Don't close Stonehaven resource centre

A Mearns woman is calling on Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership to rethink its plans to close a vital resource in Stonehaven.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 11:38 am
Updated Friday, 6th August 2021, 2:57 pm
08-12-2020. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Day 258 of UK wide coronavirus lockdown. Day 37 of Scotland 5 tier system. Falkirk is in Level 3. LARBERT. Forth Valley Royal Hospital, FVRH. NHS Forth Valley. Covid-19 vaccinations will begin in Forth Valley on Tuesday 8th December 2020 with frontline health and social care staff along with care home workers set to the first to receive the initial supplies of the new Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine at clinics taking place at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert. Separate arrangements are being made to vaccinate local care home residents across Forth Valley from 14th December 2020. Pictured: Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine.

Vera Coull has hit out at proposals to turn the Invercarron Resource Centre into a permanent vaccine centre following its closure due to the pandemic in March last year.

Groups who use the centre have been sent a letter by Janine Howie, Interim Partnership Manager of AH&SCP, informing them of its change of status.

In the letter she states: “I appreciate that Invercarron Resource Centre is a valued resource for the community and supports many groups that help to prevent social isolation and promote wellbeing. However, the most significant service priority for both Aberdeenshire Council and AH&SCP is the continued rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

"The Stonehaven Vaccination Centre is temporarily sited in Stonehaven Town Hall, but cannot remain there. A&HSCP have been working to find a suitable, permanent solution due to the ongoing requirement for a vaccination venue. Invercarron Resource Centre has been identified as the most suitable site in Stonehaven.

"Some adaptions must be carried out on the site and the plan is that Stonehaven Vaccination Centre will move to Invercarron once these are complete.

”I know this will be disappointing news, but I hope you can understand that the vaccination programme has to take precedence over all other activities that AH&SCP supports in the community.”

Vera, whose husband attends the centre following a stroke, says the centre was specifically built as a day care centre and it also hosts a number of other groups.

"Some of the older people never leave the house other than visit the centre, so to take it away is a devastating blow.

"I think this has been all very underhand and I think a petition should be started to try and change this,” she added.

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership explained: “All organisations that previously used the centre have been written to and a community link worker has been assigned to support the organisations that have requested help to identify alternative venues.

"A meeting will take place later this month to discuss options with the Invercarron Committee for the groups that they ran.

“We fully understand the important role these organisations play in the local community and other suitable locations are available within the Stonehaven area.

“Health and social care partnerships across Scotland have a new statutory duty to take on several primary care services, including vaccination programmes, by March 2022.

"A number of venues have been carefully assessed for this important service in the Kincardine and Mearns area and Invercarron Resource Centre, which is already operationally managed by the partnership, has been assessed as the preferred site.

"This will make best use of existing resources and ensure that a suitable facility is operational within a short timescale, ensuring this important service can be delivered within the local area.”