It was magic for nearly 150 youngsters from a dozen schools in and around Glasgow who played in the Variety Scotland 5-aside tournament today.
The annual event was held in Toryglen Sports Centre. Real magician Stevo, who’d just flown in from a big gig in Germany, and his colleague Tickles who was, appropriately, dressed in pink, entertained while the teams in three age groups competed.
Who won in the under 12s, the 12-14 and the over 15s categories may be revealed at a later stage. But the best bit was socialising and playing the game. ‘This was football and it was fun,’ said one 10-year-girl at the end.
Variety Scotland Chairman, Iain Forbes and long serving Variety member Jack Zimmer were delighted with the turnout. Said Iain: ‘We bring together kids from special schools and schools in less well off areas to compete in a friendly way in sport.’
The Variety Scotland coaches were on duty outside to take everyone home at the end.
The charity, till recently called the Variety Club of Scotland, holds major events to raise funds for their work. Their annual race meeting will be in Hamilton on 23 August and they are already well ahead with plans for their St Andrew’s Night Tartan Ball in November.
‘We spend 90p out of every £1 we raise in Scotland,’ explained Iain. ‘Volunteers do the bulk of the work with only two part time staff in a small office which is about to move to Westerton.’
While the organisers talked, the children played. Said class assistant Evlyn Sim of Kirkrigg School in Castlemilk: ‘This has been a fun day. The children had a great time and it generates a great team spirit.’
More than a dozen Kinship Carers groups have formed a Scottish Kinship Carers Alliance to fight the ‘institutionalised discrimination’ experienced by the young relatives they look after.
Glasgow City’s Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, welcomed more than 170 people who are concerned about the legal rights being denied the children – often their own grandchildren – in their care.
Alliance Chair, Anne Swartz said: ‘We are sick of seeing the children in our care suffer without the basic support from Local Authorities. Kinship children are routinely written off and discriminated against while foster placements have access to a wide range of support and services. Enough is enough. We have come together to put a stop to this institutionalised discrimination and fight for the rights of our children.’
She added:’The Alliance was partly formed in response to large charities being tasked with representing and supporting Kinship Carers. We do not feel that these agencies represent us, and want direct access to policy makers and politicians. We are the experts with the best knowledge of the issue and it’s solutions. From now on we should be the first port of call on Kinship Care for all service managers and policy makers.’
Jessie Harvey a Kinship Carer for her 8-year-old grandson, had the audience on their feet applauding her moving speech. She said: ‘We will not stand for any more discrimination or injustice against them. Their human rights are being exploited by education, health visitors, politicians and funders. These people need to sit up and address the needs these children have.’
Chair of the Kinship group for North Glasgow, Jessie said later: ‘Psychological help for children as young as five, is withheld from kindred carers’ children but is offered as a matter of right, to fostered children. She added: ‘Children’s sleeping patterns, their eyesight, hearing and difficulties paying attention in school are all the result of what they’ve gone through. But there is no-one to help them or their carers. The children are excluded from the class. But schools should be helped to help them. There is no research going on right now into what is happening to these young minds and there should be. The addiction problems of their parents should not rub off on the kids. And present funding allocation are not putting a pint of milk on my table. We should be asked about what we, as carers, see is needed.’
A video message from Northern Ireland Kinship Carers Alliance was screened. Said Anne Swartz: ‘They have been an inspiration to us.’
In a keynote speech, Anne Marie Peffer, Scotland Manager of the charity Buttle UK, launched their groundbreaking Kinship Care Report almost at the same time as it was released in London.
A leading children’s grant-giving charity, Buttle ‘s report ‘The Poor Relations? Children and Informal Kinship Carers Speak Out.’ is a comprehensive study showing the impact of informal kinship care arrangements.
