Success stories to round off the week

It’s important we celebrate the success that we enjoy as individuals, teams and a Council as a whole. In the past fortnight there’s been plenty to shout about!

We have been informed Aberdeen City Council will be represented in not one but two categories in the finals of the Scottish Legal Awards.

The Planning and Environment Team from Legal Services is shortlisted in the Government Legal Team category – facing competition from colleagues at Aberdeenshire Council and from the Scottish Government.  Arlene Dunbar will also be flying the flag for the Council in the Paralegal of the Year category, nominated alongside five representatives from private practice.

I wish both the team and Arlene well for the ceremony in March – but to reach the final is a fantastic achievement in itself.

Before then, we have three members of staff shortlisted in the APSE Scottish Apprentice of the Year Awards. Presented in February, being selected as finalists is great recognition of the individuals and of those who have trained and nurtured them. Congratulations to Graeme Baird, Craig Paterson and David Hutcheon for earning their place on the shortlist.

At the end of last week, I watched with pride as pupils and teachers representing two city schools took centre stage at the Young Engineers and Science Clubs Scotland awards run by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

The Torry Academy and Kingswells School teams collected the North East Young Engineers Club of the Year prizes in the secondary and primary categories respectively.  STEM subjects will be crucial to a bright future for the city and it was great to see youngsters being recognised for excelling. I can’t praise the young people and teachers enough for their commitment and enthusiasm.

We also received news from the Big Lottery Fund that we have progressed to the next round of the Early Action System Change application process – another step towards securing vital funding to address the needs of young people in Aberdeen.  The work done by our partners in relation to this bid, particularly the Foyer, is very much appreciated.

Staying with the theme of young people, the work that our Virtual School has been doing in the city to support our looked after children has been recognised nationally by the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS). Our innovation will be built upon to inform policy and guidance for authorities across Scotland.

Finally, I would like to say well done to members support assistant Lee Green – who has successfully gained his ECDL qualification, achieving a 100% pass rate.

Congratulations to Lee and to all who have brightened up January with their achievements. I’m sure there will be much more to celebrate in the year ahead.

New Year: Hogmanay cheer and 2018 health focus

With everyone settling back into the work routine after the festive break, I want to take the opportunity to thank all those involved in the success of the city’s Hogmanay celebrations.

Music, fireworks and a great atmosphere ensured the event was a triumph and there has been plenty of positive feedback. As ever, months of planning and hard work was put in behind the scenes by Council staff – not to mention the efforts in the build-up and on the night. The teams responsible gave those who attended a great start to the year.

Thanks also go to everyone who worked through the holidays or who was on-call across a variety of other services. The work of the Council never stops and that is down to the contribution of colleagues in so many different roles.

Staying on the New Year  theme, everyone at the Council has the opportunity to make 2018 a positive one when it comes to health and wellbeing through the work of HR colleagues in providing access to a WellPoint kiosk.

The free to use kiosk can measure everything from weight and BMI to blood pressure and heart rate – with all results confidential. There are touch screen questionnaires that help to ensure the right signposting to health and lifestyle advice and support is provided.

The kiosk has been in place on the lower ground floor at Marischal College since yesterday (9 January) and will be available for the next four weeks. It will then be at West Tullos from 20 March and Altens East from 3 April, for two week spells at each, then a month at Kittybrewster from 29 May before moving on to various secondary schools.

We all tend to start the year with great intentions when it comes to health and wellbeing, so this is a good tool that’s available to us. Hopefully the kiosk will be well used.

I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.

Remembering a community stalwart

It was with great sadness that we heard that Meg Ross, our crossing patroller from Quarryhill School, passed away just before Christmas.

Meg had safely crossed generations of children on their way to and from Quarryhill for the past 24-years and was a highly regarded member of the school family.

Meg will be greatly missed by all the pupils, parents and staff from Quarryhill School and in the wider Northfield community. Our thoughts are with Meg’s family at this sad time.