View Full Version : Fit's in 'e Groat 'e day?

02-Mar-12, 14:19
John O’ Groat Journal review: March 2, 2012

HOMELESSNESS could rise significantly in Caithness if housing benefit claimants are penalised for living in larger properties than they require. With a lack of one-bedroom accommodation available in the county, fears are growing, that people may be forced onto the streets with nowhere to go. The UK government is set to introduce a new welfare reform bill, next year, which will see tougher regulations on under-capacity. If housing benefit claimants are judged to be living in a house which has more bedrooms than they use, their benefit will be reduced. The move could result in them not being able to afford to stay in their houses.

A THURSO engineering student has made an astonishing recovery from major spinal surgery to force his way into international sporting contention. Jason Ridgley left with his parents yesterday to begin his attempt to claim a place in the UK team at this year’s Paralympics. Following an arduous rehabilitation from his operation in September 2009, the 18 year old has made a major splash in disability swimming. He holds eight Scottish and two UK records in his category and is this weekend taking part in the first of two Paralympics qualifier at the Aquatic Centre, the swimming venue at this summer’s London games.

A MULTI-million redevelopment at John O Groats will be revealed to the public as the project enters its final stages. Natural Retreats is inviting local businesses and residents to an update on the 6m scheme at the Far North’s most iconic tourist destination. Work at the site began in September last year to transform the abandoned John O Groats House Hotel into a self catering complex of 19 luxury apartments with 23 detached holiday residences alongside. The first visitors are due to arrive in the summer. It is hoped that the revitalisation project will bring new life to the much visited tourist attraction and remove its image as one of Britain’s most dismal places. It was named the winner of the Carbuncle award in 2010.

A PIER built at Scrabster harbour nine years ago, could be causing erosion at Thurso beach. The claim was made this week at a meeting of the town’s community council, but William Calder of Scrabster Harbour Trust, said it is “a total revelation” to him. Community council chairman Don Smith highlighted the issue on Tuesday night and said work is needed to address the problems which were blamed on the Queen Elizabeth pier. It was claimed the pier, built in 2003 to accommodate Northlink’s 29 million vessel MV Hamnavoe, which plies the Pentland Firth service to Orkney has affected the currents and created “a swirling effect” which is causing the damage.

YOUNG Thurso footballer Gary Mackay-Steven yesterday spoke of his delight at being picked for the Scotland under-21 football team for the first time. He said: “It was a proud moment for me. To represent your country at any level is a great honour but to do so in a big game against Holland, is and added bonus” he told the Groat yesterday. The Dundee United player, who was praised by Scotland under 21 manager Billy Stark after the match, said the Scots had chances to win the game but felt that a draw was probably a fair result.

ELDERLY people in the Highlands are paying thousands of pounds more to live in local authority care homes than in other parts of Scotland. Figures show that pensioners staying in residential homes run by Highland Council, pay an average of 735 per week-38,220 annually. It is the fifth most expensive total in Scotland. Residents in council homes in Shetland pay the most, at 923 per week while OAP’s in Orkney have to stump up 902. However, in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and West Lothian, residents only pay 315, which works out at 16.380 a year-less than half the amount Highland residents are charged. Outraged campaigner John Morrison said he is disgusted that “self-funding” pensioners have to pay more than double the amount than other areas.

DOZENS of passengers were left stranded in Orkney after a cracked window resulted in a ferry service being cancelled between the islands and Caithness. NorthLink Ferries was forced to cancel all sailings between Stromness and Scrabster last Friday, when a crack on one of its windows in the canteen area of MV Hamnavoe, caused concern to the captain. The vessel’s timetable had already been disrupted due to severe gales of up to 60mph battering the Far North and the company had reduced the number of sailings on its route, to just two.

LEARNER drivers in Caithness have been urged to check that the person teaching them to drive, is fully qualified to do so. A police investigation into unlicensed driving instructors, resulted in one person in the North being reported to the procurator fiscal and now Northern Constabulary has warned learners to check out their teachers The alleged unlicensed instructor was said by police to have been operating throughout last year.

Money is being raised for a charity in tribute to a Thurso mother who lost her fight against cancer. Kirsty Dickson, who worked locally as a nurse, died in January, from an extremely rare form of cancer, after a short battle. Before she died, the 43-year-old left some money to her mother to donate to a children’s cancer charity. Her funeral took place at the crematorium in Inverness where donations were made to CLIC Sargent, but a number of Mrs Dickson’s friends and former patients were unable to attend and wanted to make a contribution to the charity. As a result, a fundraising campaign has been held in her memory to raise money for the charity’s work to support families of children who are suffering from cancer.

DESPITE not being a first-team regular, this season, Shaun Sinclair is the only players who is guaranteed to be in the starting 11 for Wick Academy tomorrow against Formartine United following last week’s defeat at the hands of Turriff United.