More than 230 bands will compete in the World Pipe Band Championships on Glasgow Green on Saturday 11 August. The fierce competition to be world champions for bands and individual bagpipe players and drummers, will attract more than 8000 skilled musicians from around the world.
Tickets for the finals at World level, are already sold out. People who buy tickets for the all – day spectacle show, can listen, free, to the competitors in the early, other levels of the ‘Worlds’ as the event is fondly referred to.
Ian Embelton, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Bands Association said: ‘The entry this year in the ‘Worlds’ is an indication of just how much the bands enjoy coming to Glasgow to compete.’ The competition has been associated with the city for more than 60 years. He added: ‘The pipers and drummers and all the supporters, enjoy a great day out. This year we have more than ever on offer. There is nothing quite like a day out at The World Pipe Band Championships.’
The event is for all the family with Highland Games, Highland Dancing, children’s activities and a serious competition among six of Scotland’s best known chefs. They will vie with each other in cooking demonstrations at the Flavour of Scotland arena, using some of this country’s finest ingredients.
Picture here are two of the chefs – John Quigley of Red Onion and Colin Manson of Malmaison – who were checking out where they’ll be cooking up a storm on Saturday 11 August. They’re wearing Help for Heroes kilts from Cameron Ross, the world’s biggest kilt hire supplier. The company has pledged £4 to Help for Heroes charity for ex-military service personnel, for every kilt hired from them in the Help for Heroes tartan.
For further information about ticket availability, prices and concessions for the World Pipe Band Championships call 0141 353 8000 or go to www.theworlds.co.uk
by Alastair Brian
Children from Holy Cross Primary School in Govanhill got a GIANT surprise on Monday 18 June, when present day giant, Big Rory paid them a visit.
Primary pupils from across Scotland had been encouraged to create artworks based on the myth of the creation of the Giant’s Causeway during a fight between legendary giants Finn McCool in Ireland and Benandonner in Scotland.
The competition was sponsored by Tourism Ireland in celebration of the new Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre in Northern Ireland. More than 400 children entered, and the winning piece was created by 12-year-old Iman Adlain, a Primary 7 pupil at Holy Cross Primary.
The talented winner has been rewarded with a trip to the stunning Giant’s Causeway with his family and was presented with his prize by Big Rory the Giant who stands 9 feet high.
Award-winning Scottish children’s writer Teresa Breslin visited the school alongside Big Rory, and held a storytelling session, recounting the legendary tale of the Giant’s Causeway and the feud between Irish Giant Finn McCool and the Scottish Benandonner which resulted in its creation.
She said: ‘I am delighted to visit Holy Cross Primary School to present Iman with his prize and to join his school mates in celebrating his success. I’m always eager to get involved with projects which encourage children to develop their artistic and reading skills, and I was delighted to witness such a high volume of entries.
‘Schools from all over Scotland produced artwork of an extremely high calibre, and Iman’s representation of Benandonner is very colourful and unique. He’ll now have the opportunity to see this most amazing natural phenomenon when he visits the Giant’s Causeway with his family.’
The £18.5 million Visitor Centre at the Giant’s Causeway is due to open in July 2012 and will use the latest technology to guide tourists around Ireland’s only World Heritage Site. Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: ‘With the opening of the highly-anticipated Visitor Centre scheduled for next month, there has never been a better time to visit the Giant’s Causeway and we are delighted to invite Iman and his family to experience it first-hand.’
Further information on the Giant’s Causeway and what’s happening in Northern Ireland this year can be found at www.discoverireland.com
John Wilkes, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council has issued a strongly worded statement at the end of a dramatic week for asylum seekers.
He said: ’News this week that that up to100 refused asylum seekers are to be evicted from their accommodation in Glasgow brings into sharp focus the shocking reality and inhumanity of how the UK Government treats people who have sought sanctuary in our country.
They are being forced into abject destitution because our asylum system has failed them.
These are men and women who have come from countries with appalling human rights records and well documented conflicts or oppressive regimes such as Iran, Iraq, Somalia and Eritrea. But their claim for sanctuary has been refused.
The public has been led to believe that asylum seekers whose claims are refused have somehow ‘abused’ the system. Yet, many refused asylum seekers would have qualified for some form of protection had they applied in another country or had they applied for asylum in the UK in the past.
Now they are existing in limbo. They cannot go home – either because it is not safe or because it cannot be logistical arranged, due to lack of co-operation from the governments of their countries of origin.
But yet as refused asylum seekers in the UK, they are entitled to nothing – they receive no financial support, no accommodation and of course, are not allowed to work. That means they have to rely on friends, family or charity just so that they can eat and find somewhere to sleep.
The reality is that there are already well over 100 destitute asylum seekers living on the extreme margins of society in Glasgow. They face a daily struggle to simply survive.
