As the national epidemic of sex abuse allegations continues unabated, we are informed, courtesy of Aberdeen Journals, that witnesses in the trial of an Aberdeen Community Centre manager claim to have reported the inappropriate behaviour of the accused, to Aberdeen City Council, as far back as 2008. Such allegations will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the complacency, collusion, corruption and cover – up already reported, in some detail, on this site.
For some years now, Aberdeen City Council appear to have consistently ignored reports of various forms of alleged misconduct within community centres. On many such occasions the complaints appear to have disappeared or been greeted with the response “it’s nothing to do with the Council as it’s a leased centre and therefore not under our control”.
It will be interesting to see what action will be taken in response to these latest allegations and whether or not the Council employees, charged with the responsibility of investigating these specific complaints, will be identified and afforded the opportunity to respond. One would surely expect that the sworn testimony of witnesses might be sufficient to ensure that an independent inquiry might be held into the management and operation of all Aberdeen community centres and the roles played by Aberdeen City Council employees and elected representatives during the past decade and more.
It is simply unacceptable that any responsible authority should take such an inherently dangerous laissez – faire approach to the running of any publicly owned and publicly funded establishment.
As the Inchgarth propaganda machine, Aberdeen Journals included, moves into top gear, one is reminded of an old cliché which reminds us that “if something seems too good to be true then it probably is”
In recent days we have been subjected to a deluge of information reminding us that St Paul O’Connor MBE Burgess youse is aw mince by the way is the saviour of our city as well as the solution to world poverty. To be fair, most of the information has been courtesy of the shy, retiring and not at all unstable St Paul himself, albeit with the help of some of his journo chums. St Paul is to establish food banks, give away free food and drink to “young people”, roll out a myriad of initiatives to help the elderly and the disabled, create jobs for the disabled, entertain the elderly and disabled from his “social care budget”, bring schools closer to their communities, whatever that means, turn water into wine, share a few loaves and fishes with the entire population of Scotland, and do all of this ” FREE OF CHARGE” Lepers with a trade are advised to steer well clear of St Paul as he continues his mission to justify an imminent improvement to his £30,000 salary earned as a “volunteer” at Inchgarth Community Centre.
Of course, it is all nonsense. As we already know, the Inchgarth Chairman/Manager and his loyal servants do not provide anything unless it is fully funded by someone else and has the potential to generate further income and publicity for themselves. The latest scam in which he has decided to unilaterally extend the scope of the suspended coffee initiative to include “young people” is particularly questionable but should serve to increase the profits for Inchgarth Inc.
Many of you will have been wondering how the latest addition to the Inchgarth café franchise, “Peggy’s 2″ being just the latest in a long line of café developments in recent years, is faring, and pondering whether or not the record of the BAA operated Aberdeen International Airport, in terms of charitable donations, could possibly be as pathetically inexcusable as their efforts to attract and/or maintain any acceptable level of choice of air transport for the long suffering Aberdeen based traveller. It would seem that any such questions have now been answered.
Aberdeen International Airport, in their press release of 7th December 2012, justified their donation for the latest Inchgarth café as follows: “The entire ethos is to enable, educate and train people with disabilities, young people with mental health issues and retired people to fulfill(sic) their potential and improve the quality of their lives while providing an environmentally positive product and sustainable facility”
Three weeks after the much heralded completion of the BAA sponsored project, the Inchgarth Management Committee justify the optimism of their hapless donors by boasting of the success of the project thus: “Why not pop along and sample our paninis, baked tatties, home – bakes, sandwiches and other meals and snacks”
Undoubtedly the “tatties, sandwiches and snacks” served in the £50,000 “Peggy’s 2″ will be of superior quality to those previously served in the now defunct £70,000 “Peggy’s 1″. Nevertheless, one wonders what has happened to all of the promised benefits for the whole community so vaingloriously trumpeted by BAA and Inchgarth. One is not required to look far for the answer. The Inchgarth Management Committee tell us: ” The good news is that Peggy’s will get even busier and will soon roll out the next of the initiatives that will complete the project” In other words, they have replaced a café with a café and have no intention of providing any of the promised benefits to the community. To add insult to injury they announce that “Another improvement is the start of the work to turn one of the rooms into a tuck shop that will serve youth and special needs clubs”
It does not require too much intelligence to understand that, in some sort of warped Inchgarth system of community apartheid, the “youth” and “special needs” groups are to be banished to some back – room “tuck shop” so that there is no inconvenience to the paying customers in “Peggy’s 2″.
Bravo BAA!!!! What a wonderful choice you made…
The much heralded completion of the latest addition to the catering arm of Inchgarth Enterprises Inc appears to be a step closer according to the latest announcement on the Inchgarth website which informs us as follows:
Well the wait is nearly over folks and the much anticipated launch of our new Peggy’s cafe will take place on Monday 8th April which will create a long lasting legacy for our centre, community and users.
