The Role of the Troon Community Council

Community Councils are voluntary bodies which exist within a statutory framework and which have been granted statutory rights of consultation. The general purpose of the Troon Community Council is to ascertain, co-ordinate and express the wider views of the entire community within its boundaries. Community Councils will seek to represent and include all sections of their communities, regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnic origin, political or religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. They can complement the role of the local authority but are not part of local government.

Community Information

Ayrshire Roads Alliance online portal

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.

Reopening of public conveniences

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. Background

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:

3 July

– 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.

6 July

– 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.

Latest update from the Chief Executive

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

South Ayrshire plans for pupils to return in August

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/

Delivery of Critical Services june

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.

Early Years

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

Shielding

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.

Food Boxes

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.

Licensing

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.

Play Parks

We are on course to re-open play parks on Monday 29 June.

Stay Active at Home with our Active Schools Team

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.

Latest update from the Chief Executive

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

SAC Update – Delivery of Critical Services

We continue to provide critical services and these are currently operating without issue.

Licensing

The First Minister announced yesterday 18 June that, while we are now entering Phase 2 of easing lockdown restrictions, some changes will not yet come into effect. Many licensed premises with beer gardens had anticipated being permitted to open this weekend, but they will have to remain closed for a further period. These are matters which are entirely outwith the control of the Licensing Board, however we will continue to liaise with the trade and to pass on any information from the Government as it is made available. The next review is anticipated on 2 July and the full re-opening of licensed premises is not expected until Phase 3. Guidelines have now been published which will allow the licensed trade to make plans for re-opening – https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/

Re-opening of Play Parks

Further to the First Minister’s announcement yesterday, playparks can reopen from Monday 29 June. We are therefore putting arrangements in place to reopen on 29 June, ensuring signage is put up to promote public health and physical distancing.

Re-opening of Public Toilets

We are participating in the SOLACE working group to take a national approach to the re-opening of public toilets.

School Holidays

We have amended the school holidays for 20/21 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 long weekend.

Housing and Homelessness

The social effects of COVID-19 have increased the need for homeless temporary accommodation and the demand for housing advice and support.

The number of current homeless applications being managed by our Housing Options & Support Team has risen since March of this year – from 331 at 31 March to 410 at 15 June 2020. Although the level of new homeless applications has not risen significantly in comparison to normal trends, the Council’s ability to discharge our duty to households and to secure permanent housing solutions has been reduced as a consequence of the Covid-19 restrictions to service delivery. Additionally, the number of households requiring temporary accommodation has increased due to the limited other options available to applicants. We have therefore increased our stock of temporary accommodation by 14% since lockdown, using longer term empty properties from our own stock and additional private sector leased properties. There are 285 units of temporary accommodation in use across our hostels/supported accommodation units, dispersed temporary accommodation within our own stock, private sector leased properties and temporary accommodation provided by Ayrshire Housing. This is the highest number we have needed since September 2012, but so far we have avoided the need to use bed and breakfast accommodation.

We have also seen a spike in complaints about individuals in temporary accommodation who have not complied with the government’s social distancing guidance. We continue to work with clients, maintaining regular contact to ensure that they are supported during this challenging time.

Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund

The number of local organisations who have successfully secured funding now number 14, with grants awarded totalling £55,712.00 as detailed in the table below.

 

