Aug 232012
 

Candy Belle Vintiques will be showcasing vintage fashions and home-wares in a unique weekend pop up boutique in Aberdeen’s Academy Shopping Centre in Belmont Street, this weekend. With thanks to Camilla-Erika Campbell.

Following the success of the first vintage event in April, Candy Belle girls Janet, Angie, Emma and Jill decided to host a new, more intimate, shopping experience in the form of a pop up boutique.

During the two day event visitors will be able to buy from the carefully sourced collections of vintage fashion, accessories, home-wares, furniture and crafts.

Visitors can also take part in craft workshops provided by I Heart Art on Sunday.

Local business owner and co-founder of Candy Belle Vintques Janet Shek says:

“We are really excited to be bringing Candy Belle to Aberdeen in the form of a pop up boutique.  Our first fayre was such a success it is exciting to bring the experience to the next level with the boutique and provide our customers with all the nostalgia in a much more intimate and homely set up”.

The Candy Belle Vintiques pop up boutique will be in the Academy Shopping Centre from 9.30am until 6.00pm on Saturday 25th August and from 12 noon until 6.00pm on Sunday 26th August.

For more information please call Janet on 01224 905909 or find Candy Belle Vintiques on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/candybellevintiques

You can also email Candy Belle Vintiques at candybellevintiques@hotmail.co.uk

Aug 172012
 

As Wednesday 15th August this year marked National Relaxation Day, a free service that promotes serenity by giving children a chance to keep in touch with both parents after relationships break down is appealing for volunteers. With thanks to Claire McBain.

VSA, the UK’s largest city social care charity supporting people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, runs the Richmondhill-based Family Contact Centre.
It is a calm, safe and neutral ground where separated mothers, fathers and grandparents can stay in a youngsters’ life without them having to see one another.

The centre, one of the oldest meeting places of its kind in Scotland, recently celebrated its longest serving volunteers by highlighting the achievements of people who have dedicated as much as 20 years to the service. 

But increased service demand means an urgent need to recruit the next generation of volunteers.

Cathy Maxwell, family support co-ordinator at VSA’s Family Contact Centre, said:

“It may sound clichéd but, without them, maintaining the service really won’t be possible.

“It’s a welcoming place where people don’t feel they’re being judged.  I’m looking for family-friendly volunteers, both male and female, to join the team that welcome people to the centre on a Saturday.  Parents aren’t supervised, but volunteers are on hand to offer assistance if necessary. 

“Usually, it’s a case of offering refreshments and providing reassurance about the principles of the centre.  Often it just means emphasising the fact that parents don’t have to come face-to-face.  Essential volunteer qualities are a sense of humour, a desire to help and a clear understanding of confidentiality.

“On-the-job training is provided and credible, local volunteering experience is a great way for people to boost their employability, particularly if they have an interest in working with children or families.  Once they decide this type of volunteering is for them, I’d urge our new recruits to make a commitment to stay with us for up to a year.”

There are more than 45 child contact centres in Scotland.  Last year, 1650 children met their non-resident parent, or other significant family member, at one of these centres.  This was an increase of 22% on the previous year.  More than half of these children were under five years old and 85% aged below eight.

Cathy continued:

“Some parents find it very difficult to agree to share their children’s time with their ex-partner.  But visits need not be awkward and distressing. 

“Visits facilitated by a contact centre can lead to improved communication between the non-resident parent and their children, reduction or prevention of conflict and, in many cases, decision by parents to work together in the best interests of their children.”

VSA’s Family Contact Centre is based at the Maisie Munro Centre, 18 Richmondhill Place, Aberdeen, on a Saturday.

  • To find out more about becoming a volunteer or using the service contact Cathy Maxwell, family support co-ordinator, on 01224 358638 or e-mail her at cathy.maxwell@vsa.org.uk
  • For more information, photographs or to get the perspective of a current volunteer, contact Claire McBain on 01224 358611 or e-mail her at claire.mcbain@vsa.org.uk
Jun 142012
 

Aberdeen Voice’s Old Susannah continues her romp through Aberdeen City Council’s A to Z of services, and  considers two very different ‘Mr Smiths’, and dog’s dinners.  By Suzanne Kelly.

Tally Ho!  The burning issues of the past week include Olympic torches and scorching internet debate following Annie Lennox’s article in the Guardian.  In this piece Lennox suggests that Aberdeen might have some issues  and that the City Garden Project is ‘a dog’s dinner.’

