Welcome and Introduction: Tom
Welcome to everyone and a particular warm welcome to Susan Foster our new High School Head Teacher.
Our Arran Recovery Group priorities were and are:
We have made significant progress in the first two priorities, although nothing is taken for granted and we have a fragile balance. The task is to continue to maintain this balance while we apply some resource to define the support required to mitigate the financial and social impacts of the crisis. We will focus a large section of today’s discussion and for a few of us, our time over the next couple of weeks on this aspect of recovery.
Health and Social Care: Ruth Betley, Senior Manager, Arran Health and Social Care Services, updated that there were still no positive Covid-19 cases on Arran. Over 300 people tested and over 400 tests carried out.
Flu campaign will be starting with over 2000 people on Arran eligible. This was a significant challenge with social distancing and Covid measures needed. Clinics will be running from village halls and the school this year. Letters have sent out and over 700 appointments made. It is vital that as many people as possible who are eligible get vaccinated.
Preparation for Winter and Covid outbreaks are underway. Given rising numbers of cases in Scotland and a second wave imminent this was urgent critical work. The most challenging aspect is workforce and potential ferry disruptions over autumn and winter months. Contingency plans were now being made and will include additional staffing capacity.
Ruth noted that all Health and Care staff are weary after 6 months of high alert and that such a long energy period was unprecedented in modern times. Staff wellbeing was of paramount importance and a plan to support staff over the winter months was being developed.
The group acknowledges the massive effort that the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) has undergone over the last six months to keep us safe and we offer our heartfelt thanks and support.
Fraser of Allander Report: Tom
The Fraser of Allander Institute is an independent research unit and part of the Department of Economics at the University of Strathclyde. It specialises in researching the Scottish economy. The report, commissioned by North Ayrshire Council on behalf of the Arran Recovery Group, is due for publication on Monday 28th September 2020 and will be available on the Arran Recovery Group website.
The process to connect Arran Recover Plan to Government Recovery Funds: Alastair/John
Following on from all of the above the Government and North Ayrshire Council (NAC) have a range of support programmes, through a range of agencies, which have been announced or are being announced. Arran needs to ensure that we are in the best possible position to take advantage of these. We have the basis of this in The Arran Recovery Plan and we need to map this to the funding.
Everyone is under extreme pressure to keep heads above water at the moment and we are in danger of missing this opportunity. In many ways, the Island Manager would play a lead role in supporting this drive and that will be for the future. In the meantime, Alastair will ask for support from the Island Team and CWB team. The suggestion is that we use NAC’s inclusive growth diagnostic down to the Arran level to allow us to check our priorities.
Arran Recovery Plan update: Jude
The plan calls for another survey in September. It was agreed that the Business Survey should be done first and should be issued within the next 10 days. Alastair/John. This will inform the wider survey.
Jude will work with the team that created the last survey, plus Susan to:
There was a second item on the ARP timeline that we did not have a chance to discuss. It was an ARP Refresh. This should help tie in with the previous discussion on the Recovery Funds. That is, we are able to show that all our asks are integrated within our overall plan. Jude will issue a simple format to help pull this together.
Great job getting a more scientific approach to demand forecasting. However, it is an extremely difficult time as base assumptions keep changing. However, the general picture is that demand is holding up and our October forecast looks like being equal to or greater than last year. Obviously ferry capacity remains constrained and bookable capacity constrains this further.
For demand and supply to remain in Balance in October, Capacity utilization needs to be better than experienced during the summer which was twice the normal rate. This is a tall order given we are already seeing mechanical failures and weather events. If there is a balance it is a very fragile one.
What is not in doubt is that weekends are booked out 30,40, 50 days ahead for cars although there are still passenger spaces. From the demand side, Covid-19, winter a lack of public and private transport means that people want to bring their cars.
Sheila will circulate examples of the vox pop already done. Need volunteers to start the process.
Timothy met with Audrey Sutton, North Ayrshire Council Executive Director for Communities, last week and discussions were positive. Next will be a meeting to discuss next steps. A few of us will get together to help put the final touches to the pictures and probably add some words.
Thanks again to everyone for their active support.