Board Issues ‘Cruel’ Directive on Invercarron

By Jane Cruickshank / March 5, 2022
shot of the resource centre and its large bay window area

DESPITE hearing an impassioned plea from our community council chairman, the Integration Joint Board, IJB*, has endorsed the decision of officers of Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership to use the Invercarron Resource Centre as a vaccination clinic.

The video of the discussions, which took place on Wednesday March 2, is now available online with SDCC chairman Bill Watson starting the discussions at 9:50.

Cllr Dennis Robertson sits on the board and contributes to the discussions

Citing the over 1,000 signatures already collected on a petition, Mr Watson speaks of the deep anger felt in Stonehaven at the proposition to close the long standing service offered by the Invercarron – proposals he said were contrary to the health and social care partnership’s own stategic plan.

Mr Watson described the growing mental health crisis provoked by the pandemic.

”It is the community of Stonehaven’s belief that the pandemic has greatly increased the need for the Inverarron Resource Centre to reopen as a day centre as soon as possible.”

Short-sighted, irresponsible and cruel

And, reading a comment received by the community council, he said: ”The older generation have suffered terribly by the lockdowns and Covid restrictions. To remove a resource like this, when it is needed now more than ever, is short-sighted, irresponsible and cruel.”

But board members were reassured that the groups previously using the Invercarron were being supported in their quest for other accommodation. Indeed they learned a development worker’ post has been funded by AHSCP to do just that.

Perhaps this worker will be on hand to help members of the lunch club get up the stairs to reach its possible new venue – in a restaurant above a pub.

Popular lunch club unable to meet

Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network used to run a well-attended weekly lunch club supported by two volunteers. As stated on their website, it allowed ‘local older people to get together for a sociable hot meal, chat and a cuppy’.

With the closure of the Invercarron, the club is suspended until a new venue can be found. A spokesperson said she found it hard to believe all 30 groups who used to use the Invercarron had found suitable new premises.

”We would love to restart the lunch club but are unable to at the moment,” she said.

”One of the possibilites is in an upstairs room – but we need something that people can access.”

Communities Committee next

In unanimously endorsing the move, the board now looks to Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee which meets on Friday March 11, to implement the Direction from the Integration Joint Board by approving the procurement of the works to convert the Invercarron. They are legally obliged to do so – more on that next week.

*Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, AHSCP, is a service delivered for and by both NHS Grampian and Aberdeenshire Council. Their work is overseen by the Integration Joint Board which consists of 5 Aberdeenshire Councillors, including Cllr Dennis Robertson, and 5 NHS Grampian Board members.