In the first place as Mr Tom Smith (ACSEF, City Garden Trust, guru of truth, etc. etc.) points out, Annie doesn’t have all the facts.  Mr Smith will be happy to supply them to her.  This will be a historic first, considering ACSEF’s previous economy with said facts.   But what a result!  Tom Smith’s kindly offered to meet Annie!  I bet she’s wondering what to wear to any such meeting and is all nervous and excited.  Who could blame a girl? (Do I get a meeting invite as well, Tom, seeing as I was head of one of the official referendum campaign groups?).

I’m happy to admit I don’t have all the facts, either –  I keep asking for them, but I still don’t have them.  For one thing, I don’t know what comments people wrote on the voting slips when the six shortlisted designs were on show.  At the time comments and votes were requested (and paid for by the taxpayer).  Somehow, a private company, Aberdeen City Gardens Trust, seems to have the votes.  Tom is one of the people with access to them, and won’t let us see the results.  It wouldn’t be helpful, you see, to release this information.

I also don’t know the concrete web’s final business plan and its financial projections.  I also don’t know what the architectural drawings specify in any detail.  I don’t know what went on at the many meetings held to further the web.  I only  have ‘redacted’ (that’s with the details hidden) minutes of all those City Gardens Projects meetings you and I paid for (we’ve spent at least £600k on consultants and services for the granite web – you know, the project which won’t cost us a penny).  Call me over-cautious, but before I’d agree to borrow £90 million and commit to spending £140 million on a plan with no details, I’d want something a bit more concrete (excuse the expression).

I also don’t know the latest on Mr Smith’s front page P&J story from when he claimed UTG supporters were ‘harassing’ him and his family, and illegally hacking into his email.  You would have thought that had laws been broken, he’d have raced to the papers with the update. Otherwise, it just looks like a cynical manipulation of the press close to the referendum vote.    But all in all, I admit I don’t have these minor little facts.

But never mind the facts (which we’ve been asked to do so far) – once Tom’s had a word with Annie Lennox, she’ll be joining ACSEF, moving to Union Terrace and supporting the web.  Rumours that she has switched PR companies to Aberdeen’s BiG remain unconfirmed.

But Ms Lennox’ calling the Granite Web ‘a dog’s dinner’ in the Guardian was hardly fair.  Firstly, if you tried to feed such slop to a poor dog, it would slink away howling into the night, and the Scottish SPCA would step in, like they did to Dumfries & Galloway’s NHS supremo, one Mr Michael Keggens.  Because of his busy job and busy life, Keggens left his elderly dog without food and water, locked in the house for days.  Easy mistake to make I’m sure.

The Scottish SPCA were alerted to the dog barking, and found the poor thing alone in the house, caked in muck with not even water to drink.  Feeding the dog and returning a day later, the Scottish SPCA found the situation hadn’t changed.  Apparently living things need food and water, but you can’t expect someone high up in the NHS to know details like that.  Remember this the next time you hear of an elderly or infirm patient suffering dehydration. (PS – the Scottish SPCA is desperate for help just now, as are New Arc and Willows – if you can spare anything, please think about it).

Back to Mr Smith, well a Mr Smith anyway.  Old Susannah had a sudden urge this week to re-watch the old Jimmy Stewart film, ‘Mr Smith goes to Washington.’  Yes, it’s heavy on the sentiment and American values.  But the gist of the plot is this:  a corrupt, wealthy circle of small town businessmen and elected officials are milking the taxpayers; they have a crooked construction scheme (for a dam – a granite web would have been too far-fetched even for Hollywood).  These crooks have been sucking up public money, conspiring, and hiding the facts of their self-serving plans from the electorate.  This somehow sounds familiar.

In comes naive, honest Mr Smith, newly elected to the Senate, where people expect he will just do as the villains tell him to do.  He eventually finds out about all the corruption, and fights it (and he wins).  By the way, one of the most powerful weapons which the wealthiest crooked businessman has is his ability to dictate to the local press what to cover, how to cover it, and what to leave out of the news.

In the end ‘people power’ and truth win out over greed, corruption and manipulation.  I guess that’s Hollywood for you.  I’m still stumped as to why I thought of this film and wanted to see it again, but it will come to me.

