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Stonehaven’s Invercarron Resource Centre to close – despite 1,200-strong petition to save it

Invercarron Resource Centre is to be converted into a long-term vaccination clinic.
Invercarron Resource Centre is to be converted into a long-term vaccination clinic.

A day centre in Stonehaven used by elderly and vulnerable people is to be converted into a long-term vaccination clinic.

Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) has decided to permanently turn the Invercarron Resource Centre into a clinical space to ensure the continued delivery of jabs in the area.

The centre has been a meeting spot for a number of groups since it first opened in 1995, however, it was forced shut during the pandemic.

Now, AHSCP has confirmed that work will soon be under way to transform the purpose-built facility as they aim to keep vaccine delivery as local as possible.

The building is one of several venues across the north-east deemed suitable for the distribution of all vaccinations – including all childhood immunisations and the seasonal flu jabs.

New local centre ‘key’ in vaccination roll-out

But while residents said they understand the need for a vaccination clinic in Stonehaven, they have accused AHSCP of hitting the “last nail in the coffin” for the vulnerable people in the town.

AHSCP chief officer Pam Milliken has insisted that the move was necessary and will be beneficial for the local community, while she admitted the possible flaws in their plans.

She said: “We have learned so many valuable lessons from the roll-out of the Covid vaccination programme – key among them being the need to keep vaccination centres as local as possible.

Volunteers celebrating the retirement of Val Cadd, a volunteer at Invercarron Resource Centre in Stonehaven, in 2019. Pictured (L-R) Roberta Duncan, Irene Killoch, Phyllis Christie, Val Cadd, Sylvia Dimbleby, Hazel Watson and Elsie Rendall. Picture by Kath Flannery/DCT Media.

“We acknowledge we could have worked better with the community, however, our teams have had to respond quickly to change during the pandemic.

“We understand the importance of the role that community groups play in supporting individuals and it is my very sincere hope that we can start to work together to find a new home for all those groups that need one.

“To start that process, we have commissioned Mearns and Coastal Healthy Living Network to provide a community liaison worker to support and grow community groups in Stonehaven and to help any former users of the Invercarron Resource Centre find new places to meet.”

‘Last nail in the coffin’ for Stonehaven

Locals mounted a petition to save the centre, which attracted more than 1,200 signatures, but say their efforts have so far “fallen on deaf ears”.

Jim Stephen, chairman of Stonehaven Town Partnership, fears the closure will be the last blow to the user groups, who have already had a tough time.

He said: “For the last 10 years the Invercarron Resource Centre has been neglected and stripped of funding and resources to the bare minimum – closing it was the last nail in the coffin for the town. Losing such an asset at the heart of the town is a really big blow.

People born in the same year as the Queen celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday with Lord Lieutenant Carol Kinghorn at Invercarron Resource Centre, Stonehaven, in 2016. Pictured is Alexander Allan who was crowned the king of the tea party. (as his birthday was nearest date to the queens). Picture by Heather Fowlie.

“My worry is that with the closure of the centre, these groups don’t find somewhere that they can call home and just disband – and that’s a distinct possibility.

“The council has promised they will reach out to all of these groups, but the reality is that there is never going to be such a purpose-built facility for them.

“And it’s even more worrying that the community didn’t have any power over this. Everything that the user groups, the community council, the Stonehaven Town Partnership argued their case against has fallen on deaf ears.

“With us growing older and with illnesses like dementia, Alzheimer’s and strokes becoming more common now, you’d think that Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership should be building on this – not taking it away.”

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