The Role of the Troon Community Council
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Asymptomatic Testing Site moving to Troon next week
Rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing will be available for people without symptoms in South Ayrshire next week.
The community testing initiative, in partnership with the Scottish Government; Scottish Fire and Rescue; University of West of Scotland (UWS); and the three local authorities in Ayrshire and Arran, aims to drive down local COVID-19 rates and transmission by identifying positive cases more quickly, as people can spread the virus to others before symptoms appear.
Residents who don’t have any of the three COVID-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, high temperature, loss or change in sense of taste or smell) are encouraged to get tested.
Lynne McNiven, Director of Public Health for NHS Ayrshire & Arran, explains: “Testing will help us to identify more cases of the virus and give us all a better chance of stopping it from spreading.
“It is important that you are tested regularly, particularly if you are a key worker and must attend work. These centres are there to be used as regularly as you need to. Make sure you check the website regularly so you know when we are in your area.”
There is no need to book, and testing is available at the following location for a two week period from Monday 22 March:
- Troon Concert Hall, Municipal Building, South Beach, Troon – 10.00am – 6.00pm
Residents will be tested using lateral flow devices (LFD), which can give people their results in around 45 minutes. Any positive cases will then be confirmed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.
Anyone who receives a positive LFD or PCR test result will be asked to self-isolate.
Dedicated support is available to South Ayrshire residents who need to self-isolate, including access to food, pharmacy and financial support. People who need help should call 01292 616101 or visit https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/coronavirus .
Further advice and information on what support is available for people who need to self-isolate is available from nhsinform.scot.
Lynne McNiven adds: “However, a test only tells us if we are positive at the point in time that we are being tested. It does not mean that we can stop following all of the rules and guidelines which are in place to protect all of us.
“The FACTS guidance remains as important as ever. This will help to protect our families, communities and the NHS.”
- F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport (buses, trains and taxis);
- A – Avoid crowded places;
- C – Clean your hands frequently, using water and soap whenever possible;
- T – Two metres – observe physical distancing;
- S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.
Rapid testing for COVID-19 for people with and without symptoms is coming to South Ayrshire. Read the press releases here.
The Scottish Government announced earlier this week that South Ayrshire will move to Level 3 of its Local Protection Levels from 6.00 pm today. This is good news as it means we are clearly taking the right action in our communities to suppress the spread of the virus. The move to Level 3 will see some changes to our services:
Our Sport and Leisure facilities will re-open on Saturday 12 December and gym and swim bookings are now live
From Monday 14 December, our libraries will begin to offer their Connect and Collect service and book returns in all branches. To support our customers, there will be no late fees charged for any borrowed items until further notice, and our free e-reader offer of newspapers, books and magazines can still be accessed.
Museums and galleries, including Rozelle House, The Maclaurin Art Gallery and the Grain Exchange will re-open on Saturday 12 December. The McKechnie Institute will re-open on Tuesday 15 December.
Golf retail premises at Belleisle Park and Troon Links re-opened from 9.00 am today. Golf Clubhouse toilet facilities at Belleisle Park and Troon Links will re-open from 8.00 am tomorrow (Saturday 12 December). The Stables café will also re-open tomorrow with their normal winter opening hours of 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. Members’ guests will also be reintroduced at all locations tomorrow (guests must be South Ayrshire residents)
Information and updates on our services and current public health guidance is available on our social media channels, The Core and the website. I’d appreciate if you would continue to help us spread the word and keep everyone informed by sharing the links to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts with your friends and family
Please remember that, although we have moved to Level 3, travel restrictions remain the same, and you should not travel outwith your local authority area. You can read more about Level 3 guidance and what this means for you and your families on the Scottish Government website
It was also confirmed by the Education Secretary, John Swinney, that the 2021 Higher and Advanced Higher exams will be replaced by awards based on teacher judgement of individual pupil attainment. I know that this year has been extremely challenging for pupils and, as has been the case throughout this pandemic, our fantastic teaching and school staff will be there to ensure our young people are well supported and achieve their full potential. We are now awaiting further guidance from the SQA and, if you are a parent or carer in South Ayrshire, schools will keep you and pupils updated.
