Kincardine & Mearns Covid-19 E Bulletin

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This bulletin continues to focus on what is currently happening or in place locally as a result of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

This includes sections which will signpost you to official guidance, changes in service provision, local health and wellbeing providers, community resilience, support and advice.
*Please check each section for new and updated information*

(Photo credit: Aberdeenshire Council Image Library)

Guidance

Links to national and local guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

As we all deal with a number of questions around Coronavirus (COVID-19), we felt it would be useful to provide you with links where guidance can be sought.  The role of the Council in this event is one of signposting to appropriate advice. Please signpost anyone with concerns to the latest national guidance below.

Scottish Government Guidance
The Scottish Government’s website has published a page with what you need to know about the Coronavirus in Scotland. This includes advice for access rights, health, travel, service provision as well as the Scottish Government’s action plan and what they are doing.  Information on funding to be provided by the Scottish Government was also published.

NHS Inform 
The NHS Inform page on Coronavirus contains frequently asked questions and advice including diagnosing symptoms, what to do if you think you have symptoms, whether people you live with need to take any action and anything else you can do to prepare. There is also a helpline and further information links including guides in British Sign Language and easy-read advice.

Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub

A new website and phoneline have been launched, providing people across Grampian with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The website can be found at www.GCAH.org.uk, and provides links to services and information across three local authorities.  The phoneline number is 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week).
Aberdeenshire Council Guidance
Aberdeenshire Council have published information regarding the Coronavirus outbreak including advice, guidance and links. This includes up to date information on health/hygiene, travel, events, community groups, businesses, sports/leisure facilities, registrars and council offices.
There are also separate pages dedicated to:
• Schools and learning
• Waste and recycling
• Registrars service
Support for businesses
*NEW* Guidance for People with Dementia and Carers
Over the coming weeks and months, we are all being asked to change the way we live our lives so that those who may be most at risk of coronavirus are kept as safe as possible. During this time Alzheimer Scotland’s local teams will be on hand to help if you need any assistance with things such as accessing medication or shopping. Please call their 24 hour Freephone Dementia Helpline on 0808 808 300.

Service Changes

The following is a non-exhaustive list of major changes in service. Please follow the links and stay up to date with information from official sources.

*NEW* Post Office: Ask-a-friend cash access scheme extended
Anyone who cannot leave home may be able to ask a trusted friend or volunteer to withdraw cash at any Post Office using a single-use voucher.The Post Office scheme is being extended and offered to all banks, building societies and credit unions. For more information please visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52229698
*NEW* Aberdeenshire Educational Psychology
Please view the new Aberdeenshire Educational Psychology website, which provides advice and resources for supporting children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
*NEW* Council Supply of Bedding Plants to Communities
Following concerns being expressed by several community groups and considering current circumstances, Aberdeenshire Council has decided to cancel the supply of plants to the many groups who were expecting to take delivery this summer. This is a rapidly changing situation, further advice may be issued as things develop. We know this will be disappointing for many people, but our first priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone within our communities.
NHS Grampian – Essential visits onlyThe rules for visiting patients in NHS hospitals have changed during the coronavirus outbreak.  To protect patients and staff, and prevent the spread of coronavirus, hospital visiting will be restricted to essential visits only.  You can find specific health advice on coronavirus here.
Aberdeenshire Council – Waste ServicesGiven the lockdown measures in place, it is safer for everybody if we come and collect your waste, rather than everybody taking their waste to recycling centres. We do not accept side waste though, as handling bags and uncontained waste is a potential health hazard to our collection crews.

For more information on changes to recycling and waste services during the Covid-19 outbreak, please see https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/waste-covid-19/ . For the latest updates, follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AberdeenshireWaste/
and sign up to bin notifications on the My Aberdeenshire app at https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/my/mobile-app/

Grampian Credit Union – for members
We are open each weekday Monday to Friday, from 10.00am to 2.00pm until further notice.
We continue to be available for our members living or working throughout Aberdeenshire to access their savings or lending.

Contact us by phone, email, website or post to our office in Aberdeen as follows:
Office:   250 Union Street, Aberdeen AB10 1TN
Phone:   01224 561506 (can leave message)
Email:     admin@grampiancreditunion.co.uk
Website: www.grampiancreditunion.co.uk

We are here to assist our Aberdeenshire members – check our website for latest service information.

