The Role of the Troon Community Council
Following the First Minister’s review of the COVID-19 regulations yesterday, we have been able to make further progress with our recovery plans
Our Property Maintenance team will resume routine repairs from Monday 3 August. Housing tenants can now follow the normal process for reporting issues with their homes, and more information about this can be found on our website
All public toilets across South Ayrshire have now re-opened. They remain free to access at the moment and will be open from 10.00am until 6.00pm Monday to Sunday, with the exception of Barassie, Girvan Harbour, Maybole and Arthur Street in Ayr which will be open 24 hrs. In order to ensure physical distancing, it has been necessary to limit the number of cubicles and sinks available for use in some of our facilities. Regular enhanced cleaning will be in place at each facility throughout the day. You can find more information about our public convenienceshere
Our Economic Development team launched the 11th issue of their ‘Business Beat’ e-magazine this week which was created in partnership with our Trading Standards and Environmental Health team. This issue contains information on current guidance and compliance measures for local businesses and is available to read here. Please share the link with anyone you think may find it beneficial.
Over the last few months, we have been working to support people who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Information and Advice team has remained on hand to offer free, impartial and confidential advice over the phone. The skilled advisors have helped residents to maximise their income; check they have applied for the right benefits; appeal DWP benefit decisions; and find debt solutions. The team can be contacted on 0300 123 0900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on benefits and welfare advice can also be found on our website
Throughout the crisis, our Employability and Skills team has offered practical advice to residents on how to get a new job and identify new learning opportunities. If you know anyone who is worried about redundancy, please let them know that we are here to help them. Our friendly officers are available on 0300 123 0900 or at email@example.com
Kevin Stewart MSP has written an open letter to social housing tenants. The letter includes a range of information and advice for individuals and families in Scotland as we move through the different phases of easing restrictions. The letter has been publicised to our housing tenants and can be viewed here
Due to the continuing low levels of COVID-19 infection in Scotland, residents who have been shielding will no longer have to do so from Saturday 1 August. Those affected will receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer outlining the updated guidance and details about the pause in shielding. A SMS Shielding Service has been set up for the latest updates about shielding, which you can join by sending a text to 0786 006 4525. The Scottish Government is also developing a COVID-19 forecasting service for shielding. This will allow people who have been shielding to sign up to an SMS update that tells them about their risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in their local area. You can read the latest shielding guidance here
The Scottish Government has issued updated guidance on Test and Protect. The guidance states that in order to self-isolate safely and effectively under Test and Protect, in exceptional circumstances, a person may be advised to separate from the rest of their household. You can read more about this via this link
NHS Ayshire and Arran are looking for feedback on proposed content for a new mobile app which will offer local and national information on Autism, ADHD, FASD and Learning Disability for individuals, families, carers and professionals. You can access the survey here , it only takes a few minutes to complete and will remain open until Friday 31 July
As hospital outpatient services and visits resume, NHS Ayrshire and Arran have put together some short videos which explain what we should expect if we attend hospital for either visiting or an appointment. Information for outpatients can be viewed here and you can also watch the short video on visits here. Full details around visiting people in hospital can be found on the NHS website
With everyone spending more time at home over the last few months, many people have seen their energy bills increase. Home Energy Scotland are supporting vulnerable households to keep warm and help people manage their energy bills by offering free and impartial energy saving advice. If you’d like to find out more you can visit their website or call an advisor on 0808 808 2282
Things are still changing quickly at the moment, so I’d encourage you to continue to keep yourselves informed by checking the website regularly. Remember you can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where you’ll find updates about our services
We continue to provide critical services which are currently operating without issue.
Early Learning and Childcare
We are on track to deliver 1140 early learning and childcare hours in August 2020, should national guidance on this change as anticipated on 30 July. These increased hours would be delivered within the funding allocated by the Scottish Government. Where a building programme is ongoing or not completed, there will be a limited range of options (session times) for parents in some areas. Full details on the approach to early learning and childcare, including information on the current status of building works, can be found here.
