Aug 182016
 

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

quarriersHousehold essentials that help make a house a home are being provided to young homeless people in Scotland who are overcoming significant challenges and taking up their first tenancies.

Starter packs containing the basics like curtains, bedding, pots and pans, towels and cleaning items are being provided to young people who have experienced homelessness when they move into their first homes through an initiative by leading social care charity Quarriers.

Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation has given £2,000 to provide starter packs to help 40 young people kit out their new home, giving them a more comfortable start to life in their first secured tenancy.

Youth homelessness remains a real issue in Scotland and young people supported by Quarriers’ youth housing services have often travelled a harrowing road with exposure to neglect, violence, abuse, relationship breakdowns with family and friends, and substance misuse which has affected their health, emotional and psychological development, confidence and self-esteem.

A number of young people have also experienced the care system at some point in their lives.

Many have encountered difficulties at school which has hindered their progression and acquisition of basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Increasingly, Quarriers is also supporting young refugees and asylum seekers whose extreme experiences and negligible resources severely limit their ability to survive, let alone thrive, in their new country.

Young people speak of their feelings of despair, abandonment and isolation; many have turned to alcohol, drugs and high risk behaviours to try to escape their situations and feelings.

Quarriers last year supported over 300 young people to regain their confidence and get their lives back on track, providing them with the means and skills to live independently and successfully within their community. These youngsters, often referred by social work or related services, receive up to two years support from the charity, depending on their circumstances.

Moving into their own tenancy – be it in mainstream or supported accommodation – is a significant step forward full of challenges for young people with few belongings, let alone basic furniture.

Providing basic household items including bedding, curtains or blinds, towels, cutlery and dishes, a kettle, toaster and pots, cleaning goods and other items when possible and funding permits helps young people get settled in and feel like they are in their own home, rather than just a safe room with a roof.

Alice Harper, Quarriers Chief Executive, said:

“Quarriers is committed to providing high quality services to help young people experiencing homelessness. Practical support such as providing these starter packs makes a real difference and we would like to thank Aberdeen Asset Management wholeheartedly for their support.

“Together, we are helping the young people we support to develop essential life skills and work towards a brighter future.”

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen’s Charitable Foundation, added:

“Having a place to call your own is a milestone in any young person’s life but for anyone who has faced homelessness it must be all the more significant. Quarriers has recognised the difference it makes to provide an assortment of basic home items right at the start of a new tenancy and we’re pleased to be able to provide starter packs for 40 young people.”

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

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Aug 042016
 

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

Lynx Juniors2

Lynx Juniors.

One of Aberdeen’s biggest sports clubs is looking for companies to support youth development in the city.
The Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club, which is the second most supported sports team in the city after Aberdeen Football Club, is looking for sponsorship from local businesses for the 2016-17 season, which starts in September.

As well as its SNL league team, the Lynx are also extremely focused on junior development, and have teams from ages 12 and up, as well as a Mini Lynx Learn to Play programme.

Securing sponsorship ensures that youngsters in the North-east have access to first-class coaching and facilities, providing them with the opportunity to pursue the sport as a hobby or a career in the future.

The Club – which recently lost its main sponsorship deal due to the slump in the oil and gas industry – is starting to think outside the box when it comes to funding and is introducing smaller sponsorship opportunities.

All the support from sponsors goes straight back into the club, which helps to keep costs down for junior players, fund equipment, and enables the team to travel around the country to play in SNL games.

Martin Hill, chair of the Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Team, said:

“Unfortunately, we have just lost our main sponsorship deal due to the downturn in Aberdeen. We had anticipated it was going to happen and are sympathetic, but it still comes as a real blow to both our adult and junior teams.

“The Lynx are now on the lookout for new sponsorship deals. We completely understand that it’s currently a very difficult climate for businesses in Aberdeen, so we’re willing to negotiate, as we know how many companies are struggling.

“Since we were re-established in 2009, the club has grown to extraordinary heights and regularly sells out games. We often have around 1,100 people coming to watch the team at home, so sponsoring The Lynx is a really cost-effective way of advertising, as the exposure we’re able to give businesses is huge.

