While it’s a sobering thought that we’re already heading into mid-November, it’s a good time to be thinking of our personal resilience over the winter.
I received a briefing last week issued by Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership – Gordon constituency includes a substantial part of Aberdeen City – on their winter vaccination campaign. Work has already been completed on vaccinations for care home residents, health and social care staff, children under 5 and adults aged over 65, with ‘mopping-up’ of those within these groups who missed out now underway. Attention is also now turning to primary, secondary and home-schooled children, those who are housebound, under 64’s who are ‘at risk’, carers, pregnant women and the over 50s.
It goes without saying that the last two Christmases have been difficult for some, challenging for others, and certainly different for the rest of us. Upping our personal resilience and ensuring we take the opportunities offered and available to us to get our flu vaccinations and Covid boosters can certainly help ensure that things this year are, if not back to normal, then as near to what we are used to as possible, while always being mindful that the risk of Covid is still very much out there. The other precautions we are taking in our day-to-day lives, be that sanitising our hands regularly or wiping down our shopping trollies before the weekly shop, all contribute to keeping ourselves and others safe.
Health and social care staff are doing really important work in delivering these programmes. My thanks go to them for what they are doing and I encourage everyone to ensure they take the opportunity to get vaccinated this winter.
Another group of people doing fantastic work are the team at North-east Sensory Services whom I had the pleasure of visiting last week.
Graham Findlay, their Chief Executive, very kindly took time out of his busy day to discuss the work the organisation does in supporting those with sensory loss across the North-east of Scotland. Their objective, to put it simply, is to help people who have impaired sight or hearing lead independent and fulfilling lives. This is achieved through a wide range of services and support which is available, ranging from help with hospital appointments to IT services which provide assistive technology. We should never underestimate just how much such services can mean to those who benefit from them and it was a pleasure to hear about the work done over the years by the organisation.
Finally, I wanted to pay tribute to former Aberdeenshire councillor Stuart Pratt, whose funeral took place this week.
Stuart was deeply involved in politics across Aberdeenshire at both elected level and also as one of the volunteers who make up the backbone of all political parties. I had the pleasure of knowing him for over a quarter of a century and was proud to serve alongside him as a Councillor, with many happy memories of the campaigns we fought and the laughs we had along the way. He also found the time for be Session Clerk of his local church and recently retired from the Boys’ Brigade after serving it for over 40 years, something for which he was recognised recently by Aberdeenshire Council with a community award.
Stuart was the kindest of men with the biggest of hearts, making a huge contribution to the communities he served and in which he lived. He will be sadly missed by all whose lives he touched.