Wonderful news especially when one reads previous announcements from Inchgarth, such as that issued on 25th October 2006: The centre(Inchgarth) recently got a new reception area with coffee bar and drop – in Internet access.
Should one not be sufficiently impressed then what about another new cafe completion in 2010 which was greeted thus: The centre raised some £55,000 to create this project which will be a significant asset to the entire community. This particular development was so successful that it led to a further public announcement on 16th April 2011: A cafe has raised £11,000 for an Aberdeen Community Centre in it’s first year.
I’m sure the Garthdee community must be delighted that Inchgarth Community Centre have now completed their third cafe development in seven years and that Aberdeen Airport Ltd(BAA) will be rightly proud that their money has been spent wisely. Let’s hope this particular legacy lasts a little longer than the previous versions.
The Press & Journal campaign against the Labour Party in Aberdeen, and in particular Councillor Willie Young, continued apace today when well known champion of the tycoons, Editor Damian Bates, in an inspired and truly unique piece of journalism, found two political opponents of the Labour Party who, believe it or not, were “critical” of the Labour Party for their so called “boycott” of Damian’s renowned investigative organ. Once again Damian and his team of freedom loving reporters have managed to blaze a trail of journalistic excellence for others to follow. Imagine that, political opponents criticising each other. I wonder if it will catch on.
Now that it has been firmly established, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that the Inchgarth Management Committee deliberately misled their members on the subject of their hall floor and willfully misrepresented themselves as a registered charity, one begins to wonder why they felt the need to do so.
There can be no doubt that the Inchgarth Committee are extremely talented, resourceful and ruthless when it comes to fund raising. It can be said, with similar certainty, that it is easier to raise funds if one is in fact a genuine registered charity, hence the reason for their deception. Why then, one wonders, do the Inchgarth Committee not simply become a registered charity? This would enable them to continue to raise funds at an unrivaled level without continually being accused of unscrupulous conduct and would surely present no administrative problem for such a well resourced organization.
As things stand, the Inchgarth Committee refuse to allow meaningful inspection and/or audit by any neutral outside agency. Indeed they have point – blank refused to allow entry to HMIe inspectors and others. By becoming a registered charity they would become subject to scrutiny by OSCR which would, once again, prevent accusations that they have something to hide. In other words, by becoming a registered charity they could prevent criticism and maximize income. Why don’t they stop pretending to be a registered charity and simply become one?
Pro – Trump “activist”and Press and Journal Editor, Damian Bates, appears to have worked himself into a bit of a state over the reported decision by the local Labour Party to “boycott” his newspaper. According to Damian, this attempt by the Labour Party to “demolish freedoms” comes about as a result of perfectly reasonable reporting by his newspaper(stop laughing) in which P&J reporter Rebecca Buchan and Damian describe a convicted drug dealer as both a “Drug dealer” and “Labour Party activist” in bold headlines before eventually getting round to informing viewers of his name, his address, his occupation, any of the details of the case or his sentence. They did also eventually bother to explain that the defendant had been the victim of a kidnapping!! It is also probably just a coincidence that only in the very last sixteen word paragraph of a full page report did our stout defenders of truth and freedom tell us that “Labour officials said they could not remember Khan being part of their team” and that they make no reference whatsoever to claims that the defendant is not a member of the Labour Party.
Some readers might suspect that Rebecca and Damian seem more interested in discrediting the Labour Party than reporting the facts and “what’s new” I hear you say. But were Damian and Rebecca telling the truth?
It seems that the justification for including the headline “Labour Party activist’s haul found after kidnapping” was a reference by the defence solicitor to the effect that the accused was a “hard worker who campaigned in the last two local elections for the Labour Party” Whether or not such a statement is accurate or not is still open to debate and, given that it is now being claimed he is not a member of the Labour Party, it may well be that, in their eagerness to discredit the Labour Party, Rebecca and Damian may just have managed to blur the lines between fact and fiction a little. Either way one suspects they should have ensured that the statement by the defence solicitor was appropriately verified prior to making such an unambiguous and potentially damaging assertion. After all it may not be true!
To think that some people don’t believe newspaper editors can be trusted to report in an ethical and objective manner. However did they get that idea?
