Aberdeen’s vaccination centre will stay at the Bon Accord for another year after boosting the health of residents – and the struggling mall.
Health chiefs agreed to extend the lease of the unit to May 2025 earlier today.
During a meeting, the centre was hailed for its “central, accessible location”.
It’s estimated that between 500 to 700 people attend appointments every day there, while it is usually at full capacity as the winter vaccination programme is rolled out.
The spot is having a positive impact on the entire shopping centre, which has suffered the loss of huge names in the last few years.
Dorothy Perkins, Warehouse, River Island and Laura Ashley all shut during the pandemic.
And the jab clinic is in the former Topshop on the ground floor.
Centre boss explains positive impact
Programme manager Caroline Anderson addressed the room at the Health Village on Frederick Street.
She said the team had received “good feedback” from Bon Accord bosses following the move, adding: “They are seeing an increase in footfall coming in, not just to them but also to the city centre.”
And government agency Public Health Scotland praised the “innovative” site, saying similar schemes could be launched across the country.
What else does the Aberdeen vaccination centre offer?
The board also agreed to change the name of the health facility.
It will now be known as the Aberdeen City Vaccination and Wellbeing Hub to show that it offers more than just jabs.
The centre has become a “one stop shop”, providing support and advice on a range of issues. And it’s even a discreet spot for struggling residents to collect food parcels.
Around 33 other organisations are currently working closely with staff at the vaccination centre.
Mental health support is available on a daily basis, while representatives from Aberdeen in Recovery visit every week.
What’s next for the vaccination centre?
The vaccination team is looking at the venue being used to deliver Vitamin B12 injections.
They are also working closely with local schools.
Harlaw Academy pupils will be heading in to do a project around patient feedback, and helping to promote the activities at the hub.
Lead nurse Stephen Main said the broad range of services gives staff there the opportunity to learn new skills and potentially progress in their careers.
He added: “There is a lot going on in the centre and there is a really good buzz about it.”
Difference between Aberdeen venues ‘chalk and cheese’
At this morning’s meeting, Ms Anderson told the board that the centre had received “lots of great feedback” from residents.
Users like that they can visit the facility and speak to a nurse about other issues while attending for a jab appointment.
Others appreciate that the centre has anonymity, meaning they can go in but others won’t know the particular reason why.
Ms Anderson also revealed staff are working with Cfine to offer food bags that people can pop in for and pick up.
‘I couldn’t believe the hustle and bustle’
Board member Jamie Donaldson told his fellow members that a recent visit to the vaccination centre had taken him by surprise.
He said: “The difference in moving from John Lewis into the centre is chalk and cheese.
“I couldn’t believe the hustle and bustle that was going on, I was quite taken aback by how much was on offer to our citizens.”
It is hoped that funding from the Scottish Government can be found in the coming months to allow the centre to operate beyond 2025.
Meanwhile, clinics in Airyhall and Bridge of Don will continue to provide services to residents.
Do you think the new centre is better than its predecessor? Let us know in our comments section below
Third home for Aberdeen’s vaccination centre
The vaccination team was initially situated at the P&J Live arena at the height of the pandemic.
The team moved to the former John Lewis store on George Street in September 2021.
However, the service moved for a third time to its new home inside the former Topshop unit at the shopping centre back in June.