TT delivered the Arran HSCP update on behalf of RB; there had been over 500 tests carried out on approx. 300 people. There had been cases of Covid 19 but the situation was being managed effectively. There has been an adverse and fearful reaction by some residents which has on occasion become personal and unfriendly. Personal health records will remain private and confidential as I am sure everyone will expect. By and large, this was not the Island we know, and Ruth reminded us this was a global pandemic. Blame was inappropriate, understanding and compassion was appropriate and more in keeping with the Island we know.
Arran has peaks and troughs on normal demand for HSPC services. With the people putting things off and the effects of long periods of isolation the services have been operating at a sustained peak for some time. Eight months of high Covid alert sustained peaks in non-Covid demand means that folks are tired. The system continues to function well, but it is fragile.
In summary, we are better placed than many local and Island Communities. We have our own test, track and trace resources that are working well. A community based integrated service and if we need it, a12 bed hospital and our ICU beds in Crosshouse, less than 1 hour away.
The best thing we can do is to practice the basics: Hand Wash, Masks, and Distance and Book a Test and Isolate, if you have any of the 3 main symptoms, a new cough, temperature or loss of taste or sense of smell. We must all support one another and work to maintain our strong community spirit to get through the Winter and this unprecedented time.
3) Funding v Projects:
Cameron and John gave a quick overview of a prioritised project plan v funding and positioning against Community Wealth Building (CWB) when appropriate. It is not the finished article but a good start. To move this to the next step, the project owners need to:
This needs to be done before the next ARG review with NAC on the 9th of November. Programmes with the necessary supporting project plans will be put forward as the priorities. Please provide your updates to the spreadsheet through Cameron.
BC update: These are interim numbers awaiting release but doubt very much they will change.
|Carrying Numbers – Total Arran||2020||2019||Delta %|
The forward capacity looks like demand has dropped significantly even before the announcements today with availability this weekend going off with vehicles only lightly restricted but foot passengers have unrestricted availability. Going into November there are only 4 sailings onto the island unavailable and they are the 07:00 from Mon -Thursday Going off, only 7 sailings are unavailable to book for the next week and thereafter every sailing on and off is available until year-end!
SG/JK reported on the community survey which had received 291 responses to date and shared the current results on-screen with the group. Some comments had been received that the survey was “too difficult/complicated” but overall it was a positive response. It was agreed to share the results mentioning “the ferry” with the Arran Ferry Committee for reference. There had been a low response from the younger population in general. It was agreed the results should now be analysed and a zoom call with the Arran community organised by SG/JK. It was also agreed that this zoom call should have a theme in order to focus on relevant items. An additional incentive for participants was also mentioned. It was also suggested that the ARG’s achievements to date should be republished.
This discussion came about as we try to understand the impact of the Tiering System on Business and the Community. Also in recognition that Arran is different from most other Islands in that we have a year-round tourist business.
There was a suggestion that the Islands could be placed in a different Tiering from the mainland if the numbers and the community supported it. The questions: 1) Will this increase the risk of Covid infection on the Island.? If no: What would be costs and benefits? On balance, is this a good idea? To be clear, in any scenario we will remain with Ayrshire and Arran Health Board with Crosshouse as our primary hospital. If we were all convinced that this was a two/four-week discussion, probably not worth having, but it is almost certainly with us to the Spring.
The combination of Arran’s high dependency on year-round tourism, winter demand from the central belt combined and the current Tiering restrictions, combine to make our tourism economy and its direct and indirect supply chain non-viable. This again underscores Fraser of Allander findings. We need Islands a tailored financial support package for Islands in general and Arran in particular.
The next steps are to pull some of the data together so that the community can take an informed position which we can push for. With help from others I will get something out later this week. When issued please review and feedback to make sure we have the correct communication for the wider community.
It would be useful to get some HIE help with this discussion and process.
Thanks to everyone for their active participation and patience in trying to figure out the best way forward.