Before I continue with my search through Aberdeen City Council’s A to Z of ‘services’, I’d like to say that I’m greatly looking forward to next Saturday’s (23 June) party in Union Terrace Gardens, courtesy of Common Good Aberdeen.  Hope to see you there.  And congratulations on the unanimous decision for a cafe in UTG to be run by Common Good Aberdeen volunteers, with 100% of profits going to improving the gardens.  A result in the truest sense.

I would also like to say a sincere thank you to the Guardian for its investigations, and to Ms Lennox (who can’t win – she gets it in the neck if she says anything, and gets it in the neck if she doesn’t.  But I dare say she knows what’s important and what she’s doing, and petty, small-minded criticism can’t stop her.  More power to her, as they say).

Now back to Aberdeen City’s A to Z of services.

M is for Marischal College: – Result!  ACC gutted this building, fitted it out with new furniture for some of the council staff, and boasted widely how wonderful it was – it only cost around £60,000,000 and it ‘came in on time and under budget’.  You can’t say fairer than that, can you?

Of course we never got to see a list of what the alternatives for council office space were (Old Susannah did do a FOI, knowing there is a ton of empty space owned by ACC out there – but was told this information was top secret).  Marischal may have been under budget, but what the budget was for other solutions was never disclosed.

Marischal workers are also under something else, and it’s not budget.  The problem I reported earlier with leaking toilet pipes hasn’t entirely been solved.  It must be kind of stimulating – you never know what’s going to land on your desk if you work at Marischal.

N is for National Fraud Initiative: – No, it’s not an initiative to strip the taxpayer of as much money as possible, it means that:-

“…Aberdeen City Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.”

We’ll have to wait and see if the new administration can do as well as the previous one at preventing fraud.  Let’s see – we had Councillor Cassie and his little financial embarrassment.  We had ‘care’ workers stealing from their elderly clients, we’ve had social workers buying themselves goods with our money;  we’ve had people at the council offices taking their work home with them (in the form of embezzled funds).

There is a saying: steal something small and you’ll go to jail; steal something big and they’ll make you a legend.  Steal an entire Victorian Park and put it into private hands to manage?  They’ll make you an ACSEF member.

O is for Open Data: – As the Council tells us,

“Open data is about increased transparency, about sharing the information we hold with the wider community to build useful applications.”

There is a link to this open data –

“We now have a linked data repository, available at: http://linkeddata.aberdeencity.gov.uk/ which provides a number of data sets as linked data. “

Please do be my guest and visit this link.  But if you’re looking for any controversial data, I’m not sure this will be much help to you.

P is for Package Holidays: – the City is giving us advice on consumer protection regarding package holidays.   Result!

I wonder whether the previous Lord Provost did a package holiday when he went on some of his essential world-wide trips in order to save the city some money.  His visit to Nagasaki clearly worked wonders, and I hear the Japanese want to get rid of some of their tedious green space to build granite webs.

There was a tartan created to commemorate the visit as well.  While we were spending all this money on his designer jeans, clothes, travel, portraits and so on, we sensibly have just auctioned off some of the artefacts from Thomas Glover House.  Glover, you may recall, was for all intents the man who most helped to open up Japan to the outside world, and his house in Aberdeen was a monument to him and his travels.

I wonder if they’ve sold the doorknobs, light bulbs and light switches from the Glover house yet?

Q is for…. nothing:  There are no entries.  Nothing about quality of services, quality of life, nothing.  That’s because things are so good, there’s nothing left to say.  (X has no listings, either, FYI).

R is for Rats:  If any of you have read the previous columns about the city’s A to Z of services, you will suspect correctly that this link takes you back to the city’s exterminator services.  The city will happily kill rats, rodents, insects, and a whole host of critters for you, for a fee.  And as we sadly know, they’ll shoot deer.

Next week:  Expect an update on the Tullos Hill deer slaughter story, the remainder of the alphabet, and a return to definitions as normal.

PS – I have learnt a great deal from the online debate sparked from the Guardian’s Annie Lennox story.  But most importantly, I’ve learnt you are not allowed to criticise a place unless you live in it.  Therefore, let’s have no more carping on about the situations in Syria, Iraq, Tibet, Myanmar, DRC, and so on.  Glad that’s settled.

  •  Have your say in the comments box below. 
May 312012
 

Voice’s Alex Mitchell takes readers on a tour of Aberdeen offering a snapshot in time with regard to the appearance, condition and history of some of the city’s streets, features and buildings.