Organisation Project Funding
Voluntary Action South Ayrshire ​To support the costs of two new part-time staff who will co-ordinate food processing orders as part of the food delivery service VASA is providing to 3000 elderly and vulnerable people in South Ayrshire. ​£4,584.00
Girvan Youth Trust ​To contribute to providing stationery, games, puzzles  and toiletries to young people living tin the wider Girvan area as part of a fortnightly Care package. ​£1,000.00
North Carrick Community Benefit ​To contribute towards the cost of staff, volunteers and the production/distribution of information about the support available for people affected by Covid-19 living in the North Carrick area of South Ayrshire. ​£5,000.00
Kirkmichael Village Renaissance ​To replenish the stocks of the community shop in Kirkmichael, which is the only local shop serving an immediate village population of 400 people. ​£5,000.00
1010 Trust ​To provide freshly cooked nutritious meals packaged in a way which can be easily reheated. ​£5,000.00
Maybole and North Carrick Community Resilience Team ​To provide a free delivery service for food, prescriptions and hearing aid batteries to people of any age group who are in self-isolation due to Covid. ​£3,675.00
Vics in the Community ​To develop a dedicated response to the present COVID-19 crisis including meal provision, footballs for physical health and materials for mental health. ​£5,000.00
Broken Chains (Ayr) Limited ​To increase the Support Worker’s hours by 10 hours per week to deliver services differently so that clients can be supported remotely and provided with food vouchers for the next three months. ​£3,350.00
Girvan Community Sport Hub ​To contribute to the purchase of sports equipment which will be shared with and loaned to vulnerable and disadvantaged families in the South Ayrshire area, encouraging children to keep fit and active during the lockdown period. ​£2,103.00
South Ayrshire Autistic Society ​To purchase IT equipment, supermarket vouchers and craft supplies to support families with autistic children in South Ayrshire. ​£3,500.00
Straiton Village Co-operative Limited ​To ensure the community run shop in Straiton has the stock and volunteer support in place to provide a home delivery service to residents who are self- isolating. ​£5,000.00
Wellington Mental Health and Wellness Trust ​To grow the existing remote counselling services to meet new demands from people suffering mental health problems due to covid-19. ​£5,000.00
Moving Arts Scotland CIC ​To provide art materials, tutorials and on-line health and wellbeing content to support 100 people in Ayr to produce art and crafts and reduce social isolation. ​£2,500.00
Ayrshire Cancer Support ​To contribute to increased costs of delivering a cancer patient transport service and increased demand for counselling and wellbeing helpline services. ​£5,000.00

Support For Local Businesses – Business Support Grants

We have now paid £20.5 million in business support grants to local businesses and have fewer than 190 cases to process, pending receipt of information required to verify applications.

Support for Local Businesses – Bed and Breakfast Hardship Fund

This fund launched on 15 June and is specifically for small Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs) who have faced hardship due to COVID-19, but were ineligible for other support, as they do not have a business bank account. The Fund offers a one-off grant of £3,000 and applications should be made online. Details of eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on the council website – https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/article/19481/Information-for-Businesses

Belleisle House Hotel

The sale of Belleisle House Hotel concluded on 18 June, which is the date of entry for the Council. The purchase price of £275,000 was reduced to £153,835 to account for the sum of £121,164 which was due to the Council because of the emergency works following the fire.

Proposed AIG Women’s British Open (Royal Troon Golf Course 20-23 August 2020)

Discussions are currently taking place with the R&A on the possibility of holding the AIG Women’s British Open at Royal Troon from 20-23 August 2020. Should the event go ahead, it will not be open to spectators. There would, however, be TV coverage. The R&A will make a decision on whether the competition will run in early July.

In the meantime, the R&A has asked our Planning team to proceed with a proposed Section 11 Access Exemption Order to suspend public access rights during the event. This is in the interests of player, staff and public safety and to help minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19. Although the event has not yet been confirmed, the Planning team is making the order now to allow time for public and community feedback, for consideration of any objections and for the Government to decide whether to approve the order. This means the order would be in place for the start of the event, should it go ahead. A public notice will be placed in the local press next week detailing the Proposed Access Exemption Order and asking for views.

Supporting our unpaid carers

Status For immediate release

Supporting our unpaid carers

Carers Week (8-14 June) is a great opportunity to highlight the contribution unpaid carers make to families across South Ayrshire, and the challenges they face – even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have policies in place to help staff who have unpaid caring responsibilities, and the support we give employees who are carers has already led us to achieve a Carer Positive Established Award.

