Arran Banner letters – week 51

Sally, front left, leaves the sorting office with her colleagues in December 1960. Photo courtesy Evening Argus.

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AYF seeks your support

Sir,

This year, Arran Youth Foundations has been chosen as one of the groups to benefit from the Co-op local community fund.


At a time when funds for charitable organisations are becoming more difficult to access, we’re incredibly grateful for this opportunity to make a real difference on Arran.

We are raising funds to provide mainland trips and Arran activities for the island’s young people during school holidays – including paintball, go-karting, abseiling, paragliding, and gorge-walking. All of this is provided free of charge and gives opportunity for sport, exercise and outdoor education.

To help us raise vital funds, we’ll be relying on Co-op shoppers. Every time they buy Co-op own-brand products they get a five per cent reward for themselves, and a further one per cent goes to local causes like ours.  Co-op members can decide which group they would like to back by going online www.coop.co.uk/membership. We really hope that people will visit the website and choose to support us.

If you’re not a member and would like to support us, you can join at your local store or online at www.coop.co.uk


When a community comes together we’re able to achieve great things, so we hope you can help to promote our project. For more information about us, please visit www.arranyouthfoundations.org

Yours,

Graeme Johnston,

Youth work project manager,

Arran Youth Foundations.

Editors note: the Isle of Arran Music School Pipe Band and the Arran Mountain Rescue Team are the other organisations looking for your support at the Co-op.

Praise for posties

Sir,

There is some truly inspirational work being achieved in the Brodick Sorting Office. I went to collect an underpaid envelope and asked how they were coping. Come and see … what a sight – thousands of parcels in tall metal containers piled high. Staff at full stretch sorting, socially distancing. Truly heroic work, so thank you all, our posties on Arran and elsewhere, for getting our mail to us.

Many years ago in the early 1960s as a student, I undertook temporary postal delivery work every year in Brighton for two weeks up to Christmas Day.

The days before massive internet shopping, mad consumerism and the pandemic. That was an easier job than today’s; just cards and letters to deliver with an odd small packet, in a bag over my shoulder. 1960 was the first year women students were employed as temporary staff, hence the photo for the local paper.

Thank you to everyone involved in 2020.

Yours,

Sally Campbell,

Lamlash.

 

A Banner thank you

Sir,

My sister Heather Raeside and I would like to thank the Banner for its surprise article relating to our 70th Birthday and also for its good wishes.

We would also like to thank friends and family for their greetings, in particular all those who took part in their ‘Challenge 70’. This activity challenge between November 1 and 20 encouraged everyone to be more active and at the same time raised more than £850 for the foodbank.

Well done to everyone.

Yours,

Ann Hart,

Brodick.

 

Fit for purpose ferries

Sir,

The independent CalMac Community Board very much welcomes the publication of a report by the Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee into the construction and procurement of ferry vessels in Scotland.

Our board had the opportunity on two occasions to give evidence to the committee’s inquiry and we are pleased our submissions are accurately reflected in the report particularly around community and stakeholder engagement in all parts of the process.

We are pleased the report highlights not only the loss of four years in time and the loss of £100 million that could have done so much more to modernise the network, but also recognises the real effects on our economies, communities and individuals. This is particularly relevant to tackling depopulation, access to lifeline services and people’s life choices – particularly the young.

We must move forward from the recommendations of the report and put ferry users and communities at the heart of strategic planning and investment decision making.

The report refers to the tripartite approach to investment decisions: we would contend that in future one essential part of that is community input in a formal and recognised way. We note that Transport Scotland has previously advised of a review of stakeholder engagement which we fully support and we are keen to be part of that work.

We very much welcome the commitment in the Programme for Government for significant new investment in our ferry networks. There is much work to be done.

Through our regular contact with CMAL it has highlighted that there is a minimum of 19 CalMac vessels that need to be replaced in the next 10 years. After the two vessels at Port Glasgow, a new vessel for Islay is being planned.

The community engagement process with CMAL for this new vessel has been honest, open and helpful and should be a template for building a more inclusive approach for the future.

We must now look forward to how we can do things better in the future. The report recognises the crucial importance of our ferry services to our islands.

This is for our economies, our lifeline services and for people to make a meaningful and viable life in our islands particularly our young people.

We, as a board, will continue to engage with all parties and do our part to reinforce the views and aspirations of our island communities.

We would urge the Scottish Government and its agencies to take this opportunity to put these views and aspirations at the heart of its decision making and jointly deliver a more ambitious and cost effective and, above all, fit-for-purpose ferry network.

Yours,

Angus Campbell, chairman,

CalMac Community Board.