Blether Tay-Gither is the Dundee Storytelling Group.
From Sheila Kinninmonth, Blether Tay-Gither’s secretary :
Hope you can join us for our January Blether on Zoom
Tuesday 26th January – 7pm to 9pm
With a nod to the bard and legend Robert Burns, our theme is poetry.
Many stories were once told in poetry form by the bards of old, as many were sung as ballads. Bring a poem this month or a story about poetry, or a story that includes a poem. Or a story that is a poem, or perhaps a poem that has a story. Or just come to listen if you want.
I am pleased to advise of a new programme that has been launched in the city for households facing fuel poverty as a result of the pandemic.
The Fuel Well Dundee Programme will support people on a low income whether they are in or out of work, on reduced incomes as a result of COVID-19, or are already experiencing fuel poverty.
People may have heating systems or home insulation that is inadequate and causing high energy bills or are struggling with other financial or coronavirus related issues.
The scheme can help with top up payments of between £40 and £100 if certain criteria are met, as well as short, medium and longer-term support from fuel advisers and welfare rights advisers.
This can include other areas of financial inclusion including energy advice, a benefits check and debt advice; where appropriate, consideration of referral for Discretionary Hardship Payments or to the council’s Hardship fund; and crisis grants and community care grants advice.
Run by Dundee City Council and SCARF (Part of the Home Energy Scotland network) the Fuel Well Dundee Programme can be accessed directly here.
As residents will be aware, the recent further consultation on a ‘modal filter’ at Riverside Approach that woudl have seen a temporary one-way arrangement as part of Spaces for People during the COVID-19 health emergency, resulted in a majority against so it will not go ahead.
I previously asked for some ‘local traffic only’ or similar signage to be provided to discourage non-local traffic and HGVs and am pleased this has been agreed to.
I also asked that the City Council revisits the idea of a pedestrian crossing on Riverside Approach between the Roseangle playpark and Magdalen Green and the Head of Sustainable Transport & Roads has responded helpfully as follows :
“With regard to the pedestrian crossing proposal, this has been reviewed by our Traffic Team pre-Covid and the pedestrian counts didn’t meet the levels required for change to the current arrangement.
Post Covid the pedestrian counts may be significantly different and we will review this location once the pandemic has concluded and future travel patterns have stabilised.”
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 – SECTION 14(1)
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Scottish Water mains repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Strawberrybank, Dundee.
This notice comes into effect on Thursday 28 January 2021 for 1 day.
Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
Alternative routes for vehicles are available via Magdalen Yard Road / Windsor Street / Perth Road.
During the recent wintery weather, residents highlighted to me that it would be helpful to have an additional grit bin in Millhall Crescent and also have one at the west end of Newhall Gardens.
I am pleased to say that the Roads Maintenance Partnership agreed to my request for these. The additional one for Millhall Crescent has since been delivered and I hope the additional one for Newhall Gardens will be in place soon.
Dundee CAB has advised councillors of a very useful online ‘Money Map’ tool from Citizens’ Advice Scotland.
It advises :
“The tool is hosted at http://www.moneymap.scot and brings together all the options for how people can improve their incomes and cut their living costs through areas such as housing, benefits, grants and energy bills and directs them to online sites where they can access these options.
The strength of the tool is that it gathers in all the best online sources of help, because we know that people can get frustrated searching endlessly online for information and often end up in the wrong place.
In Dundee we’ve seen people struggle with money, often not knowing what they are entitled to, and we know the pandemic has exacerbated this problem for many people.
Polling by YouGov shows the extent to which the pandemic has had an impact on household budgets. Almost half of people have run out of money before payday since restrictions began, and of those people 30 per cent have seen their financial situations worsen during restrictions.
While this is a digital option for people who can self-help, please also be aware that at Dundee CAB we have been providing advice throughout this crisis by telephone, email and face to face appointments in essential circumstances.
We want to help people in Dundee through this crisis and plan to be there to help them afterwards.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has advised that there has been a concerning increase in the number of people who have been injured and have sadly died due to fires within the home. This has been the case in Dundee where there have been 2 fatal fires this year. Over the previous 3 years, there were not any fatal fires in Dundee.
The service has identified that the key common factors are people over 50 who smoke and have mobility issues or live alone or use medical oxygen. Therefore the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is targeting its focus on people who meet these criteria in addition to its broader home fire safety visit checks.
Further to this, you can access here a useful guide and self-assessment about fire safety in the home – this also advises how you can book a home fire safety visit as does the above poster.
In the past few months, many residents have expressed concern to me about unofficial bike trails that have been created on Balgay Hill.
Leaving aside their unauthorised nature and damage to the hill, the other concern is the health and safety of mountain bikers using these.
I have raised this with the council’s environment team who are tackling the issue and have recently placed some sensible signage about these and suggesting better and safer places where mountain bike skills can be practiced.
I am pleased to advise that the City Council has confirmed to me that it is looking at improvements to where the Green Circular route crosses the Perth Road.
