Glasgow’s traditional May Day rally gave a platform to city campaigners fighting to keep day centres open for people with learning disabilities. Said Jennifer McCarey, Chair of Glasgow Trades Council who managed the speakers in the O2 music venue at the end of the march from George Square on Sunday 5 May 2013: ‘This was a fabulous success. It isn’t easy for people fighting the Day Centre Closures to be heard, but we helped that happen.’
Tommy Gorman of Unite Union who is leading the campaign to stop the closure of Berryknowes, Summerston and Hinshaw Street Day Centres, gave a blow by blow account of the situation to the large audience. ‘We will lobby Johann Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon to get these centres kept open. We are not going to allow our families to be piggy in the middle.’ He also said they would lobby Enable charity on Monday 13 May from 12 noon till 2pm. ‘They do not represent the views of the people who use the day centres. We will be asking for the wishes of the people who do use the centres to be respected. We are not out to score political points,’ he said. ‘We are out to treat people with humanity and to defend the jobs of the highly skilled workers in these centres,’ he concluded to loud applause.
Mary McArthur, one of the day care campaigners told this website at the end of the rally: ‘We will not give up. The fight is only starting. It was really good to be part of this May Day rally and see that so many people really care. The turnout was magnificent.’
Kinship Carers will be the first ever group to present a petition to Glasgow City Council’s year-old Petitions Committee. The historic meeting will be on Tuesday 7 May at 1.30pm in the City Chambers when the Carers will claim the children they look after are being discriminated against.
Most Kinship Carers have taken responsibility to raise their own grandchildren when the parents are unable to do so.
Representatives of the New Fossils Grandparents Support Group in Glasgow’s East quarter will put forward their concerns.
They claim that despite having the same legal status under Section 70 of the 1995 Children’s Act, a child placed in foster care by a Children’s Panel receives recognised allowances while a child formally recognised by the Children’s Panel as being cared for by a grandparent or other kincarer, gets nothing.
Said one kincarer: ‘These disadvantaged children are Scotland’s real shame. They walk away with just the clothes they stand in. The other children have a £100 emergency grant for immediate needs, a cheque for up to £500 to buy necessities like beds and an age related allowance from £131 to £231 a week: all paid to their carer.
‘If this kind of discrimination was being made between children of different colour or gender or religious background, there would be a public outcry. But because it is ‘only’ grandparents who are taking care of their grandchildren, the assumption is they don’t deserve or warrant the same help or support that official foster carers receive.
‘I believe this is systematic and institutionalised discrimination just as bad as apartheid. It is no way to treat our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.’
The petitioners ask Glasgow City Council to give kinship children the same allowances and levels of support as foster children. The Scottish Government agreed unanimously in 2007 that this should be done within three years. Subsequently all Councils in Scotland signed up to a Concordat to do so. But to date, only Highland Council has implemented it.
Earlier this year, Kinship Carers across Scotland launched a new national organisation to be the single campaigning voice for the rights of the children in their care. Said Anne Swartz, Chair of the Alliance and a kinship carer from Dumbarton: ‘We are sick of seeing the children in our care suffer without the basic support from Local Authorities. Our children are routinely written off and discriminated against while foster placement children 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.’
A recent study of kinship carers and the children they cared for was carried out by Buttle UK, a children’s grant-giving charity and the University of Bristol. It showed that each child cared for by an informal kinship carer, saved the taxpayer between £23,500 and £56,000 a year. In Scotland, one child in every 71 was being brought up by a kincarer such as a grandparent, sister or brother or other relative. Most of these family carers were put into severe poverty as a result of taking in the children. And while the children were doing considerably better than children in formal care, they still had unaddressed severe behavioural and emotional difficulties as a result of the traumas they had experienced.
Councillor Billie McAllister of Canal Ward in Glasgow is one of the members of the City’s Petitions Committee.
He told this website: ‘I’ve been on the committee for one year and this will be the first petition we’ve heard. We should be inundated with petitions for the amount of injustice being experienced in our communities. But I don’t think the Council is serious about this. A recent meeting was cancelled because we were told there was ‘nothing on the agenda!’ I couldn’t accept that and pushed to get some action. This petition is, I believe, the result of that. I’m not at all happy with how things are run. There is talk of democracy and community empowerment but no-one can open their mouth to say anything other than to agree with the powers that be.’
The other items to be considered by the Petitions and General Purposes and Policy Development committee on Tuesday will be (a) an update on the progress of the City Centre Service Desk which went live in August 2012 and (b) Glasgow’s Draft Single Outcome Agreement 2013. This was submitted by the Community Planning Partnership to the Scottish Government on 2 April 2013 and is a ten year plan for priorities and ‘better outcomes for residents.’ After consultation with the Community Planning Partnership partners, the plan will be submitted to the Scottish Government for final agreement by 28 June 2013.
Sports journalist Alison Walker is learning Portuguese – because the famous Pele told her to! This was one of the many things she revealed to around 100 Glasgow Business Club members at their lunch meeting today in Firhill Stadium.
Introduced by President Norman Ferguson, Alison recounted her rise to fame despite the frequent, chauvinistic attitudes of her male colleagues. ‘I’d never admit I’d two children,’ she said.
She reeled off a list of eminent sports people she’d interviewed and told delightful, insightful tales of incidents along the way. At the 2012 Olympics, Pele was one of her interviewees – along with David Beckham, Henry Kissinger and the King of Spain. She told Pele she’d love to report on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. ‘He advised me to learn the language. So that’s why I’ve spent the last six months at Glasgow University learning Brazilian Portuguese!’ she recounted.