Saturday 19th May 2012:
The first sunny day for ages, so  I left the car at Union Square and went for a wander.  The handsome Archibald Simpson building (former Employment Exchange) at the north-east corner of the Market Street & Virginia Street crossroads has been stone-cleaned to useful effect.   Similarly the Tivoli on Guild Street has benefited from its restoration.

More stone-cleaning is being undertaken on the Carmelite Hotel on Trinity Street. The rectangular enclosures along Carmelite Street are now filling up with shrubs.  

The trees planted along both sides of Rennie’s Wynd are taking hold now and doing their bit to enhance this otherwise fairly grim length of streetscape alongside the Trinity Centre car park.

Into the Green.

The shop premises formerly occupied by Coco Violet, just east of the Back Wynd stairs, remain untenanted.

Similarly the former butcher’s shop next to Correction Wynd and the large former sportswear shop on the south side.

Café 52 seems busy, but otherwise few people to be seen at 2.30 pm on a sunny Saturday.

The south side of the Green is already in deep shade. The Green and the surrounding area are characterised by very tall buildings and narrow streets and wynds, the unfortunate effect of which is to shut out the sunlight in the afternoons, even in the summer months.

Along Hadden Street. The trees planted in the rectangular enclosures alongside the Aberdeen Market are now protected by elegant & substantial black wrought-iron tree-guards, which create a welcome impression of regularity and symmetry.

Similarly the Rox Hotel up ahead on Market Street, its 1845 Archibald Simpson premises and frontage elegantly restored.

But the Market Arms pub at the corner of Hadden Street & Stirling Street is looking very shabby these days.

Down Market Street and along Shiprow Lane.

On Shiprow itself, the Ibis Hotel and the huge office development beyond, apparently still unoccupied.   The lights are on, but nobody is at home.

Across Union Street and along Broad Street.   The restoration and stone-cleaning of Marischal College really show up to good effect on a sunny day and the statue of Robert Bruce is also highly effective.

The restored Marischal College has become the ‘iconic’ backdrop of choice for any TV news item about Aberdeen and it does our town credit.

Along Gallowgate.   The BrewDog premises in the former Marischal Bar have become something of an institution, an unusual case of a pub actually being improved by a change of ownership.

Down Littlejohn Street, across King Street and along East North Street to the Castlehill roundabout.

We lost the Timmer Market car park some time ago, to the huge disadvantage of businesses & residents in the Castlegate, and now the East North Street car park is closed down and being redeveloped as part of the new Health & Care Village on Frederick Street.

Nobody much in the Castlegate – a clutch of alkies are disporting themselves between the Sally-Ann and the Portals Bar, not doing anything particularly exceptionable, but hardly conducive to the ambiance of this historic locale or its tourist-related potential.

Down Marischal Street – a spectacularly dilapidated shoppie just up from the bridge over Virginia Street, still with its window display from about 30 years ago.   Back to Guild Street, where the forecourt of the Union Square complex seems to have become the favoured place for kids to hang out and drop litter.

Holburn Junction – the premises of the former Beluga café/bar are now occupied by a Sainsbury’s Local, directly across this end of Union Street from a Tesco Metro in the former Bank of Scotland premises.

It seems that conversion of pubs into supermarkets does not require planning permission for change-of-use, and there are a lot of redundant pubs these days.

These new small supermarkets are the one positive development in High Street shopping locales these days, being convenient of access and encouraging people to walk to their local shops and on a regular basis instead of driving to an edge-of-town superstore once a week or so.

Out the Lang Stracht to Dobbie’s Garden Centre on the western outskirts of the city.   The Garden Centre incorporates a substantial retail operation including books & magazines, leisure/outerwear – frankly, most of the togs a chap needs – plus a cafė/restaurant, delicatessen, butcher, baker etc.

Garden centres have a fairly banal image, but one can see the attractions of free & accessible parking, a clean, well-maintained environment, decently-behaved customers, clean toilets – it is easy to see the appeal compared with going into town.   And it’s somewhere to go in the car, and not too far away.

The danger is that Dobbie’s  may be the thin end of a wedge deployed to justify further retail development, followed as surely as night follows day by proposals for residential development and inexorable urban sprawl whilst retail activity continues to drain out of the city centre.

