Orchid Fair blooming this weekend

April 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Glasgow’s annual Orchid Fair takes place on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 April, 2012 in the Kibble Palace at Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens. In its 15th year, it is eagerly-awaited by followers.

Entry is free and open from 10am until 6pm on Saturday and 10am until 5pm on Sunday.

Specialist orchid nurseries from all over the UK will tempt visitors with their exquisite flowers and plants and offer advice on how to keep them. In addition, there will be displays by the Scottish Orchid Society, the British Cactus and Succulent Society and the Glasgow and District Beekeepers Association.

The main range of glasshouses will be open, as usual, for visitors to enjoy the extensive tropical plant displays including the orchid collection. At the same time, there will be a book fair in the nearby Hopkirk Building.

Brian Devlin, executive director for Land and Environmental Services, said: ‘The Orchid Fair is certainly one of our most popular horticultural events of the year, bringing thousands of people to the Botanic Gardens. It is a great opportunity to view a wide range of exotic plants not so easily found anywhere else in Scotland. Whether you want to buy, ask advice or simply just look and learn, the event guarantees an enjoyable day out.’

TASK’S new premises officially opened

April 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The TASK team and families and friends enjoy their roof top garden after the official opening of their new centre.

New childcare Services in Gorbals were described as ‘brilliant’ by Linda de Caestacker, Director of Public Health NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on Saturday (31 March 2012) when she formally opened them.

Operated by TASK Childcare Services, the Family Support and Learning Centre is at 347 Caledonia Road and was in past times, the Gaelic nursery.

Established in 1993, TASK provides high quality, flexible, affordable and accessible services and amenities. The organisation takes a holistic view of what they offer so that the broad needs of the families and individuals who come to their door, can be addresses.

Thanks to a cocktail of funding from  Big Lottery- Growing Community Assets –  European Regional Development Funding, Glasgow City Council’s Development and Regeneration Services, New Gorbals Housing Association and other sources; the £1.7 million required to re-develop the former nursery school building was secured.

More than 60 people heard Linda de Caestacker say the facility was ‘brilliant for Gorbals community and beyond.’

Said Margaret Gunning, the TASK Centre manager: ‘We aim to enable parents and carers to sustain employment or training and we offer support networks to disadvantaged groups. This will improve, significantly, the social and economic welfare of their families.’

In the new premises TASK can extend other services to children and young people and increase community and family services by extending respite care, offering community meeting space and programmes and building family capacity and parenting skills.  The new centre has created six new jobs.

Exchange of social enterprise info

March 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, will be the keynote speaker at  The Social Enterprise Exchange, the world’s biggest social enterprise event on Tuesday 27 March 2012 at the SECC.

This unique forum brings together social enterprises and those wanting to do good business with Scotland and the UK’s innovative social business movement. It has been organised by Social Enterprise Scotland, Social Enterprise UK and CEiS Events.

First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said:In advance of the event, First Minister Alex Salmond said: ‘Social enterprises as part of an enterprising third sector are making a significant contribution to supporting a strong and sustainable return to growth for Scotland’s economy. We are committed to doing all we can to enable the sector to develop and evolve to deliver its full potential. The Social Enterprise Exchange event is providing an opportunity for social enterprises to learn from each other as well as from best practice around the world. It will enable organisations to innovate together and pick up new business. I am confident it will have a positive impact on the growth of the sector and the Scottish economy as a whole.’ Said Laurie Russell of Social Enterprise Scotland: ‘Scotland is probably the best country in the world for social enterprise. We have a tradition of being creative, enterprising and we are passionate about community empowerment and social inclusion. We are hosting the world’s biggest social enterprise event this year in Glasgow and I am delighted that the First Minister, Alex Salmond, will be making the keynote address at this unique event. The Scottish Government’s support has helped nurture the growth of social enterprises to make a real impact in communities across Scotland.’

Social Enterprise Scotland is an independent, Scottish, member-led organisation, built and controlled by social enterprises. Membership is open to anyone. For more information see website:  www.socialenterpriseexchange.com.




Crown estate report to be published.

March 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

During its inquiry to the Scotland Bill, the Scottish Affairs Committee received a significant amount of evidence, which identified a number of concerns and issues in relation to the administration of the Crown Estate in Scotland. Following an inquiry, the Committee will launch its major report into The Crown Estate in Scotland, at 1.00pm, on Monday 19 March, at the Kingsmill Hotel, Inverness.

