Sleep in the Park puts homelessness in focus

As a Council we deal with incredibly tough and challenging issues every hour of every day. Homelessness is one that looms large on that list.

The most basic of human needs – to have shelter and all that brings – is something we all tend to take for granted.

The reality for so many in our city and throughout Britain is very different. For an organisation which exists to protect the people and place from harm, continuing our work to prevent and reduce homelessness is imperative.

As with so many of the problems we face, the Council cannot act alone. We are forging strong partnerships with agencies and organisations locally and nationally as we work towards common aims, with the third sector playing a major role.

Social Bite is one of the charities doing a power of work and we’re delighted to be supporting the Sleep in the Park initiative, which will bring thousands of people and four cities together on December 8.

In Aberdeen we’ll gather in Duthie Park for the north-east event, running from early evening through to the following morning.

Sleep in the Park

The sleep out will raise awareness and crucially funds to support Social Bite’s work, with a £4million target across Scotland this year.

A number of councillors have signed-up, with myself and Derek McGowan, Chief Officer for Early Intervention and Community Empowerment, amongst the staff taking part.

We both have fundraising pages set up (click here for my page and this link for Derek’s) for anyone who wishes to support. If you’re registered and would be keen to promote your fundraising page through my blog please send a link to ChiefExec@aberdeencity.gov.uk and we will get those added. If you’re interested in taking part, all the information can be found at the Sleep in the Park website.

One night out in the open for those of us taking part doesn’t begin to give an insight into the very real crisis faced by the individuals and families we serve who are affected by homelessness, but in a small way offers the opportunity to help draw attention to the issue and contribute to the efforts to provide lasting solutions. Thank you in advance to all those supporting Social Bite’s initiative.

 

Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run returns to the starting blocks

On Sunday August 26th thousands of runners will throng the city centre, preparing to set off on the Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run.

Later that day entrants will return to Union Street. Tired and sore but joyous.

I’m proud to say that dozens of Aberdeen City Council colleagues have already signed up to take on the 13.1 mile route round the city.

As a Council we value the transformative power of sport and the role physical activity plays in improving wellbeing.

The Simplyhealth Great Aberdeen Run, entering its second year, is very much a team effort.

The event is delivered in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeen Inspired, and Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, and The Great Run Company.

Dozens of volunteers help make the run happen.

Some entrants will be chasing best times and the quickest will have an eye on the top prizes but what impresses most is the camaraderie and infectious enthusiasm across the field and among spectators.

Everyone really does pull as one.

There may be a common goal in completing the half-marathon, 10k or the Family Run (and a medal and T-shirt for everyone!) but there’s a group prize too – the win for Aberdeen itself.

Last year’s event showcased the city in new ways, raised an estimated £900,000 for charity, supported local businesses, and added immeasurably to our sense of individual and civic pride.

In running your city, you run for your city. There’s still time to be part of the spectacle.

  • Enter online by clicking here.

 

 

Challenge to be record breakers for food drive

From Monday you will notice collection crates in kitchen areas across Marischal College, the Town House and Frederick street as a five day food drive begins.

The Council and CFINE, as part of Food Poverty Action Aberdeen, are joining forces to raise awareness and, most importantly, gather donations for food and supplies that can be distributed in the ongoing efforts to tackle food poverty.

Last year we raised 550kg and the challenge for 2018 is to beat that total and make another valuable and vital contribution.

As employees of the Council we share the common purpose of protecting the people and place from harm – and that isn’t always in the most obvious or high profile ways. By contributing to initiatives like the food drive we can all make a difference.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Don’t miss the chance to recognise colleagues who shine

There’s just one week to go until nominations close for the 2018 Star Awards – if you haven’t taken the opportunity to make your voice heard, now’s the time to do so.

The Star Awards have become an important part of the Council calendar for us and are all about celebrating those who go the extra mile for those we serve, colleagues and the organisation as a whole.

It’s always humbling to hear the stories behind the nominations – we’re very fortunate to be surrounded by dedicated, skilled and, in so many cases, selfless team members.

The nomination process is straightforward and I’d love to see recommendations coming in from across every service. The response so far has been great, but the more nominations the better as far as the Star Awards team and I are concerned.

On that note, can I thank all those who have made themselves available to organise this year’s awards. A lot of hard work goes into making it happen and I know that is appreciated  throughout the Council.

