has been promoted to the position of Associate within the firm’s commercial shipping team.

Mr Easton joined Mackinnons in January 2013 and his expertise covers areas of commercial practice with an emphasis on marine and business law.

Kim Harkness also assumes an Associate position working within the property and private client teams. She joined Mackinnons in 2013 and has worked primarily as an assistant to firm partner, Pat Gray.

Kate Longmuir has also joined the firm from Pinsent Masons and will be working within the corporate team advising on a range of commercial matters with emphasis on the energy and marine sectors.

Graham Jones, one of the firm’s senior partners, said:

“We are delighted to have appointed Kate to our commercial shipping team. She has considerable experience in legal matters relating to the marine and energy sectors and will be a great asset to us.

“As well as recruiting to strengthen the team, we are also very pleased to be able to promote talent from within. Angus and Kim have already made a significant contribution to the success of the firm and their promotions are well deserved.

“Each of these appointments significantly strengthens our teams of specialist solicitors as we look to build for the future and expand our existing client base.”

Established in Aberdeen in 1842, Mackinnons is recognised internationally for its long-standing expertise in fishing, shipping and marine law. The firm is also a leading provider of private client legal services with a team of experienced and specialist lawyers. 

Mackinnons offer a range of legal services including residential property, personal advice, wills and estate planning, commercial property, business and corporate matters, renewables, employment and dispute resolution in addition to its internationally renowned shipping law practice.

Its experienced teams of solicitors provide professional, pragmatic, bespoke advice for clients, whether they are multinational corporations, local businesses or individuals.

As part of Mackinnons’ 175th anniversary celebrations in 2017, the firm is raising money for The Fishermen’s Mission.

For more information about Mackinnons Solicitors and its range of legal and financial services, please visit: www.mackinnons.com

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Sep 152017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Two leading lights of the north-east tourism industry have been shortlisted for an award recognising those who dedicate their time and energy to giving visitors exceptional experiences. Peter Walker, general manager of luxury venue Meldrum House Country Hotel, and restaurateur and chef Craig Wilson from Eat on the Green are finalists in the ambassador of the year category of the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA).

Peter has overseen the multi million pound redevelopment of Meldrum House, growing it into one of the region’s most popular hotels, while also supporting initiatives to train young entrants into the hospitality sector.

Craig – better known as The Kilted Chef – has put the region on the radar of foodies nationwide. He is passionate about using local produce, and is a tireless supporter of charities.

Craig is also nominated for the hospitality hero award, while Meldrum House is a contender for most hospitable hotel – an accolade which it has won on three occasions in the past.

The pair are among 46 finalists announced today (September 15, 2017) in the ACSTA 2017 shortlist. Peterhead Prison Museum has scored three nominations in the best visitor attraction, innovation in tourism and working together in tourism categories, while No 10 Bar & Restaurant is up for two awards. The Aberdeen venue will be hoping to retain the best informal eating experience title that it won last year, and add to it with the best restaurant award.

Alison Christie, chairman of ACSTA, says the shortlist reflects the wide and varied nature of the tourism sector in the city and shire, and the hard work that takes place across the region to ensure that both leisure and business tourists enjoy the best possible experiences.

“Once again this year the judging panel has been very impressed by the many examples of excellent customer service and commitment to ensuring guests are very well looked after when they visit,” she adds.

“It has been particularly heartening to see entries from so many operators and individuals who have not entered before, along with those who have been shortlisted in previous years of ACSTA and are continuing to enter because of the added value the awards bring to their business.

“It does sound like a cliché, but the judging panels do have a very difficult task in whittling down the entries into category shortlists. Every year we see evidence of standards further improving and even more satisfied customers leaving with very happy memories, and it is extremely difficult to narrow it down when the industry is performing so well across the board.”

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony and gala dinner at Ardoe House Hotel in Aberdeen on November 24.