Due to the continuing low levels of COVID-19 infection in Scotland, residents who have been shielding will no longer have to do so from Saturday 1 August. Those affected will receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer outlining the updated guidance and details about the pause in shielding. A SMS Shielding Service has been set up for the latest updates about shielding, which residents can join by sending a text to 0786 006 4525. The Scottish Government is also developing a COVID-19 forecasting service for shielding. This will allow people who have been shielding to sign up to an SMS update that tells them about their risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in their local area. You can read the latest shielding guidance here.
Test and Protect
The Scottish Government issued updated guidance on Test and Protect on 21 July. This guidance states that in order to self-isolate safely and effectively under Test and Protect, in exceptional circumstances, a person may be advised to separate from the rest of their household.
- This may be best achieved through provision of alternative isolation accommodation for the individual, or by relocation of their household contacts.
- Most people will be able to self-isolate effectively in their own homes, and isolation accommodation should only be considered on an exceptional basis.
- Any decision to facilitate moving someone out of their home would have to be informed by multi-agency decision making, and in keeping with the wishes of all individuals concerned.
- Isolation accommodation is for the purpose of allowing safe and effective self-isolation, and some hostel-style accommodation may not be appropriate.
Test and Protect guidance places significant reliance on local authorities regarding the provision of ‘out of hours’ services and accommodation to support people under the circumstances outlined above. We are therefore developing an approach to manage this which is being led by the Housing Service.
Letter to social housing tenants from the Minister for Local Government Housing and Planning
Kevin Stewart MSP has written an open letter to social housing tenants which provides information and advice following the publication in May of Scotland’s Route Map for moving out of the crisis.
The letter includes a range of support, information and signposting for individuals and families in Scotland as we move through the different phases of easing restrictions. The letter has been publicised to South Ayrshire tenants via social media and our website and can be viewed here.
The reporting of routine repairs resumed as of Thursday 23 July. Tenants have been advised to follow the normal reporting process, where they will be given an appointment on or after Monday 3 August.
All public toilets across South Ayrshire have now re-opened. They remain free to access at the moment and will be open from 10.00am until 6.00pm Monday to Sunday, with the exception of Barassie, Girvan Harbour, Maybole and Arthur Street in Ayr, which will be open 24hrs. In order to ensure physical distancing, it has been necessary to limit the number of cubicles and sinks available for use in some of our facilities. Regular enhanced cleaning will be in place at each facility throughout the day. You can find more information here.
Business Support Grants
We have now paid £22.6 million in business support grants to local businesses.
We continue to work through the remaining cases, which number fewer than 100. Of these, the majority of applicants need to provide further information to enable us to verify their application. Applications for the scheme closed at 5.00pm on 10 July 2020.
Support For Local Businesses
The Economic Development team launched the 11th issue of their ‘Business Beat’ e-magazine this week. This issue has been created in partnership with Trading Standards and Environmental Health and provides information for local businesses on complying with current guidance. The e-magazine can be viewed here.
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.
Status: For immediate release
At South Ayrshire Council, we’re working with all 29 community pharmacies to ensure residents from Barassie to Ballantrae can still get vital medicines during the lockdown.
We’re delivering prescriptions to people who are shielding, or who live in isolated communities and can’t get to the nearest pharmacy. We have 25 dedicated staff volunteers supporting around 200 people every week.
To make sure those in need don’t miss out, we have also been phoning people on the shielding list to offer the prescription delivery service. So far, our staff volunteers have also made over 850 home visits to people on the list to make sure they’re OK.
John Barr from Monkton was worried he would not get his medication. He said: “It’s been fantastic. I was worried about what I was going to do during lockdown, but this service has been a huge help. First class.”
Fiona is one of our staff volunteers. She said: “I’ve made lots of deliveries all across South Ayrshire. I think most of the people we deliver to, would have struggled to get their prescriptions without our help.”
Jacob, who normally works in our Sport and Leisure service, said: “The comments you get make the job worthwhile; people are so appreciative! They don’t expect the Council to turn up on their doorstep with medicine, but they are very glad when we do.”
