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.’
Wednesday 20 March 2013
More than 800 primary school children danced their trainers off today at Kelvin Hall Sports Arena. To the music of the John Renton Scottish Dance Band, they enjoyed a ceilidh at Flying Scotsman pace.
For the eighth year, the Festival of Dance has given them ‘skills for life’ said the Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, when she officially welcomed everyone. ‘Once you’ve learned these dances you’ll use them and enjoy them for the rest of your life.’
The collaboration between the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) and Glasgow City Council’s Education Department encourages the young folk to keep fit, keep healthy and socialise through dancing. It also allows a thread of Scottish culture to be woven, naturally, into their education.
Wheelchair dancing was demonstrated and schools, including Barmulloch Primary, successfully integrated children with special needs in the activity.
Since January, more than 26 schools have been practising The Dashing White Sergeant, Antarctica Bound, and the Round Reel of Eight among other dances. Teachers and other school staff alongside trainers from the RSCDS have been doing the coaching, often as after-school activities. Their efforts were praised by Andrea Crawford who is responsible for the City’s Primary School, Physical Education strategies. She said: ‘It is absolutely phenomenal the amount of work that’s gone into today.’ Alan Munro, Chairman of the Glasgow Branch of RSCDS, who was Master of Ceremonies, said: ‘It is really enjoyable seeing so many children having fun. We are really looking forward to having the continued support of Glasgow City Council for this dance Festival. ‘
As Moira Sweeney of Avenue End Primary in Ruchazie, said: ‘The children meet new people. It boosts their self-esteem and they just love to dance. It is a real privilege to be a part of this.’
Commented one 10-year-old: ‘This is hard work but it’s great fun.’
While we Scots claim to know how to celebrate New Year, the Scottish Chinese community gave us a run for our yen last night at the See Woo restaurant in Glasgow.
More than 500 guests were entertained by a prodigious galaxy of stars from home and abroad including artistes from the ‘Cultures of China, Festival of Spring’ Troupe led by Mr Zhao Kun and organised by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
Among the VIPs attending were the Chinese Consulate General, Mr Li RuiYou; Glasgow City’s Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty; Provost Jim Todd from East Ayrshire; Provost Tina Murphy from Clackmananshire Council; Provost Helen Moonie of South Ayrshire; Provost Helen Oswald of Angus Council; Deputy Provost Councillor John Patrick of Falkirk Council; Deputy Provost Councillor Donald Balsillie of Alva and Bailie Fergus Wood T.D. of Stirling Council.
Hosts for the evening were the Confederation of Chinese Association in Scotland with a warm welcome from Chairman Mr Lui On Lee OBE with the Association’s First Vice Chairperson, Mr Thomas Ho, giving an appropriate vote of thanks at the end.
Following a feast of singers, dancers and highly skilled acrobats and breathtaking Lion Dancers a feast of Chinese festive dishes were served by the restaurant’s able staff. Copious amounts of tea and a little wine were consumed and people were happy without being outrageous.
When the official entertainment programme was completed, an informal ‘sing-along’ developed with most of the gold chained Provosts up dancing to ‘sexy girl’ – including Glasgow’s Lord Provost Sadie Docherty and the Chinese Consul Mr Li Rui You being among the first to show how to move it.
As the happy company said good night to make their way home; the Chairman of Glasgow Chinese Association, Mr Wan Tianming summed it up: ‘That was a brilliant evening.’
At least three asylum seekers in Glasgow have been locked out of their accommodation by Ypeople without warning. Each was left in the clothes he was standing in but with all his worldly goods behind the unyielding door.
The Christian charity, Ypeople, has lost the accommodation contract to house asylum seekers in Glasgow. The UK Borders Agency (UKBA) has given the £175 million contract to SERCO Group plc, instead, a British registered private service company which runs detention centres around the world.
Said Jeremiah from Zimbabwe whose case is in the process of being presented for a judicial review : ‘When I couldn’t open the door on Monday morning, I went to my lawyer. He told me to speak to the Home Office. They said I had to move everything out by tonight (Monday 14 May). I’ve lived here for four years and said that was impossible, they told me to have everything moved by 2pm on Tuesday. This makes no sense and is very stressful. They should at least give me some time to remove my things.’
