The boss of a north-east charity says he is confident it will continue to provide the same level of care despite uncertainty over Brexit.
The UK is due to leave the European Union on October 31, sparking concerns over food shortages and a lack of available medication – as well as the future of EU citizens living and working in the UK.
But Kenneth Simpson, chief executive of VSA, revealed the charity has been working for more than a year on its plans for departure day.
Bosses at the charity have begun the process of stocking up on food and medicines – and have taken steps to ensure the impact of Brexit is minimal.
Kenneth said: “We have been planning for Brexit since early 2018, because in reality we don’t know what it will mean.
“We have worked with government advice on how to secure the current employees who are EU citizens, and all the help and support they need to make sure they are permanent residents has been put in place.
“We have also put enhanced recruitment in place.
“Medication is really important and we have discussed all our requirements with our pharmacists and NHS Grampian, and we’ve ensured that even if there’s a no-deal Brexit there will be continuity for all the people we are responsible for.
“We have also increased our capacity to store frozen and dried goods to make sure everyone can be fed and watered, and we have discussed with our suppliers who have secured their supplies.
“In terms of utilities, we have gone into long-term three-year contracts for all our sites across Aberdeen and our suppliers have assured us everything is in place.
“Our investment partners have also ensured we are not exposed to a risk. We have spread our investments across places that won’t be affected, and that secures our future in the event of a financial collapse and ensures we have enough to run for four to six months, even if we have no income.
“We have taken a very prudent view and secured the key areas.
“We have done all we can and I would urge other charities to do the same.”
Kenneth added that he hopes leaders will be able to come to an agreement to ensure the country’s departure is seamless.
He said: “If there is a supply-chain difficulty where food can’t get in the country that is the worst-case scenario, but hopefully there are things in place to mitigate against that.
“The worst fear is that shortage of things but we believe we have done everything we can to deal with that.
“We would always rather not have to deal with the unknown.
“What we would like is for continuity to be in place regardless of what happens on October 31.”