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Coronavirus regional testing site to open in Prestwick

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open on Saturday 30 May at the Prestwick Airport Car Park 4. This is part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing to determine whether those with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms have the virus.

News in Brief - Monday 7 December, 2020

A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open on Saturday 30 May at the Prestwick Airport Car Park 4. This is part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing to determine whether those with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms have the virus.

The facility sits alongside the existing regional centres in Scotland – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Airports, Perth College and the University of the Highlands and Islands – and will be piloted for its first few days of operation. It is operated in partnership with Sodexo and will offer assisted and self-administered tests. Those tested will receive their results within a few days.

Testing is part of the Test and Protect approach to containing the virus. Anyone aged 5 or over experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, can book an appointment online by visiting NHS Inform or by calling 0800 028 2816 to be tested for whether they currently have coronavirus.

This is separate to the existing health and social care key worker testing programme. Key workers, and anyone in their household with symptoms, can access testing through their employer in the first instance and will be given priority.

The Scottish Government has published guidance on coronavirus testing in Scotland, including who can be tested and how to book a test online.

In addition to the regional test sites, 13 mobile testing units operated by HM Forces travel around Scotland to further increase access to coronavirus testing. They respond to need, travelling to test at sites including care homes and other community locations.

The UK Government is leading on a home-testing service, supported by Amazon’s logistics network and other commercial partners. Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.

Covid-19 guidance updated

Please read the newly-updated Frequently Asked Questions (updated November 20) and also check out the most recent guidance on Covid-19 (updated September 25). Please also continue to follow the Scottish Government’s current Coronavirus Guidance.

Travel guidance for employees

Following the restrictions which came into effect on Friday, November 20, including changes to travel, staff who can work from home should continue to do so. Frontline staff, keyworkers and employees who cannot work from home should, as usual, continue to travel to work, even if you live in a Level 4 area. Please ensure you are aware of our guidance on travel restrictions.

Monday 7 December: Budget Consultation

Chief Executive Craig Hatton, Council Leader Joe Cullinane and senior officers from the Council will be hosting a special online budget engagement session tonight.

This will be an opportunity for you to hear directly about our budget plans for next year, our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures we are putting in place to ensure that we build back better. And of course, you will get the opportunity to ask questions directly.

Due to current restrictions relating to Covid-19, we are hosting this event live on Facebook – so make sure you tune it at 7pm this evening.

In the meantime, this video from the Council Leader gives a little background to the challenges we’ve faced this year. You may also be interested in this series of animations which break down the budget setting-process.

Tuesday 8 December: Virtual Cabinet Meeting

The Council’s Cabinet will meet virtually on Tuesday from 2.30pm to discuss agenda items including the Safer North Ayrshire Strategy 2020-2025, the Town Centre Fund 2020-21 as well as Community Asset Transfer applications.

The Cabinet agenda can be found on our website, and minutes of the meeting will be available on Thursday – but remember, all decisions are subject to a five day call-in period

Wednesday 9 December: Homecare Day 2020

Homecare day is an online event which aims to raise the profile of the care at home and housing support services across the UK. Our homecare services and staff have shown extraordinary resilience and teamwork during the Covid-19 pandemic supporting the health and wellbeing of the people in our community – a big thank you to everyone for all your hard work!

And finally… Christmas bin collections

Staff who reside in North Ayrshire are being urged to check their bin collection arrangements for the festive period. That’s because the Christmas and New Year bank holidays will bring temporary changes to some waste and recycling collection services across the area.

Christmas Gift Appeal

We’re calling on kind-hearted Council staff to spare a thought to those less fortunate in our communities and, where possible, donate to our Christmas Gift Appeal. Donations can be dropped off at any North Ayrshire library on Tuesdays 2-4pm, or Thursdays 10am-12noon up until 15 December.

The McDougalls Virtual Christmas Party – tickets now on sale!

The McDougalls and the Harbour Arts Centre are saving Christmas! The venue may be closed but the McDougalls will be bringing the live theatre into homes, schools and nurseries.

Join Max, Aunt Aggie and Morag the Rabbit for the biggest and best party of the year. There will be games, songs and dances and lots of festive.

Tickets are priced at £10 per household and are available from Ticket Source.

Scottish Parliamentary Election 2021

The Scottish Parliamentary Election will be held on Thursday 6 May next year. You can make sure you are registered to vote at any time and if you do wish to vote by post at this Election you can apply now. Take a few minutes and get your postal vote application done early.

Review of Electoral Arrangements: North Ayrshire Council Area

The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland is running a public consultation on proposals for councillor numbers and ward boundaries in North Ayrshire council area. The Commission wants members of the public and local communities to give their comments on the proposals so local views can be considered as the Commissions develop its final recommendations for Scottish Ministers.

The proposals for public consultation in North Ayrshire recommend 33 councillors, across nine wards. The recommendations, if accepted, are expected to be in place for the next local government elections in May 2022. The Consultation will run until Tuesday 26 January 2021 can be accessed on the LGBC’s Consultation Hub.

Child protection e-learning opportunities

As staff of North Ayrshire Council, it’s important to recognise the signs when a child or young person is at risk of harm – and what we should do next if we have concerns about the welfare of an individual. North Ayrshire Child Protection Committee (CPC) offers a range of e-learning modules that staff and partners can access on the Child Protection Committee website.

New Educational Psychology podcast series launched

The North Ayrshire Educational Psychology Service has launched a fantastic new podcast series, giving an insight into the work done by the service and the creative and innovative ways in which staff have been working throughout the pandemic.

You can listen to the podcasts on Sound Cloud.


We have been recognising and thanking teams on social media. We would love to share more so please let us know if you want a shout-out for your team or volunteers you have been working with by emailing:

That’s all for now…

Take care everyone and let us know if you have any updates you would like the team to share in News in Brief next week by clicking the button below to email the communications team.

A big thank you to the 278 people who took the time to complete our feedback survey about Connects. The information shared will help to inform how we design and build the new intranet.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what we’ve learned so far.

Most of those responding access Connects regularly, with 80% visiting the pages at least once a week.

The majority use Connects to find:


We asked what people liked about Connects

We were able to identify the following recurring themes in the responses:

‘one-stop-shop’ for information
user friendly
easy to access
clear layout and navigation
good search engine

We asked what people disliked about Connects

There were recurring themes in the responses to this question too:

difficulties navigating the site
problems with the search engine
not being able to find things, like contact details or documents when not sure of its exact name
out of date information

We asked what people would like to see added to Connects?

We received lots of great suggestions for consideration with the most common being:

personalisation to allow the user to have most used items on display first
an up-to-date directory (names, job descriptions, responsibilities, team structure and contact details) allowing people to quickly and easily find the right person for the job/enquiry

What happens next?

We will identify ways that we can deliver an intranet that addresses the issues raised and adds value to the organisation. A key part of this will be re-examining the site’s navigation and structure. We will be running tests with colleagues and will be in touch with the 41% of you that said you’d be happy to help with testing.

“Like everyone, we faced unprecedented circumstances, however, our teaching and support staff used their skills, knowledge and experience to act, react and respond to the situation we found ourselves in.

– Caroline Amos, Head of Education

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