Ako, an asylum seeker from Kurdistan where he is a human rights activist and a journalist, encountered a similar situation but was allowed back into his flat after two nights sleeping at a temporary night shelter in the city’s West End. He said: ‘I can’t sleep and feel bad.’ He was subsequently given a key to the new lock and is now back in his original flat after he and his friends put pressure on Ypeople.
Mohamed from the Sudan has been without support for more than one year. His Cranhill flat’s lock was changed without notice last week. He said: ‘When I went to the Ypeople’s office they told me to come back the next day if I wanted my clothes. I stayed with a friend that night and am still waiting on my clothes being returned to me.’
A charity registered in Scotland, Ypeople’s mission is: ‘to provide support to vulnerable groups and individuals including the homeless, refugees, asylum seekers and young people to enable them to adapt to change and improve their quality of life.’
The chief executive, Joe Connolly, was asked for a statement on the lockout situation but his office referred this website’s enquiry to public relations company the Big Partnership and a response was still awaited some hours after the initial enquiry and subsequent reminders.
The charity’s last annual report states that it looked after 2200 ‘service users’ in 1150 properties and homes across the city. ‘We are committed to providing high quality services,’ is part of Ypeople’s mission along with the commitment to ‘recognise the right of individuals and treat them with respect.’
At Ypeople’s head office in Govan’s industrial estate at Moorpark, their certificates are on display from the Home Office as a ‘recognised Supplier 2011′ and for Investors in People and as a member of the Glasgow Social Care Providers’ Forum as well as Quality Scotland membership.
Jock Morris, Chairman of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said: ‘We know of at least four people over the weekend who have had the locks changed in their homes, without warning. We met Joe Connolly and Glasgow’s Social Work chiefs two weeks ago and were assured no locks would be changed without people being told well in advance and that the Social Work department would ‘bend over backwards’ to help anyone affected – so this behaviour is irresponsible. These people have not been honest with us.’
On Monday, Unity, a group supportive of asylum seekers, held a demonstration with the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and others outside Brand Street where the UK BA offices are located in Govan. Later they moved to Ypeople’s offices a few streets away and set up their demonstration there.
Said a Unity spokesman: ‘Joe Connelly agreed to send a letter out to people explaining the processes and giving dates of when things will be taking place. No letter has been received by Mohamed, nor any of the individuals we’ve been in touch with. Once again, Y-People have failed to deal with vulnerable asylum seekers in a fair and honest manner. By using dirty tricks and giving unclear messages, they have created fear among the asylum seeking community. Some individuals, terrified by the threat of eviction, have gone into hiding,’ claimed the spokesman. He added that around 100 asylum seekers who have had their initial asylum claim refused but are unable or unwilling to return to their home lands, are still in Glasgow. ‘Many of these people are victim of administrative errors and poor decision making on the part of UKBA, yet are now facing imminent homelessness.
‘We’re calling on everyone concerned about this situation, to write to Y-People, expressing their concerns at their dishonest practices and asking them to adhere to due process,’ he said.
See their website for further information and contact details: www.unitycentreglasgow.org or email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Before protesting outside the Ypeople’s offices in Govan, the campaigners had stood in solidarity outside the UKBA offices nearby in Brand Street, Govan to support Angeline Mwafulirqa from Malawi as she signed in. She and her three children had been detained the previous time they signed in. They were taken to a detention centre in England and but, for the loud resistance of Angeline as she was being forced to board a plane back to Africa, the family would have been deported.
Said Angeline: ‘It is not safe for me to go back. I just screamed and made a lot of noise so that the airline – Kenya Airways – knew I would be boarding the plane against my will. I have been in the UK for six years. Two years ago I applied for asylum as I split up from my husband who is also from Malawi. My case for asylum has been refused but it is unsafe for me to go back to Malawi. Local custom there would require my children to be taken by their Father’s family.’
A three year battle to have a close inspection of structural work done by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) has been won by home owners.
