Cascade September

Chief Executive's update

Pippa Milne

Welcome to the September issue of Cascade.

In this issue, we celebrate fantastic staff achievements – from Platinum Jubilee medals to long service awards and a powerlifting teacher.


As Dunoon Grammar School bid to become the World’s Best School for Community Collaboration, there’s a final call to vote.


Supporting health and wellbeing across the council continues. Read more about new events and initiatives taking place in the coming months.


Finally, get to know your colleagues that little bit better with our new quiz.

Just for fun

Elsa Simoes
Jim Smith, Head of Roads and Infrastructure

This issue, Just for Fun features Elsa Simoes, Infrastructure Design Manager, Jim Smith, Head of Roads and Infrastructure and Mark Calder, Project Manager, Roads and Infrastructure. 

Can you  guess which statement applies to Elsa, Jim and Mark?

  • Which member of the team once beat boxer Ricky Hatton in a punch bag game?
  • Who is married to Kylie Minogue’s second cousin?
  • Who was born in Mozambique?

    Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers…

Platinum recognition for Airport colleagues

In recognition of frontline public service, colleagues from Oban Airport recently received Platinum Jubilee medals.


Acting as a token of the nation’s thanks, the Platinum Jubilee Medal follows a long history of awarding medals to mark Royal Jubilees, with the first one awarded to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1887.


Congratulations to Tom Eddleston, Paul MacKay, Katherine Dempster and Peter Johnston.


The medals are even more special following the sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.


Commonwealth Powerlifting hero

A science teacher from Oban High School has been selected to represent Scotland at this year’s Commonwealth Powerlifting Federation Championships in New Zealand.

Jodie Hoey started powerlifting during lockdown and only took part in her first ever competition in January this year when she competed in the West of Scotland Championships. The 26-year-old went on to qualify for the Scottish Championships in June, before the Scottish Power Lifting Federation selected her to compete in the Commonwealth Championships in November this year in Auckland.

She said: “I’ve always been pretty active, swimming, running and going to the gym. My husband used to do squats, bench and deadlift with his friends for fun, so I’d fancied doing weights for a while, and just before lockdown my friend mentioned competing in powerlifting so I thought I’d give it a go. 
“I started going to Atlantis Gym and using the gym at the school after work, and developed my deadlift, squat and bench before joining the Scottish Power Lifting in December. I never, ever thought I would have the opportunity to represent Scotland in an international competition so I’m both excited and nervous.”

Jodie, who also teaches PE and is a former pupil at Oban High, trains five times per week for 2.5 hours and her official personal best for the squat lift is 115kg, bench is 55kg and deadlift is 147.5kg.

She said: “I’ve never travelled outside Europe before and never, ever thought I would have the opportunity to represent Scotland in an international competition so I’m both excited and nervous. I’m also really, really grateful to Oban High School and the Council’s Education Service for letting me have the time off work.”

The Commonwealth Powerlifting Federation Championships take place from November 28 to December 4. Good luck Jodie!

Phoenix team pass autism course

Congratulations to Katy Watson, Janice Beasley and Gordon Planck from The Phoenix Centre on Bute on successfully passing the TQUK level 2 in understanding autism.

Final call - vote for Dunoon Grammar

Dunoon Grammar School is a top three finalist in the World’s Best Schools for Community Collaboration but pupils need your votes if they’re to be successful.
Voting closes on 2 October days so don’t delay! Vote at
To encourage more people to get behind them, pupils have also developed their very own dance #jigforjoy where people upload a video onto social media of them doing the routine and nominate others to take part.
The campaign is proving a big hit, with people as for afield as America putting on their dancing shoes to support the school.

Long service awards

Congratulations to the following employees on their long service awards:

  • Anne-Marie Davie, Social Worker, 25 years.
  • John Moore, Strachur Primary School, 25 years.
  • Caroline Jenkins, Assistant Cook, Adult Services, 40 years.
  • Aileen McCheyne, TEC Technician, 25 years.

New wellbeing events and services


We are committed to supporting your health and wellbeing and are delighted to announce a new range of services, events and webinars. They cover a range of issues designed to help balance work and daily life. You can find out more on MyCouncilWorks.

Upcoming events include:

  • Menopause and menstruation in the workplace webinar – 3 October, 1.30-3pm. Delivered by the British Standards Institute, this webinar covers general wellbeing considerations and explore key topics. They include:

    – Ageism in the workplace and how we should embrace positive culture of ageing within the workforce

    – Perimenopause and menopause, understanding the impact on individuals of any age; and how people can prepare themselves or interact with their line managers.

  • Versus Arthritis Tai Chi Session at Kilmory, 5th October, 12.30-1.30pm.
    Come and join us at the Council Chambers for an in person Tai Chi Session with Jackie from Versus Arthritis. All abilities welcomed. If you are interested please email the Wellbeing Team to book your space, we look forward to seeing you there.
  • SuperWellness Nutrition Discovery Session, 12th October, 12 noon. Join this webinar to find out more about the makeup of our brains and the chemistry behind our emotions, key insights on the four pillars of a healthy body and mind, practical meal planning tips for busy lives. Microsoft Teams: Click here to join the meeting


  • Versus Arthritis Online Awareness Session, 26th October at 12pm. This session is open to anyone, not just people with Arthritis. The session will cover Arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions in the workplace, advice around chairs, moving, and adaptations. Click here to join the meeting
  • A new Wellbeing Programme starts on 27 October. The programme delivers transformational results with a focus on a range of lifestyle subjects, designed to help you build healthy habits. The programme is coach led over 12 modules via Microsoft Teams.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please get in touch with us via

The Wellbeing Team


Climate Change Week

This is Scottish Climate Change Week, and Council services are continuing to work hard  to become a net zero carbon emissions organisation by 2045.

The Council’s carbon footprint has already reduced by 33% since records started in 2015/16. This is due to many things, including:

  • A 70% reduction in heating oil consumption over the last 15 years through fuel conversions to biomass/gas fuel.
  • Replacing traditional lightbulbs with LED.
  • Moving to electric
    or hybrid vehicles.
  • Treating municipal waste in different ways.                

Find out more and read the De-carbonisation Plan at Climate change (

Just for Fun answers

Jim Smith, Head of Roads and Infrastructure
Elsa Simoes

Mark Calder was at a funfair whilst on holiday in Tenerife when he got a higher score than professional British boxer Ricky Hatton in the popular punch bag game.

Jim Smith’s wife Lisa is in fact second cousins with Australian pop queen Kylie Minogue.

Elsa Simoes was born in Mozambique and moved to Portugal with her family in 1975.