Councillor Peter Henderson, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “We are continuing to do all we can to help vulnerable people in our communities cope with the lockdown. Ensuring those in need can get prescriptions is extremely important, so our Community Response Team worked with NHS Pharmacy Advisors to set up the collection and delivery service. This is partnership working at its best and we will continue to deliver prescriptions to those in need for the duration of the lockdown.”
Anyone who is not on the shielding list, but still needs help getting medication, can contact us on the Covid-19 Helpline 01292 616101.
Reporting roads, lighting and drainage faults has just been made easier with the proposed launch of a new Ayrshire Roads Alliance online portal on Monday 29 June 2020.
The Public Information Portal is map-based which means that residents in East and South Ayrshire who want to report a fault can identify the location on the map and leave a comment about the nature of the fault. They will then be given a reference number which they can use to go back online and check the status of the fault, as it moves from being reported to being worked on, to being completed.
For ease of use, residents can also search for the fault location by address, postcode or the reference number. Anyone looking at the map can also see at a glance which faults have already been reported by looking at the icons.
The portal is only intended for reporting general faults, and any emergency faults should be reported directly to ARA by calling 0345 724 0000 for East Ayrshire Council and 0300 123 0900 for South Ayrshire Council.
Access to the portal can be through South Ayrshire Council Website redirected to Ayrshire Roads Alliance website or by direct access.
1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Elected Members with an update on the plans to reopen public conveniences in South Ayrshire in line with the Scottish Governments restriction easing route map.
2.1 Full lockdown in Scotland officially began on 23 March 2020 – South Ayrshire took the decision, along with all local authorities in Scotland to close all public conveniences across South Ayrshire, in-line with national guidance. On the 18 June, the Scottish Government announced the move to Phase 2 of the route map through the crisis which allows local people to travel 5 miles within their community for outdoor leisure and exercise and expands further on outdoor gatherings. There is currently no formal national guidance around the reopening of public conveniences and they remain closed across Scotland.
2.2 During this time, South Ayrshire has been developing plans for the phased reopening of public conveniences when allowed to do so. This includes reviewing current cleaning advice for non-health care settings and establishing additional resource requirements to deliver a safe service. In the last week, a working group has been established by SOLACE that proposes to take an approach similar to that of the successful reopening of recycling centres, with a national sector led group to determine an agreed reopening plan. South Ayrshire is participating with the group and working with the Government and Public Health Scotland to establish appropriate hygiene and safety guidance to allow a safety led reopening of public conveniences. At this point it is being suggested that staffed public conveniences could be reopened at Phase 3 of the Scottish Government route map.
3. Further easing of restrictions
3.1 The First Ministers briefing on Wednesday 24 June set out further dates for the easing of restrictions including:
– travel restriction of 5 miles will be relaxed
– The use of self-contained holiday accommodation – such as cottages, lodges and caravans with no shared services – will also be allowed, along with second homes.
– pubs and restaurants will be able to open outdoor spaces, such as beer gardens
3.2 It is hoped that good progress will allow the transition to Phase 3 of the route map on 10 July and this will allow people to meet up in larger groups outdoors and a maximum of 2 households indoors. It should be noted that these dates are indicative and based on continued suppression of the virus and will be confirmed on 2 July and 9 July respectively.
3.3 It is clear the pace of lockdown easing is increasing, as is footfall in our towns and coastal areas. We will continue to actively participate within the SOLACE working group and prepare for the reopening of public conveniences as soon as safely practicable and in line with health and Scottish Government guidance.