Currently at this location cyclists and pedestrians use the existing carriageway junction cross as there is no footpath provision at this point. The proposed works will include a new footpath creating a safer crossing as the images indicate :
There are also a couple of locations along Riverside Avenue where vegetation will be cutback to effectively widen the useable footpath/cycleway.
The Boxing Day shift from tier three to four, along with the move to lockdown last week, has changed the business situation and the need for support has never been greater. In particular, non-essential retail businesses and business premises delivering close contact services may now be eligible for support at level four.
A one-stop information guide for business with advice from Dundee City Council, support organisations, Scottish Government and other agencies can be found here.
If you are already in receipt of grants from these funds you do not need to re-apply. The City Council will automatically alter grant payments to reflect the change of level. But if you have not previously applied, or applied but did not meet the criteria for level three support, and are now eligible under level four, you should make an application as soon as possible, so do please go to the link above.
Get Out Get Active Tayside’s Online Activity Programme starts back tomorrow – 11th January.
Whether you have taken part in an activity before, coming along for the very first time or know someone who would really benefit from a friendly, supportive community during this challenging time we want everyone of all levels and abilities to get involved. The Online Activity Programme is free and offers activities 5 days a week.
To begin with I’ll be taking the classes, with the hope of introducing guest leaders on a regular basis. I’ll be teaching a couple of slow tunes (for those who like time to think as they play, or for those who want to try out learning by ear) and then a faster tune. Music will be shared to the screen (she says confidently!) on the day.
If participants want to contribute financially they can donate to my paypal account here.
From Harris Education and Recreation Association :
“Why not make some time for yourself this January and fill the long days with one of our evening classes -all done from the comfort of your living room. We have various topics including Pilates, Crochet, songwriting, Climate Change, Spanish and American History.
You can enrol online from 13th January, and classes start at the end of the month.”
Online registration from the 13th will take place here.
Latest update from Bailie Fraser Macpherson (West End) and Councillor Craig Duncan (Broughty Ferry) during the COVID-19 health emergency :
As residents will be aware, stay at home advice has become law, just as it was in the lockdown last year. This means it will only be permissible to leave home for an essential purpose. This will include caring responsibilities, essential shopping, exercise, maintaining a shared parenting arrangement and being part of an extended household. Unlike the lockdown last year, the frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited.
A maximum of two people from up to two households will be able to meet outdoors. Children aged 11 and under will not be counted in that limit, and they will also be able to play outdoors in larger groups, including in organized gatherings. However, for everyone else – including 12 to 17 year olds – outdoor exercise should only take place in a way which is consistent with the 2 people from 2 households rule.
Anyone who is able to work from home, must do so. It will only be a reasonable excuse to leave your home to go to work, if that work cannot be done from home.
You cannot leave your home except for an essential purpose. When you do go out, stay as close to home as possible and stay away from crowded places. And it remains the case that no-one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland or between council areas in Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose.
Places of worship will close until 1st February for all purposes except broadcasting a service, or conducting a funeral or wedding. While up to 20 people will still be able to attend funeral services, wakes will not be possible during January … and a maximum of 5 people will be able to attend wedding and civil partnership services.
This is different advice from England so we contacted the Scottish Government to ask if this would change to bring it in line across the UK. The Scottish Government said it had considered is extensively before the decision so would be unlikely to change.
SCHOOLS AND NURSERIES
The school closure period will be extended until the end of January with most school pupils learning remotely – rather than in school. This will be reviewed on 18th January.
The change will apply to all pupils – except vulnerable children, and children of key workers. And it includes nursery schools, as well as primary and secondary schools. The fortnightly review will not simply be a choice between opening and closing schools – but may see a gradual or staggered return with nurseries and primary schools returning earlier than secondary schools. PARENT CLUB
The Government already had plans in place for the staggered return of universities and colleges. There is likely to be more information on this soon.
In total, over the period to the end of January – including the more than 100,000 already administered – the government expect to have access to just over 900,000 doses of vaccine. These will be split roughly equally between the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines.
Current expectation, based on assumptions about supply and the new advice on doses being administered up to 12 weeks apart, rather than 3, is that by early May everyone over 50, and people under 50 with specific underlying conditions, will have received at least the first dose of the vaccine. That is everyone who is on the JCVI priority list, and comprises more than 2.5 million people.
Once everyone on the priority list has been vaccinated, the Scottish Government will start vaccinating the rest of the population, and will do this in parallel with completing second doses for those on the priority list. Information on the vaccination programme including on the dose interval increase:
We received many complaints this week about slippy pavements and roads due to ice. We have raised every concern with the Roads Maintenance Partnership and are here to assist residents at all times. We thought you would find it helpful to have the Dundee City Council guidance on this.
ADDITIONAL MEASURES FOR BUSINESSESThe number of non-essential services which remain open will be further restricted. Premises which will need to close as a result of these changes will include, for example ski centres, showrooms of larger retailers, and clinics offering cosmetic and aesthetic procedures. Construction and manufacturing remain open.