Stagecoach Buses – Reduced Service
Temporary changes to bus services in Aberdeenshire and Moray have been introduced following government advice around non-essential travel to help combat the coronavirus. A reduced timetable will operate across the region until further notice. Updated adjustments to some key services (from 13th April) are now available to download at stagecoachbus.com.  These adjustments have been made following feedback received from key workers who rely on bus services to get to and home from work.
Live Life Aberdeenshire – Facilities, Activities and Payments
LLA sports and cultural facilities have suspended services and closed facilities to the public as of 19th March. Closures include swimming pools, libraries, museums and aquariums; and the Active Schools programme, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and all activities and events are suspended or cancelled until further notice. LLA will be suspending all Direct Debits for Active Aberdeenshire members. No payments will be taken in April and May. Please bear with staff as they continue to work behind the scenes, answer customer enquiries as quickly as possible and in some cases assigned to support other critical Council services.
AHSCP – Learning Disability & Older Adults Day Services Suspended
Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership has taken the difficult decision to suspend Learning Disability and Older Adults Day Services and Respite Services for the foreseeable future. Social Work Teams will be in contact with service users and their families as soon as they possibly can to provide support, information and advice.
Community Resilience
Residents are working together to support our communities in this time of need with help like mutual aid groups or volunteer transport/deliveries.

If you are on Facebook, the pages below are a good way to stay informed about what is happening in your community as well as to keep in touch with neighbours and fellow residents, especially if you are isolated.

*NEW* Community Pages and Mutual Aid/New Groups in K&M
Please be aware that these are informal groups/pages which are moderated by local residents and can be to promote communities, highlight information or to keep in touch with other residents. This list is not exhaustive. Please get in touch to let us know if you wish your group to be included in future editions.

Catterline & Kinneff – https://www.facebook.com/groups/488545805366051/
Newtonhill –
https://www.facebook.com/Newtonhill-Areas-Covid-19-Community-Help-106127777685822/?hc_location=group
Portlethen Coronavirus Community Care –https://www.facebook.com/groups/220991955621863/?hc_location=group
What’s On Bervie – https://www.facebook.com/Inverbervie/
Covid 19 – Helping Stonehaven https://www.facebook.com/groups/2520646894864553/
Stonehaven Lions – https://www.facebook.com/StonehavenLionsClub/
Stonehaven Round Table – https://www.facebook.com/StonehavenRT/
What’s on Johnshaven – https://www.facebook.com/johnshaveninfo/
Durris & Drumoak Community Group –
https://www.facebook.com/drumoakdurriscommunitydeesideddcg/

Grampian Coronavirus Assistance Hub – Volunteers
Please be aware that if you’d like to offer to volunteer, you need to register on hub. The website can be found at www.GCAH.org.uk, and the phoneline number is 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week).
Mearns & Coastal Healthy Living Network Update
Following government guidelines, we have cancelled all groups and events. We will still be offering the following services:
• Transport service for healthcare appointments.
• Home delivery shopping service, to include prescriptions and Post Office pickups.
• Telephone contact service.
• Garden maintenance.

For more information about any of these services please call the office on 01561 378130. We will continue to monitor the situation and advise of any changes. We provide volunteer-led services to improve the health and wellbeing of older people; these include help with shopping, transport and gardening. ​Please contact us if you can help with volunteering for any of the above services.

Local Businesses – Delivery Services
Please find information on local businesses offering delivery services at this time. (This word document will download)
Community Councils
There are also 12 Community Councils which cover the Kincardine and Mearns area of Aberdeenshire. You can find contact details for each Community Council here.
Support
Groups and organisations are continuing to operate throughout the pandemic, offering critical support and services.
*NEW* Scarf
Scarf offers free and impartial advice services to help households manage and reduce their fuel bills. Advice includes:
– Access to grants and schemes and information for households most at risk
– Advice on how to keep your energy bills under control
– Understanding of your fuel bills and energy use
– Help to top up your meter
– Information/referrals to other projects offering support and advice

Call freephone 0808 808 2282 to speak to a local advisor. For more information visit https://www.scarf.org.uk/householder/.