As has been widely reported Asda, according to the Asda Foundation Manager Ms Julie Ward, recently decided to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the £10,000 donation from Asda Bridge of Dee to Inchgarth Community Centre. Unfortunately it seems that hopes of a degree of clarification or of any concerns being allayed were wildly optimistic and there is no point in banging our heads against the locked Asda door in an effort to find answers. Indeed the official statement from Asda to the effect that they are assured that the generous donation “was spent by the centre in line with the purpose agreed by the board of trustees” merely adds fuel to the fire of the conspiracy theorists. It is difficult to envisage a less illuminating statement than that released by Asda, especially when one considers that they fail to divulge what the purpose was. Given that two different Asda employees had already provided completely different explanations as to the purpose of the donation, one might almost be forgiven for concluding that Asda are being deliberately vague. Of course there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation but it would appear we are never going to hear it.
To remind readers, Inchgarth Community Centre announced in March 2012 that they had successfully raised money for a new hall floor and had proceeded to have the new floor laid. Many weeks later, Asda announced a donation of £10,000 to pay for the very same floor which, as had been reported by Inchgarth weeks previously, had already been laid. This timeline is undisputed and is, according to the Inchgarth website, completely accurate. When questioned on this apparent anomaly two Asda employees – Ms Donna Ord and Ms Claire Bush provided conflicting accounts of why the donation had been made and for what purpose the money could be used. Having taken the time to, allegedly, conduct an enquiry, Asda are still, quite bizarrely, not only refusing to explain the apparently anomalous timeline but are also unwilling or unable to confirm the actual purpose of the donation.
It is inevitable that there will be much speculation as to why Asda appear a little secretive and, given their unwillingness to even try to enlighten us as to the original purpose of the donation, suspicion and cynicism are unlikely to disappear. There certainly appears to be no appetite, within the Asda organization, for any semblance of transparency.
Having barely had time to digest the magnitude of the most recent allegations, it seems that there is no end to it. Further to the allegation that Asda had refused to allow posters, from a bona fide charity to appear on their notice board, in favour of the profit making activities at Inchgarth Community Centre, it seems that a miracle of biblical proportions has taken place. Let me explain: The specific FREE activity being offered by the well established and highly respected charitable organisation, which Asda apparently refused to advertise, suddenly and quite out of the blue became available at the profit making Inchgarth Community Centre and was advertised on their website within days of the unsuccessful attempt by the charitable organisation to advertise their FREE activities at Asda Bridge of Dee. This is truly remarkable. A charitable organisation tries to advertise an activity, their posters disappear after being handed to staff at Asda Bridge of Dee and within days this very same specific activity becomes available at the profit making Inchgarth Community Centre for the very first time. Spooky or what?
It has often been rumoured that some of the staff at Inchgarth Community Centre are blessed with special powers and this would appear to confirm it unless, that is, someone can come up with a more logical explanation.
It is not often I sample what passes for night life in Aberdeen but I was recently rewarded for my bravery when a chance meeting with a charming young lady provided me with further information concerning the inexplicable Asda policy of devoting their entire notice board, including their charity section, exclusively to Inchgarth Community Centre. Up until this meeting I had been willing to accept that Asda had simply failed to do their homework and that Inchgarth had perhaps been the only organization who had taken the time to approach Asda to request the use of their notice board. What I was to discover is, however, damning evidence that Asda seem to have made a conscious decision to refuse to allow anyone else, no matter their credentials, to advertise on their notice board.
On 21st January 2013, the aforementioned lady entered Asda Bridge of Dee with some posters, hoping to advertise FREE classes being run by the well established, highly respected and very well known charity she represents. On finding the notice board she was struck by the fact that that the entire board was dominated by Inchgarth Community Centre but thought no more of it and approached the Asda Customer Service Desk. She politely introduced herself and explained that she was seeking permission to advertise the FREE classes on the Asda notice board. Unfortunately she was dealt with by staff she described as being “very frosty” who eventually agreed to check with the people “in charge”. The Asda staff then explained that those “in charge” were on holiday but agreed to accept the posters and seek permission to put them on the notice board when those “in charge” returned. Unfortunately the posters have not, as far as is known, appeared on the notice board.
It is, of course, always potentially hazardous to read too much into one incident but the evidence against Asda is beginning to appear overwhelming.
Asda fill their charity notice board with the commercial activities based at Inchgarth, they donate £10,000 to Inchgarth in highly suspicious circumstances, their staff give inconsistent and contradictory explanations and they refuse to allow their notice board to be used to advertise the activities of a real charity which are FREE OF CHARGE whilst advertising the commercial activities at Inchgarth, some of which cost £80 per hour, as a CHARITY!!!!!
I really do hope Asda can offer a satisfactory explanation for this latest episode as it appears to confirm the suspicions of many that the relationship between Asda and Inchgarth Community Centre is contrary to the interests of the community and, some are even saying, potentially corrupt.
For myself it is difficult to accept that an organisation such as Asda would indulge in such cronyism and even more difficult to imagine why. It does appear though that they have some difficult questions to answer.