MyCouncilWorks

Moya and Lisa pictured on the beach after wild swimming

Cascade January

Chief Executive's update

Pippa Milne
Pippa Milne, Chief Executive
 

Welcome to the first Cascade of 2022. I hope everyone had a lovely festive break. It’s great to see the days starting to stretch a bit – a positive sign that spring is on the way.

This can be difficult time of year for many people, however, so in this month’s edition we talk to staff about just some of the things they’ve been doing to keep the January blues at bay.

Our home energy team also give us their top tips on a few simple steps we can all take to keep our energy bills down, and Kilmory’s catering manager shares a delicious recipe for Burns Night.

You can also find out more about the Employee Benefit Scheme and some of the great things on offer.

New year, new start at Salen

Salen Primary School

Staff and pupils at Salen Primary are settling into life at their newly refurbished school this month, following a £1.3million investment by the Council to carryout improvements to the school and create two high quality Early Learning and Childcare spaces.

Head teacher Mairi MacLean said: 

The work carried out at the school is tremendous. The extension has given us so much more space and the children are already thriving in their new learning environment. During the project, we decanted to Tobermory School. This was a huge change for us all but a great experience with many new friendships formed as a result.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Tobermory for having us over the last five months, and also everyone involved in the project. The new-look school is fantastic and I’ve received so many positive comments from staff. I really look forward to coming to work!”

New year, new start at Salen

Moya and Lisa pictured on the beach after wild swimming
A sketch of Kilmory Knap by Fergus

January and February can often be cold, dark and damp months. In this issue of Cascade, we’ve asked colleagues to share their tips on beating the blues.

Braving the elements is the best way according to Moyra Paterson, Housing Improvement Officer and Lisa Nicolson, Housing Advice Assistant. You’ll regularly find them wild swimming in their hometown of Campbeltown as a way of de-stressing and boosting their mood.

According to Moyra:

“Wild swimming has so many benefits for both your physical health and mental wellbeing. The water’s a bit cold when you first get in but it certainly makes you feel alive.”

Lisa agrees:

“There are a few of us do it locally and it’s a great way of meeting new people. I’d definitely recommend it.”

To find out more about wild swimming, and how to stay safe in the water, visit the RNLI website.

If you’re out and about in Argyll and Bute, you may come across Fergus Murray, Head of Development and Economic Growth armed with pen and paper looking for his next project. To help unwind from work, Fergus likes to sketch the stunning scenery he’s lucky to call home.

“For me, after a busy week at work, it’s so important to slow down and unwind. Drawing is a great way to relax. I think sometimes, we take things for granted and it’s only when you take the time to be aware of the stunning scenery we have in Argyll and Bute that you totally appreciate how lucky we are. Drawing is cheap, you just need paper, pens or pencils. You don’t have to be any good, you just have to enjoy yourself! ”

Home Energy Saving tips

Image of a house with energy rating scale
Jackie Westerman
Jackie Westerman

With a lot in the news about energy price hikes, our Energy Efficiency Team is working hard to help people save money. Here Jackie Westerman from the team offers some top tips on how to save energy in your homes. 

We work with partner organisations to offer advice on grants for home insulation and share top tips on how you can make energy savings.

Whether you rent or own your property, we can all start to make small changes to our daily lives that could make a big difference to our annual energy bills.

 If you do these small things…          The potential saving per year could be….

 Switch off standby                                                                     £40                                  

 Draught-proof gaps                                                                  £30

 Turn off the lights                                                                     £14

 Wash at 30 degrees, reduce use by one run a week                £20

 Avoid using the tumble dryer                                                  £40

 Take a 4-minute shower                                                           £45

 Swap one bath a week for a shower                                         £7

 Don’t overfill the kettle and fit a tap aerator                           £22

 Reduce your dishwasher use by one run a week                    £10

 Insulate your hot water cylinder                                              £20

On first glance the amounts may not look huge but when you add them all up it can mean a big difference in your annual energy bills.  You can find more tips from The Energy Saving Trust

Insulating your home

We can help you find out about grants for insulating your home. You may even find that you don’t need to pay anything at all towards insulation measures. You’ll find more information on our website

You can also enquire via www.homeenergyscotland.org. They will ask you a series of confidential questions and be able to make recommendations.

And if you have time, have a go at the Home Energy Scotland Energy Saving Quiz.   If you don’t win the £500 prize you will at least have picked up some great hints and tips!

https://www.homeenergyscotland.org/win-cash-towards-your-energy-bills/

Shortbread Recipe

There’s nothing better than homemade shortbread. If you fancy making it, Anne Moore, our Catering Manager shares her delicious recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 300g plain flour
  • 50g corn flour
  • 250g very soft butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g golden caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C, fan 150°C, gas 31⁄2. Grease a 20cm square baking tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and mix until soft.
  3. Tip in both flours and the salt, and stir until well, taking care not to overwork the dough. Bring the dough together with your hands and press the mixture into the prepared tin. Lay a sheet of baking paper or cling film on top then flatten the surface of the shortbread using a spatula or the back of a spoon. Remove the covering and prick the top decoratively with a fork.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes until pale golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle evenly with extra sugar. Leave to cool in the tin before cut the shortbread into approximately 16 fingers.

Shortbread Recipe

A man on the beach looking out to water. with his bike in the foreground.
  • Is your New Year resolution to get fit?
  • Perhaps you want to grab a bargain in the sales?
  • Or, maybe self-care is top of your priority list in 2022?

Whatever it is, the Employee Benefit Scheme has something for everyone. From discounts on household appliances, flowers and pet insurance to high street vouchers, gym membership and savings on bikes for the whole family, the Employee Benefits Scheme delivers a huge range of benefits and savings. Find out how to register on MyCouncilWorks .

Get in touch

Our new staff website is a great way of celebrating achievements, sharing news from your service and getting to know colleagues.

There’s also a noticeboard to promote any fundraising or events coming up.

We would love to hear from you. Contact us by emailing workingtogether@argyll-bute.gov.uk