“Last season we won the SNL Play Off Final, which was a fantastic achievement for the club. We’re already beginning to see that demand for tickets is going to be high, so to thank the fans for their continued support, we’ve frozen our ticket prices.”

For more information about the Aberdeen Lynx and the SNL fixtures search Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Team on Facebook, visit the website www.aberdeenlynx.com, or email contactus@aberdeenlynx.com.

 

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Jul 212016
 

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

Lonach Hall defibrillator - Jennifer Stewart, Lonach Society, and Paul Hicks, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Jennifer Stewart  with Paul Hicks of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, and members of the Lonach Highlanders and local firefighters.

The organisers of the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, have launched a fundraising campaign to install lifesaving equipment in upper Strathdon.

The society has launched an appeal to raise nearly £7,000 to fund the purchase of four public access defibrillators that will be installed at venues in the Aberdeenshire valley.

It follows the installation of a defibrillator, funded by the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, at the Lonach Hall.

Defibrillators give someone suffering a cardiac arrest more time while ambulances get to a patient’s location. It is estimated that every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of survival by 10 per cent. In remote, rural locations such as Strathdon, where the nearest major hospital is over 40 miles away in Aberdeen, access to defibrillation could prove vital.

Retained firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Strathdon fire station, which is made up mainly of Lonach Highland and Friendly Society members, were on hand at the unveiling of the Lonach Hall defibrillator.

The Strathdon fire station, like Scotland’s other 355 fire stations, acts as a base for local people to learn vital CPR skills that can potentially save someone’s life. The training is provided in partnership with British Heart Foundation Scotland, which has donated Call Push Rescue training kits to the stations. Anyone interested in this free CPR training should contact their local fire station.

To provide the rural community with the potentially lifesaving defibrillators, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is seeking support from local businesses, organisations and local benefactors to help fund the purchase. The four bright green ‘shock boxes’ will be placed in prominent public locations throughout the rural Aberdeenshire community.

Public access defibrillators are designed for anyone to use on someone in cardiac arrest. The devices talk users through the steps required, including CPR and patient analysis, and will only deliver a shock to the patient if it detects that one is required. This means that there is no chance of malicious or accidental usage.

The sites earmarked to host one of the devices are Glenbuchat Hall, Corgarff Hall and locations in Glenkindie and Kildrummy.

Lonach Hall was chosen to host Strathdon’s first defibrillator due to its role as an important community facility. The well-used venue has been a fixture of the Bellabeg area since 1845 and hosts a range of functions, including weddings, concerts, meetings, dances and corporate events. It is also the venue for the annual Lonach Highland Ball which is organised by the society and is held the week following the annual Lonach Highland Gathering.

Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said:

“The society was founded to preserve highland culture and promote community cohesion and charitable giving, all of which still run through its core today. Supporting the local community is imperative to the society and our annual gathering continues to make a significant contribution to the local economy. We always strive to increase the scope of that contribution and this fundraising initiative is part of that.

“Strathdon is a beautiful, rural location, but one that can take some time for emergency services to get to. Defibrillators can prove crucial to increasing the chances of a patient’s survival in the minutes before an ambulance arrives. With a predominately older population, installing these pieces of lifesaving kit in the local area makes a lot of sense, particularly as no such provision currently exists.

“Applications for grant funding have been made, but any contribution from businesses, organisations or individuals would be warmly received. Our aim is to raise enough funding to have the additional four defibrillators installed by the end of 2016.”

This year sees the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society’s showpiece event reach a major milestone. The 175th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games will take place in Bellabeg on Saturday, 27 August. To mark the anniversary, the Lonach Highlanders will be joined at the games and on their march round the local area prior to the games commencing by the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s only private army.

Established in 1823, by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is a charitable organisation based in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. The society organises the annual Lonach Gathering at Bellabeg Park, Strathdon, which is held on the fourth Saturday of August. The main attraction at the gathering is the march of the Lonach Highlanders, a unique body of non-military men.