Carried out by the University of Bristol, the research shows that Local Authorities in Scotland currently recognise and support 1,736 children in Kinship Care. The majority of placements are informal and are not, automatically, entitled to any support. Said Anne Marie Peffer: ‘We have been taken aback by the poor health Kinship Carers and their children suffer and the severity of the financial hardship they are enduring. While unable to provide even basic items, they are saving the Scottish Government millions in care costs each year.’
One child in every 71 in Scotland is estimated to be living in Kinship Care.
With this research, the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance now plans to lobby hard to negotiate changes in the new Children and Young People’s Bill later this month (April)
SUNDAY 14 April 2013
Tomorrow, more than 100 kinship carers and VIP supporters will meet in Glasgow City Chambers to launch a Scottish Kinship Care Alliance.
They will campaign for the rights of the children – often their own grandchildren – in their care.
Chair of the Alliance and a Kinship Carer from Dumbarton, Anne Swartz, says: “We are sick of seeing the children in our care suffer because of the lack of basic support from local authorities. Kinship children are routinely written off and discriminated against while foster placements have access to a wide range of support and services. Enough is enough. We have come together to put a stop to this institutionalised discrimination and to fight for the rights of our children.”
She adds that large charities had been tasked with representing and supporting Kinship Carers. “We do not feel that these agencies represent us. We want direct access to policy makers and politicians. We are the experts with the best knowledge of the issue and it’s solutions. From now on, we should be the first port of call on Kinship Care for all service managers and policy makers.”
According to Buttle UK – a leading children’s grant-giving charity – as many as one child in every 77 in the UK was being brought up by grandparents or other relatives in 2001. The charity considers that figure is higher today and in Scotland currently estimates one child in 71 is cared for by relatives who are not their birth parents.
At the Alliance launch, Buttle UK will deliver their most recent study of the true cost of Kinship Care in advance of publishing it in London. It will reveal the correlation between Kinship Care and poverty as well as give up-to-date figures and details of the impact on the caring relatives.
The move will coincide with negotiations on the new Children and Young People’s Bill later this month. The Alliance proposes a number of changes to Kinship Care provisions and will press to have them taken into full consideration.
The launch will be attended by a range of MPs, MSPs, Councillors and civil servants as well as heads of Social Work, Police, Scotland’s Human Rights Commission and the Children’s Commissioner.
Anyone interested in the Southside of Glasgow, its history, traditions, fun and music will have a feast on Saturday 23 March 2013 when an all-day conference will be held by the South Glasgow Heritage and Environment Trust.
The day will include many great speakers who can tell about the Music, Mirth and Magic of the cultural life of that part of the city. Pantomime, Temperance and the Glasgow Apollo are on the list of subjects to be discussed.
All of this for £10 which includes lunch in the cosy environment of the Premier Inn, Ballater Street, Gorbals G5 from 10.30am till 4pm.
Thursday 21 March 2013
Glasgow City Council will – today – almost certainly decide to close three of the seven day centres currently used by 520 people with learning needs.
More than 300 angry people who consider the centres vital to the well-being of their families, agreed tactics to persuade the city’s Executive to reverse the expected closures of Berryknowes in Cardonald, and Summerston and Hinshaw Street in Maryhill. Some of them will be at the City Chambers to make their voices heard.
The mass meeting on Sunday elected representatives to continue pressure on the Council. An 11 point action plan was also agreed unanimously.
Dr Christopher Mason, Glasgow’s official Carers’ Champion elected by the Council, admitted his report hadn’t made much impression on the Council decision makers. He had proposed a review of the services for people with learning needs before any decision on closures. ‘There is not enough money to run seven centres. Therefore they need to shut three. But we have to ask the question: ‘After the centres are closed, will the 320 people who attend them, suddenly have got better ?’ The answer, of course, is no.’
SNP Councillor Susan Aitken for Langside Ward said that ‘constructive suggestion, after constructive suggestion’ had been ‘blocked and shouted down’ by the Labour group. ‘They have lost the moral argument and their language has become offensive. It is disgraceful. This decision (to close the centres) was made a long time ago and the administration don’t want to listen. The Labour group are in power and they’ve made it clear they’ll use that power. But their decision on Thursday has no legitimacy. Not one single Labour Councillor is present at this meeting to listen.’