We’ve got some good news for children and young people who are entitled to free school meals. Thanks to additional funding from the Scottish Government, parents and carers of eligible school age children will receive a one off payment of £30.00 per child into their bank accounts on Tuesday 22 December. This will cover the period from Wednesday 23 December 2020 to Tuesday 5 January 2021.
The Scottish Government has also announced funding to help people pay for food, heating, warm clothing and shelter during the winter. The £100m winter support package will help those on low incomes, children and people at risk of homelessness or social isolation cope with winter weather and the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and Brexit.
We are hoping to make life a bit easier for residents with the launch of our new bins and recycling app ‘SAC MyBins’ on Monday 14 December. From reporting missed bins to booking special uplifts, the app will allow you to organise all of your household waste needs on the go. The free to use app, which was designed with Albion Environmental Ltd, includes features such as – personalised collection calendars; advice, tips and information on recycling; and access to online forms to report problems. The bin calendar function will let you see at a glance which bin is due for collection. So there will be no more relying on your neighbours to put their bins out first! You can even use the app to set up collection day reminders on your phone or tablet. Another great benefit of the app is the facility to contact the Council about waste collection services, such as special uplifts, direct from the app. There will also be a function which allows you to access the latest Council news and service alerts. You’ll find SAC MyBins on the app store on most mobile Apple and Android devices from Monday 14 December
The Employee Deal outlines our commitment to you, and our expectations of you in return. To help embed the Deal and plan for recovery, we want to hear your views on how COVID-19 has affected the way you work. A short survey for all staff has been developed which focuses on three areas: Wellbeing, Communication, and Homeworking. The survey will help us understand what impact COVID-19 may have on your health and wellbeing; develop an understanding of how we can maintain effective contact with you; and understand how changes to the way we work has affected you. The survey is available on The Core, and I’d appreciate if you would actively promote the survey across your teams. The survey is completely anonymous (you will only be asked to select your Service Lead and area) and is open until Friday 15 January. If you need any further information, please contact James.Andrew@south-ayrshire.gov.uk
Our Budget Consultation Survey launched online earlier this week and we’d like to hear what you think. For example, should we look at raising or introducing fees for some services? Or change the way we deliver services, such as having fewer face to face services, or stop delivering some services altogether? This is your opportunity to get involved – the survey is available now and will be open until Friday 15 January 2021.
Each year, managers, team leaders and supervisors are required to calculate their own employees’ annual leave entitlement. A useful guide is now available on The Core to help you with the calculations. The public holidays for 2021 are also available to assist with this exercise. The guide also provides information on how to add entitlement to your employee records; carry forward any unused days from 2020; and add Enhanced Leave days. Due to the impact of COVID-19, there are changes to carrying forward annual leave. Details about this can also be found on The Core. If you have any queries that are not covered in the guide please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I am sure many of you will be aware that we are in the process of implementing Microsoft Office 365. M365 will bring a whole new suite of applications which will enhance the way we communicate and operate; one being Microsoft Teams. Access to Microsoft Teams has now been granted for staff who have Windows 10 and have been allocated the relevant M365 licence. Due to the number of requests from services to be able to use Teams for meetings and calls, we have decided to give access to this earlier than expected. Teams is a collaborative workspace, and there will be many more new functions rolled out over the coming months; however, at the moment, we have to limit this to Teams meetings only.