Further information on the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, the Lonach Highlanders and the annual Lonach Highland Gathering can be found at www.lonach.org.

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Jul 082016
 

The Homeless World Cup changes lives; David Duke, Founder and Chief Executive of Street Soccer Scotland, is living proof. Aberdeen man Austin Leslie is expected to take part. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.

2/7/16 EMIRATES ARENA Glasgow Homeless world cup volunteers. Jacqueline Allen, Sheila Steinan, James Sloan , Graham Buchan, Martin Bilsland, Maiana Mercado

Glasgow Homeless world cup volunteers. Jacqueline Allen, Sheila Steinan, James Sloan , Graham Buchan, Martin Bilsland, Maiana Mercado

The Homeless World Cup Foundation has announced that over 350 volunteers will be involved in the delivery of the Homeless World Cup, which kicks-off this Sunday (10 July 2016).

Today’s final training session, held at the Emirates Arena, brought together many of the volunteers who have willingly given up their time to support the global tournament.

A group from Glasgow posed for a set-piece picture (available royalty free, captions embedded) outside the venue as the seven day countdown begins.

With building work starting today on George Square, anticipation is rising ahead of the 14th Homeless World Cup. Scotland’s men and women take on Hong Kong and Norway, respectively, in their opening fixtures, following the opening ceremony which starts at 12.30pm.

Volunteers will work in four key areas: Team Relations, Sport & Tournament Management, Media & Content Services, and Spectator Services.

Many of the Spectator Services volunteers will come from a strand of legacy activity funded by the Big Lottery Fund. This will see about 120 participants who have previous or current experience of homelessness supported as part of a long term strategy to support them to build a life they want for themselves. Around 40 of the group have also travelled from all across the world – at their own expense – to be in Glasgow to support the competition.

100,000 spectators are expected to visit the Homeless World Cup during the week-long festival. Entry is free & no tickets are required, albeit it is expected at key times (particularly when Scotland play) it will be very busy so spectators should arrive in plenty of time for games they wish to see.

The Homeless World Cup arrives in Glasgow as part of a three way partnership between the Homeless World Cup Foundation, the Scottish Government (delivered via EventScotland), and Glasgow City Council (delivered via Glasgow Life). Homeless World Cup volunteer manager Mariana Mercado comments:

“The Homeless World Cup tournament wouldn’t be possible without the support from all of our volunteers, they are the ones that make it happen. This year’s response has been amazing and we have engaged 350 volunteers. All these volunteers are donating their time and energy to help us deliver this world class event, and we couldn’t be more grateful.” 

Councillor Archie Graham OBE, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said Glasgow Life:

“We’re providing a life-changing opportunity for an army of volunteers, many of whom have been affected by homelessness themselves, with a package of support and opportunities which will continue long after the last ball has been kicked. The Homeless World Cup not only shines an issue on the problem, but inspires people to do what they can to tackle the problem.

“With the support of the Big Lottery Fund and our partners, I have no doubt that our volunteers will be equally inspired – and be the heart and soul of what promises to be yet another outstanding event for the city.” 

The legacy project will not only support volunteers who have faced homelessness during the event, but will continue with sport and cultural opportunities on offer to those participating. Maureen McGinn, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland added:

“The Homeless World Cup inspires people to change their life for the better. That is an aim shared with us at the Big Lottery Fund as we want our funding to make a truly life-changing and inspirational difference to people across Scotland. This volunteering initiative is unique not just for the impact it will have on people during the event but afterwards as well through a range of sports and cultural activities.

“We know from our previous funding that Glasgow Life has a proud record of delivering volunteering opportunities at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and this is another legacy project which we are delighted to support.”

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Jun 102016
 

Wounded veterans whose injuries have ended their military careers are rebuilding their lives by training for rewarding and sustainable employment in civil aviation with a charity that has landed £18,000 from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation. With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wings for Warriors student Marc Goddard and instructor Chris Kirk.