Bob Doris SNP MSP who has presented two motions against the closure of the centres in the Scottish Parliament told the meeting: ‘It is unacceptable that a Glasgow Labour Council is closing these day centres. They are lying when they say they have to do this. They can’t use legislation as an excuse. Other local authorities are doing things better and when the SNP administration in Dundee got it wrong, they had the humility to admit it and start again. Glasgow’s approach is a shambles and an affront. Neither services users nor carers have been asked what they want and that is not acceptable.’
Karin Mc Sherry, a 50-year-old user of one of the centres said: ‘I love my centre. It’s where I see my friends and use the computers.’ Her sister Eileen explained how much the centre meant to her sister. She said: ‘When Karin was five, we were told she’d never learn to read or write. But our mother fought that. The centre has given her a life far beyond what had been mapped out for her. She has friends, goes to college, done drama and computing. The Labour administration does not represent constituents like us. It represents the Labour Party.’
Brian Smith, Secretary of Glasgow branch of UNISON union which helped organise the meeting in the Radisson Blu hotel, said: ‘We are shoulder to shoulder with you in opposing any closures.’
A similar message came from Ian Hood, co-ordinator of the Learning Disability Alliance for Scotland. He gave detailed figures of how spending on learning disabilities in Glasgow was much smaller proportionately than the budget for older people and even less than the rate of inflation. ‘We’re in this for the long haul,’ he said. ‘Glasgow’s action is discriminatory against people with learning disabilities.’
Glasgow City SNP Councillor, Billy McAllister, speaking from the floor of the meeting, said: ‘The people of this city need to waken up. They are being treated with total contempt.’ He recommended that families concerned in the day centre closures should make Councillors’ lives ‘misery.’ He said: ‘Go along to their surgeries. There’s usually no-one there. Talk to them for three or four hours and tell them they were voted in to represent their constituents – not their political party.’
One carer outlined the time when social workers who’d rarely visited her, arrived in force and stayed for three hours. ‘We were exhausted,’ said the carer. ‘But we are still fighting and we won’t go away quietly. We have rights and we can make demands.’
Chairman Tommy Gorman said a carer who was called ‘obstructive’ by social works’ people was actually being ‘protective’ of their family. Later he said: ‘In the short term we’re not going to change the minds of the Councillors but we can vote them out next time round.’
Councillor Matt Kerr, Executive Member for Social Care on Glasgow City Council later said: ‘The way social care is to be delivered will be completely changed by the Scottish Government’s self-directed support legislation and we have to manage that change.
“We believe that a Public Social Partnership offers the best possible way ahead as providers, service users and carers will all be involved in the design of future services.
‘We have also written to the Scottish Government asking for transitional funding to support the Public Social Partnership and to assist with the modernisation of our learning disability day services.
‘The reform of services would be phased in over a 12 month period and no-one will leave their day centre until they have a personal care plan that details exactly how they will be supported in future.’
A Christian family who had to flee for their lives from Pakistan are now instrumental in alerting European leaders to the suffering of minority groups in their homeland and elsewhere.
Currently living in Glasgow, brothers Sheraz and Shahid Khan have set up the Global Minorities Alliance. Chairman Sheraz said: ‘There is a lot of discrimination in Pakistan and this motivated us to set up the Alliance which condemns any kind of violence against minorities anywhere in the world.’
The Alliance website reported how – earlier this month – a mob set fire to the homes and shops of more than 100 Christians in Lahore, Eastern Pakistan. The area, called Joseph Colony, was attacked after two men who had been friends, had a disagreement. The Muslim man accused his Christian friend of ‘blasphemy.’ Under recent laws, people found guilty of blasphemy can be sentenced to life imprisonment or death. A Christian woman farm hand, Aasia Bibi has been on death row for almost five years after work colleagues accused the mother of five of blasphemy. In 2009 amid similar accusations of blasphemy, eight Christians were burnt alive in Gojra, a small town in Punjab.