The winners of ACSTA 2017 will then go on to represent the region in the national tourism Oscars, the Scottish Thistle Awards, which take place in the spring. Further information is available at www.acsta.co.uk

The full shortlist is:

Most Hospitable Hotel – Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course; The Aberdeen Altens Hotel; Tor-Na-Coille Hotel.
Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House – Callater Lodge; The Mill of Dess Lodge; Lys-Na-Greyne.
Best Accommodation Provider – Ballater Hostel; Buttermere Cottage; Down on the Farm
Best Bar/Pub – Revolution Bar Aberdeen; The Grill; McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale
Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience – Lochter Activity Centre; Stonehaven Open Air Swimming Pool; Deeside Activity Park
Best Visitor Attraction – Peterhead Prison Museum; Transition Extreme Sports Ltd; DogWalk Brewery Tour
Working Together for Tourism – Aberdeen Festivals / Skene House Apartment Hotels; Discover Fraserburgh Tourism Group; Peterhead Prison Museum
Innovation in Tourism Award – Peterhead Prison Museum; Aberdeen International Airport; Grampian Transport Museum
Tourism and Hospitality Hero – Craig Wilson – Eat on the Green; Colin Gunn – Holiday Inn Aberdeen West; Elma McMenemy – Elma McMenemy Tourism Marketing + PR
Regional Rising Star (Age -30) – Rebecca Forno – Holiday Inn Westhill; Hannah Beedie – Castle Fraser, Garden & Estate; Julia Hays – VisitAberdeenshire
Regional Ambassador (age 31+) – Peter Walker – Meldrum House Country Hotel; Craig Wilson – Eat on the Green
Best Cultural Event or Festival – The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival; SPECTRA, Aberdeen’s Festival of Light; True North – Aberdeen’s Festival of Music and Song
Best Sporting Event – Baker Hughes 10k Running Festival; Scottish National Age Group Swimming Championships
Best Informal Eating Experience – The Cape Horn Bar; No.10 Bar & Restaurant; The Cock and Bull
Best Restaurant Experience – No.10 Bar & Restaurant; India on the Green; The Davron Hotel
Best Heritage Tourism Experience – Braemar Castle; Glen Garioch Distillery; Maggie’s Hoosie

Sep 072017
 

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

Legal eagles from Aberdeen have been pushing themselves to their physical limits this year and have raised almost £6,000 for charities close to their hearts.
Three legal experts from Mackinnons Solicitors tackled gruelling individual challenges which took one to the top of the highest mountain in the British Isles while one ran the London Marathon and another took on the Highland Cross coast-to-coast challenge.

Sarah Polson, from Mackinnons’ dispute resolution department, Fiona Cheyne from the firm’s commercial and marine department and Mackinnons’ partner Martin Sinclair, who is a specialist in personal injury law, have raised a combined fundraising total of £5,975 for three different charities.

In June, Fiona Cheyne hiked up the 1,345 metre Ben Nevis with her Mum Elizabeth Copp and raised £4,610 for the PSP Association in recognition of the support the charity provides to her dad Andy Copp who has been diagnosed with the rare and as yet incurable Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD).

Fiona said:

“We had never heard of the PSP Association until earlier last year, when dad was diagnosed with the degenerative condition which limits his ability to talk, to walk, to grip and to swallow.

“The charity funds research into treatments and it’s hoped a cure can ultimately be found for both conditions. It’s thanks to the PSP Association that mum and dad have been given good practical advice and support in how to deal with dad’s condition. Their support worker keeps in touch with them over the phone and they value that greatly.

“To give something back, my mum and I decided to do some fundraising and laced up our hiking boots to reach the top of Ben Nevis which was a challenging and humbling experience.”

Earlier in the year, Mackinnons’ Litigation Associate Sarah Polson ran in the London Marathon after receiving a ballot place. For the firm’s 175th anniversary she decided to fundraise for the Fishermen’s Mission, Mackinnons charity of the year.

After months of training she joined the 40,000-strong field who ran the 26.2-mile course in April and raised £600 for the charity which provides support and welfare to fishermen and their families.

Sarah said:

“They say the crowds get you through the marathon in London and they really do. The route around London’s landmarks was lined with thousands of supporters handing out sweets and biscuits to keep you going and cheering you on.