Saturday 26th May 2012: 
Brilliantly sunny weather all this week.
Left the motor in the Denburn car park and walked down past His Majesty’s Theatre, under the Denburn Viaduct and into Union Terrace Gardens – full of people, many with small children – this is one of the very few down-town locations where kids can be allowed to run about without fear of traffic.
And not an alkie or smackheid in sight.

The 78 large mature trees are looking wonderful just now.   Every aspect pleases, other than that of the Triple Kirks, its crumbling tower & spire now further enhanced by unpainted wooden boarding to shut out the peregrine falcons which were nesting there until recently.

The peregrines are a top predator, indicative of a whole food chain of wildlife species below them.

Belmont Street is full of people, checking out the monthly Country Market.   On the brow of Schoolhill, looking towards Marischal College, where the Mitchell Tower is now conspicuously dirty-grey and unrestored.

This view of the College has been obstructed these last 40-odd years by the jumble of concrete rubbish at the Upperkirkgate end of the St Nicholas House complex – the octagonal structure, the long-redundant Post Office and the untenanted shops.   Into St Nicholas Kirkyard via Back Wynd.   Clumps of bluebells between the gravestones.   Lots of people enjoying the tranquillity.

The anti-social element seems to have moved to the Castlegate these days.

To the Oxfam Bookshop, the last second-hand bookshop remaining in Aberdeen, where I obtained Misha Glenny’s magisterial history of the Balkans @ £3.99.

Bookshops and record shops used to be a principal attraction of town centres and High Streets, a reason for going into town, and now they’re almost all gone.  What, if anything, will replace them?

Back over Union Bridge and down through the Gardens; again, every aspect pleases – the granite balustrading, originally matching that on both sides of Union Bridge, the Tuscan-style palazzi along Union Terrace, the statues of Edward VII, a.k.a. Edward the Caresser, Rabbie Burns, Prince Albert and William Wallace, and the wonderful and truly iconic vista of His Majesty’s Theatre up there on the Viaduct.

Contributed by Alex Mitchell.

May 142012
 

In the wake of the local council elections in which the issue of developing Union Terrace Gardens appeared to play a major role, Craig Adams was compelled to write to the newly elected council ahead of a meeting which may well determine the progress of the City Garden Project. Craig shares his letter with Aberdeen Voice readers.

Dear Councillors,

I am writing to you with regard to the upcoming vote on The City Garden Project. The issues surrounding this project have been extensively debated, and to revisit them would be a waste of an email.
I’m guessing that many of you will long ago have formed your own personal opinion on the project, whilst others will, like your constituents, remain in two minds.

Instead, this email will concentrate on issues surrounding the recent public referendum.

I am not a supporter of any particular political party. At local elections I vote solely on the credibility and apparent integrity on the individual candidates. In national elections I usually spoil my ballot paper (and make no excuses for doing so). There is no political agenda here.

Many experts are sceptical of referendums, a view that some of you no doubt share. The purpose of representative democracy is largely to ensure that the people taking the decisions have thoroughly researched the details. Few people voting in a referendum are unlikely to be as well – informed.

It’s somewhat counter-intuitive that the larger the response to a referendum, the less informed the decision is likely to be. While referendums are a necessary part of democracy they are only appropriate under certain circumstances, and must be applied with great discretion.

Referendums work best when the facts are few and the choice is simple. A divided result is not a good outcome. There also needs to be a clearly defined winning line, its position determined by the context of what is being proposed.

There were several other issues surrounding the referendum on The City Garden Project, beyond whether or not it was appropriate or conclusive. The first was the wording of the question. I recall as a teenager going shopping with my mother for a new school uniform. The trousers that she picked were unfashionable. She told me “well it’s either those or you go to school in your underpants”.

The referendum question was loaded in a similar way, in that it ignored any option for Union Terrace Gardens other than Sir Ian Wood’s desired outcome. The implication being – this or nothing. The propaganda that followed reinforced the message that Union Terrace Gardens would be left to rot unless the CGP was built. In my experience the electorate were not split into two camps as has been suggested, rather there were those who wanted:

(a) the CGP

(b) some sort of improvement

(c) any sort of improvement except the CGP

(d) UTG restored and improved or

(e) no money spent at all

You’ve doubtless encountered that same spectrum of views amongst your constituents.

The question was not a good fit for public sentiment. On the subject of Scottish independence it is claimed that minor syntactical changes could be worth a swing of 15%. While it’s debatable whether that figure is accurate, there’s no doubt that choice of wording does exert significant influence. In this case it’s not inconceivable that it exerted enough influence to alter the outcome.

