Issue Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Please find attached our latest public briefing following Storm Arwen. This is also available on our website: https://online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/apps/news/release.aspx?newsID=8362
We continue to be aware of connectivity issues for communities across Aberdeenshire. Your help in sharing this important information is very much appreciated.
- HAC (assistance centre) Storm Arwen – telephone 0808 1963 384 – will now be operating from 8am to 8pm to provide assistance/signposting to residents
- All vulnerable people in terms of Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership are being contacted directly. The HAC is making outbound calls to vulnerable individuals identified by SSEN. If no contact is being made after 2 calls to the SSEN list, our teams are out on the ground door knocking.
- Aberdeenshire Council Service Points also continue to provide that assistance to communities
- Care of People continues to be our major focus along with partners and there continues to be a wealth of local community activity and support taking place across Aberdeenshire and as part of that we are talking with local community leaders to see what additional support is required and in which key location
- Welfare centres are now operating from the following locations and times:
Banff and Buchan
Local arrangements will apply with arrangement of food vans
Boddam Library – 12noon-4pm Hot drinks and biscuits, charging facilities
Crimond Hall – 2-4pm Hot drinks and biscuits, charging facilities
Maud Resource Centre – 12noon-4pm Hot drinks, charging facilities
Auchterless – 8am-8pm Catering van
Balmedie Leisure Centre – 9am-8.30pm Hot food, tea/coffee and showers
Forglen Hall – 3-4pm Council provision of meals
Monymusk – The Square, Monymusk AB51 7HJ (8am-8pm open to cover surrounding areas including Sauchen and Cluny) Catering van this afternoon plus hot water/drinks, charging facilities in the hall
Echt Hall – 8am-8pm community-run Hot water, charging facilities
Kinellar Hall – 8am-8pm community-run Hot water, charging facilities
Torphins – Learney Hall, Beltie Road, Torphins AB31 4JT – 8am-8pm Council provision of meals
Alford – The Alford Public Hall, 3 Kingsford Road AB33 8HH – 8am-8pm Council provision of meals
Lumphanan Hall – 8am-8pm Council provision of meals
Glenkindie Garage – 8am-8pm Council provision of meals (also supplying Glenbuchet)
Kincardine & Mearns
St Cyrus Village Hall – 10am-4pm community-run Tea and Coffee
St Cyrus Village Inn – 5-8pm Hot meals
Castleton Farm Shop – 4.30pm-5.30pm Hot meals and hot drinks
SSEN catering vans update (Scottish Water bottled water points also here):
- Bellabeg, Strathdon – Lay-by across from the shop
- Kintore – Primary School
- Aboyne – Park Hotel Car Park
- Alford – Transport Museum Car Park
- Torphins – In the Square
- Turriff – Tesco Car Park
- Rhynie – Church Car Park
- Ladybridge, Banff – The Park, One Pot Shop Food Van
- Lumphanan – Lumphanan Village Hall
- • Aboyne – The car park next to the green.
- Aberdeenshire Council informed the Scottish Government of the Storm Arwen emergency on November 29 and received notification on the same day from Ministers that it had been activated. This is a Scottish Government scheme which provides emergency financial assistance to local authorities in Scotland where they have been faced with undue financial burden resulting from major incidents.
Scottish Welfare Fund
- Available to provide financial support to people who are facing a crisis or need help to live in the community. It can be a crisis grant in the form of a cash voucher to help a family or individual in an emergency or it can be a community care grant, which usually takes the form of goods to help someone to support someone to continue to live in the community.
- On Monday we received 108 crisis grant applications on Monday and paid out £10,327. In addition we made direct payments of free school meals in respect of 4,219 children valued at £21,455
- You can get more information or apply online by visiting https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/benefits-and-grants/welfare-reform/scottish-welfare-fund/
Education and Children’s Services
- Since we shared the list of schools having to remain closed today, there have been a number of changes and things are getting better all the time as more and more small communities are reconnected to the power network.
- For those young people with additional support needs, we are keen to underline that if for reasons relating to the storm families don’t feel it is appropriate to make the return to school, then this will be treated as an authorised absence. This may be particularly relevant if there are concerns about access to direct communication with staff due to lack of phone signal. Supporting those with complex medical, social, emotional or wellbeing needs often requires very close parent-school communication and it is absolutely ok if young people wish to continue working from home. Please liaise with your school directly if this impacts you.
- For some schools, connectivity remains an issue but robust plans are in place in case of emergency.
- Please remember that as well as the aftermath of the storm and the impact that has had on many communities including school staff, our schools are also continuing to work within national guidance relating to Covid-19 and are facing the same staffing pressures across many industries at the moment. Teams continue to go the extra mile and are doing their best to deliver on behalf of children and young people and communities. Our ask is – please, be kind. Ongoing mitigations may mean schools can’t do all of the things you may like them to during December, and pressures on staff may mean you have to wait a bit longer than usual for an answer to a query.
- If you’re using Live Life Aberdeenshire leisure facilities – which are now open as normal, with hot showers, WiFi access and mobile phone/device charging still available to those who need this free of charge – there’s a similar ask. Colleagues are doing their utmost to ensure centres can run in line with guidance, to deliver all the services you’d like, and with teams who are also stepping up to support things like storm response, vaccination roll out and helping colleagues through a challenging winter in health and social care. Service delivery may be impacted at times and your patience and understanding is very much appreciated.
