Jun 242016

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

AberdeenAssetManagement2A series of POWWOWS to help people deal with mental health issues will take place in the Granite City after a mental health charity received £500 from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation.
During 2014-2015 Penumbra supported  more than 650 people in Aberdeen aged from teenagers to 70 plus, through a wide range of services offering hope and practical steps towards recovery.

Its services include Penumbra Workshops on Wellbeing – or POWWOWS – which are educational, informative, relevant and fun group sessions.

They bring together people with an interest in a particular area of wellbeing to share knowledge and experience by discussing tips, ideas and practical steps that can be taken to improve health.

Themes include building confidence, achieving goals, overcoming stigma, hopefulness and food for thought. Penumbra’s vision is a society where every individual is accepted, supported and has the resources to fulfil their potential, without limits caused by mental ill health and participants say they feel more confident, healthier and in control through learning from others as a result of taking part in these sessions.

One of the highlights in the calendar of a rural Aberdeenshire community will benefit by £250 from Aberdeen’s charitable pot. It will help ensure that Rhynie Gala Day on Saturday, August 20 remains a free to enter event, as it has been for the past 35 years.

The gala attracts around 2,000 visitors including tourists and is run entirely by volunteers featuring stalls, attractions and catering, a pop-up restaurant and licensed dance.

Proceeds raised are shared out with local groups through Rhynie Charitable Trust Ltd which helps more than half a dozen groups in the village that are reliant on fundraising activities in order to continue. These groups include a Car Aid scheme which transports people to and from hospital as well as a bowling club and Brownies.

Aberdeen Asset Management  previously announced its support for Alzheimer Scotland’s dementia café in Aberdeen, which received £2,500. People living with dementia, their families and carers maintain social connections and make friendships by meeting up over a cuppa at dementia cafés, which improve wellbeing and confidence as well as maintain links with communities.

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen’s Charitable Foundation says:

“We are happy to provide a helping hand for these groups that do sterling work in their communities. Penumbra strives to improve mental wellbeing and supports a wide range of age groups,  from teenagers to pensioners, in Aberdeen. Rhynie Charitable Trust helps maintain a strong sense of community in its rural Aberdeenshire setting.

“Meanwhile Aberdeen’s support of a dementia café  provides an informal setting for people with dementia, their family and carers to enjoy a cup of tea and a cake along with  friendship and support over a cup of tea and a cake. All worthy causes indeed.”

Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. It seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects.

The main focus of the Foundation is around emerging markets and local communities, reflecting the desire to give back to those areas which are a key strategic focus of the business and to build on the historic pattern of giving to communities in which Aberdeen employees live and work.

For more information visit http://www.aberdeen-asset.co.uk/aam.nsf/foundation/home

Jun 022016

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


A café that is dishing up friendship and support along with coffee and cake to people living with dementia has received a financial boost during Dementia Awareness Week (May 30-June 5)
Alzheimer Scotland’s dementia café in Aberdeen – hailed as a lifeline to families affected by the disease – has received £2,500 from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation.

People living with dementia, their families and carers reap the benefits of maintaining social connections and making friendships by meeting up over a cuppa at dementia cafés, which improve wellbeing and confidence as well as maintain links with communities.

They are part of the network of support and information services provided by Alzheimer Scotland, the country’s leading dementia charity which also raises awareness and supports research into the disease.

Alzheimer Scotland’s corporate fundraiser Fiona Lewis said that the value of providing an informal get together for people affected by the disease could not be underestimated. Feedback from café users is positive, with people saying they’ve made genuine friendships, they have welcomed being able to meet up outside other activities, and they’ve been able to share the load with others in a similar situation.

Fiona said:

The Aberdeen Dementia Café acts as a lifeline to many and provides the opportunity for both people living with dementia and their carers to make real and meaningful friendships outwith our services, which is invaluable throughout their journey with dementia. Our Aberdeen Dementia Café directly supports 18-20 people each month, benefitting people with dementia, their spouses or partners and younger family members who are often the person’s main carer.

“With facilities like this café, we want to ensure that anyone living with, or affected by, dementia in the Aberdeen area has access to information, care and support that they need in order to live well with the disease, or be able to support their loved one, in their own community.

“The Dementia Café positively impacts on many lives in the Aberdeen area and Aberdeen Asset Management Charitable Foundation’s kind support of £2,500 will help Alzheimer Scotland to continue providing this vital community service.”