The second issue concerns the fairness of the PR spend. The original consultation process was entirely about The City Garden Project. The design contest was also wholly about the CGP. Both of those exercises were orchestrated by a PR company. There’s also the whole controversy surrounding the ‘unregistered CGP campaign group'(?) who leafleted every home in the city.

Taking everything into account it’s clear that there was a substantial disparity in PR spend, and that is simply not fair. The problem with this is that it gives the wealthy and powerful the impression that PR companies can engineer referendums to produce specific outcomes, and that it boils down to a matter of risk vs. reward. Allowing that to pass without comment introduces a dangerous precedent.

Finally there is the issue around the integrity of the result. The Returning Officer has not permitted anyone to examine the marked register. While that position may comply with the specific lettering of ‘a law’, it certainly does not adhere to the spirit of The Law. This is extremely pertinent as the result was close and there is considerable contention surrounding various aspects of the voting.

For those reasons I’d like to make two basic points surrounding the referendum on The City Garden Project:

1) A referendum was not appropriate in this instance.

2) A poorly fitting, badly worded question and one-sided PR spend, resulted in an outcome that was far from conclusive.

Based on the above, and also taking into account questions over the integrity of the vote, it is clear that the course of this referendum was perverted. In my opinion, the closeness of the result, combined with disagreement over what constitutes conclusive, and the questions surrounding it’s integrity, effectively render the outcome of the referendum invalid…

…however from the result it can be inferred that the public are in favour of improving the gardens – just as they are generally in favour of regenerating the rest of the city centre, but we didn’t really need a referendum to discern that truth.

What I’m asking you to do, is to set aside the outcome of this disastrous referendum when you vote on the future of Union Terrace Gardens, and instead vote for whatever you believe is both right for this city, and truly representative of what people want. That’s why we elected you.

Walk in the Light
Craig Adams

Mar 222012
 

With thanks to Dave Macdermid

With the start of the traditional outdoor tennis season just a few weeks away, entry forms for two of the North East’s long standing tournaments are now available.

The 63rd NESLTA Schools Tournament, which is supported by sportaberdeen, will take place at the Ruthrieston Outdoor Centre and Westburn Tennis Centre between the 21st and 26th May, with competition from age 8 and under through to age 18 and under.

The closing date for entries is Friday 4th May, with entry forms available at: www.granitecitytennis.btik.com

June sees the staging of the Rubislaw NESLTA Confined Tournament between Sunday 10th and Saturday 16th, with four events, namely Men’s and Women’s singles, and boys and girls singles at 16 and under.

The closing date for entries is Sunday 3rd June, with entry forms available at tennis ‘places to play’ throughout the area including Rubislaw LTC.

Mar 152012
 

Dave Macdermid updates Aberdeen Voice on the Glacier Energy Masters U -12  Winter Grand Prix.

Patrick Young consolidated his position as undisputed leader in the inaugural Glacier Energy Masters Under 12 Winter Grand Prix series with victory in the sixth and final event at Westburn Tennis Centre.
In the final, the Stonehaven youngster recovered from the loss of the opening set to edge it 0-4, 4-2, 1-0 (2) over Ross Martin (David Lloyd Aberdeen) in an entertaining match.

In the 3rd/4th place play-off, Rubislaw’s Cameron Edwards defeated his clubmate Conor McMahon 4-2, 4-2.

North East district coach Vikki Paterson was delighted with what will hopefully become an annual series.

“The grand prix has enabled the boys to enjoy regular high-level competition over the winter period and this is something we would wish to build on.”

District President Brian Morgan added.

“The standard of tennis was exceptional and I’m sure those involved will see the benefits of the grand prix going forward. We are indebted to Glacier Energy for their support as without their assistance, quite simply there would have been no event.”

Mar 092012
 

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

Aberdeen Snowsports Centre Instructor Training is a course designed to take applicants from recreational level participant to that of professional instructor in six weeks.
The training is geared toward creating employment in the growing snowsports industry locally and further afield.

The course will be held at Garthdee on Tuesdays from 5th May and it’s open to competent, knowledgeable skiers and snowboarders over 16 with an outgoing personalities and a willingness to learn.

Successful candidates will be able to become instructors at the Centre or develop their career within the National Recognised system.