Ex-service personnel overcome amputation, serious burns, multiple fractures and gunshot injuries to be chosen for rigorous flight training, gruelling academic exams, underwater escape training and regular tests as students with Wings for Warriors.
Aberdeen’s funding package will support one ex-veteran through 18 months’ full training to become a commercial helicopter pilot, leading to opportunities with the air ambulance, coastguard, offshore operators and others.

It helps students like Marc Goddard (28) who was serving with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan when he sustained life-changing injuries whilst travelling in an armoured vehicle which hit an improvised explosive device.

Marc was among casualties airlifted to Camp Bastion where he was stabilised and flown back home to hospital in the UK with  multiple broken bones and 25% burns to his body.

The complexity of his fractures meant he was no longer fit for service,  and while jobs in offshore marine security and events management followed, neither fitted the father-of two’s lifestyle or skills.

Marc explains:

“I joined the Royal Marines straight from school and I had never known anything different.  I hit a low, wondering how I was ever going to have a job that I enjoyed again and be able to support my family.

“I grew up in Norfolk around military bases and I’d always had an interest in aviation and did a bit of soul searching. I got back in touch with Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre  and spoke to the right people and found out more about Wings for Warriors. I had no idea they could help people like me but I discovered it was open to veterans in my position.”

Marc made it  through the tough application process and has embarked on training in Aberdeen, one of Europe’s busiest commercial helicopter centres, where the Wings for Warriors’ training centre is based.

Marc adds:

“I’m very grateful for the support I’ve had in making this dream become  a reality. This is not only providing me with a future career but everything I lost from leaving the Royal Marines is being restored. It’s a second chance, a second career that draws on many of the qualities of my military training to gain commercial skills and, hopefully, a career in the offshore helicopter industry.”

Chris Kirk was just 19 years old when he stood on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan. Chris, then a Private with the 5th Scotland Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, awoke in hospital back in the UK to be told he’d lost his foot and his military career was over. His future seemed bleak until he discovered Wings for Warriors with an online search, “can amputees fly helicopters?”

Chris has become a fully qualified pilot and is now serving as an instructor for the charity and says:

“When I heard about Wings for Warriors I thought it was all too good to be true but I was lucky enough to be selected as one of their students. Fast forward three years and here I am as an instructor for the charity. I’ve been very lucky to get this opportunity and coming from a similar background as the students, I hope it inspires them to see just what can be achieved.

“Without support from our donors  like Aberdeen Asset Management, it would not be possible to do this and give veterans this fulfilling career that helps them and their families. I have been transformed from Chris the injured soldier to Chris the helicopter pilot and that is a massive change in my life. Wings for Warriors is helping change lives and prospects by restoring real meaning and purpose to people’s lives.”

Founded four years ago, Wings for Warriors is a registered UK charity which seeks to offer  wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women the best opportunities after military service has ended.

It sees the demanding and sustainable world of commercial aviation as an incentive to keep moving forward, rather then dwelling on the past for its students, and providing a means to continue supporting their families for years to come.

It recognises that veterans need to work for themselves and no allowances are made – each application is reviewed on a case by case basis and while some injuries will restrict opportunties, many of the attributes found in those with a military background,  including  responsibility, motivation and commitment, logical reasoning and functioning under pressure, stand them in good stead for retraining.

Through its network of volunteers and  donors, including Aberdeen, Wings for Warriors delivers professional flight training at around 85% of the costs of commercial UK flight schools.

Dominic Kite of Aberdeen’s Charitable Foundation says:

“We love this charity and what it does to offer a new start to injured veterans. For many veterans, life outside of the forces can appear daunting and uncertain at the best of times. Add a life-changing injury to the equation and the future can quickly become a depressing place.

“Wings For Warriors  provide these wounded warriors with the skills to achieve an exciting, rewarding and sustainable future for many years to come, in civil aviation. With rebuilt confidence, capabilities and pride Wings For Warriors graduates return to their communities as people to look up to instead of look after.”

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

More information on Wings for Warriors is available at  www.wings4warriors.org.uk

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Feb 192016
 

AberdeenAssetManagementWith thanks to Esther Green, Tricker PR.