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation, added:

This café does great work in supporting people with dementia, their family and carers enabling them to remain connected with their communities, and to meet others in a similar situation in a friendly, relaxed and welcoming environment. We are pleased to offer this support and show our backing to Dementia Awareness Week and its message ‘let’s challenge dementia together’.”

There are 90,000 people with dementia in Scotland and while age is the greatest risk factor for dementia, there are around 3,000 people with dementia aged under 65.

The number of people with dementia is increasing because the population is getting older. Based on current dementia prevalence rates, the number of people with dementia is set to double within the next 25 years.

Dementia Awareness Week seeks to raise awareness and much-needed funds for those living with and affected by dementia in Scotland. It also seeks to promote becoming a Scottish Dementia Friend by understanding dementia and the small things that can be done to help people with the condition. This could be helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a till queue if someone with dementia is taking longer to pay. For more information, visit www.alzscot.org/daw2016

The Aberdeen Asset Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact and the firm encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects. For more information visit: www.aberdeen-asset.com/foundation

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Jan 282016

acsha logoWith thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

A group of Aberdeen hoteliers has been working tirelessly to raise funds for a leading dementia charity, and is set to reach a five figure fundraising goal. Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association (ACSHA) has raised over £13,000 for Alzheimer Scotland so far, and is confident that it will increase this to £20,000 by its AGM in April.

As part of its fundraising effort, ACSHA recently auctioned a bottle of Pol Roger Vintage Cap 1943 champagne for an impressive £800.

The prize, which also included a meal at Ardoe House Hotel & Spa and a bottle of White Label Pol Roger, was won by Calum Richardson, who runs The Bay Fish & Chips, Stonehaven. After placing the winning bid, Mr Richardson offered an additional lot comprising of outside catering which raised an additional £1,000.

Mariner Hotel owner Mike Edwards, who donated the champagne, is spearheading ACSHA’s fundraising effort, and believes the organisation is well on its way to reaching its target. He says,

“It’s incredibly heart-warming to see so many hoteliers working together to raise funds for a cause as worthwhile as dementia care and research.

“We are delighted to have raised so much money from auctioning the champagne, and hope to continue in a similar vein as we push closer to our £20,000 target over the next few months.

“I hope that Calum enjoys the champagne, and that he celebrated his winning bid in suitable style – with fizz and chips!”

ACSHA will continue its fundraising efforts over the coming months, starting with a 24 hour endurance relay on static bikes which will take place in a number of hotels across the region. The organisation has also partnered with the Deeside Brewery to create a specially labelled lager which will be sold in local hotels with all profits going to Alzheimer Scotland.

Alzheimer Scotland is ACSHA’s nominated charity for 2015/16, and it is hoped that the money raised will go some way to funding its operations in the north east, including a newly opened resource centre in Aberdeen city centre. In addition to monetary donations, a number of ACSHA members have joined the Dementia Friends initiative, which seeks to make all venues more welcoming and hospitable for those with dementia and their carers.

Mr Edwards’ father, David, was once a familiar face in the hospitality trade in Aberdeen, and was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2008 at the age of just 59. There are currently around 90,000 people across Scotland diagnosed with dementia, including around 3,500 under the age of 65. In Aberdeen alone there are almost 300 people living with dementia under the age of 65.

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association represents 49 independently operated hotels and conference venues, along with a further nine associate members. These hotels provide around 4,500 bedrooms in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. ACSHA is committed to improving the quality and standard of hotel services and to furthering the overall standards of excellence and hospitality within the region.

To make a donation to ACSHA’s fundraising pot for Alzheimer Scotland, visit www.justgiving.com/ACSHA

For more information about Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association, visit www.aberdeenhotels.org

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Jun 252015

acsha logoWith thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.

Hoteliers from across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are banding together to launch a £20,000 fund-raising campaign to help thousands of local families affected by dementia.
Members of Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association (ACSHA) want to raise the cash for the region’s first dementia resource centre, which will open its doors in Aberdeen later this year.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Mike Edwards of the city’s Mariner Hotel.

The need to have a dedicated resource centre for people with dementia and their families is a cause particularly close to his own heart. His father, David, was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2008 – aged just 59.

David, who had a long and successful career in the hospitality sector, is one of almost 7,500 people in the north east who are currently living with some form of dementia.