This will be the centre’s fourth course delivered by highly-experienced qualified full time coaches, this time offering a revised syllabus covering personal performance improvement as well as teaching and instructional techniques.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking for a new career or experience in the snowsports industry and a rare chance to train locally rather than undertaking expensive tuition abroad. Previous participants have gone on to train further and live the dream of instructing abroad. The course has proved popular with working professionals who enjoy the release of instructing after a hard day at the office.

Past successful trainees include:

Neil Cameron (39), Casual Snowboard Instructor

“I was a nervous applicant and was persuaded to come on the course by the guys at Aberdeen Snowsports Centre.  The tuition was excellent and really improved my riding enabling me to understand how to use my board better and definitely made me a more accomplished rider. The skills given to me on the rookie course made the BASI Level 1 much easier and now I have the fun of teaching others to ride”

Jody Taylor (33), Casual Ski Instructor

“Through training on the Rookie Course last year the coaches have taken me from being able to get down a mountain to turning me into a skier. I now not only work at the slopes frequently, I met a great bunch of people along the way and the course has boosted my confidence no end!”

Joe Service (26), Casual Snowboard Instructor

“The snowboard rookie course is a great opportunity to develop your skills as a rider, develop your social life as a rider, and develop at the Centre as an instructor with the on-going instructor training.”

Further details and application forms are available from Aberdeen Snowsports Centre or online at: www.aberdeensnowsports.com

The deadline for application is Friday 6 April.

Mar 012012
 

With thanks to Fuad Rehimov. 

On 26th February members of the University of Aberdeen’s Azerbaijani Society and others from the local Azerbaijani diaspora held a 2 hour demonstration at the St Nicholas Centre as part of the international Khojaly genocide awareness campaign.

 The demonstration marked exactly 20 years since 613 civilians were massacred in what was one of the most brutal and horrific acts of the 20th century, yet often referred to as  the forgotten massacre.

“The Khojaly massacre occurred during the armed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region inside Azerbaijan with a substantial ethnic Armenian population. After capturing most of the region and expelling ethnic Azeri inhabitants, Armenian forces, with the assistance of the Soviet Army’s 366th motorised regiment, which was stationed in the regional capital of Khankendi (Stepanakert), carried out a veritable bloodbath among the Azerbaijani population in the town of Khojaly. “
http://www.euractiv.com/europes-east/khojaly-forgotten-massacre-analysis-511126

The Armenian barbarism towards Khojalians is almost impossible to describe. Armenians claim that genocide was committed on them by Ottomans a hundred years ago, but how can they explain the atrocities, the inhumane crimes they themselves committed against Azerbaijani civilians in Nagorno Karabag, a mere two decades ago?

Fuad Rehimov told Aberdeen Voice:

“The French Government adopts a law which threatens to punish people who don’t accept Armenian genocide, but they never say a single word about babies who were killed in cold blood.

“If it is just politics, then it’s very dirty and very ugly politics which has no morals. If I were Armenian, I would feel shame for the barbarism that my nation committed.

“This picture was taken by Russian correspondent Victoriya Ivleeva on 1st March 1992 in Hojali, Azerbaijan.

“There is a girl without arms on the road with her slaughtered family on the left.

“This atrocity was committed by Armenians. You can see an Armenian car with the marauders’ plate in the town of Azeri.”

For further information, visit: www.mykhojaly.wordpress.com 

Mar 012012
 

With thanks to Dave Macdermid. 

The inaugural NESLTA ‘Green’ level boys and girls invitational competitions, held at Westburn Tennis Centre, were voted a great success Rubislaw’s Jamie Connell emerging victorious from the eight contestants ahead of runner-up Angus Edwards (Cults), Harrshra Pradeep Kumar (DL Aberdeen) in third and fourth placed Greg Smith (Alford).

In the girl’s final, Rachel Gibson made it a Rubislaw double edging out Amy Spiers (Cults).

District coach Vikki Paterson, who organised the event, was delighted with the standard of tennis on display. “It was extremely competitive with some fantastic tennis on display and all of those who participated said they’d really enjoyed the experience.”

Westburn Tennis Centre also hosted a Tennis Scotland Under 8 Red competition in which Cameron Jappy (Westhill) and Ewan Smith (Westhill/Alford) continued to impress, with Cameron came out of top on this occasion, beating Ewan 7-5, 7-3 in the final.

Benjamin Hine and Sam Walker finished in 3rd and 4th place.