Charities have had to step into support them; they shouldn’t have to.
Grass roots organisations and faith groups are already stretched beyond their means whether they are providing food packs, accommodation in night shelters, tracking down volunteer hosts to put people up for the night or hosting drop-ins where people rely on the free lunch as much as the emotional support on offer.
The Scottish Refugee Council has teamed up with British Red Cross to offer emergency advice surgeries for people affected by the current situation. The British Red Cross is also funding Refugee Survival Trust so that they are to provide small grants, given out by the Scottish Refugee Council, to offer financial aid when it is most needed.
The UK Government urgently needs to face up to this unacceptable, appalling and inhumane policy.
We are calling once again on the UK Government to restore integrity, pride and humanity in our asylum system by returning to a more inclusive approach to its assessment of who is in need of protection.
People seeking asylum should also be allowed the dignity and right to work to support themselves and contribute economically to Scotland while they wait for a decision on their claim. If they can’t work, they should receive support from the point at which they make their claim to the time that they either recognised as refugees or are returned to their home country.
Only then can we all have faith and pride in our asylum system.’
Thursday 18 April is the deadline to return registration forms and applications to vote by post for anyone who wants to vote in next month’s local government elections.
To vote on Thursday 3 May an individual must be registered and aged over 18 on polling day. They must also be a citizen of the UK, Ireland, the EU or qualifying Commonwealth citizens.
George Black, Glasgow City Council’s Chief Executive and Returning Officer said: ‘Make sure you are registered to vote, especially if you have changed your name or moved house this year. And if you want to vote by post or proxy, rather than go to the polling station, then there is still time to arrange that too.’
Residents can print off relevant forms from www.glasgow.gov.uk/elections, or phone 0141 287 4444. ’We don’t want anyone to miss their chance to have a say in how Glasgow is run,’ said Mr Black. ‘But they need to act now.’
Around 200 people will be made destitute and left to live on the streets of Glasgow soon when the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) makes them homeless. The UKBA has moved its housing contract for asylum seekers worth £175m, from Ypeople to Serco.
Joe Connolly Chief Executive of Y People, told an emergency meeting today (Thursday 29 March) in Garnethill Community Centre: ‘We have to give back the properties. They are not ours. Many of the leases expire in May. We might be criticised, but we have pulled out all the stops and will be making a strong statement at the right time.’
Meanwhile groups such as Unity in the Community, Positive Action in Housing, Glasgow Welcomes Asylum Seekers, Glasgow Destitution Network and Glasgow Night Shelter are organising support.
Said Michael Collins of the Anti Deportation Coalition: ‘We expect to be inundated. Many of the people who will become homeless are not only destitute but also very vulnerable. In Govan area in recent weeks we’ve seen numbers double. That’s only one part of the city.’
Said Jamie O’Neill, of Positive Action in Housing: ‘We’ve had people in our office saying they’ll commit suicide as they see no answer to their situation.’
The Scottish Refugee Council in conjunction with the British Red Cross has opened an additional surgery to deal with the new wave of destitute asylum seekers. Commented Tesfay Waldemichael, Asylum Services Manager: ‘The surgery will be held on Wednesdays between 2pm and 4pm in the Ypeople premises at 33 Petershill Drive, the Red Road flats. If someone has been told to leave their accommodation and their claim for asylum has been refused, they can get information and practical support such as sleeping bags and toiletries at this weekly advice session. But they can also come to our offices in Cadogan Square during our regular office hours and we advise them to do so.’
Some destitute asylum seekers who have received letters saying the lock on their door will be changed in the next two weeks, are in dire straits. Said one: ‘If I sleep on a friend’s sofa, they will be in big trouble. I have no money and no where to go. What am I supposed to do? I can never go home to my country. I thought I would find safety in the UK but I might have to sleep in the streets.’
Clever apprentices who should be commended for their skill and attitude are being looked for by Skills Development Scotland. The national body wants employers and training institutes to nominate the best of the bunch by noon on Wednesday 29 September 2010 for the Modern Apprentice of the Year awards. Full details on website: www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk
The awards celebrate the high standards of apprentices, employers and learning providers involved in the Modern Apprenticeship programme and have been running for nine years.
There are ten categories including Apprentice of the Year in both traditional and non-traditional sectors, people under 20 and those over 20 and the best apprentice of the year in level 2. The ceremony will take place at a grand event in Glasgow’s Radisson Blu Hotel in December when the top award of Modern Apprentice of the Year will be presented.
Skills Development Scotland chief executive Damien Yeates said: ‘ I hope we receive a record number of entries this year as they are a great way to recognise the talent, skills and achievements of first class trainees in all areas and all sectors – and the commitment of the companies and organisations who support them in building their future by developing their skills.’