Since his father’s diagnosis, Mike has discovered that many other people connected to ACSHA have also been touched by the condition in some way. He asked that Alzheimer Scotland be considered as ACSHA’s adopted charity for 2015, and found wholehearted support amongst his peers.

Mike explains,

“My father is very much respected in the hospitality community, having worked in many hotels in the city and in the shire, including The Tufted Duck in Fraserburgh and The Commodore before opening the popular Atlantis Restaurant in 1979.

“He ran the Mariner from 1995, right up until his forced retirement due to ill-health. So many people, including my fellow hoteliers, would ask after him and it was through talking to others that I discovered how many people I knew had also been touched by dementia.

“When I heard that Alzheimer Scotland was opening a new resource centre, I knew right away just how valuable something like this could be to so many families in desperate need of support and guidance as they adjust to living with the condition.

“We will be fund-raising throughout the year, and hope that we will be able to hand over £20,000 by the time we stage our next AGM in April. We’re still working on our plans, but I know that in the past my fellow hoteliers have been very inventive with ideas and generous in their support.”

Last year, ACSHA adopted the Teenage Cancer Trust as its nominated charity in recognition of the support it had given Inverurie teenager Abigail Cox – daughter of hotelier Gary Cox – as she battled against bone cancer. It set a £20,000 target but went on to generate £45,000 for the charity.

The new Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre will be based in King Street and will formally open in September. It will serve as a drop-in for anyone seeking advice about dementia, a meeting place for people with dementia and their families and a base for Alzheimer Scotland staff.

There are currently around 90,000 people across Scotland who have been diagnosed with some form of dementia, including around 3,500 under the age of 65. In Aberdeen alone there are almost 300 people under the age of 65 living with dementia.

Aberdeen-based Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Advisor, Sarah Geoghegan is full of praise for the initiative being undertaken by ACSHA. She adds,

“Dementia affects many people and families across Aberdeen City and Shire. It affects everyday life and can be a great challenge to both those people affected and their loved ones. We want to support people with a diagnosis to live independently for as long as possible and maintain a full and active life.”

“The new resource centre will be a vital source of information and support for people with dementia and their families and I thank all those who are making this possible, including everyone at ACSHA. It is fantastic to have their support and we look forward to working with them in the months ahead.”

In addition to supporting the fund-raising, many ACSHA members are also adding their weight behind the Dementia Friends initiative. This is a scheme that aims to make all association venues more welcoming and hospitable for those with dementia and their carers.

A number of fund-raising events have already been arranged, including ACSHA’s participation in the annual Memory Walk at Hazelhead Park in Aberdeen on September 13. A fund-raising page has also been set up at www.justgiving.com/ACSHA

Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association represents 43 independently operated hotels and conference venues. These hotels provide around 4,100 bedrooms in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. ACSHA is committed to improving the quality and standard of hotel services and to furthering the overall standards of excellence and hospitality within the region.

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Dec 132013

Lucy and Pot - Duncan HarleyBy Duncan Harley.

The story so far:

Cody’s gran, Señora McLaughlin, has died in far off Santa Cruz at an undisclosed old age and her family have gathered round to say goodbye.
At some expense the old woman’s ashes are brought home after a family whip round.

Following the graveside ceremony, the mourners take time to reflect on her legacy in a clan gathering at the local pub. When the tab runs out, only Danny and Rob are left.

All of a sudden the bar door flies open and a white hoodied figure marches quickly in. Pistol in hand, he walks straight up to Danny and raises his hand in line with Danny’s head.

“This is from McAllister” he says, then pulls the trigger.

Danny had known a few dementia sufferers in his time. We all do really. The longer we live, the more likely it is that it will happen either to us or to one whom we know or love or even hate. Vascular, late onset, mid onset and that slightly uncertain early stage of the illness are all slightly unsettling. Especially for the ones left behind of course.

The onset can be insidious however.

–          Shall I have salt on my porridge Dave? Or maybe some honey?

–          Who are you talking to dear?

–          Dave of course.

–          Erm, Dave died at Normandy. He stepped on one of those landmines and bled to death. Don’t you recall? His obituary was in the local squeak. They said he was a sad loss, a hero as I recall.

–          Don’t be silly, he’s right here at the breakfast table. Can’t you see him?

–          Now, as I was saying Dave …

Best perhaps to have a wee defining heart issue or even one of those “he was sorting out the washing one minute then I heard a thud” episodes maybe.

Danny’s uncle Martin was largely undiagnosed until he reached the rank old age of fifty nine, at which point life became unusually interesting for Danny’s auntie.