Nominations can be submitted in a range of categories and all of the information can be found here. The deadline is noon on Friday, March 2.

I appreciate the contribution of everyone who has taken time out to nominate a colleague so far and hope there are many more to follow over the next week.

Target Operating Model – engagement sessions

A big thank you to everyone who has attended one of the sessions so far. There’s been 9 to date with 15 more at the Town House and 4 at Frederick Street to come.  More are being booked to run through the October holidays and beyond.

So far over 1000 colleagues have attended or have booked to attend a future session, there’s plenty of space for more!  The events offer a real opportunity to give thoughts, ideas and opinions on the Council’s future structure and how we can best organise ourselves to deliver with a focus on the customer.  I urge everyone to come along and share their views.

A note of thanks too to those colleagues who have so far played a part in delivering the sessions and indeed in taking their own teams through the details in their own meetings.

There’s plenty of other ways for staff to get involved in the Council’s Transformation activities – check out the Transformation Hub on the Zone.

Star Awards

Is it really a week since the wonderful evening at the Beach Ballroom when we celebrated all our fantastic 2017 Star Awards winners?

Happily, there’s still time to once again recognise the incredible achievements of all the awardees:

  • Angus Beacom – Rising Star
  • Children’s Social Work, Reception Team – Team of the Year
  • Jean Stewart-Coxon – Improving Staff Experience
  • Ross Allan – Improving Customer Experience
  • Seaton Park Team – Collaboration
  • Countryside Rangers – Use of Resources
  • Mike Chalmers – People’s Champion
  • Gilbert Road Children’s Home – Innovation
  • John Anderson – Shining Star

A heartfelt well done to all!  It’s now only 51 weeks to the presentation of the 2018 Awards, let’s all keep out eyes open to the work that goes on around us and be ready to nominate once the call goes out.

As I said last Thursday evening – let’s all commit that before this time next week we’ve all at least once said thank you for a Council service received and at least once expressed our appreciation to a Council colleague for the work they’ve done. Let’s be that organisation!  

If you were there last week I really hope that you’ve been able to do this and you can make a weekly habit of it.  If you weren’t at the Beach Ballroom, no worries the invitation to commit is open to all!

Food Bank Appeal

You may have noticed that the Food Banks Partnership Aberdeen crates are once again available to receive donations.

There is currently an urgent need to replenish stocks and I wanted once again to take the opportunity to invite you to support this drive.  Colleagues have been incredibly generous in the past and I hope that once again we will be able to provide the Partnership with greatly needed supplies.

Thank you in advance.

Step Up, Step Out

There’s a final call today (Wednesday 26th April) for entrants for this year’s Step Challenge!

A Council-wide event hosted by Corporate Governance and the Office of Chief Executive, the Step Challenge begins on the Bank Holiday Monday, 1st May and steps all the way to Sunday 4th June.

This period covers a range of running and walking events across Aberdeen; including the Baker Hughes 10k, Hazlehead Park: Colour Me Rad 5k & on the final day of this event the Aberdeen Kiltwalk takes place.

Last year the challenge saw 168 Steppers raise over £680 for charity (split between Kayleigh’s Wee Stars & Charlie House)

There’s a £5 donation from everyone that signs up and the winning team, both the team with the most steps overall & also most improved will split the total prize pot and be able to donate the whole amount to a charity of their choice.

For more information and to sign up find the link on the Zone, the deadline for signing up is 5.00 pm on Wednesday 26th April with teams to be announced on 27th April.

I’m one of the 144 who have signed up so far, join me.

 

Employee Opinion Survey

A quick reminder that the first of a series of drop-in sessions looking at next steps following the results of last year’s Employee Opinion Survey takes place at Marischal College this morning.

Over and above the action plans being developed for each service, four members of ECMT have been working on proposals to address Council-wide common themes that emerged from the Survey.  The drop-in sessions offer an opportunity to hear about these suggestions and to give feedback on them.

Today’s event takes place between 10.00 and 12.00 in Room 2-W-01 at Marischal.

The three further sessions take place as follows:

Tuesday 4th April, 10.00 to 12.00 – Frederick Street, Room 5

Thursday 6th April, 1.00 to 4.00 – Kittybrewster

Wednesday 19th April, 7.30 to 9.00 – Tullos Training Room

There’s no need to book, just drop-in to whatever session best suits you.