Members of the public are welcome to attend this event.

The Committee Chair is Ian Davidson MP Lab/Co-op MP for Glasgow South West. The other Scottish MPs on the committee are: Jim McGovern MP (Lab, Dundee West), Iain McKenzie MP (Lab, Inverclyde), Pamela Nash MP (Lab, Airdrie and Shotts), Mr Alan Reid MP (LD, Argyll and Bute), Lindsay Roy MP (Lab, Glenrothes), and Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP (SNP, Banff and Buchan)

Scratching to be a DJ

March 14, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Elaine Jappy is happy to set up DJing courses

An enterprising university student has launched workshops to learn how to DJ. The skills are usually only taught through college HND courses. But Elaine Jappy has other ideas. The third year Commercial Music student at the University of the West of Scotland said: ‘The project is entitled ‘Everyone’s a DJ’. Each course will provide practical tutorial sessions on areas such as beat matching, scratching and using DJ software ‘Serato Scratch Live.’ I wanted something that allowed people to interact with music and take away practical skills. These workshops will give people who are not on HNDs, the chance to learn how to DJ.’

Tutors will include Derek Rollins, known as ‘DJ Dark D’. Derek has been DJing professionally since the age of 16. He has headlined Drum and Bass nights in Glasgow and Edinburgh as part of the ‘Pangea’ events held at Glasgow School of Art. He can also be seen frequently Djing in Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh.

Well known DJ Derek Rollins will be a tutor

The workshops will take place on the Saturday 17 and Saturday 24 of March at Berkeley 2 Studios, in Lancefield Street, Glasgow from 1pm till 5pm. For further information or to book a place see: www.everyonesadj.co.uk or call Elaine on 07597929309.

Two sides of the Springburn jobs market

March 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The sharp disparity between jobs and joblessness was highlighted this week in Springburn. A government announcement on Wednesday said Remploy’s Springburn factory will close with the loss of 46 jobs of which 43 are held by people with disabilities.

On Friday, Scotland’s First Minister visited the nearby manufacturing base of Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft’s (RSBi) to pay tribute to its 240 award winning staff – of whom more than half have a disability.

The two establishments are within a five minute drive of each other.

On his visit, First Minister Alex Salmond said: ‘Jobs are this government’s top priority, and a major part of that is investing in workforce training and development.

The First Minister chatted with many of RSBi employees.

Employers, workers, union and communities working in partnership with government to promote workplace learning, benefits all of us – which is why it’s so important to recognise achievements like those of the STUC award winners at Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries here in Darnick Street, Springburn.’

He went on: ‘Scottish Union Learning is supported financially by the Scottish Government and I’m proud of what our efforts are helping to achieve. But of course, the real credit lies with the staff here who work so hard to develop not only their own personal potential but the effectiveness of their teams. Each and every one of them has my very best wishes.’

RSBi is operated by City Building, Glasgow City Council’s arm’s-length construction firm.

City Building managing director John Foley said: ‘The First Minister’s visit today is recognition of the great job our staff are doing every day at RSBi, producing quality products for the public, private and third sectors. RSBi is a commercially successful organisation because we continue to adapt our product range to suit the evolving needs of our customers. That’s why we can employ 240 people. RSBi is not run as a charity but as a thriving social enterprise.’

Community Union – the largest trade union within RSBi – provides funding for a range of training courses via the Scottish Union Learning Fund, which is administered by the STUC.

Many RSBi staff have benefitted from training through the Fund, which has brought a direct economic benefit to individual employees and to the company as a whole.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said: ‘The STUC Union Rep Awards highlight the invaluable contribution that trade union members make in the workplace.’

The First Minister’s visit was organised after Robert Mooney, a development officer at RSBi, was awarded the STUC One Workplace Equality Award by the First Minister in November 2011.

A registered blind person, Robert invited the First Minister to visit his workplace and witness the state-of-the-art manufacturing taking place at Springburn.

RSBi has had a presence in Glasgow for more than 200 years. The business has continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of the marketplace and currently specialises in manufacturing a wide range of products from office, domestic and educational furniture to timber kits for houses and schools and beds among many other items.