Our ICT team has worked really hard throughout the pandemic to keep us connected, and make it possible for more of us to carry out our work from home. At the moment, ICT support is provided from the office at McCalls Avenue, Ayr, however, this is strictly by appointment and for exceptional circumstances only. To ensure the safety of all staff, access to the building is not permitted without an appointment. In line with previous years, we will provide a reduced ICT support service for those of you who will be working over the festive period between Tuesday 29 and Thursday 31 December. If you have any issues or problems, please contact the ICT Service Desk at email@example.com, or by calling 01292 612406
The winter edition of SAC Live Magazine is available on line. This edition features information on our budget consultation, Primary One photographs and tips on staying active during winter from our Health and Wellbeing team. We’re switching to quarterly editions of the magazine, which will now be available both online and in hard copy
Our Trading Standards and Environmental Health team works tirelessly to ensure we are all kept safe, even more so throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m delighted to tell you that the team has been recognised for its efforts in this year’s APSE awards as finalists in the Best Service Team: Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Regulatory Service category. This nomination highlights the work the team has been doing during the pandemic to ensure businesses and organisations are operating safely
Today is National Christmas Jumper Day which we normally use as an opportunity to sport our best festive attire to raise funds for our employee charity partner. Due to Council buildings being closed, we are unable to provide traditional donation buckets, however, I know that some of you may still wish to make a donation to Ayrshire Cancer Support. You can find out more about the charity and how to donate on their website. The charity is also working to relieve the isolation and uncertainty felt by so many people affected by cancer, and face a lonely and anxious Christmas.
Finally this week, staff and pupils at Forehill Primary School have written and recorded a wonderful, uplifting song which promotes a message of love and hope in the run up to Christmas. The song, which was written by Principal Teacher, Lee McDowall, is called ‘Let Love In’. One special video version of the song even includes children performing the song using Makaton sign language. The school has released the song on a number of digital platforms and plan to make it available on CD early next week, with funds raised from this being donated to the Ayrshire Hospice. There’s no miss or maybe – it’s definitely a hit from me! I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating the whole school for its efforts. or its efforts.
As with everything else, Wintertainment has been cancelled due to COVID-19. However this Sunday, the Christmas lights will be switched on to brighten the festive season. Shop local, but safely.
Please find attached an information sheet explaining how access to urgent care will change in Ayrshire and Arran from 3 November.
Fullarton Woods is up for an award
As we begin the recovery phase of the Scottish Governments Phase 3 Recovery plan, changes are being made to the way health and care services are delivered to enable some Outpatient Services to re-start. These services will be operating with social distancing measures in place in order to keep patients and staff safe, and prevent the spread of the coronavirus which is still present.
It is important that we all continue to adhere to these social distancing measures and to re-inforce the distancing, hand-sanitising, mask wearing message to our client groups and staff so they understand why these measures are required and understand the need to protect themselves and others.
To help spread the message to our residents and communities we would be grateful if you could display the attached advice sheet and poster about restarting Outpatients Services where you can. There is also a video which might be helpful. The Information can also be accessed and shared via the Caring for Ayrshire Facebook, Twitter and web page – www.nhsaaa.net/caring-for-ayrshire
Thanks to the stellar efforts of teachers, support staff and services across the Council, our schools re-opened for pupils on a phased basis this week, and will return full time from Monday 17 August. I appreciate that young people have been away from the classroom for quite some time, and some may find it challenging to readjust to this, and the measures that have been put in place to ensure our schools are safe. If you are a parent or carer in South Ayrshire, and have any questions or concerns about your child’s return to school, please contact your school in the first instance
The Education Secretary announced on Tuesday that all downgraded SQA exam results will be withdrawn, and qualifications will be based on teacher judgement. The SQA will inform schools of the revised results by Friday 21 August to allow schools to tell pupils. All young people affected by this will be issued with a replacement certificate from the SQA. You can read about this in more detail on the Scottish Government website.
I’m sure many of you will be aware that we are implementing Microsoft 365 across the organisation. Colleagues from ICT and Organisational Development are working closely with our implementation partner SWORD and, to help progress this roll out, we are now seeking Office 365 Digital Colleagues. To find out more about this great opportunity watch this short video. You can also access more information, or register your interest here.
The latest edition of SAC Live online magazine is available now. This month you’ll find information on health and wellbeing; the latest update from our Trading Standards and Environmental Health team; and information on our services as we continue to emerge from lockdown. You can view the magazine here.