Off Martin went to work each day to a job which had certainly been his some 20 years before.
The local GP was supportive in the extreme but, with no real diagnosis or indeed cure what could she suggest. Hide the car keys and consider a divorce before it’s too late was the best she could do between the administering of day centres and pills.

The tomato growers in the Clyde Valley had been Martins customers.

The company he had worked for had been out of business for a good few years. Nobody wanted Scottish grown tomatoes any more, the Spanish imports were just as red but much cheaper. Plus of course there were those lax custom regulations. The chance to import some mind enhancing substances was on the agenda.

The big growers had of course diversified into those Garden Centres. Some were of course quite legitimate, others were just money funnels for the Glasgow boys.

Not those Glasgow boys of painting fame of course, just “those” boys.

You know the routine.

–          Bring granny for a wee cup of tea and while you’re at it buy some stuff.
What stuff? No matter, anything will suffice.

–          Can we tempt Sir with a wee umbrella perhaps, black or brown?
Maybe a tartan umbrella or one with that Scottish Saltire emblazoned upon it? No worries Sir, we also have jigsaw puzzles and bird feeders for the back garden. Not that birds can solve the puzzles you understand, but just a suggestion. Always like to help and all that. Milk in that granny tea? A wee biscuit perhaps or just a bill?

–          We have Airfix kits galore, fun wellies replete with frog motifs and golf clothing for the buying. Fancy some nice brown brogues or some bargain publications?

–          We have books about most Scottish subjects. Wallace, Burns and tartan. Clans, Glencoe and tartan. Highland walks, those big mountains and tartan Victoria.

–          If Sir would like to view our paintings.

–          If Sir can take some leisure time to view the original and mainly manly complete toss, mainly manly unhealthy quality, mainly manly  stuff no-one  really needs much, teddy bears and pictures of those nostalgic Lancaster Bombers.

–          Spitfire’s and cuddly cats. Mind those you used to hang off the bedroom ceiling by a thread, the old ones are the best eh? Nostalgia and those Krays.

The keywords.

Tartan whisky, Munro kilts, malt grouse, highland games and those cabers. Highland dancing, that bagpipe lilt and men in kilts. White heather, Jimmy  Shand and Granny’s Heilan Hame.

The money of course often came from dubious sources. The accountants lived in big mansions just off the Bothwell Road.

Right next to those footballers wives spread legs they shovelled it into bank accounts well hidden and well contrived.

–          Fancy some shit, legitimate … honest.

–          I right pal. Think I just embarked from a banana boat or something.

–          Question mark.

–          Honest injuns.

–          I ok. How much?

When the gun went off, Danny had wondered if all was well. A last chance saloon, maybe a delusion or perhaps a good few too many.

–          Who the fuck are you came very much to mind.

–          Is this for real?


–          Happy birthday ya big gobshite.  Meant to send you a wee card but at 50P a pop for that Post Office stamp stuff, never quite got round to it. Had a few I see, not a problem.

–          Mc Allister says hello and Happy Birthday.

–          Way hey, look at the state of you.

–          Only a wee joke, lighten up.

Danny had of course imbibed.

Not best pleased he reflected that Señora McLaughlin was still dead. He reasoned that her ashes were back in that Trinity Cemetery and the  family had grieved appropriately.

The bill for the cremation had been paid, the flight costs had been met and the bar bill had been covered. Well at least until 5pm. So no problem then. No unresolved issues whatsoever.

The gun to the head had been tempered by the drink but in the scheme way of things, the birthday message was unwelcome, very unwelcome in fact.

–          Mc Allister and Happy Birthday seemed an unhealthy combination somehow.

Another wee sniff might just make all the difference.

Mind you …

(to be continued)

Jun 282012

Gubby Plenderleith, our Special Correspondent for Arts, Culture and the Media, reports on the ground-breaking pilot for a new reality TV show.

It’s forty four years since Andy Warhol first forecast the future in which everybody would be famous for fifteen minutes.
That future has well and truly come and while not everyone has achieved fame, the current crop of reality TV shows has ensured that far more people than ever have realised a degree of celebrity that could never have been envisaged in 1968.

But while reality TV to date has favoured the younger members of its audience – the Club 18 to 30 of society if you like – production company Endthemall is currently piloting a show where the stars will all be senior citizens. 