In Remploy’s factory in Edgefauld Road, the impact of the closure announcement was just sinking in. Established since 1976, it is one of the 36 out of 54 Remploy factories expected to be closed this year as not commercially viable. This is because of the Westminster Government’s decision to reduce current funding as part of a package of reforms ‘to maximise the number of disabled people supported into work.’  Of the 46 workers at Remploy in Springburn, 43 have disabilities. They manufacture steel wheelchairs. Government funding for the entire Remploy network is expected to be reduced during 2012/13 with the aim of completing changes by autumn 2013. Soon, Remploy will start discussions with trade unions and management forums to begin the formal consultation on the proposals.

After the announcement William Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East said: ‘This is devastating news. In my constituency there are almost 20 people chasing every vacancy. It is incredibly tough out there. There is a big enough shortage of jobs without placing strain and pressure on some of the most vulnerable members of the workforce. The way this has been sneaked out is unacceptable.’

In Glasgow last year, Employment Services found 534 jobs for disabled and disadvantaged people.



Souter in top gear at Business Club

March 7, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Sir Brian Souter is thanked by Club President Remo Pisaneschi

Bus conductor Sir Brian Souter was just the ticket when he addressed members at Glasgow South Business Club on Thursday 23 February.

He said that Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) would lead the way out of the recession. ‘Never lose sight of the fact that SMEs create the jobs and the wealth.’

Dressed in flamboyant red shoes, the world entrepreneur – with 30,000 employees – said he enjoyed telling people he was a bus conductor when he and his sister set up a bus company in the 1980s. He is actually an astute, fully qualified accountant. In the course of his early training, he spotted the opportunity to provide a bus service between Glasgow and places such as Aberdeen and Inverness. From that experience grew the major bus company Stagecoach. He now operates Souter Investments, the family firm which recorded five major new investments in 2011 and whose personnel won top awards. With interests in Istanbul, Poland, 17 European cities and the UK, and with a minority shareholding in a new Latin American mobile virtual network under Virgin Mobile Latin America, he doesn’t seem to stop for breath.

But he admitted: ‘It was a relief on occasion to know I’d still got my home.’ He’d used his home as security and only when one deal came good unexpectedly because of a mistake in a property sale, was he able to breathe a sigh of relief.

He also said he’d learned from his mistakes. ‘We are all capable of making them,’ said Sir Brian to a full club turnout at an Ibrox stadium function suite.

On bus travel he contested: ‘Only when middle class people use the bus will that form of travel be de-stigmatised. But other things need to be in place too: the right public policies; priority lanes; buses running on time; and park and ride facilities.’

By making wi-fi available on his buses, Sir Brian’s companies had seen a high conversion rate of passengers from cars to bus. ‘But we’ve discovered a new problem – cars following our buses to avail themselves of our wi-fi!’

He shared with Club members and their guests his latest development: ‘Where a business is devoted to giving good customer service, the profits can be embarrassing large. So we now plan to put 45 sleeper coaches on the road – not the 25 that are currently available. This will change the business graph.’

In his summary he said that two things determine what happens in a company. ‘There are the mechanics of what is done, how that is controlled and audited. There there is the dynamic of ideas, passion, risk taking, vision, relationships, drive and gut feelings – all to do with people. You can have a good marriage of 25 years where the mechanics are fine but when you have a wife who can make you laugh still, you have the dynamics of a good relationship. Carry that through to business and you’ll have a really good business.’

Club President Remo Pisaneschi thanked Sir Brian for his illuminating talk and asked the first question: ‘Are you for or against Independence?

To which the reply was: ‘I’m a paid-up member of the SNP. I agree Alex Salmond is a great leader. He has vision. If you believe in democracy, if you believe in people making their own choices, then we can share Sterling, share the sovereign and share some services.’

The President went on to announce that First Minister Alex Salmond, had confirmed he’s address the next Club meeting on Tuesday 20 March. Members would have an evening buffet instead of a midday lunch. See the website for details as Members may take guests. www.glasgowsouthbusinessclub.co.uk



Labour candidates promise cradle to grave care

February 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The selected Labour candidates for Glasgow with their leaders.

Scottish Labour has unveiled its list of candidates for the local government elections in Glasgow – and promised to transform the support it offers from birth to old age.

The party’s  manifesto for the next five years in Glasgow promises:

– to expand free childcare by up to 1500 per child
– to offer a  guarantee of apprenticeships, jobs or training to every 16 – 24 year old in Glasgow.
– to rebuild or refurbish every primary school that needs it
– to build 3500 new homes for rent, and offers first time buyers help with mortgages
– to replace the Winter Fuel Allowance – cut by the Tories -for the over 80s in the city

The party will field 45 candidates across all wards in the city. Full details are on www.glasgowlabour.com/candidates.