Our Culture team recently gave local young people the opportunity to take over their digital channels for the day to showcase their own ‘mini museum’ exhibitions. Budding exhibition guides provided some fantastic virtual tours which included a ‘Radical Recycling Museum’ and ‘Museum of Curiosities’. You can view the work of one of our demonstrators of the future here.
Nominations are now open for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2021. This annual honour is awarded to an individual, or group, that epitomises the humanitarian values of the Bard. More information, including how to nominate, is available on our website.
Saturday 15 August marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day). This gives us all an opportunity to remember those who served and sacrificed in the Far East during the Second World War. With celebratory events unable to take place due to COVID-19, this year we will commemorate VJ Day virtually across our social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the day tomorrow.
Our Communications Survey is still open and we’d really like to hear from you about how we communicate Council news, messages and changes to service delivery. If you’re a South Ayrshire resident I’d appreciate if you would take a few minutes to complete the short survey which is available here
As we’ve seen elsewhere in the county, this virus has not gone away. Therefore, it’s extremely important that we all continue to follow the latest public health advice to help keep everyone safe.
Once again, let me extend my thanks and appreciation to all of you for your ongoing effort and dedication during this unsettling time.
We continue to provide critical services which are currently operating without issue.
Reopening of Schools
The Scottish Government have now confirmed schools will reopen full time for all pupils in August. In South Ayrshire schools will reopen on 12th August but in most schools the first three days will be a phased return. This is to allow us to test new arrangements such as safe pick up and drop off; one way systems; hand washing; break times; social distancing for adults and between adults and children. Schools will contact parents and carers to confirm who should attend on the 12th, 13th and 14th of August. All pupils will return full time from Monday 17th August.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) will make exam results available next week (Tuesday 4 August). Results have been determined in line with guidance from the SQA following the cancellation of SQA exams this year because of Covid-19. The basis for awards is a holistic review of a learner’s performance over the duration of the course and Education staff undertook significant work to ensure estimated grades reflect a fair and consistent approach for all our young people. Following quality checks, all estimated grades were submitted to the SQA on 29 May 2020. SQA may adjust estimates where they deem it necessary and therefore no information on estimated grades has been shared with pupils. Support is available for all pupils and schools will let them know the arrangements for speaking to staff about any concerns.
Digital Education Initiative
Next week we will receive 1200 Chromebooks from the Scottish Government as part of the roll-out of the digital education initiative. The ICT team are working with colleagues in Education to distribute the devices to the identified young people prior to pupils returning on 12 August.
Business Support Grants
We have now paid £22.7 million in business support grants to local businesses. We are working through the final 65 cases remaining cases, to ensure all information has been provided to enable us to verify applications. Applications for the scheme closed at 5.00pm on 10 July 2020.
In her Briefing of Thursday 30 July, the First Minister confirmed that Shielding will end, as anticipated, on 1 August 2020.
Free School Meals
As indicated in previous Briefings, the last deliveries of food boxes will take place on 6 August, at which point we will have delivered 50,088 food boxes to children who are eligible for free school meals.
Our Digital Services team have been working hard behind the scenes providing essential support to a range of services during the pandemic. This includes developing a range of online forms to ensure customers can access services digitally. These include creation of an online summer hub booking form to make it faster and easier for key workers to book childcare and a digital business grant form used by over 2075 applicants.
Ayrshire Cancer Support
Our employee charity partner, Ayrshire Cancer Support, are running their ‘Hope and Memories Walk’ campaign throughout August. Fundraising activities have been affected by Covid-19 and they urgently need funds to allow them to continue to deliver essential services to those affected by cancer in Ayrshire. The charity is encouraging people to Walk with Hope for someone who is going through their cancer journey, or in memory of someone we have lost. They are also encouraging golfers to take part in Golfathon 2020, playing 4, 3 or 2 rounds of golf in 1 day to help raise money.
Standards Commission For Scotland
The Standards Commission has issued its July update.
We continue to post information and updates through the local media, in hard copy, on a range of social media channels such as South Ayrshire Council Live Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on our website.