The current 1 metre exemption for workplace canteens will end – so canteens will have to ensure that employees sit 2 metres or more apart, rather than 1 metre.
LEVEL FOUR BUSINESS SUPPORT
Businesses required to close by law are currently able to claim up to £3,000 every four weeks through the Strategic Framework Business Fund. use the link below to apply.
We estimate that the applications for the following additional funds will start to open next week sometime.
• £19.2 million to provide one-off grants for hospitality businesses
• £50.8 million for businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 that have not received support from the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund or Hotel Support Programme and some additional support to smaller businesses impacted by restrictions
• £11.8 million for international inbound, coach tourism and domestic tour operators
• £7 million for self-catering
• £5 million for visitor attractions
• £2.5 million for outdoor tourism
• £2.3 million for hostels
• £2 million for ski centres
• £1.5 million for travelling show people ineligible for other support
• £1.2 million for Destination Management Organisations
• £1 million for B&Bs and guest houses excluded from the latest Non Domestic Rates scheme
If you were shielding and you cannot work from home, the clear advice now is that you should not go into work at all. The Chief Medical Officer is writing to everyone who falls into this category, and his letter will count as a Fit Note for those who need it.
If you were shielding and not in employment, then you should follow CMO guidance and stay home where possible.
“The Friends of Wighton invite you to an online illustrated talk on the Montgomerie Collection to be given by Dr Margaret Bennett this Wednesday – 6th January.
After organising a successful event online for Scottish Book Week we have decided that it is worth trying to put some concerts online too. We plan to hold the concerts on the first Wednesday of the month at 1.15pm.
The first will be on Wednesday 6th January when the guest will be Dr Margaret Bennet with an illustrated talk on the renowned Montgomerie collection, the children’s songs recorded in Dundee’s Hilltown in 1952.
The talk starts at 1.15pm but you can log-in at any time from 1.05pm.”
The deadline for the applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, June 2021, is slowly creeping closer.
Estimates suggest there are still thousands of EU citizens and their families living in Scotland who have not yet applied to the scheme.
The Citizens Advice service across Scotland wants to help EU citizens preserve their rights in the UK by making a claim.
Citizens Advice Scotland is running a dedicated EU Citizen Support helpline to assist with the application process for settled or pre-settled status – 0800 916 9847 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm).
At Dundee CAB, it is also offering telephone appointments and, in emergency situations, face to face appointments. It can be contacted by calling 01382 214633 or emailing email@example.com
The Royal Voluntary Service in Dundee is pleased to continue to provide a lifeline to our vulnerable, older people (over 50) and or their carers.
The support we have been providing (during the COVID-19 health emergency) and will continue to provide includes companionship (telephone befriending) calls and welfare checks (Safe & Well phone calls), help packs of essential food and toiletries– providing vital food for those struggling to pay for daily necessities. Read more about existing services here.
For referrals for services or enquiries about volunteering for Royal Voluntary Service, Dundee City, please contact either Irene Wallace, Service Coordinator 07917 183548 Thursday or Friday – or email at Dundeehfh@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk.
Following the announcement on COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions, the University of Dundee Botanic Garden has advised that it will remain open for all local Dundee residents to visit, apart from the following dates:
Hogmanay – 31st December 2020
New Year’s Day – 1st January 2021
Staff, Friends and Students who are residing in Dundee can enter by showing their respective cards.
All non-members must pre-purchase a ticket via the Viator or Trip Advisor here.
The café is not open and this will be reviewed on 15th January as we learn more about the lifting or otherwise of Tier 4 restrictions.
With your continued support, the garden remains a safe site to exercise for those who live in Dundee. In planning your visit, patrons are asked to comply with the latest guidance on travel and social distancing at this critical time.
We hope you can join us for our December blether tonight on Zoom – 7pm to 9pm :
The theme is ghosts.
It’s that time of year when it’s a bit colder outside and we are huddled up in the warmth. More huddled up that usual this year with our enforced prolonged hibernation. Some festive events are still happening and we at least have the chance to meet in a cyber way to share stories. These long dark nights evoke the haunted and eerie things that dwell in the shadows. Even a very well-known Christmas tale tells of these creatures that may come unbidden to reveal the troubled ways of our lives. We are talking about ghosts.
Tonight’s Zoom event is an opportunity to share and listen to stories around the theme of ghost stories. There is plenty of them out there so have a look and see what you can find and bring one to share – but if you would just prefer to listen that is ok too!
Loneliness and isolation has been magnified for all of us this year and particularly at Christmas.
Meal Makers’ volunteer cooks have been going the extra mile to do something special for an older neighbour.
Meal Makers is a subsidiary of the award winning Scottish Charity Food Train. It is a local neighbourhood food-sharing project that connects people who love cooking, and who are happy to share an extra portion of home cooked food, with an older neighbour who would really appreciate a freshly prepared meal and a friendly chat.
By turning an everyday activity into a volunteering opportunity, Meal Makers strengthens connections within communities and provides a flexible way for people to volunteer their time and skills locally in a way which suits them.