First of all this week, I’d like to update you on changes to our Administration. Councillor Peter Henderson was yesterday unanimously elected as the new Leader of South Ayrshire Council. He takes over from Councillor Douglas Campbell who announced his intention to resign from the role of Leader earlier this month. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him the very best in his new role. Councillors also agreed changes to Portfolio Holders and details are available on our website
With our COVID-19 recovery plans now well underway, our Elected Members have decided not to take the planned summer recess. This means Councillors will be present and available to make decisions, address any issues without delay, and assist constituents over the summer
As we enter Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 route map, we’ll see further changes to our services over the coming weeks
The Coronavirus Business Support Grant Scheme will close on Friday 10 July 2020 and no further applications will be accepted after this date. If you know someone who could benefit from the scheme, there’s still some time to apply and details can be found on our website
Parking enforcement will phase back in from Monday 29 June. Parking attendants will initially focus their attention on critical areas including: junctions, disabled bays and known hot spots where inconsiderate and illegal parking can cause serious disruption. Normal enforcement duties, including on and off-street pay and display car parks, will restart on Monday 6 July. Key workers’ parking permits for on and off street Council parking bays will remain valid at the moment
To help keep everyone safe, plans are in place to ensure that parking ticket machines are cleaned and disinfected regularly. However, if you have any concerns about using parking machines you can download the cashless parking app, RingGo, which allows you to pay for parking without the need for coins. More information, including how to register can be found at www.myringo.co.uk .You can also register online here
Following the Scottish Government’s schools announcement this week, we are now planning for a full-time return in August. If you are a parent or carer, your school will keep in touch with you about arrangements for the new term
In perfect timing for the beginning of the school holidays, our playgrounds and outdoor gyms will re-open from Monday 29 June. Guidance on how you can access these safely can be found on our website
During the pandemic our Social Work teams joined forces with Hansel to ensure that people with learning disabilities, their carers and families were able to access support through a range of new and innovative approaches. With traditional day services temporarily closed, the usual help that families rely on wasn’t available. Delivered from Hansel, a range of activities were offered including micro and short breaks.
Armed Forces Day on Saturday 27 June gives us an opportunity to show our gratitude for the Armed Forces community who work tirelessly to keep us safe in the UK and abroad. Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, the Armed Forces have provided critical services to those who need them most. While the pandemic has meant planned celebratory events have been cancelled, we will show our support by raising the flag at County Buildings tomorrow. Walking With the Wounded are running an online Armed Forces Day Quiz. So if you’d like to test your Forces knowledge, this link takes you to their Just Giving page where you can access the quiz for free. There are many ways that you can get involved and pay tribute to our Armed Forces from home, including #SaluteOurForces. You can find out more about this and other ideas here
I want to extend my thanks to our teachers and education staff for their hard work and commitment over the last few months. We’ve received some fantastic feedback from pupils, parents and carers on their learning from home experiences. I would like to wish our young people, teachers and support staff an enjoyable, well-deserved summer break and I hope you come back refreshed and ready for the new term
Status For immediate release
We know that the last few months have been challenging for young people, teaching staff and parents.
Our education staff have gone above and beyond to support pupils to learn from home over the last 12 weeks.
South Ayrshire schools break up for summer today, and we have been working hard on plans for blended learning for the new school year in August. We’d like to thank the pupils, parents and carers who took part in our ‘Recovery of Schools and Early Years Centres’ survey. Their feedback helped to shape our plans for blended learning.
We now know that we may not need to put these blended learning plans in place, as the Scottish Government announced this week that schools can expect to re-open full-time in August, with no social distancing for pupils, if the virus continues to be supressed.
Douglas Hutchison, Director- People and Depute Chief Executive said:
“We intend to do everything possible to make sure schools can reopen fully, but we need to ensure the health and safety of all pupils and staff members.
“Schools will now work to make a number of changes before pupils return. The summer break is due to begin this week, and the late announcement from the Scottish Government gives us limited time to make these changes.
“We intend to continue with a planned start date of August 12, but the first week will be a ‘soft start’. This means that pupils may not be in school full days, or every day for the first three days of term, but we aim to have everyone back in school full time by Monday 17 August.
“We’ll keep in touch with pupils, parents and carers over the next few weeks to confirm specific details for each school.
“While many things are uncertain at the moment, one thing is crystal clear, and that is the commitment of teachers, and all staff, to make sure our young people get the best possible chance to recover what has been lost.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all teachers and education staff for their continuous hard work and dedication.”
Councillor William Grant, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People said: “I’d like to thank parents and carers for their support during this difficult time.
“I’m really proud of all school staff for their innovation and creativity in developing new ways for young people to learn. They have worked tirelessly to support our young people over the last three months, and I want to extend my thanks for their continued dedication.
“Finally, I want to recognise our amazing young people who have shown remarkable resilience and a commitment to learning.