“There were even brass bands, an orchestra and singers providing entertainment along the way. It was tough in parts but I survived and I’m already planning my next challenge.”

In June, Mackinnons’ partner Martin Sinclair raised £765 for several charities by completing the Highland Cross challenge.

The Highland Cross is a 50-mile duathlon, 20 miles either running or walking and 30miles by bike, which crosses Scotland between Kintail and Beauly.

The funds were split between both the Fisherman’s Mission and the Highland Cross nominated charities in the Highlands which benefit from the event.

Martin said:

“The Highland Cross is a terrific event and I’ve been keen to take part for a while. More than £4.4m has been raised through the event since 1983 and I was delighted to contribute in some small part to the ongoing success of this event.

“The amount of time and work put in by the teams of volunteers to run the event is enormous. The camaraderie amongst the competitors is another key factor in the event and seeing such a large cross section of Scotland as you cross helps to underline how good a nation we are.”

Mackinnons offers bespoke legal services for residential property, personal advice, wills and estate planning, commercial property, business and corporate matters, renewables and dispute resolution.

The firm, which also has offices in Cults and Aboyne, is also well known and internationally recognised for its long-standing expertise in fishing, shipping and marine law.

The firm’s experienced team of solicitors provide professional, pragmatic, bespoke advice for clients, whether they are multinational corporations, local businesses or individuals.

As part of Mackinnons’ 175th anniversary celebrations this year the firm is raising money for The Fishermen’s Mission throughout 2017.

For more information about Mackinnons Solicitors and its range of legal and financial services, please visit: www.mackinnons.com

Sep 072017
 

Popular Aberdeen based ceilidh band Iron Broo will provide the music for the World’s Largest Strip The Willow. Photo credit: Janie Barclay.

With thanks to National Trust for Scotland.

Do you want to be a Guinness World Record Breaker? On Saturday 9th of September we will be attempting the Largest Strip the Willow at Castle Fraser and we need YOU.

In the year 2000 Edinburgh broke the record with 1,914 people during their Hogmanay. We are ready to bring the record to Aberdeenshire.

So save the date and get your dancing shoes at the ready!

Organiser Paula Swan said:

“I can’t wait to see it. It was a little idea we had last year and only last week we got confirmation from Guinness World Records to say we could do it.

“Now it’s a reality and we’re really excited about pulling it together, and the responses we’ve had so far have been fantastic.”

She added:

“The great thing about Castle Fraser is you can stand on the tower, so we’re planning on filming it.

“We’re also going to fly drones across the field to really capture all the people having fun.”

By signing up for a ticket you are signing to take part in our attempt. You will still have to register on the day to collect your band. Tickets are free to attend however, there is a £2 parking fee.

Due to the nature of this record attempt participants must be 10 years and over. If you are a business or group and would like to register a team to take part please get in contact with castlefraser@nts.org.uk

Registration: Opens at 12:00pm and closes at 1:30pm for a 2:00pm record breaking kick off.

There will be catering vans and activities to help you to warm up and stay limber. Please keep in mind that we do live in Scotland so dress for the weather. We will be going ahead with our attempt regardless of the weather, so please bring suitable clothing and footwear as you will be dancing on grass. Ponchos will be available to buy on the day if you do require one.

Tickets are limited, booking essential.

The event would not be possible without the hard work and contribution of the following people;

– Iron Broo; who are performing the lovely ceilidh music that will help us strip that willow
– STV’s Andrea Brymer; who will be hosting the event
– Deeside Caledonia will be performing before we kick off the attempt
– Gordon School of Dancing will be showing us all how it’s done before the attempt
– A-line will be providing all AV and Tech support to make this event possible
– Mike Gall Transport for providing the staging required
– Fennel Media who will be filming the amazing attempt

Let’s do this Aberdeenshire!

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Aug 252017
 

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

An Aberdeen barber is taking the industry by storm after being selected as the only nominee to represent the North-east at a prestigious hair and beauty awards ceremony.
Marc Cran, a barber at Huntsman, was the only finalist from the North-east to be shortlisted in the category for barbers with under one year’s experience at this year’s Scottish Hair & Beauty Awards (SHABA).