Shahbaz Bhatti, the country’s only Christian minister for minorities and a long-time critic of the blasphemy laws, was gunned down on 2 March 2011.
In Pakistan 97 percent of the population are Muslim with the remaining 3 percent made up of Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadiyya and Parsis.
Younger brother Shahid Khan was in Germany when violence erupted in Joseph Colony. As Vice Chairman of the Alliance, he was meeting German Parliamentarians and religious leaders to alert them to the plight of minorities in his own country and in other places around the world.
He said: ‘We are deeply concerned over the continuous abuse of Pakistan blasphemy laws. We call for peace, tolerance and harmony in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world and we request President Zardari of Pakistan, to release Aasia Bibi.’
Only days after the recent violence in Lahore, Shahid met Mr Memet Kilic and Mrs Ute Granold both German Parliamentarians, and told them of the conflicts in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Both Parliamentarians expressed support for the Alliance’s call for peace, global tolerance and interfaith respect and harmony. Along with Mr Khan, they condemned the growing sectarian, religious and communal violence in Pakistan.
Later, Rabbi Daniel Alter, a representative of Berlin’s Jewish community on Interfaith Dialogue, assured Shahid Khan of his strong support of the Alliance. He invited the Alliance to apprise his community of its vision. The two men pledged to work together to promote global interfaith harmony.
The Alliance website reports on persecution of minority groups around the world: www.globalminorities.co.uk
Tuesday 26 February 2013
The race to find £2.7 million to create a Mountain Bike and Activity Centre at Cathkin Braes was launched today.
‘We already have £50,000 promised,’ said Anne McChlery, Director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust which is behind the project. ‘It’s a big ask so late in the day, but we are confident this Centre will be ready for the Commonwealth Games next year.’
She praised the ‘synergies’ of an already popular mountain bike track being created at Cathkin Braes by Glasgow City Council and the willingness of Glasgow Archdiocese to allow a redundant, B-listed, church building to be adapted as a centre for the mountain bike activities and for local community use.
Architects responsible for the proposed transformation of St Martin’s Church are award winning Elder and Cannon who are based in Glasgow. Their feasibility study and appraisal plans were commissioned by Ardenglen Housing Association Ltd in Castlemilk.
Said architect Alison Hesketh who with colleagues Stephen Hoey and Tom Connolly has devised the plan: ‘The main challenge is to get this open for the Commonwealth Games and to accommodate a wide range of facilities. There will be a community cafe, performance space and education activities as well as mountain bike changing facilities and a bike repair workshop all contained in the church building on Cathkin Braes and all easily accessible.’
Lord Provost Sadie Docherty: ‘This is very much a community led project. I’m delighted to see this proposed Commonwealth Legacy project emerging to support the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Track.’ She said the iconic church building had fantastic memories for many Castlemilk people who attended the Sunday discos run by the church. ‘They led to a lot of marriages…’ she added.
Councillor Archie Graham, who has Executive responsibility for the 2014 Commonwealth Games said: ‘This is a fantastic project. It builds on the challenging mountain bike course which is already well used. It promotes cycling, puts a derelict building to good community use and encourages a healthier lifestyle. We should celebrate all of that. And it comes with a panoramic view of Glasgow!’ He added: ‘Once the elite athletes have gone, there will be something tangible for everyone. I forecast that when 2019 comes and the Games are reviewed, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike and Activity Centre will still be up there among the best legacy projects.’
Local cyclist Colin Hyslop, a member of the very active Mitchelhill Community Group which is one of the key partners driving the idea said: ‘We are getting positive feedback all the time. On Sunday, out on the Track, I could hardly get cycling for people asking me when would the Centre be ready to use? My only concern is that it won’t be big enough!’ The facebook page has already got 687 ‘likes’ and more than 2000 people use it each week to get information on cycling activities at Cathkin Braes.
