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Colleagues in Irvine and Garnock Valley welcome Leader and Chief Executive

At Robin Dam with Steven Steel, from the Council's Roads Team

Council Leader Marie Burns and Chief Executive Craig Hatton have continued their drive to meet staff at sites and services in the different Localities.

In the last edition of Staff Talk, Marie and Craig had already been to the Three Towns, Cumbrae and Arran.

Here, they spent time meeting staff – some new faces and others well-kent – at Council sites, partnership projects and Third Sector organisations we support.

The aim of these Locality Visits is for Marie and Craig to meet up with people and find out about the challenges they face and the success they are enjoying.

Colleagues also have the opportunity to speak up and flag up any issues or concerns they currently have.

Another two Locality Visits – in Irvine and Garnock Valley – have taken place recently and the projects involved were chosen as they have our communities and Council staff at the heart of them.

Customer Service Centre, Trindlemoss and Robin Dam were among stops.

During the Irvine visit on October 30, Marie and Craig met the team at our Customer Service Centre at Bridgegate, where Jillian Campbell, Team Manager, Customer Service Centres & Registration, gave them a tour.

Jillian explained how customers can: register births, deaths and marriages; access Customer Services for help with housing matters and Council Tax and even use the area as a ‘safe space’ if they are feeling vulnerable.

The next stop was Trindlemoss Day Opportunities where Lynda McClymont, Day Opportunities Manager, and Service Manager Gillian Duffy offered a warm welcome – and delicious coffee from the café.

Run by North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), Trindlemoss Day Opportunities opened in January 2020 and gives people with learning disabilities the chance to take part in a wide range of inclusive and enabling activities in the heart of the community.

A community café, which is open to the public, recently opened and the baristas are service users who get to experience in front of house, cooking, marketing and customer care.

A beauty room also opened recently, offering hair care and other training and education opportunities, and staff proudly talked about facilities including the teaching kitchen and sensory room.

Meeting Linda Ford, Programme Manager at Equal, and her Employability team in the Trinity Church annexe building was the final stop.

Marie and Craig were impressed by the team’s creative use of an old polytunnel, which has been turned into an outdoor classroom in the garden.

They chatted to members of Linda’s creative writing group – all young people who are living with autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia – and heard how the office space has been furnished almost entirely from recycled and upcycled furniture through the Warp It scheme.

The visit to Garnock Valley included three stops in Kilbirnie at Robin Dam, Garnock Valley Men’s Shed (GVMS) and Lochshore Park.

At Robin Dam, on the River Garnock, Neighbourhood Services Technician Steven Steel gave an overview of the multi-million pound Upper Garnock Valley Flood Protection Scheme.

It takes its name – following an online poll – from The Robin, which is a pool nearby where generations of local people have met and is synonymous with swimming, fishing and walks up the river.

The new dam will retain water during periods of peak flow to reduce flood risk downstream while leaving river flow unaffected at other times. The dam, combined with flood defence walls and embankments, will increase flood protection for a community that has suffered from a history of flooding.

The handy gents at the Men’s Shed, who have been supported by Community Development Worker Stewart Beck, were delighted to welcome Marie and Craig.

Stewart helped set up a steering group back in 2018 for the group to transform the Council’s former Ground Maintenance Depot at Ladysmith Road and they now have a busy hub there where they:

  • socialise together
  • build things in a workshop,
  • work on community projects
  • play musical instruments
  • create scale models and
  • help ease isolation and look after each other’s health.

Two years ago, GVMS was granted a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) for the once-derelict building on a 25-year lease and the organisation was also awarded £20,000 in Community Investment Fund (CIF) funding back in September 2021 for new heating through the Garnock Valley Locality Partnership. They also received Council funding in 2018 for initial renovations.

At the Lochshore Park Hub colleagues from Active Travel and Streetscene were joined by representatives of Garnock Rugby Club – which uses the facilities – and volunteers from The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) – who have spent time helping at the site.

The multi-million pound development has seen 17,000 trees planted already along with 2400 in a community tree-planting area and an active travel route was also completed in the first phase of the development, linking Lochshore Park to the NCN7 Cycle route.

Work to build a new playpark right next to the Hub is due to start in the coming weeks.

A final 2023 Locality Visit is planned for Kilwinning before the Christmas break.

Please note that the café at Trindlemoss, in Tarryholme Drive, is open to the public on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm.

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