Arran Banner Letters – week 19, 2022

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Disabled access

Sir,

They call Arran Scotland in miniature but it’s not Scotland in miniature if you are disabled.


I am a disabled person with multiple issues and am moving to Arran in the summer with my young family to set up a business and live permanently on this beautiful island.

I have had an association with Arran for more than 40 years

Disabled since 2007, after being a fit, healthy, energetic man, I found the transition to being classed as disabled frightening and concerning for my family and well-being, but do we live in a country that supports and encourages diversity and inclusivity for everyone.

Not true. The disabled community is at the bottom of many people’s thought processing when it comes to the simple demands of life and we struggle daily with what is normal to many.


I have sent a number of complaints to CalMac the last few months in regards to its  booking policy and its poor management of disability issues when booking a ticket for the blue badge scheme and for priority bookings.

And its not just CalMac. If you go on to the community council website, there is no disability section, nor any information on disabled facilities on the island.

The go-to website for Arran, VisitArran, also has very little information for disabled people coming to the island. No mention of disabled access point, toilets or a list of disabled accommodation.

£450 million is the disabled spend in the country. We are not all on benefits and tied to our armchairs; we have money to spend and places to visit.

But not Arran, which has a complete and utter disregard to disabled people. No Facebook pages, no dedicated disabled sections on the major websites and poor disabled booking for ferries.

This is not to say there are not businesses on Arran which are making a good case for the disabled consumer and spending their hard-earned money on making access for everyone a reality. But these are hidden away on their own websites and not brought together as one, or being highlighted for their efforts and praised, and giving confidence to those who are disabled.

Disability is not just those with physical signs but mental health is another debilitating disability which can force people not to book Arran as a destination as the process of finding the information can become overwhelming.

Arran is a friendly open island, yes it is, but not if you are disabled.

Yours,

Duncan Dowie,

Glasgow and Whiting Bay.

 

Health centre discussion

Sir,

In the front page article of Friday May 6, it quotes Vicki Campbell, head of primary and urgent care services at NHS Ayrshire and Arran – a new name to those on Arran who have been involved with the planning of health care on Arran – who says Brodick Health Centre is ‘under discussion’. With whom?’

I was at every village meeting when the future plans were explained to residents,  patients and ‘service users’ and it was stated the centre at Brodick would remain until the new hub was built. This assurance was accepted reluctantly,

Brodick residents are rightly concerned about the permanent closure of this health centre.

Add to this the concern of Corrie and Sannox residents who have already lost their surgery in the village hall and have a round trip of 30-plus miles to see a doctor or nurse.

Yours,

Elma Stevenson,

Corrie. 

Foodbank idea

Sir,

The cost of living is skyrocketing with more people than ever seeking emergency food parcels. Pressure is mounting on the 2,000 UK foodbanks, with unprecedented demand.

But imagine a foodbank with 1,000 tins of baked beans but no toilet rolls! Often food banks are inundated with one item but have very little of another and asking donors for specific items is challenging as the situation has usually changed by the time the message has spread.

To help change this, a new charity, BanktheFood, has been set up to help foodbanks get what they need, when they need it.

Readers can help make a difference by downloading the BanktheFood charity app and following their nearest food bank. The app will then ping their phone a real-time list of urgently needed items, making it easy to add an item or two to their shopping and leave it at the drop-off point when they have finished. The app is free to download and use  and all foodbanks can register. It’s a simple way to make a huge difference.

Yours,

Emma Spring, 

Co-founder and volunteer at BanktheFood. 

 

Planning on Arran

Sir,

Over two years ago Thom Ledingham and Neil McAteer, two planners with North Ayrshire Council with knowledge of the island, were asked by Arran Civic Trust to come to talk about Planning on Arran and the Local Development Plan 2. Guess what? The ferry on the day turned unreliable, cancelling the evening sailing and Arran Civic Trust had to cancel the meeting.

Before we could rearrange, came lockdown, home working, another lockdown and all the problems of Covid19 but now, at last the Trust has been delighted to reorganise a meeting on Monday May 16, 4-6pm in the Ormidale in Brodick.

Thom and Neil will inform us about the process of planning and lead a discussion on the key aspects of the planning system, what has changed recently, how it impacts Arran and how people can participate in the process. Also, there will be an opportunity for some discussion on how Arran’s built and natural heritage influences planning decisions on the island.

Arran Civic Trust is delighted to welcome anyone interested in the planning process and with questions on how things get decided. Everyone is invited with fingers crossed for the ferry and weather!

Yours,

Sally Ann Campbell,

Arran Civic Trust.