Following an hour long meeting with the Scottish Government’s Housing Minister, Keith Brown, the Glasgow Home Owners’ Campaign has been assured that an independent, detailed, technical survey of the work will be carried out.
The owners, who are obliged to have GHA as their factor because their homes were previously Glasgow City Council properties, have complained that overcladding and re-roofing work has been below standard. They have to pay for the work and have complained vigorously since the various re-furbishment programmes started across the city, that the shoddy workmanship has resulted in dampness, leaky roofs and structural problems.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘Keith Brown, Minister for Housing and Transport recently held a positive and constructive meeting with the Glasgow Homeowners’ Campaign to discuss their request for an independent survey to take place on GHA owners’ properties.
“The Minister has agreed that an independent survey should be undertaken and consequently, the Scottish Government, in conjunction with the Glasgow Housing Association, will convene a meeting shortly to determine the procurement, nature and scope of the survey.’
GHA’s Executive Director of Regeneration and Development Alex McGuire said: ‘We’ll co-operate fully with the Scottish Government on the survey on homeowners’ properties.’
Commented Sean Clerkin, Chairman of the Glasgow Home Owners’ Campaign: ‘This is good news for homeowners and tenants. Once the full extent of the defective work is seen and providing it is corrected as quickly as possible, a housing and health timebomb will be averted.’
The Campaign members have built up a bank of evidence showing that in properties from tower blocks to four in a block to stand alone homes of ex council housing stock, overcladding has resulted in dampness inside homes, re-roofing has resulted in water coming in and other improvement work has been below acceptable standard. Many had refused to pay for the work and feared the health of the people living in the damp infested properties in particular, would suffer. Campaign meetings in the Jurys Inn Hotel in Jamaica Street are regularly attended by around 150-200 owners who have banded together as the stress of fighting their individual complaints alone, has been telling on them.
SNP leader, Alex Salmond, has assured Glasgow Home Owners’ Association that after the election, he will call for an independent survey of work done on their properties which they claim is a ‘health time-bomb’
The 200-strong Association has photographic records of faults in re-cladding and re-roofing work done by their factor – Glasgow Housing Association’s (GHA’s) appointed contractors.
Before the Scottish Parliament was dissolved, the then Minister for Housing and Communities, Alex Neil, met with the Association’s elected members. He later said he would not have an independent survey done.
‘We are very pleased Alex Salmond has agreed to have this done after the election, through the housing regulator or the Building Research Establishment in East Kilbride,’ said a jubilant Sean Clerkin, Association chairman.
After the knock-back from Minister Alex Neil last month, some of the Association members held a sit-in at the GHA headquarters in Trongate to show the extent of the shoddy work they consider has been done. Said leader Sean at the time: ‘We are sending a strong message to all the political parties during this election run-up, that there is a time bomb of ill-health and deteroriating properties because of the sub-standard work carried out.’ Added Vice Chair, Anne Booth: ‘We elect people to look after us. They are not doing this. When there is a problem they don’t help.’ They claim sub standard work has been done on thousands of home across Glasgow.
The campaigning group was part of a small lobby which confronted Scottish Labour Party leader Iain Gray in Central Station on the issue of public service cuts. ‘He ran away,’ said Sean referring to the well-screened flight of the leader out of the station and into a sandwich shop. The campaigners also confronted Annabel Goldie, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party leader who discussed some of the issues with them, on the spot. ‘We would have done the same with the SNP, but Alex Salmond spent an hour listening to our concerns on the shoddy overcladding, the closure of the Accord Centre in Dalmarnock and other issues,’ commented Sean. The campaigners plan to continue their public protests with a lobby outside STV on Tuesday 3 May before the final televised leaders’ debate.
A spokesman for GHA commented: ‘To date, we have overclad more than 36,000 homes across the city, making them warmer, drier and more energy-efficient. There have been issues with the work done on only a very small number of these houses. An independent survey carried out by the Building Research Establishment concluded that dampness found in a very small number of homes was caused by heating and ventilation issues and NOT as a result of the overcladding work.’