The idea of the show is for a group of pensioners to share a house for two weeks, with a range of tasks, treats and penalties being administered by ‘Big Daddy’ in order to see how they interact.

The working title for the show is Grandad’s House and, having been lucky enough to be invited to view some of the footage which has already been recorded, I offer you below a taster of what we can expect to see when the show is aired nationwide.

6.13 pm     Bill and Gladys are tidying up in the kitchen.  Rose prepared the tea tonight – sausage rolls and alphabetti spaghetti – and is now fast asleep on the couch beside Tom, who’s slowly packing the few remaining strands of what’s still left of this week’s Tam o’ Shanter into his pipe.  Meanwhile, in the boys’ bedroom, Jack has stretched out on the top of his bed and snores gently, the gentle rhythm broken only by the occasional expulsion of flatulence.

6.42 pm     Bill and Gladys have finished in the kitchen and gone into the garden.  Bill’s trying to play bowls, but the chickens keep escaping from their pen and cluster around the jack.

Maggie, who’s been trying all week to get one of the boys to hold his hands out in the regulation manner in order that she can wind her wool, has given up and sits quietly on the deck area.

6.59 pm    Matt, the oldest person in the house, is telling them all again how old he is.

“We know you’re 93,” says Tom, “you’ve told us every hour of every day since we’ve got here!”

“Have I?” asks Matt and tells them again.

7.02 pm     The Housechums, having successfully completed this week’s task – staying in bed until 7 o’clock on at least one morning – are putting together their shopping list.  Gladys is again lobbying for an extra bottle of Sanatogen Wine, while Matt reminds everyone that the ten cartons of Steradent they ordered last week have already run out.

“It’s not funny when you get to my age,” he says, “I’m 93 you know!”

7.05 pm     Matt tells the Housechums again that he’s 93.  Tom swears under his breath and passes wind.

7.11 pm     Jack appears in the living room and tells everyone that there must be something wrong with the drains.  They ask him why and he tells them that there’s one hell of a smell in the bedroom.

7.14 pm     Maggie shuffles into the living room and asks if anyone knows where the Rennies are.  Jean, who’s been sleeping quietly in the corners, wakes up tells her they’re where they always-bloody-are!  Maggie asks her where that is and Jean tells her she knows damned fine before nodding off again.

Matt starts to tell her about a sergeant named Rennie who was in the Black Watch with him, but she tells him not to start and waddles off to the girls’ bedroom.

7.21 pm     Matt asks Gladys if it’s time for tea yet and Jack tells him they’ve already had their tea.  Matt asks him what he had and whether he enjoyed it.

7.27 pm     Big Daddy tells the Housechums that, as a special treat, they’re to be allowed to watch Coronation street tonight.  Maggie and Gladys both tell everyone that it’s their favourite programme and how that Gail Tilsley’s no better than she should be.  Jack says it’s a load of pish and Matt starts to tell them how old he is but falls asleep before he finishes the sentence.

7.34 pm     Gladys, Maggie and Jean sit watching television when Bill wanders in from the garden and ask them what crap’s on the telly now.  They tell him that Big Daddy is letting the Housechums watch Coronation Street as a special treat.

Bill tells them that the only reason he came into the Grandad’s House was to get away from bloody Coronation Street, bloody East Enders and bloody Emmerdale.  They tell him that he missed out River City and he tells them that it’s the best bloody programme on the bloody telly and how he’s always been interested in boats and sailing before going back out to the garden.

7.42 pm      During the commercial break Jean goes into the kitchen to put the kettle on while Jack and Tom get up to go to the toilet.  Maggie asks them where they’re going and, when they tell her, she reminds them that this will be the third time they’ve gone in the last hour.

Matt tells them how convenient his colostomy bag is.

7.57 pm     With Coronation Street finished, the Housemates hope that Big Daddy will let them watch the next programme but the screen goes blank.

8.02 pm     The Housechums have returned to compiling this week’s shopping list.  Maggie and Jean are discussing the relative merit of two different brands of pork luncheon meat, while Jack tells them not to get any eggs as he’s been bound for the last five days.

8.13 pm     Bill comes in from the garden and announces that he’s going to his bed.  The Housechums all agree that this is an excellent idea as they’ve got to be up early in the morning and join him.

Clearly Endthemall have worked their particular brand of magic again and we can look forward to yet another example of the kind of reality TV that has made British broadcasting what it is today.

 Image Credit:  © Frenk And Danielle Kaufmann | Dreamstime.com

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