On behalf of the Archdiocese, surveyor Kenneth Crilley said: ‘The church building is an architectural jewel in Castlemilk. This project will bring it back to life and allow it to be used by the wider Glasgow community. We are all delighted at the prospect.’
How Glaswegians have been entertained over the past 150 years will be the theme of an all-day conference in Gorbals on Saturday 23 March 2013.
Organised by the South Glasgow Heritage and Environment Trust (SGHET) it is open to anyone interested in hearing about film, cinema, music hall, theatre and some of the personalities who’ve been seen in these places.
Excellent speaker are promised for the event which will be held at the Premier Inn, 80 Ballater Street G5. Tickets (£10) can be booked through the website: www.sghet.org
Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf spent Monday afternoon with Peter, a Big Issue vendor as part of International Street Paper Vendor Week. He stood outside Morrisons store in Crossmyloof, to find out what it’s really like to sell the magazine.
Vendors buy the magazine themselves at 50% of the cover price, and then sell the magazines on to earn money.
As well as a number of other ‘guest’ vendors to raise the profile of street vendors and the challenges that they face, International Street Paper Vendor Week will also see the International Network of Street Papers, a Glasgow-based charity, organising a variety of events from photography to vendor parties.
Said Humza:“Today I was able to experience first-hand the work of a Big Issue vendor, and had the opportunity to understand how important selling the magazine is to vendors.
“For Peter, the Big Issue offered him a lifeline and has allowed him to turn his life around. Selling the Big Issue allows the vendors to help themselves, and take control of what is essentiall, a small business.
“Today’s experience has shown me what a massive difference it makes when people take the time to stop and chat with vendors, even if they don’t buy the magazine. Peter has a great relationship with the staff and customers at the store. It was a pleasure to work alongside him.
“I encourage everyone to find out the name of their Big Issue vendor and to have a chat with and buy the magazine.”
A delighted Kim Carr wants readers to www.localnewsglasgow.co.uk to support MINI MOVES in the tv hit show GOT TO DANCE on Sunday 3 February.
She said: ‘My daughter, Jay’s dance group Fear of the Unknown did well last year. Now their new group MINI MOVES will be seen on Got to Dance on Sky1 hosted by Davina McColl.
Mini Moves audition receive 3 gold stars from the celebrity judges in the audition show and they were given a standing ovation.’
On Sunday the 3rd of February, it will be revealed which acts have been chosen by judges for the live shows in London on Sky1. If Mini Moves are chosen, they will be in the running to win £250,000 which will be used to improve their dance school Dancepoint in Glasgow to the benefit of many young people.
Since it is the public who vote live on the show for their favourite act, Kim is asking everyone to support the local team when the voting time comes after they’ve been selected. ‘Sunday 3 February it NOT voting time yet,’ emphasised Kim. ’That’s just when we find out if MINI MOVES are through to the section where the public can vote when that show goes out live.’
The girls are trained by Robert Hamilton of Dancepoint Musical Theatre School, Oxford Street, Glasgow. He also produced The Box and The Fear of the Unknown dance groups from previous Got to Dance series and The Fusion from Britain’s Got Talent.
The young people at Dancepoint regularly perform all over the UK at charity gigs and have helped raise over £250,000 for a variety of charities.
MINI MOVES is made up of: Jay, 11 from Renfrew; Cara,11 from Old Kilpatrick; Skye, 11 from Glasgow; Jo, 11 from Stepps; Holly, 10 from Clydebank.
Jay was part of The Box from Got to Dance series 1 and The Fear of the Unknown series 3. Holly was part of The Box series 1.
facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Minimoves/402799869800569?ref=stream
twitter – @minimoves2
website – meet the girls – www.dancepointglasgow.co.uk
you tube link to first audition – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zil7CR9N8Dw
Said Kim: ‘A Scottish act has never won the show before. As you can image the girls are really excited, so fingers crossed for them.’