He will go head-to-head against fiveother barbers from across Scotland at the awards ceremony, which takes place on Sunday, 10 September at the Marriott Hotel in Glasgow.

The 27-year-old made the move into barbering after being made redundant from two oil and gas companies within the space of six months.

Last year, he completed a specialist six-month course at the Scottish Barbering School before securing a stylist position at Huntsman in April 2017.

Marc said:

“It has been a very busy for year for me, as I have been determined to pick up all the necessary skills needed to progress within the barbering industry. Since starting at Huntsman, I have gained a vast amount of experience and have developed my own unique style, all thanks to the guidance I have received from my colleagues.

“This time last year, I could never have imagined that I would be where I am today. To be the only barber from the North-east in my award category is completely surreal and I am honoured that my work has been recognised. Winning an industry award would help me to place Aberdeen on the map for quality barbers, as a lot of the focus seems to be on the central belt at the moment.” 

Kyle Ross, managing director of Huntsman, said:

“For Marc to be shortlisted for this award is a testament to all of the hard work that he has shown over the last few months. He never fails to impress me with his talents, whilst his creative flair and eye for detail has helped him to build up a large client base. He is the perfect fit for Huntsman and has done the team proud.”

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Aug 252017
 

With thanks to Clare Scott, Communications Consultant, CJS Communication & Marketing.

An Aberdeen-based family support charity has issued an urgent plea for new volunteers to help it achieve its target of recruiting 30 new volunteers within 30 weeks during its 30th anniversary year.

Home-Start Aberdeen has been supporting families who are vulnerable, or who may be at risk of isolation, for the past three decades.

This support is largely provided by volunteers, who are trained by the charity and matched with a family whom they visit on a weekly basis.

Home-Start Aberdeen now plans to run a further two volunteer induction courses in August before hitting its 30-week deadline in September.

The charity launched the 30 in 30 volunteer recruitment campaign in February this year in a bid to reduce its waiting list of families who are in need of support.

Georgette Cobban (pictured), scheme manager, Home-Start Aberdeen said:

“No formal qualifications are required to become a Home-Start Aberdeen volunteer, however we are looking for people who have a keen interest in the wellbeing of families or who have parenting experience themselves.

“Families who are referred to us may be struggling with a variety of issues such as post-natal depression, isolation, physical health problems or bereavement. We prepare our volunteers – and carefully match them with a family – so that their own life skills and experience can be of benefit to others.

“In addition to the initial preparation course, our volunteers receive ongoing support from their Home-Start Aberdeen co-ordinator, plus regular opportunities for further skills development. All we ask for in return is a commitment of 2-3 hours a week to provide a city-based family with emotional and practical support in their home surroundings.

“Although we are bigger than ever before – with around 100 volunteers – the need for our service continues to grow, as do our waiting lists. I would urge anyone who thinks they might be able to help to get in touch for a no-pressure chat.”

Over the past three decades Home-Start Aberdeen has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Home-Start schemes, providing over 220 families and 360 children with around 27,500 hours of support each year. Families are referred to the charity mainly by health visitors and social workers, however they can also self-refer. The support provided is completely free: families must have an address in the city and one child under five years old, otherwise there are no barriers to access.

Home-Start Aberdeen’s next volunteer induction courses commence on Wednesday, 30 August. Each course incorporates eight weekly sessions, with daytime and evening options to suit different schedules.

For further details, or to arrange an informal chat, email volunteering@homestartaberdeen.org.uk or call 01224 693545. Additional information is also available at www.homestartaberdeen.org.uk.

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Aug 202017
 

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

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is a celebration of the region’s whisky, gin, beer and food.

Glasses are being raised for the return of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled – a celebration of the region’s favourite drams with a dash of food, gin and beer added for good measure.

The mini-festival, which brings together Speyside’s leading distillers under one roof and on their own doorstep, is being held for the second year running.

Speyside is the beating heart of Scotland’s whisky industry: it is home to more than half of the country’s distilleries and a host of internationally renowned brands.

Many of those will be taking part at the event, which takes place from 1 – 2 September in Elgin Town Hall.