We want to do more to support staff who look after an ill, frail or disabled family member, friend or partner, so we recently launched our employee Carer Survey to gather feedback and suggestions on what else we can do to help. Employees and managers can also tap into our dedicated e-learning course, which provides information on the impact of caring.

Through the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), we’re also working with the South Ayrshire Carers Centre to ensure all unpaid carers receive practical and emotional support. Although the centre is closed at the moment, help and guidance is still available over the phone and on social media.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the centre has supported around 14 young carer families with hardship payments to help with fuel and food costs. They helped Ellen, who looks after her grandfather and younger siblings to apply for a young carers grant. The family said: “The carers centre team have just been fantastic in supporting us all during lockdown. Thank you.”

The Centre also carry out wellbeing checks with unpaid carers who are shielding, and ensure carers take time to relax and have fun, by providing art packs, virtual quizzes and other online events.

Janice, who is currently shielding, and looks after her 19 year old son who has additional support needs said: “Thank you to all staff for the support during this time, it has been much appreciated.”

As well as providing practical and emotional support, the centre has produced a letter which carers can use as identification when they are accessing goods and services for those they care for.

Councillor Julie Dettbarn, Adult Health and Social Care Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “It’s fantastic that we have been recognised for our efforts to help staff who care for a loved one, and we want to build on this going forward.

“Now more than ever, unpaid carers need to feel valued and supported, and we will continue to work with our partners to make this happen.”

More information about support available to unpaid carers, including how to access PPE, can be found on the Council website https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/article/19523/Support-for-Unpaid-Carers.

To take part in some of the virtual events taking place during Carers Week, visit www.facebook.com/SouthAyrshireCarersCentre/

ENDS

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid carers face and recognising the contribution they make to families and communities through the UK. The theme for national Carers Week this year is Make Caring Visible.

A carer is anyone who provides unpaid support to a relative, partner, child, friend or neighbour due to illness, disability, frailty, a mental health condition or a substance misuse problem.

https://www.carersweek.org/

SAC council update

Shielding

We have completed initial enquiries with every resident on the shielding list, with the exception of 80 people who were added by the NHS in a new batch of names received today. Additionally, there are 18 residents whom we have been unable to contact despite calling and/ or writing to them and visiting their homes. We are now working with Police Scotland to ensure the individuals concerned are safe.

Volunteering Training Programme

Further to the community planning approach we are taking to volunteering, we now have 468 Community Planning Partnership (CPP) volunteers. All volunteers will take part in online volunteering training from next week. Of the 468, we have identified 30 people who have the digital skills required to act as digital volunteers for shielding residents who may be eligible for digital support through the Connecting Scotland initiative.

Feeling Good: Positive Mindset App

Scottish charity, the Foundation for Positive Mental Health, is offering free access codes to their Feeling Good App during the pandemic period. The app is NHS Digital accredited and is designed to help people build essential skills to become mentally stronger and more resilient to stress. The app is free to download until the end of June, with free access for 6 months
thereafter.

Communication

A range of communications has been prepared to mark Volunteering Week (1 – 7 June). We have linked in with internal Council services and some external partners, to highlight just some of the volunteering work that has taken place across South Ayrshire during this pandemic. Coverage can be seen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout this
week.​

Delivery of Critical Services

We continue to provide critical services and these are currently operating without issue.

Recovery Group

A Covid-19 Recovery Group has been established to plan for a transition from lockdown through the stages of recovery. This group meets weekly and is working with Service Leads to determine how and when services can be restored within the parameters of national guidance.

Business Support Grants

We have now paid £19.5 million in business support grants to local businesses.

We continue to work through the remaining cases, which number fewer than 200. Of these, the majority require to provide further information to enable us to verify their application.

Covid Helpline

The employee volunteers who staff our dedicated Covid helpline have now handled 15,612 calls. These volunteers handle calls to and from shielding residents, from members of the public who are looking for Covid related support and from people who have been advised to self-isolate through the Test and Protect scheme.