“I wish them a great summer break and hope they come back refreshed, and ready to learn.”
For information on schools and education in South Ayrshire visit www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/schools/
We continue to provide critical services and these are currently operating without issue.
Education- Pupil Return in August
On Tuesday 23 June, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that schools can expect to re-open full-time in August, with no social distancing for pupils, if the virus continues to be suppressed.
Schools will now require to make a number of changes before the new term starts in August. Classes had already been reconfigured to take account of social distancing and will now be rearranged. We will review existing risk assessments in light of the changes. We will also carry out further risk assessments in the context of all pupils being back in order to ensure the health and safety of all staff and pupils. It is our intention to do everything possible to ensure schools reopen fully in August but there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome. School holidays start today for pupils and for all school staff which limits the opportunities to make the necessary changes.
It is our hope and intention to have all pupils back in August, however the late change in policy makes this a challenge. We therefore intend to continue with the planned start date of 12 August but the first week, up to and including Friday 14 August, will be a soft start. That means that pupils may not be in all day or every day for the first three days of term. Our current aim is that from Monday 17th August all pupils will be back full time. This is, of course, predicated on the virus continuing to be supressed and our current position may change in the light of public health advice.
A letter has been issued to all parents and carers explaining the situation. Each school will contact parents and carers directly before the start of the new term to let them know the specific arrangements for their children.
We have been informed that there have been no changes yet to the guidance relating to early years provision. Existing early years guidance results in reduced capacity which makes it difficult to confirm the detail of early years places for the coming year. These issues will be clarified over the coming weeks.
Fees and Charges
Following the Covid outbreak in March, the Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance, the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive, under emergency decision making powers, agreed to introduce a three month suspension (from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020) of the introduction of inflationary price increases on point of sale charges to the public due to be implemented from 1 April – i.e. those price increases included in the 2020/21 Budget Book.
We are now nearing the end of the three month period of suspension which means that, as we come out of lockdown and services are phased back in, these inflationary price increases will begin to come into force. Customers will be advised of any changes to prices as and when each affected service is reintroduced. This does not affect Council tax, non-domestic rates or house rents
Business Support Grants
We have now paid £20.7 million in business support grants to local businesses. We continue to work through the remaining cases, which number fewer than 205. The Business Support Grant Scheme will close on 10 July 2020. No new applications will be accepted after this date. Details on the scheme are available at https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/article/19562/Business-Support-Grant
This week we received the thirteenth batch of shielding names. This takes the total number of South Ayrshire residents on the shielding list to 4755. We have made contact and offered help and support to 4742 shielding residents, representing over 99% of the total. We continue to try to make contact with the remaining 13.
We will continue to provide weekly food boxes to children who are eligible for free school meals until schools return. The last week of deliveries will therefore be on the week beginning 3 August.
We have made some changes to the content of food boxes, taking into account feedback from families. The contents of boxes may change from week to week depending on availability of stock, but will usually contain, bread, milk, cereal, fresh fruit and salad.
Going forward we will alternate provision in 2 week cycles, with a larger box provided on week 1 (which will contain some produce which will last 2 weeks), and a smaller box on week 2. This rotational approach will be in place throughout the summer and boxes will be delivered to families on the same day each week.
Re-opening of Licensed Premises
The First Minister announced that she expects beer gardens will be permitted to open as of 6 July, following which licensed premises will be able to open fully from 15 July. Premises are now making plans for reopening, taking account of social distancing and the coronavirus restrictions. As licences for the premises will not change, all enquiries regarding how to comply with the coronavirus guidelines will be directed to Trading Standards and Environmental Health, but of course there will be joint working between departments to provide as much information as possible to assist premises in getting back to business.
Alcohol Focus has reviewed the policies of all Licensing Boards in Scotland and published a report on their findings. The report is very positive about the approach taken in South Ayrshire, particularly in relation to community engagement, occasional licences and policies in relation to children & young people. You can access the full report here.
We are on course to re-open play parks on Monday 29 June.
Our Active Schools Team have developed a programme which offers sports equipment packs to families who need support to keep active and engage in sport at home.
