Arran Recovery Group Notes 4th Dec 20


  • Covid-19 outbreak contained. HSCP Resources at full stretch as Arran takes on pilot status for Care Home testing, Covid and Flu vaccine inoculation, and normal winter pressure.
  • With some notable exceptions, many Island businesses are closed over the Christmas period. Uncertainty is causing severe distress within the business community which is filtering into the wider community through potential job losses, which in turn, feeds Mental Health issues.
  • Arran needs a Financial Island Recovery package. Fraser of Allander provided the academic evidence. We should not require business closures to provide the practical.
  • Mental Health requires a full discussion with the experts present. Our brief discussion with the non-experts could not find the necessary cohesion. Good Banner coverage.
  • Focus on land-based Travel and Transport. A discussion will follow a short film be organized by Eco-Savvy on Tuesday to get a better understanding of “Who is driving the bus ?” and more importantly “Where is it going?”
  • ZOOM details sent to all the folks that register.


Business Update – Sheila

  • Most businesses closed Businesses uncertain. Douglas is open plus four other Businesses offering a Christmas Service.
  • New guidelines for Self-Catering (SC) – Bubbles can stay in SC if one is from the Local Authority Area, Onus on the operator to police.
  • Shop local has been embraced by the community.
  • A cross-party group made up of Operators, Stakeholders, and MSP’s was very poorly attended by MSP’s with only one out of a possible 17 turning up. Either the MSP’s do not understand the dire situation within the Industry, or they do understand it and can do nothing. Either way, this absence of attendees points to an absence of leadership in an industry that employs 12% of the population.


  • LJ Auchrannie closed because of uncertainty. The Tier system is killing Accommodation businesses who cannot trade out width their Tier. Auchrannie has six-figure monthly fixed costs to cover. To open would have meant more money being lost. It is critical that we get to a period of less uncertainty. That will be when we are all in tier 2, where we can trade with the wider Scottish and UK population. The current situation cannot persist into February. If it does, we are at severe risk of major reductions in tourist infrastructure and the accompanying loss of jobs, direct and indirect. In addition, there will be a reduction in the sector’s ability to respond to the expected Spring and Summer upturn.

Auchrannie’s closure ( Along with The Kinloch) means there is no pool or gym facilities on the Island. This will have knock-on impacts on the health and wellbeing of the Island Community.


  • JM Emerging guidance from Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework Business Fund is moving to a position where businesses who voluntarily close will not receive the ongoing support, due to being in (only) tier 3 restrictions. However, NAC has used their discretionary power to override this for Cumbrae and Arran.


  • AD Arran’s ecosystem of businesses is struggling, money is hemorrhaging. Islands are different. Accommodation, trading conditions, and transport add cost in normal times. In normal times with effort, this can be managed. Scottish Government has recognized these differences in legislation. In a pandemic, issues that were manageable become unmanageable. We need strong voices reminding all those that need reminding that Islands are different and need different levels of support. The ARG will be part of this.

Healthcare Update – Ruth Betley

  • The outbreak is contained but the Impact of the outbreak being managed still, Hospital very busy and at a critical level due to the impact on staffing levels due to the COVID outbreak. Part of the increased workload is preparing Arran for extending testing for health and social care staff, COVID Vaccination programme, Flu programme, workflow changes to urgent care. In addition, Montrose House has been selected as a pilot for Care Home testing. There will be significant logistics of getting the vaccine to the island. There is still potential that the second wave due to Christmas lifting of restrictions will hit in January. (The business update suggests that there will be very little tourist business over the Christmas holidays, so perhaps that will be some comfort). Mental health work is an ongoing issue for all the services and lots of teams dealing with this but it is part of ongoing service delivery and is being managed within the other demands created by the pandemic across the service. However, we now have a vaccine, and we will get there. The group offered Ruth and HSPC Team their full support and thanks for all the great work they are doing.


Mental Health – Open discussion

  • We Could not have the full discussion on the topic as Vicki had other work commitments and Ruth had to leave early to deal with some of the issues highlighted above. This topic needs to be carried over to another time when we have the ‘experts’ to lead us through the issues and highlight how we can help. In the meantime, the work of ACVS has been published in this week’s Banner and hopefully, that will inform people what is available and may elicit some comment on what additionally is needed.
  • AD We should tackle Root causes. Largely financial implications and isolation – reach out to support each other as a community and let experts deal with symptoms. We have a fantastic community; support is there but needs to focus on point of need. Resilience group needs to be more visible. ( Banner article should help)
  • LJ Anxiety for businesspeople comes from navigating through ever-changing challenges and that the hospitality sector is bottom of the pile. Need to feedback to the government on how businesses are feeling.
  • IS Supporting people who are shielding with a weekly phone call. Need to make sure list is complete
  • BC ACVS has a list of those who do receive calls. Worthwhile for ACVS and IS to work together, confidentiality is a real issue and needs //to be considered especially around vulnerable people.
  • SG IS JK Is service disjointed? Service needs to work cohesively despite demand on physical health resources.
  • JK Others mental health issues came out in survey, do we need a holistic approach and focus on positive aspects ?
  • AS Information sharing platform could help with fragmentations and information provision.
  • TT response feels unstructured.

Travel and Transport – Jude King

  • Eco-Savvy are hosting a workshop on Tuesday evening. It is focussed on Land-based Travel and Transport. This will be used to test the strategies already in the Arran Recovery Plan and uncover potential new approaches and methods of implementation. The objective: a) Explain the need for a Travel and Transport Strategy. b) Validate or change the strategy c) Identify how the strategy can be implemented. d) Identify resources needed to make it happen. e) Identify: “ Who is driving which particular bus”. A large ask that may need more than one meeting but at least this lays out the ambition. This will not give answers to all the issues but will start to lay out a framework that can be discussed and agreed upon. If the Banner is willing, an update of the land-based strategies could be provided but not until the following week.

Comments from the discussion:

  • Need a transport committee, not a ferry committee to include SPT start with a workshop.
  • Support strategic transport solution. Kick-off with a workshop, not a group and use previous input. A solution could cost less than the current system, does need to have a top-down approach.
  • supports the forming of a strategic group with a workshop with a facilitator to kick it off. This fits in with various Government activities. For example, there is a framework for a Strategic Transport projects review. Ayrshire growth deal has a transport focus. We need an Arran solution with possible support through the Scottish Islands Group green recovery fund.
  • Needs traction and possible NA resource, and we need to be on their agenda. We’ve already had a workshop. From the next one, we need to know who will lead the actions.
  • Need to go beyond local government.
  • Promote Tuesday’s meeting then follow up with a wider public meeting and take output to NAC

Thanks to everyone for their active participation. The next meeting and the last for this year on the 18th December at 10.00 am.

Best regards:





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