- The storm assistance centre line remains open until 10pm tonight. Call 08081963384 for advice on where you can access welfare facilities, free hot meals and financial advice and assistance
- Children’s services social work teams are also open and available: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/children-and-families/children-and-families-team-offices/
- Those who are entitled to statutory free school meals will receive an additional payment this week to make up for the two days missed in school, plus more if your school is closed for longer
- If you are back online following Storm Arwen and you know children and young people who are finding things tough right now please let them know about free mental health support services Kooth and Togetherall.
- Kooth is an online wellbeing community for children aged 10 to 18. It offers one to one sessions with counsellors and emotional wellbeing practitioners. They can help children and young people talk through their problems and anything that is on their mind. The sessions are available via drop-in or booked appointments which helps to reduce waiting times for anyone seeking help. This service can be accessed by registering at the Kooth website: https://www.kooth.com/. Support is also available to schools and staff supporting children and young people by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Togetherall is available to anyone aged 16 or over. It helps to bridge a gap between youth and adult services with appropriate mental wellbeing support. Trained and accredited professionals are available 24/7 to support the community members and there is a choice of safe therapeutic services, including courses, self-assessments and wellbeing resources to improve your mental health. This means anyone who may be struggling can get support at a time that suits them, from a place of their choice. The Togetherall community is anonymous but you will need to register to access it. During registration, select ‘My area is registered’ and enter your postcode. You will then be asked to create a completely anonymous user account https://togetherall.com/en-gb/is
Continuing cancellation of education lets
- We have decided to extend the cancellation of Lets access within all of our education facilities for the remainder of this week while services are depleted and the safety of our communities remains paramount. A further update will be provided to users later in this week.
Live Life Aberdeenshire
- All LLA facilities are open as normal from today (Wednesday, December 1).
- Hot showers are available at leisure facilities for residents who still need them – no charge! – and you can still access WiFi and mobile phone/device charging.
- However, please note that some facilities have amended opening hours for today as follows:
- Huntly Swimming Pool – will open later at 11am will close early at 8.15pm
- Banchory Sports Village – open as normal but swimming starting later, expected to be noon
- Aboyne and Deeside Community Centre – Closed for normal operations, but open for hot showers.
- Further progress in restoring power has been achieved throughout the night, with additional customers being reconnected since 9pm yesterday evening, including customers located in the following locations:
- Alford, Old Rayne, Glenkindie, Auchnagatt, Blackhills, Monymusk, Oyne, Pitcaple, Methlick and New Byth
Some 3,700 customers currently remain off supply across Aberdeenshire, mainly located in the more rural and isolated communities
- SSEN say all available resources have been deployed to carry out repairs and reconnect supplies to those areas still of supply, with around 850 field and support staff doing all they can to restore power to those who remain off supply as quickly as possible.
- Whilst they expect to make further good progress throughout the day, for some customers where overhead network infrastructure connects single house or group of houses, restoration times will regrettably extend beyond today
- As a reminder, if any customer is without power and is unable to make alternative arrangements to stay with family or a friend, SSEN will reimburse all reasonable costs for alternative accommodation.
- Anyone seeking reimbursement of accommodation or food costs as a result of the power outage caused by Storm Arwen should contact SSEN as follows:
- E-mail networks.executivecomplaints@SSEN.co.uk with a photograph of the receipt. It would be helpful if the subject of the e-mail was “Storm Arwen – Refund of Costs”
- Send a letter to Aberdeen Depot, 200 Ashgrove Road West, Aberdeen, AB16 5NY with the receipt
Private Water Supplies
Environment and Sustainability Services
- Household waste/recycling collections continue to be carried out but there is still some disruption in some areas
- We are operating 4 of our 5 Ready2Go buses as normal today with the fifth operating a timetabled service to Insch and is also available at other times to help out in case of any problems
- We’ve been monitoring operations and mobile phone signals are generally good but there are some blackspots in the centre of Insch which affects passengers’ mobile phones and the bus drivers’ tablets which we are managing to best effect
- We will not operate the Insch emergency timetable tomorrow and will instead operate the normal service for all five buses
Community testing programme
- Our community testing provision for those without Covid symptoms and collection of lateral flow self test kits has been cancelled tomorrow (Thurs) to allow operatives to be redeployed to assist with resilience efforts including delivery of hot food to our communities. You can still pick up self test kits at many pharmacies or order online at https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-protect/coronavirus-covid-19-get-a-test-if-you-do-not-have-symptoms
- The Met Office has confirned the weather is as we expected – getting colder, with wintry showers and a warning of ice from 6pm this evening to 10am tomorrow with temperatures as low as -2c inland. Windspeeds expected to be slightly lower than forecast yesterday – gusting up to around 40mph. However, there’s an improving picture as we head to the weekend which is more positive.
- Tonight a covering of snow cannot be ruled out from snow showers this afternoon, most likely over the highest routes. In terms of our winter treatment operations, we will have gritters out from 3pm this afternoon on all Primary Routes and again tomorrow morning from 5.40am.
- Work continues to clear windblown debris from the road network as well as carry out winter maintenance. Small number of rural roads still affected by fallen trees with some lying on power lines.
- A reminder that we have closed the A97 between Deskry and Glenkindie House with immediate effect because of dangerous trees were. A diversion will be signposted via A97 Glenkindie House – A944 Mossat; A944 – A980 Alford; A980 – B993 Torphins; B993 – A93 Kincardine O Neil; A93 – A97 Dinnet and vice versa.