*NEW* My Life Dynamic
My Life Dynamic are continuing to offer services remotely via telephone sessions or video calls. Anyone in Aberdeenshire who is aged between 16 and 65 can self-refer by contacting us on 0300 1234 677 or by emailing enquiries@mylifedynamic.org.uk. More information on the services we provide can be found at [www.mylifedynamic.org.uk.%20]www.mylifedynamic.org.uk.
We have had to postpone our Living Life to the Full groups and workshops but will reschedule these when it is safe to do so.
Pillar Kincardine
Pillar Kincardine is offering a mental health telephone helpline from Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.  Call them on 01569 767222 for emotional support, signposting and practical advice.
Kincardineshire Development Partnership (KDP)
KDP is the local Rural Partnership for K&M. Whilst unable to offer face to face meetings at the moment they are continuing to offer the same help and support to community groups and organisations. Recognising the amazing support being offered by communities at this time, they have produced an interactive map of Community Support.
Links to all six Rural Partnerships in Aberdeenshire, including KDP, can be found here.
The Samaritans
The Samaritans website outlines good practical coping strategies and what to do if you are worried about a friend or relatives emotional wellbeing.  Their free helpline is available on 116 123.
Mental Health Aberdeen
As a result of the current lock down people may feel that their mental health is being affected. Also, those with existing mental health issues may find this stressful situation is making them worse. For anyone experiencing distress of any kind Mental Health Aberdeen have launched a new helpline. Call 01224 573892. Every helpline ‘open session’ will be staffed by an Information Officer who can give practical advice and also signpost callers to additional services. The opening hours will be as follows:

Monday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  6pm – 8pm
Tuesday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  Closed
Wednesday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  6pm – 8pm
Thursday  10am – 1pm  2pm- 5pm  Closed
Friday  10am – 1pm  Closed  Closed
Aberdeenshire Alcohol & Drugs Partnership
Aberdeenshire ADP’s recovery cafes and community groups/activities are suspended for the time being. ADP are developing alternative opportunities for peer connections and support via telephone and online. Please view these links to the ADP Central Forum facebook page which details:
Phone and Online Recovery Resources
Online Recovery Group Activities Timetable
If you would like to become part of a phone and virtual peer recovery community network or if you would like to volunteer to contact and support folk, please read this post or email Susan Weetman at centralabdn.forum@hotmail.com
Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action
While AVA wont be able to do face to face meetings or drop-in surgeries until further notice, their Development Officers are still working and offering the same range of services. You can contact your Development Officer by phone, email or even through skype, FaceTime or Zoom. AVA is funded to support community and voluntary organisations, including groups that have formed very recently because of COVID-19. AVA can help your group to establish itself, search for funding and promote its services: For more information please visit https://www.avashire.org.uk/new-groups.html and for information on funding for your group, please visit  https://www.avashire.org.uk/funding.html.  You can also continue to contact AVA by phone on 03718 110008 (Mon-Thur, 1000-1400hrs) or email them at [enquiries@avashire.org.uk]enquiries@avashire.org.uk. Please also view AVA’s April Newsletter.
Scottish Community Development Centre
Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) is working closely with government and the NHS nationally in offering assistance to community organisations and local partnerships to make what contributions they can to the current situation. This includes the following online resources:

Aberdeenshire Employment Support Team
The Employment Support Team have suspended their job clubs and face to face services until further notice. Key workers are still available to offer 1 to 1 support via phone, email or skype. Please get in touch through their page or by emailing. The team will arrange for a key worker to get in touch for you.
Scottish Rural Action
Scottish Rural Action have added a new page to their website that will collate sources of information and advice in one place. This can be found at the top of their home page. Their website will be updated regularly as new information, advice and sources of funding are published.

Scottish Rural Action is compiling examples of how different communities are dealing with the challenges presented by Covid-19. If you would like to share examples of what your community is doing, please send information or direct links to information on your website. You can send these by email to SRA on info@sra.scot.