Gordon Matheson, Labour Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: ‘This election is about the future of our city. Glasgow has changed so much over the years, but we need to keep moving forward and to give chances to the next generation.

‘Our candidates are working hard across the city, knocking on doors, talking to voters and listening to their concerns.

‘I joined the Labour Party to change society and change lives, and in tough economic times Labour in Glasgow will put people in Glasgow first.

‘That is why I have set out a vision to improve childcare, refurbish our schools, create jobs, build homes, and protect the city’s pensioners.

‘But this isn’t just about policies and new schemes to help people. This is about something much bigger. It is about protecting our citizens from birth to old age, giving chances to the next generation, doing always what we can to make the biggest city in Scotland the greatest city in the world.’


Challenge to make mediaeval clothes

February 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

People who enjoy sewing by hand sewing and can follow detailed instructions have the chance of some unique contractual work making mediaeval styled clothes and accessories. The garments are being designed and created to complement a book entitled Children from the Sky due to be published in May.

Written by Glasgow based writer and astronomer, Duncan Lunan, it concerns the mediaeval mystery of the sudden appearance of two green children dressed in strange clothes and speaking in an unknown language in a village in England. Now Duncan and his wife Linda with their Children from the Sky (CFTS) team, are developing promotional materials with some exciting ideas on how to tell the fascinating story.

For more information on the story and Duncan’s theories on what might have happened, check the website: www.childrenfromthesky.com For information on the hand sewing project contact Duncan or Linda or the CFTS team by email: childrenfromthesky@rocketmail.com or landline: 0141 221 7658.

Unique film of UCS Work-in to be screened

February 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Two contemporary films, shot by the only crew to be allowed into the Upper Clyde Shipyards during the Work-in are to be screened in Glasgow next month. And one of the original filmmakers, Ann Guedes, is flying in from Lisbon to take part in a series of panel discussions around the showings. This is the next event marking the 40th Anniversary of the famous Work-in.


The radical film collective, Cinema Action, formed by Ann, her deceased husband Eduardo Guedes and Gustav Lamche, followed the action around the Work-in as the Stewards took over the yards and prevented their run-down and butchery planned by the then Tory Government. The result was two unique films from the struggle. UCS 1 – a short (23 min) film depicting the workers strategy, how they gained community support for their campaign and took the fight right to the door of the Heath government; and Class Struggle: Film from the Clyde, a longer (83 min) documentary study of the Work-in, concentrating on the workers and shop stewards and their activity, running the yards and highlighting their fight to ‘keep what is keepable’.


The films will be shown, along with a short history UCS 40th Anniversary , produced by Kevin Buchanan of the STUC written by historian John Foster, and narrated by prominent actor and director, David Hayman, over three nights 21-23 March 2012 in Glasgow’s Mitchell Theatre. Tickets are available via the Glasgow Concert Halls website – www.glasgowconcerthalls.com


David Hayman will also be taking part in one of the panel discussions (on Friday 23 March) along with Ann Guedes. He said

“These films remind me what an extraordinary time it was. Suddenly a new way was possible in our world due to the courage of a group of hard-working men and women who seized the day with boldness and imagination. People power in action.”


Jimmy Cloughley, was one of the UCS Joint Shop Stewards committee, and had special responsibility for Communications both inside and outside the yard. He said that allowing the film crew in, paid off.

“We wanted to ensure that the viewpoint of the workforce was recorded, and Cinema Action did that job admirably. It was an historic struggle and an historic victory, and these films give a real flavour of the times. They are truly unique.”


Stephen Farmer was an apprentice during the Work-in. He was given the job of taking the crew around and got to know them very well. He says: “Ultimately I was laid off once my apprenticeship finished, but Cinema Action kept me on to continue working with them! Too often with working class history things aren’t well recorded, and I’m proud that I did my bit, both in taking part, and in helping to ensure this one was recorded.”


The Work-in lasted 16 months from July 1971-October 1972 and finished when all four of the yards threatened with closure won a future. The 40th Anniversary celebrations have involved two sell-out concerts, an exhibition, a lecture by Professor John Foster and receptions given both by Glasgow City Council and in the Scottish Parliament. The events have been funded by UNITE, the union, who are one of the main inheritors of the unions involved in the Work-in.

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