Table of Contents
Chief Executive’s update
In this issue find out more about the work of our Registrars who do an amazing job facilitating 600 marriages and civil partnership ceremonies here in Argyll and Bute each year.
We welcome a new appointment in our Education service and find out what the priorities are for the year ahead.
Not many councils can claim to have their own airport. Hear from our airport staff about what happens when lightning strikes not twice but 494 times!
There’s also an update on how we’re making sure everyone can access free period products across Argyll and Bute.
Staff at Oban Airport got quite a shock when they arrived at work on Monday morning to discover that the airport’s lightning detector had recorded a staggering 494 strikes across Argyll and Bute in the early hours.
Crew Commander Murray MacGregor said: “Detecting lightning at an airport is vital so that our flight information officers can help navigate aircraft around thunderstorms. We knew there had been a lot of thunder and lightning through the night, but this is one of the highest recordings we’ve ever had.”
Love is all around
Valentine’s Day might be over, but our Registrars are helping couples to celebrate their love all year round.
Lorna Wilson has been a Council Registrar for 12 years and is part of a small team that conduct around 600 marriage and civil partnership ceremonies in Argyll and Bute each year – that’s almost two a day!
Lorna said: “People can get married anywhere in Scotland, so this has seen an increase in people tying the knot in a variety of gorgeous, and very unique, locations. We’ve carried out weddings on beaches, gardens, castles, even on the top of a snowy mountain. I know I’m probably biased but I can’t think of a better place to tie the knot than in Argyll and Bute.”
To find out more about getting married in Argyll and Bute, and designing a ceremony that’s tailor-made just for you, see the guide on the Council website.
Wendy Brownlee is the Council’s new Head of Education for Learning and Teaching, working alongside Jennifer Crocket, who joined the local authority in June 2021 as Head of Education for Lifelong Learning and Support.
Here they tell us about their priorities for the year ahead…
Wendy said: “We share a vision to deliver an equitable, high quality experience of education for all of our learners, regardless of place or context. We aim to do this through a strong one-service approach, ensuring all aspects of the service work in an interconnected and seamless manner.
“We want to ensure the service is underpinned by strength and capacity. Effective leadership across all of our settings; teacher professionalism; parental involvement and engagement; high quality curriculum and assessment; robust school improvement; and performance information will lead to enhanced achievement and attainment for all of our children and young people.”
Jennifer added: “We maintain a clear focus on education recovery, reducing inequity and accelerating progress in not only tackling the poverty related attainment gap, but in ensuring equity of provision and resources for all learners regardless of context or place.
“We have a clear commitment to collaborative working with children and young people, their parents and carers, and our multi-agency partners. We will strive to understand and meet the needs of our individual learners, and continue to help them to access appropriate support in order to promote positive health and wellbeing. In collaboration with our school communities we aim to refresh our Vision and Strategy “Our Children, Their Future” to reflect our local priorities and national expectation.”
Free period products
Amy Bruce is the newly appointed Project Lead responsible for the provision of period products across Argyll and Bute.
Accessing period products can be difficult for many people due to a number of factors including financial constraints. Here Amy explains her role:
“Periods should not be a taboo subject these days, but some people do struggle to access the products they need. This can be due to a number of factors including financial constraints or embarrassment.
Part of my role is making sure people can access free products in a way that protects people’s dignity, avoiding embarrassment and stigma. We already have products in council buildings, schools and Live Argyll centres and we’re looking to expand this. We are currently asking for views on how we can make it easier for anyone to access this free service in a way that suits them. The feedback we receive will help shape the delivery of the free period product scheme in Argyll and Bute. We will use the data to provide the right products in the best way, to suit needs as much as possible”
The online consultation is available on the council website and runs until Friday 4 March.
Listen to Amy talk about her role with Pippa in her latest podcast.
Driving license and business insurance
As you may know, we have made changes to the performance, review and development (PRD) process. You can read more about the changes on MyCouncilWorks.
As part of the changes, you no longer need to record driving licence and business use insurance checks on the form.
Managers will still have to carry out the annual checks for staff who drive pool cars or use their own car for business use. Please enter the dates for the checks on MyView.
Celebrate Pancake Day
Who doesn’t love a pancake? To celebrate Pancake Day tomorrow, we asked Catering Manager Linda McAuslan to share her favourite recipe.
Pancakes are so simple to make and ready in minutes for your choice of toppings. My personal favourite is lemon and sugar. Enjoy!
- 100g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying
- pinch salt
- Put 100g plain flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and crack 2 eggs into the middle.
- Pour in about 50ml from the 300ml of semi-skimmed milk and 1 tbsp sunflower oil then start whisking. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
- While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream.
- Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper.
- Ladle some batter into the pan. Leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to flip. Continue with the rest of the batter, serving them as you cook or stack onto a plate.
Did you know – you can freeze the pancakes for 1 month, wrapped in cling film or make them up to a day ahead.