Visitors will have the chance to taste whisky from the distillers attending, but Spirit of Speyside: Distilled has much more to offer than malts. It will also feature local gin distillers, breweries and food producers.

The event reflects the broad range of food and drink on Speyside, and global companies will exhibit alongside small producers that are just starting out. There will be an opportunity for visitors to sample all that they have to offer.

In addition to visiting the dozens of exhibition stands, those who go along will have the opportunity to attend masterclasses on a wide range of topics related to Speyside whisky, gin, beer and food – some of which will feature exclusive and rare malts – led by industry experts.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is split into four separate sessions taking place from 1pm-5pm and from 6pm-10pm each day. Tickets for each session cost £20 – masterclasses are an additional £15 – and include vouchers for six 10ml tasting samples of whisky, gin, or a tasting measure of beer, a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass and a lanyard.

Tokens, costing £1, will be available at the event and these can be used to taste an extensive range of additional samples.

Tickets are on sale on the website www.distilled.scot

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is active on social media at facebook.com/distilledscot and on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot

Distilled is an offshoot of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which has been running for almost 20 years. The Festival takes place over the early May bank holiday weekend each year and comprises around 500 events across the Speyside area.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled
1-2 September, 2017
Elgin Town Hall. Speyside, Scotland

Entry: £20 per ticket

Aug 112017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

A private clinic in Aberdeen is supporting a local duo with a challenge that will take them around the moon.

Temple Medical, a private aesthetic clinic, is providing professional medical support as two businessmen take on a gruelling fitness challenge to complete the circumference of the moon in six months.

Chris Robinson, 38, and Sean Gordon, 25, are cycling, running and rowing the circumference of the moon during 2017 – a total of 10,921km, in aid of local charity, Charlie House.

They aim to complete 27km per day between June and December 2017.

Temple Medical, owned and managed by respected GP, Dr Sam Robson, will monitor the pair throughout the challenge using the company’s in-house state-of-the-art body composition analysis equipment, the InBody770.

Temple uses the InBody 770 to help monitor progress on its Alevere weight loss programme, It provides essential feedback on fat % and guides the clinical staff when advising on nutritional changes required to keep patients healthy and on track with their weight loss journey

This machine provides medical grade analysis of their body composition, and is also commonly used to support world-class athletes.

The InBody 770 analyses the body’s water, body fat, bone minerals and muscle mass. The detailed biometric results will be reviewed every six weeks by Temple’s Dr Jo Green. She provides guidance and advice on an ongoing nutritional plan with an aim to ensure the men are eating appropriately to manage the Moon Challenge. Her goal is to keep them in the best physical shape to avoid injury and excessive fatigue. 

Dr Green said:

“27km per day will undoubtedly be an enormous challenge for their bodies, so our main goal is to keep them healthy and ensure that they are able to reach the end of the challenge in full fitness.

“Monitoring them regularly will allow us to keep a close eye on their metabolic rate and ensure that they understand what changes to make to their diet and exercise regime so that they don’t lose muscle.

“Throughout the challenge, they will be doing plenty of cardio exercise but also need to incorporate some resistance exercise in order to build muscle. Their nutritional requirements involve good hydration, good protein and good carbs – if they struggle physically, they will struggle psychologically.”

Chris Robinson said:

“I knew the challenge would be tough on my body and I wanted to make sure I could do the miles without any lasting damage. The In-Body analysis is fascinating. The first report told me I was in better shape than I had thought and gave me a real insight into my current levels of fat and muscle. Temple Medical gave me a nutritional plan and the team is working with my personal trainer to help me get through the long distances that I must cover.

“When the challenge finishes, we will work together to develop a maintenance plan so that I can sustain my fitness levels and improved body composition.  The body analysis and nutritional advice has been essential in helping me achieve the miles every day, and I can already see real benefits in terms of my body shape and energy.”

The inbody machine is instrumental in helping people to reach their fitness goals as part of the Kick Start programme. This entails providing the biometric analysis as described alongside nutritional advice and exercise guidance to help improve their body composition.