While EastEnders has brought the mental health of new mums into focus with the explosive story line around Stacey Branning’s breakdown following the birth of baby Arthur, a Scottish charity is continuing to build on its pioneering work that is championing mental wellbeing among new mums and families.

Aberlour in Scotland is delivering vital support to women who find it difficult to cope with the emotional challenges of pregnancy and childbirth through a Perinatal Mental Health Befriending operating in Falkirk.

The pilot project has been such a success in its first year that it is to be extended to the wider Forth Valley region, through funding from Aberdeen Asset Management and others, to provide increased numbers of parents and families with early intervention that can help them overcome challenges and support them in the new phase in their lives.

Although post-natal depression is well documented, it’s only recently that perinatal mental health has hit the headlines for being a major concern for vulnerable women and their children, with research showing that if a mum-to-be experiences poor mental health during her pregnancy, and does not receive the appropriate, timely support, she is at greater risk.

Stacey Branning’s experience of postpartum psychosis following the birth of her second child has been one of the biggest storylines in EastEnders this year and the BBC soap has received praise for well researching the issue and raising awareness of the dramatic impact that having a baby has on some women, as well as the lack of availability of mother and baby beds.

Stacey’s condition is a severe mental illness that requires specialist care but during pregnancy and in the year after birth women can be affected by a range of mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and postnatal psychotic disorders. Early identification and provision of appropriate and timely expert care are needed to prevent illness from occurring or escalating and to minimise harm to the woman, her baby and wider family.

Statistics for Scotland show that:

  • Perinatal mental illnesses affect between 10 -15% of women in Scotland.
  • 71% of health boards in Scotland do not have any midwives or health visitors with accredited perinatal mental health training.
  • Only five Scottish health boards (36%) have a specialist community perinatal mental health service.
  • Depression and anxiety affect 10-15 in 100 women during pregnancy and in the first postnatal year.

Aberlour’s assistant director Liz Nolan set up the early intervention project in Falkirk drawing on a tried and tested model operated in England by Family Action, working with women who need mild to moderate support. Central to its success has been the use of highly-trained volunteers and the positive relationships they develop with women and families, over time.

All volunteers undergo intensive training to prepare them for the role and so they understand the importance of listening and not probing, and working at the new mum’s pace. In the first year 21 volunteers were trained and have assisted 20 families in their communities, working with them for as long as their assistance is required.

Ms Nolan says that people may have heard of the baby blues and post-natal depression but there is a lack of realisation about the effects pregnancy and childbirth has on some women and how this in turn affects families.

“Society places strong demands for perfection around pregnancy and birth but things don’t always turn out as hoped,” said Ms Nolan.

“There are certain expectations on women having babies but it’s not all strawberries and cream and things can go wrong, if it doesn’t all go to plan it can have an impact on a woman and their families.

“Sometimes a woman can be worried about talking about it because they believe these are not the feelings she should have, but for some women this is a time that can cause anxiety or depression, the opposite of how they are expected to feel. Some feel isolation, are anxious about going outside the home, anxious about meeting up with other parents or about being a first time parents.

“Life isn’t perfect and it’s OK to ask for help and our volunteers understand and work with mothers and families to support them and overcome the challenges.”

Every case is different and each volunteer commits to giving up to three hours a week of their time over the course of a year, which means they can build up good lasting relationships and provide continuity of support.

With the pilot working so well, there have been requests for access to the service from the wider area and with additional funds now in place, the charity will be able to employ an additional volunteer co-ordinator, with means they can deliver training to more individuals who in turn can help families in the wider Forth Valley region from April.

Karin Hyland of Aberdeen Asset Management’s Charitable Foundation, said:

“We’re pleased to help Aberlour extend its project supporting women who have been identified of being at risk of mental health illness during the final stages of pregnancy and up to the baby’s first birthdays. By working with mums and babies during this critical time they are helping families become more resilient and active members of their communities again.”

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. 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

Apr 102015
 
Christian Allard MSP for the North East of Scotland

Christian Allard MSP for the North East of Scotland

With thanks to Gavin Mowat.