Invest Aberdeen
Invest Aberdeen have uploaded a great informational page for what we currently know for businesses at this difficult time. A snapshot of details of Government and other Agency support, business rate flexibility, insurance, funding and specific relaxations for pubs and restaurants. You’ll appreciate that things are changing fast and we don’t know all of the answers yet but we’ll do our best to keep you informed.
Funding
Please find information on sources of funding below.
Aberdeenshire Council – Community Resilience Fund
Aberdeenshire Council has opened up its Community Resilience Fund for applications. Please go to [https:/www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/communities-and-events/funding/community-resilience-covid-19/]https:/www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/communities-and-events/funding/community-resilience-covid-19/ for more information on how your community/voluntary group can apply for a £2000 grant to help support your efforts to alleviate the effects of Covid-19.  The fund is for community/resilience groups seeking funding to support people in the community who are staying at home, self-isolating, vulnerable and unable to access basic necessities such as food and medicines, as a result of the restrictions due to COVID-19.
It is not designed to support other community groups who may be affected because they cannot raise funds/income as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. Groups in this situation should visit SCVO at https://scvo.org.uk/support/coronavirus/funding/for-organisations/third-sector-resilience-fund
Groups can also contact the Banffshire Rural Partnership boyndietrust@hotmail.com or Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action.

Community Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund – Foundation Scotland
Foundation Scotland is delivering the Community Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund. Launched by the Duke of Cambridge, the National Emergencies Trust (NET) is a fundraising appeal which will distribute money through several foundations which cover the UK.  Foundation Scotland is the lead partner for NET in Scotland.

Most immediately, it is providing emergency funding for local charities and grassroots organisations who are currently supporting some of Scotland’s most affected and vulnerable people.  In the medium and longer term, Recovery and Resilience will be about funding local organisations whose operations and finances have been affected so they can recover their activities once the outbreak eases in response to community needs at that point.

Helping Communities Affected by COVID-19
Scottish Government funding will be made available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups. It is designed to be flexible, cutting down on red tape to enable them to respond swiftly and according to local need for people impacted economically or through reduced contact with society, including anyone struggling to access food. Further information here.

SSEN Funding for Community Councils
SSEN has established this fund to support communities in our power distribution network area to improve local resilience. This funding comes from a proportion of the performance reward we receive from the regulator Ofgem. SSEN recognises the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the communities we support and has allocated the 2020 round of the fund specifically for projects which support the community response to Coronavirus. Community councils in the SSEN north of Scotland distribution area can apply for a grant of £3,000. Find out more at https://www.ssen.co.uk/rcf/

The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF)
The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is now open for applications and we are urging all community groups eligible to apply as soon as possible. The primary intention of the fund is to help third sector organisations to stabilise and manage cash flows over this difficult period.
To be eligible, interested organisations must be:

  • a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in Scotland and/or primarily delivering services/activities in Scottish communities;
  • already delivering those products or services prior to March 2020;
  • and needing funding to stabilise cashflows directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19, as opposed to pre-existing financial difficulties

SCVO have launched a Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub which you can access here. A Supporting Communities Fund and the Wellbeing Fund will open for application very soon, and we will circulate information about those as soon as we can.

Find Business Support – click here
We know that businesses in rural Scotland will already be feeling the impact of Covid-19. The first tranche of business grants have now opened for application, and a series of sector specific support, such as seafood industry support, is starting to be announced.

The new Find Business Support website is updated regularly with links to business advice and grant and loan application information, and it is well worth reading if your business is affected.

Advice
New advice is being published regularly to help everyone ranging from benefits advice, scam awareness, helping stay connected and more.
Universal Credit – Claiming Benefits Advice
This page provides information about coronavirus and claiming benefits. It will continue to be updated. Please check the page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by coronavirus.
Scottish Enterprise – Advice for Businesses
Scottish Enterprise have opened a helpline for businesses concerned about Coronavirus on 0300 303 0660 (Mon-Fri, 8:30 to 17:30). They have also pulled information together for businesses on their Find Business Support website available here.
Asthma UK – Advice for those with asthma
When people with asthma get respiratory infections, it can set off their asthma symptoms. To reduce your risk of asthma symptoms, the best action you can take is to follow these simple asthma management steps.
FAQs
We have had received various queries through colleagues and have developed a Frequently Asked Questions document to assist you with these.  These FAQs will change to reflect national and local guidance.
Cartoonist launches new series!

Finally, cartoonist First Dog on the Moon has released a series of sketches about how pets are ‘helping’ people in isolation. Examples include a dog that sprained its tail by wagging it too much because its owners are home more, and a budgie that keeps attacking a computer mouse.

You can see examples of the cartoons here.

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