Invercarron – Still on the Agenda

By bellmannews / February 21, 2024
David stands by the signposted entry to the Centre

CONTINUING unhappiness with the decision to repurpose the Invercarron Resource Centre as a vaccination centre found its voice at the latest meeting of Stonehaven and District Community Council, SDCC.

The centre which aimed to provide a amenity for older people, first opened in 1995, as, ‘a purpose-built edifice, tastefully furnished, warm and comfortable, with friendly, helpful and caring staff and volunteers, always ready to help.’ Before Covid struck, over 30 groups were active there, including the Stroke Club, a lunch and social club and Alzheimer’s Scotland Day Care.

The decision to close the Invercarron was taken by Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, AHSCP, who said the building was their only option to provide a vaccination clinic to serve the area’s population.

Despite fierce local opposition, the fate of the Invercarron was finally decided in March 2022, when the Communities Committee agreed the procurement required to alter the building to make it a vaccination centre. This followed an earlier refusal to approve the procurement plan by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.

Stonehaven’s dissatisfaction continued to be expressed in a petition with over 1,200 signatures and a well-attended public meeting – but all to no avail.

And the anger continues

At last week’s community council meeting, Chairman David Lawman said the topic was kept on each meeting’s agenda to reflect ongoing public interest.

”It has not gone away,” he said.

”On social media today a lady was talking about it, saying that was another year gone.”

Mr Lawman said he wanted SDCC to ensure they were encouraging as much support for our older people as they feel they needed.

And Jim Stephen congratulated Mavis Coull, who had made the post, for keeping the topic in the public arena – saying without campaigners like Mrs Coull, the amenity provided by the Invercarron would, over time, become forgotten about.

He said, ”Without people like her, it will just go under the radar.”

Cllr Agnew rails against the closure

Ian Hunter condemned the ‘outrageous’ lack of public consultation over the closure. And he questioned how the building was being used

”One thing they said they needed was storage,” he said.

Cllr Agnew meanwhile questioned the suitability of the Invercarron for its new purpose, saying it was too big for a vaccination centre. She said there were empty rooms at Forest View which could be used – and she vowed to carry on fighting for the Invercarron.

“I am not going to give up,” she said.

”We have to make them listen.”

And in her inimitable style, Mrs Agnew suggested she might even tie herself to the centre railings to draw attention to the cause.

MSP also looking for answers

Tess White MSP attended last week’s meeting and told members the answers she had from AHSCP was that there was nowhere else to do the vaccinations.

”I will write to the chief officer for Aberdeenshire, Pamela Milliken.” she said.

”I think this is absolutely disgraceful.”

Feature image – SDCC chair David Lawman who wants to keep the fate of the Invercarron on the committee’s agenda

Previously in The Bellman