Recently she set up her own media training company. ‘I’ve time to spend with my children now. But as they’re teenagers, they don’t want to spend time with me!’
Next month the guest speaker will be Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. Known until recently as Glasgow South Business Club, the organisation now holds meetings in a wider geographic field than it did before. Therefore the meeting on May 21 will be at GTG Training Centre in South Street, G14 0BJ. For futher details check the Glasgow Business Club’s website.
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.’
A campaign to highlight the real legacy of Margaret Thatcher will demonstrate across the road from the ATOS office in Corunna House, Cadogan Street, in Glasgow’s city centre at the time of her funeral tomorrow (Wednesday 17 April) at 11.45am.
The organisers invite anyone supportive of their view of her legacy to join them. ‘The legacy of Thatcherism is the bedroom tax of today,’ said organiser Sean Clerkin. ‘And ATOS being used by the Department of Work and Pensions to put people through the degrading screening to take them off benefits they are entitled to, is part of that unspeakable legacy.’
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)
In common with many Community Councils (CC) in the city, Yorkhill & Kelvingrove CC is struggling because of lack of local activists.
A public meeting on Tuesday 16 April at 7pm in the Gaelic School in Berkeley Street will discuss its future. Said Chairman Tony Ownsworth: ‘Our Secretary, sadly, died of cancer. Our Treasurer recently stepped down after giving long warning that he’d vacate the volunteer position. I’ve been chairman for a number of years and would like to go out and smell the roses but I’m having to do the work of chair, secretary and treasurer.’
But the group will have only 1 hour and 40 minutes to deliberate as that is the strict time of the hire of the venue. ‘In the past we use the community centre in Overnewton Square but it was far too cold and is currently closed,’ said Tony. ‘This is a very important meeting to determine whether and how our Community Council is to continue.’
He added: ‘I’ve put notices up around the area but I noticed some of them had been taken down which is very disappointing. We could do with someone who knows how to operate our Facebook page. I’m sure that would help.’
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is the only Scottish contender for the title ‘Museum of the Year 2013′ and a £100,000 Art Fund Prize that goes with it.
Last week, judges made the popular Glasgow Gallery their first visit on a tour of the ten UK Museums competing for the coveted award. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 4 June, live on Radio 4.
On the shortlist twice before, the KG as it is known locally, is hoping to make it third time lucky. Said Bridget McConnell, Glasgow Life Chief Executive: ‘It was a real honour to host the Art Fund judges and tell them why we and the citizens of Glasgow love the KG so much.’
Each year the Art Fund rewards and highlights the innovation and creativity of leading museums in bringing objects and collections to life.
Following presentations from the Museums team, the judges walked around the place on one of the busiest days of the year – the last Friday of the schools’ Easter holidays.
Said Stephen Deuchar, Chair of the Judges and Director of the Art Fund: ‘The Kelvingrove is not only rooted in its collections but also attracts new audiences.’ He instanced three recent big shows – the rock super group AC/DC; the Pharaoh of Egypt and the Italian Collection. ‘They all brought in new people who wouldn’t have visited otherwise. That’s the real legacy.’
Another judge, Sarah Crompton, Chief Arts Editor of the Telegraph, said: ‘This is a really invigorating place to visit. It is full of people clearly enjoying the excellent historic collections which are presented in accessible ways. And it invests in its visitors with an interestingly diverse exhibition programme.’
The third visiting judge, Bob and Roberta Smith who is a contemporary artist and activist, agreed and added: ‘This is an amazing experience. Everything the museum does is about investing in the people of Glasgow.’
Since reopening in 2013 after a £35 million refurbishment, the KG has had more than 10 million visitors. Commented Councillor Archie Graham, Chair of Glasgow Life: ‘The staggering success of Kelvingrove has not been achieved by accident. We work incredibly hard to put on a programme of temporary exhibitions, events and activities to inspire citizens and visitors alike.’ He added: ‘We’re over the moon to have been nominated for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year and hope it will be third time lucky for an attraction that is much loved and admired by the people of Glasgow and Scotland.’
PHOTOGRAPH by Ian Watson.
SUNDAY 14 April 2013
Two Southside schools were recently awarded funds from the ‘Awards for All’ Lottery small grants scheme.
St Constantine’s Primary School and Nursery Class on Drumoyne Road received £9,974 and Penilee Nursery School on Inkerman Road received £10,000.
St Constantine’s plans to make people and communities healthier by installing ‘Trim Trail’ adventure playground equipment and generally improving the school grounds.
Penilee Nursery will create an outdoor learning and play space for all pupils by installing planters, benches, an outdoor hexagonal shelter and active play equipment such as a ‘tunnel challenge’, a log wall, a sloping balance beam and new artificial grass. This plan meets the Awards for All criteria of ‘making people and communities healthier and providing better and more sustainable services and environments.’
Local MP Ian Davidson congratulated the schools and said: ‘Awards for All measures these grants on public benefit criteria. I congratulate the Depute Head Teacher of St Constantine’s, Miss Deirdre Connolly and Team Leader at Penilee Nursery, Mrs Carol-Anne McKay, as well as all staff from both schools, for their outstanding work in preparing a successful case for these grants.’
Awards for All is the National Lottery’s small grants scheme. It awarded grants totalling £368,594 to 57 groups across Scotland in April.
An Awards for All spokesperson, said: ‘Awards for All proves that the smallest amounts of funding can often make the biggest difference to people’s lives. Whether the money is spent to help bring back life to a high street or to be used to re-open a much needed community service; it’s great to see so many small groups coming forward with the aim of making a difference to their local community.’
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.