Thanks to generous donations of equipment and funding from local sports clubs, businesses, local funding partners and national governing bodies, the team will be able to work with schools to identify families who need support to get active at home.
Families will initially have access to indoor activity packs, including football; handball; tennis; badminton and fitness, with more activities to follow.
The project has brought local groups and businesses together to promote positive partnerships, and to encourage families to stay active during the pandemic to support their physical and mental health.
You can find out more about our Active Schools team by visiting their website, or following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Following the First Minister’s review of the COVID-19 regulations yesterday, we have been able to further progress our recovery plans in several areas
Our Grounds Maintenance team is busy putting the necessary arrangements and signage in place to assist with physical distancing at our play parks, which are set to re-open on Monday 29 June. I’m sure that this will be great news for many of you with young children; however, please don’t be tempted to visit the play parks before the 29th, and remember to keep your family safe by observing physical distancing and respecting government guidance. We’ll keep you updated on progress around the re-opening of public toilets which remain closed at the moment
We have amended the school holidays to reflect the earlier start to the autumn term of Tuesday 11 August. The four days of ‘lost holidays’ have been added to the February 2021 weekend which will give staff a full week off
Teachers and school support staff have been working hard over the last few weeks to prepare for the safe return of young people when the new school term begins in August. This has been a very complex exercise and schools have done everything they can to maximise the time young people can spend in school. Every school is unique – in space available, layout and in pupil and teacher numbers. This means that we can’t have a one size fits all approach and most pupils will attend school for part of each week, with face to face learning supplemented by online and blended learning from home. If you are a parent, your school will contact you directly over the next few days with information on your child or children’s pattern of attendance. (For information all Troon Primaries and Marr College will be operating a 2 rotation attendance at school (initially it was thought that Struthers would have to operate a 3 rotation). The intention is to get every pupil back into full-time education at the earliest opportunity – however as a Council we are driven by both the Scottish Government guidance on social distancing, and a commitment that they will meet any additional costs (which if we stay at 2m social distancing will be considerable) will be met.)
Throughout this pandemic our schools have taken an innovative approach to the way they support and engage with young people. Teachers have embraced the digital technology available to them to create learning platforms and keep in touch with pupils. To celebrate the end of term, some schools have held virtual Sports Days, which include a range of fun activities and challenges for pupils to complete at home. Transition activities have also been adapted to online events, including videos and virtual tours to reassure pupils prior to their move to P1, S1 or a different year group
Our Housing Options and Support team has provided much needed help and advice on a range of housing issues to clients affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Sadly, the increase in relationships breaking down during lockdown has resulted in a much higher demand for homeless temporary accommodation, with the team currently handling over 400 ‘live’ cases. Officers have gone above and beyond to turn temporary furnished properties around swiftly, avoiding the need for families to use bed and breakfast accommodation. The team also man our 24/7 homeless standby phone line; provide services and support to our sheltered housing residents; deal with anti-social behaviour complaints and maintain regular wellbeing contact with clients. More information on housing support can be found here
Our Revenues team has now paid out a massive £20.5 million in business support grants to local eligible businesses in need of financial support, with the Phase 3 Online Application now live on our website. If you know anyone who could benefit from these grants, please direct them to our website where comprehensive information can be found
We also joined forces with the other Ayrshire Councils this week when we launched a new COVID-19 Business Support Helpline. Any Ayrshire business can now call one single telephone number, 0330 6781611, to seek help and advice. More information can be found on our website
Some of you have raised queries around the use of Skype and Microsoft Teams. Our ICT Enterprise Architecture team has put together a series of Q and A’s around this which are now available to view on The Core
Sunday 21 June will be the 6th Annual International Day of Yoga. Yoga is known for its ability to ease stress and promote relaxation – something we could all do with right now! You can take part via our website and social media channels
I’d encourage you to continue to keep yourselves up to date by checking the website regularly. Also, why not follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where you’ll find a range of information on our services
Finally, I’d like to end with some non-COVID related news. Earlier this week the Council purchased Belleisle House. We will now begin to look at how we will restore this unique building and make plans for its future