SO SCOTTISH Week has arrived and the sun has disappeared from the sky, typical...but the weather hasn’t deterred those hardy revellers who have been taking part in the week-long programme of events which got underway on Saturday.
Organisers said they were delighted with the crowd who turned out for the opening parade, but just a little disappointed that the sun didn’t shine. Perhaps there is hope that the weather will improve throughout the week. Fingers crossed.
Speaking after making his opening speech in Grant Park to the assembled crowds, chairperson of the organising committee, George Alexander, who is also a newly elected councillor, didn’t waste much time in giving the folks of Forres and beyond a bit of a pep talk, pointing out that even though the skies were grey, and the RAF are leaving, that the Army are due to arrive, and business is thriving in some quarters, and that Forres does have a positive future, and indeed has been in worse situations before.
This might not sit well with families, who are feeling the squeeze due to the current economic situation, or indeed with those RAF personnel who have lost their jobs and are now facing the prospect of trying to find something else, which is not easy, and may mean they have to move away, but there must be hope.
Hope came for the personnel when a job club was set-up specifically to help them, negotiating quite closely with the oil industry, which has been recruiting. There have also been reprots in the ‘Gazette’ of job creation at the local call centre, and plans to construct a power plant on the edge of our town, which brings additional possibilites. The councillor is right that we must move forward in a positive manner...nothing else for it.
Mr Alexander is also making headlines elsewhere this week with a move to create a patient participation group who will work together with Forres Health Centre to discuss any problems that arise and try and get a better understanding from people about how the system works, and how they can make it better for themselves. He wants people who want to progress the problems in a positive manner to make themselves known to him, so that he can press ahead with the patient forum.
Some might feel just a wee bit uncomfortable with his diagnosis that everything negative in the town, such as lack of skilled jobs which drives our young people away, or the documented problems getting an appointment at the health centre, can be dealt with purely by brushing it under the carpet, just as a new broom sweeps clean, but the truth is, we can’t undo what has been done, but we can decide to try and sort things out and work to try and encourage investment and jobs to our area. Talk may move things forward in a constructive manner, and perhaps by airing the problems, we can figure out a way of dealing with them together.
Meantime, the town is coming together this week for the Scottish Week events and in just a few weeks will come together again as we open the gates and invite the vistors to Forres to enjoy the Highland Games.
This town is special, the community and nature of the people is what makes it special. We will survive is not just a corny one-liner from a well known song, it is a mantra we must adopt. So far, so good.