SNP MSPs Alex Salmond, Dennis Robertson and Christian Allard have welcomed an allocation of £3,233,000 for Aberdeenshire households from the Home Energy Efficiency Programme. The scheme provides grant funding to local authorities to develop and deliver local fuel poverty programmes.

Additional funding for Aberdeenshire comes as part of £103 million investment to tackle fuel poverty across Scotland in 2015/16.

This includes a new £14 million loans scheme which will offer homeowners interest-free loans of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency measures.

The SNP Government will also launch the next phase of its Cashback scheme which will see £10 million made available to homeowners and private tenants, and £5 million for social landlords.

Through the scheme, private sector households will be able to claim up to £5,800 for installations recommended by an energy advice report, and households on remote areas will be entitled to greater amounts to cover the increased costs they face.

Both the Cashback and Loans scheme will open on April 13. Advice for applicants will be available on the Home Energy Scotland website or at 0808 808 2282.

Local SNP MSPs welcomed these measures which will help protect vulnerable families throughout Aberdeenshire from the effects of high energy costs.

Commenting, Aberdeenshire East MSP Alex Salmond said:

“It is unacceptable that anyone should have to suffer from fuel poverty – that is why the SNP in Government is investing £103 million to tackle the issue.

“More than £3 million will go a long way towards making valuable energy efficiency improvements to homes throughout Aberdeenshire.

“I would urge homeowners in Aberdeenshire struggling with their heating bills to find out about their options from Home Energy Scotland – and apply for an interest free loan when they become available later this month.”

Dennis Robertson, Aberdeenshire East MSP, added:

“That anyone should be in fuel poverty in Scotland is an absolute scandal and it is encouraging to see the SNP Government take steps to tackle this issue.

“Constituents contact me regularly to ask for advice regarding fuel poverty and it will be great to be able to reassure them that the Scottish Government are fully aware of this issue and are ready to help those in need.”

North East MSP Christian Allard said:

“This additional funding is very welcome for the North East and is another example of the SNP’s desire to tackle fuel poverty.

“The new loan scheme will give homeowners the opportunity to apply for interest free loans which will make it easier for them to take action to install energy efficiency measures.

“Fuel poverty has no place in Modern Scotland and this action will go some way to resigning it to the history books.”

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Mar 132015
 

WE'RE A FAMILY OF GIANTS.With thanks to Paul Smith, Citrus Mix.

Two leading oil and gas companies have made donations totalling £80,000 in a significant funding boost which will support vital youth counselling provided by Mental Health Aberdeen.

The charity’s ACIS Youth service has received £50,000 from Apache North Sea and £30,000 from Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd to enable it to continue its work with children and young people throughout the north-east.

For Nexen it represents the second tranche of money, having gifted £45,000 in 2014, whilst Apache has pledged to follow this year’s pledge with a further two years of funding.

Both companies are based at the Prime Four business park in Kingswells and have made the donations as part of their commitment to the region’s charitable sector.

Astrid Whyte, chief executive of Mental Health Aberdeen, said:

“These incredibly generous gestures by Nexen and Apache will have a huge impact. The funding will be used specifically to aid our ACIS Youth network, which does valuable work with youngsters who have turned to MHA for help.

“In the past year alone ACIS Youth counsellors provided 1,125 sessions for 178 young people and responded to more than 1,000 requests for information. Whilst the number supported by our counsellors has increased on the previous 12-months, there is still additional demand which we are working hard to meet.

“The £80,000 provided by Apache and Nexen will enable us to maintain and expand the service – making a real difference to the lives of children, young people and families within our communities.”

ACIS Youth is part of MHA’s wide range of services for young people and adults in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. ACIS caters for those aged 18 and under, with counselling provided free of charge and accessed directly by young people through MHA’s offices or by requests facilitated by parents, social workers, teachers, GPs, youth services and other agencies – providing the young person has given consent.

Astrid Whyte added:

“I am always at pains to stress that if a young person has come to us, they have already crossed a significant barrier. If they have reached out in that way we must ensure we’re in a position to provide the support they need.”