Dr Sam Robson, owner of Temple Medical, added:

“Our Kick Start programme gives a real in-depth look at what’s going on inside your body, and how to make improvements for long term health.

“Technology can play a huge part in helping people make changes for the better, and can enable ordinary people like Chris and Sean to take on a huge challenge in a safe manner.

“The reports we provide are very detailed, and at each review session we can see in detail the benefits our nutritional advice and training has had. We’re delighted to be part of the support team for the challenge and we wish Chris and Sean good luck as they set off around the moon.”

Temple Medical is a private medical clinic, concentrating on non-surgical or minimally-invasive procedures addressing problem skin and the effects of ageing. The clinic also offers Alevere weight management and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.

Dr Sam Robson is a member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, and a fully qualified GP, who has over 13 years’ experience of aesthetic medicine. Temple Medical clinic has been recognised nationally and internationally with several industry awards, including Best Cosmetic Doctor, 2017 and 2015, in the Scottish Medical Cosmetic Awards; What Clinic customer service award 2016, and My Face My Body Best Non-surgical Makeover (2014) and Best Customer Experience (2012).

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Aug 112017
 

Food and drink producers blend together to give festival fans a taste of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled. With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Now in its second year, Distilled aims to showcase the region as a true foodie paradise offering so much more than whisky

Beer, beetroot and berry-flavoured gin – it’s an unusual combination but some of Speyside’s best food and drink producers are about to blend together for an event that will tantalise tastebuds. Over 30 exhibitors have confirmed they will be taking part in Spirit of Speyside: Distilled – a celebration of the region’s gastronomy – next month.

Small producers such as Simpson’s Ice Cream, Berry Good Gin, rum distillers Beach Craft Spirits, Spey Valley Brewery and chocolates from Favour-it Flavours will set up alongside globally renowned brands including Baxters, The Glenlivet, Walkers Shortbread and The Macallan for the two-day event.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, which is staged in Elgin Town Hall on September 1 and 2, is an off-shoot of the popular annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Now in its second year, Distilled aims to showcase the region as a true foodie paradise offering so much more than whisky.

Festival chairman James Campbell says the fact that Distilled blends together household names with small one-man operations proved to be a real talking point at last year’s inaugural event, and organisers are delighted to introduce new exhibitors this year.

He adds,

“It is only when so many food and drink producers are gathered together under one roof that people really begin to realise how many fantastic companies we have operating right here on our own doorstep.

“The feedback we got from visitors last year was that they really enjoyed being able to wander around, sampling cocktails, gin, whisky and beer and getting a taste of the food that has also put Speyside on the map.

“And, of course, it is a great opportunity for them to come face to face with the people who are critical to our food and drink industry – the master distillers, distillery managers and innovators – which is also a hallmark of the main Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.”

As well as producers, visitors to the event will be able to enjoy the products served up by some of Speyside’s best bars and eateries. The Copper Dog – part of the Craigellachie Hotel – will be re-created in the hall’s Supper Room and will have cocktails flowing, live music and food.

The Station Hotel, Rothes, will have a team of mixologists on hand to pour its signature range of whisky and gin cocktails – including the specially created ‘Distilled’ in honour of the event – while Elgin-based bar The Drouthy Cobbler will be giving visitors a taste of what it provides along with some Speyside-themed street food.

And – showing that Speyside is not all about hills and glens – the team at Harbour Lights in the coastal town of Lossiemouth will be showing off local seafood by serving up smoked salmon canapes and other treats.

In addition to the wide number of exhibitors, there is a programme of masterclasses giving visitors the chance to enjoy rare and cask strength drams, learn how to pair food, and discover more about Speyside’s other drinks producers. Tickets for masterclasses must be bought in addition to entry tickets.

Distilled, which is sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, will run for four different sessions, one from 1-5pm and one from 6-10pm on each day. Tickets are priced at £20 which includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.

All whisky, gin, beer and foods on offer will have a Speyside provenance and there will be the chance to purchase products from stand holders. Festival merchandise will also be available to buy.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.distilled.scot Distilled is active on social media at www.facebook.com/distilledscot on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot. Follow the festival at #distilled17