It’s been a while

Like everyone we’ve been hit by the pandemic and lockdown over the last few months. This has meant we haven’t been able to hold the meetings we’d like to and, thinking of all our friends out there, we’re sorry about that.

Some of us have had to see doctors, nurses, specialists, dentists since March and the reports we’ve had of the experience has been very reassuring. There may not be many cases of Coronavirus in the Highlands, but the risks are still there for everyone and its been immensely reassuring to see the lengths our NHS has gone to to protect us when we’ve had to go and see them.

We learnt today that Wheels In Nairnshire (WIN) the charity set up to give people lifts has restarted after having been locked down since March. This group is entirely voluntary and their drivers will give people a lift to and from medical appointments, whether in Nairn, Ardersier, Inverness or Dingwall. All you have to do is call them in advance and book. Their phone number is 07716 214777 and they can be found on facebook here and their website here.


First Meeting of the Year

NAPG is holding its first meeting of the year at the PACE Cafe in Ardersier on Thursday 28th March at 7pm.

We will be exploring Hidden Disability. These are the disabilities which may not be visible at a glance, but can have a major impact on people’s lives. They can arise from conditions such as epilepsy, autism, diabetes and acquired brain injuries. Invisible disability, or hidden disability is an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of disabilities or challenges that are primarily neurological in nature.

We have invited speakers from the Macular society, the Society for the Deaf, Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Come and join us!


The 2018 AGM is tomorrow!

NAPG’s AGM will be held from 7 pm at Nairn’s Community & Arts Centre on the 24th. Apart from the brief business of reporting on the last year and agreeing committee members, we welcome two guest speakers. The theme of the evening is
“The NHS at 70 – still going strong, or past it?”
Our speakers represent two important organisations regionally: John Furze of the Macular Society, and Jo Cowan of Highland Senior Citizens Network and they will be talking about the work they do to support patients across the Highlands.
We’ll also have updates on topics such as the proposed Voluntary Car Scheme, WIN.
Come on down!

Short term contract worth £1,000

Voluntary Car Scheme

Interested in doing something to help people get around Nairnshire and reduce isolation? Worked with volunteers? Like meeting people?

If so, we want to hear from you. Nairn & Ardersier Patients Group and Signpost have a short term contract worth £1,000 available to someone who’d like to help us do research and start setting up a new voluntary car scheme for Nairnshire called WIN (Wheels In Nairnshire).

Could be ideal for students, people already in part-time work or those with a little time available over the next few months. If you’re interested in what happens in Nairnshire, transport around the area and have got some time to spare, this could be for you.

To find out more and get a contract specification, call us on 07766 237312 or email contact@nairnpatientsgroup.org.uk. Deadline for proposals is Friday 2nd June.


Car Scheme

We’ve formed a small managing committee for the transport scheme which we hope to expand to include many more of you who have supported the idea in the past. We’ve agreed with Signpost the very generous terms of advice and support they will provide to the scheme, enabling us to apply for funds and recruit a co-ordinator. It could take a few months but we are finally on the road to getting a pilot project under way.


Public Meeting Thursday

We’re having a sort of “Care Fayre” at our next public meeting on thursday. We’ve invited as many of the care, support and advice providers as we could think of to come along or to let us have written information/leaflets. Among others, we’ve invited Alzheimer’s, Crossroads, Marie Curie, Contact the Elderly, CAB and many more. The topic of the discussion?

Who cares? – We do!

Come along and join us. 7 pm at the Nairn Community & Arts Centre, Thursday 23rd March.


Car Scheme to be formed

Around 25 people attended Friday’s Community Transport Seminar to hear of the difficulties in getting around and escaping isolation faced by many in our community and many others, and to hear about the excellent ways in which community transport schemes can help people overcome these difficulties. Talks by Rhoda Grant (MSP), Maggie Lawson (Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport) and Sheila Fletcher of the national Community Transport Association helped build the to and fro of debate.

The audience, which included representatives of Highland Council, Community Councils, Alzheimers Scotland, Lung at Heart, Nairn Community Transport Association, Signpost and ScotSectorLink, concluded that it was worthwhile endeavouring to establish a scheme in Nairn, agreed to form a steering group and Signpost came forward to act as co-ordinator to the group.

The plan is to try and form a small pilot scheme designed to improve take-up of existing services and engage a few volunteer drivers to help their neighbours get around. NAPG will help prepare bids for the funds which will be needed for expenses and to pay a project co-ordinator.


Transport Seminar

Here’s notification of an important seminar about transport in and around Nairn, Nairnshire, Ardersier, Petty and Croy. Key speakers include Rhoda Grant MSP and Maggie Lawson, MBE, of the Badenoch & Strathspey Transport Company.


Getting around the area and social isolation are troublesome issues for a growing number of people, subject to much discussion and review, especially in present times of public spending cuts. There remain a wide range of service providers, from buses and dial-a-bus to Community Transport minibuses and the recent pilot weekly minibus scheme between Ardersier and Nairn. and of course, there’s many taxis operating in the area. There’s evidence that nevertheless these services are under-utilised.

Still, local people have told us that they are not able to get about – to appointments, to shop, to socialise – with sufficient ease to meet their needs. Nairn & Ardersier Patients Group conducted a survey of the local community (not just patients) and from a large response identified around 11% of the population without their own transport (or unable to use it) unable to afford to get to appointments, to meet friends at social events or simply to shop, attend concerts or events and so on.

The solution seems to be a project which tries to maximise the use of existing services (by helping people understand the best way to make use of them and assisting providers in communication their availability) and which also provides facilities which fit between these services. The best proven example across Scotland, and especially in Badenoch & Strathspey, is a community car scheme.

This Seminar seeks to attract direct support from local people interested in helping the unwell, the disabled, the vulnerable and elderly through the simple medium of offering a little time and a lift in their car from time to time. We are delighted to have obtained such a high calibre of speakers.

We are particularly keen to find someone (or more) interested in acting as the co-ordinator for the project, but also committee members, volunteer drivers, people to answer the phone and those handy with admin (and even spreadsheets!). If the event demonstrates sufficient interest we will draft and submit applications for grant funding to meet running costs and to employ a co-ordinator.

We very much hope you will find time to attend this seminar which starts at 10.30 am on Friday 23rd September at Nairn Community & Arts Centre.


From May’s AGM

A really useful thing to know about is the service offered by our chemists. This is a thing known as the Minor Ailments Service. Our chemists can give advice, prescribe medicines on a whole range of illnesses and even if they are unable to deal with the problem themselves, they can refer you to a doctor. It’s a great service, particularly ‘cos you don’t have to wait ages to get an appointment with your GP…..and of course our local chemists are really friendly and helpful.
Alan and Graham, from Boots and Lloyds, came to our AGM and gave us the full run down on this service. Check out the official details at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2006/06/26102829/1 or better still, just pop in to the chemists and ask…


AGM on the 19th

Our AGM will be held on Thursday, 19th May from 7 pm at the Nairn Community & Arts Centre.

Everyone welcome to attend. You’re very welcome to join the committee. Let us know in advance if you’re interested in joining up, or just come along on the night and put yourself forward.

NHS Highland and the local pharmacy managers will be in attendance.