This is the state of the what was our Older People’s Resource Centre. The roof damage happened during the January storms and although it has been reported to Aberdeenshire Council numerous times they are letting the building drift into disrepair.
In order to convert the building to a vaccination centre it was effectively confiscated from the community without any prior community consultation. Questions the community may well ask are, “Why is such a large permanent building required?” Since the decision was made it has been demonstrated how portable a vaccination facility can be, having visited the Mackie Academy, the Community Centre and the Town Hall. And “Is a large building required because it is the Centre for the entire Kincardine and Mearns?” If so will the people of Edzell Woods be happy with a public transport return journey of over 5 hours to access it? Also the Scolty Vaccination Centre in Banchory demonstrates how small an area is actually required. Other councils with rural areas have arrived at more community friendly solutions. Lanarkshire for example have a “Mobile Vaccination Centre Bus”. https://www.nhslanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk/news-mobile-vaccination-nov/.
It is still not too late to have a rethink, for the Council, and for the Community. We have to date asked the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to continue operating the Centre. However it has been obvious in recent years that they had lost interest in the facility probably because of what they view as higher priorities elsewhere. They didn’t promote it and their bureaucratic rules made it difficult for those volunteering there.
So why don’t we as a community change our request? When the Open Air Pool was saved in the 1990s we told the Council that we did not want them to save the pool but to give us the opportunity to save it ourselves. The rest is history but we now have an outstanding facility because of the work of “The Friends”.
We have a similar opportunity now. Why don’t we ask the HSCP to give us the opportunity to save the Centre by allowing a Community Asset Transfer so we can run it ourselves. In the 1990’s we had a Friends Organisation ready to help. We have a similar organisation today and that is “The Mearns and Coastal Living Network”. With their help we could operate our “Older Peoples Resource Centre” more efficiently with less bureaucracy and much greater enthusiasm.
It would be a win-win situation. A centre for the over 50s, no longer a drain on Health and Social Care Partnership budgets and saving them money by helping older people stay longer in their homes. It would have a much more sensible management system which will attract more volunteers and funding. We could also get the roof fixed!