Steve Regulski, chairman of the Nexen UK donations committee, said:

“Nexen is delighted to be continuing to support the vital counselling and advice services which MHA provides to people affected by mental health and wellbeing challenges in the local area.

“Last year, Nexen contributed funding to MHA’s Comraich Centre in Inverurie, a valuable resource that is positively changing the lives of those using the service. Giving back to the communities where we live and work is deeply rooted in Nexen’s company values and we are committed to working in partnership with local charities to help them deliver their good work.”

Rebecca Brown, finance manager of Apache North Sea, said:

“I am delighted that Apache is able to support ACIS and in particular the initiative to place counsellors in schools. This will encourage young people to ask for and access help when they need it and has the potential to change their lives and future wellbeing.”

MHA was founded in 1950 and provides support services, counselling and advice to people affected by challenges related to mental health and wellbeing. Services are available for children from the age of 12 and adults. The organisation was among the first to provide community care with its first residential project, a group home for discharged psychiatric patients, opened more than 35 years ago.

MHA has also been providing day services continuously for over 60 years. Further information is available online at www.mha.uk.net.

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Feb 272015
 

marischalpicBy Phil Johnstone.

In the wake of Aberdeen receiving the Carbuncle Award for most dismal town in Scotland and the on going row over the Marchiscal Square redevelopment the city could do with some good news.

A £2billion funding package as part of the ‘City Deal’ fund would alleviate any angst felt over the Carbuncle award.

If the bid for funds is successful they must be used to help the people who live and work in the area instead of subsidising large corporations so that they continue doing business in the area.

At the moment the money is earmarked for redeveloping the harbour, building a new exhibition centre, transport infrastructure and new housing. Whilst spending the money on a new exhibition centre is debatable, few who live in Aberdeen would disagree with the need for better roads and cheaper housing.

Using the money to start a massive program building good quality council houses would provide jobs, generate income for the council via rents and relieve the pressure on the overheated Aberdeen housing market. The cost of renting a room in Aberdeen has increased by 39% in the past 2 years. As prices spiral out of control it’s making the city unaffordable for many and means attracting key workers such as nurses and teachers is increasingly difficult.

Due to the nature of the oil industry Aberdeen has always had a rather transient population but a significant amount of workers work onshore but commute weekly due to their inability to afford anything cheaper. It’s important to make Aberdeen a place where people want to live not just a place where they work.

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Feb 052015
 

New Deer MORL fundingWith thanks to Paul Robertson.

Volunteers at the New Deer All Weather Facility were celebrating this weekend after energy firm Moray Offshore Renewables made a £28,000 donation that will allow the project to be completed after almost nine years. The £405,000 project to build an all weather sports pitch and a new pavilion at New Deer is due to be completed by Easter.

Project co-ordinator, Helen Young, welcomed the cash boost which has closed the final funding gap faced by the project.

Helen said:

“We really are indebted to Moray Offshore Renewables for this vital funding which has helped bring a project 9 years in the making to fruition. This simply could not have been possible without the invaluable support of our MP Eilidh Whiteford. Together, they have provided the last piece in the jigsaw for a fantastic facility which will serve New Deer and the surrounding area for decades to come.”

Local MP, Eilidh Whiteford, who encouraged the energy firm to support the New Deer project, welcomed the funding announcement:

“The New Deer sports project is a real community-led campaign and the leadership shown by Helen and other volunteers should be commended in bringing it to fruition. It will benefit so many sports groups in the central Buchan area and I am pleased that I could be of assistance in helping secure in this final piece of funding that will allow completion of the facility​.”​

Representatives from Moray Offshore Renewables, which hopes to build a 186-wind turbine farm in the Moray Firth, presented the cheque for £28,820 to Helen Young on Friday in New Deer.

Commenting, Dan Finch, Project Director for Moray Offshore Renewables said:

“I am delighted that Moray Offshore Renewables has been able to join other companies in contributing to this excellent facility. The New Deer Community Trust has done outstanding work in delivering this much needed project and are to be congratulated on their hard work and determination​.”

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