Love her or hate her, Margaret Thatcher has left a big legacy.
Trade Unions no longer hold the power they once had. Which means several generations of citizens have not had the chance to find out how to organise a campaign, how to conduct a meeting or the importance of taking accurate minutes.
But what does that matter? What’s the point of taking minutes when you can tweet?
In a different way the legacy has allowed hundreds of thousands of families to get onto the housing ladder by enabling them to buy their council house. That has depleted the housing stock, of course.
But what does that matter? A mortgage was relatively easy to obtain – until recently – so the essential of a roof over one’s head was a matter of two people working flat out for 40 or more years.
And we can’t blame the unscrupulous bankers on Mrs T – they happened well past her term of office.
But it leaves the unhappy thought that the ethos of ’no such thing as community’ has taken root. Bankers, like trade unionists of past times, have allowed power to corrupt and absolute power to corrupt absolutely.
One suspects she would never have allowed that to happen in her day.
It will be interesting to hear what is said to the 2000 official mourners. And even more interesting to see what might happen around the country on the day of the funeral by way of paying respect.
The children of Thatcher are now grandparents who may take a more mellow view of the legacy. Or they might realise how little a legacy they can leave for their grandchildren.
Thursday 8 March 2012
Event: Day Workshop: Taize – Singing for Life.
Facilitator: Rev Jenny Williams.
Venue: Meeting Room, Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2JL.
Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Workshop: 10am-4.30pm.
Event Description: Simple repetitive songs from the ecumenical Christian community are a way to experience unity – with one another and with the Divine. Easy to learn, great to sing with others. The focus of the day will be the experience of singing, silence and sharing which mirrors the way of life in the community itself in France. Information about the community, its history, purpose and influence will be woven through in response to the interests of participants.
Led by Rev Jenny Williams who lived in the Taize Community (www.taize.fr) for 18 months, an experience which both expanded her understanding of Christianity and led to a greater appreciation of other world religions. “The experience of living in the ecumenical Christian community of Taize in my mid-twenties changed my life. There I learnt a meditative form of prayer; encountered singing as transformal; met people from all over the world. In this workshop I hope to share my passion and gratefulness for this community that has moulded my spiritual life and practice.”
Cost: £25/£20 (Concessions). For a Registration Form:
Contact: Neill Walker, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0131 331 4469.
SATURDAY 10th MARCH 2012
UNISON GLASGOW CITY BRANCH
84 BELL STREET
GLASGOW, G1 1LQ
10 am(registration 10.30am UNTIL 2.00 pm
UNISON Scotland, Social Work Action Network and Defend Glasgow Services have organised this community conference to provide an opportunity for service users, workers, carers and families and those interested in the issues around personalisation, to come together.
There will be an open panel discussion, workshops to focus on key issues for all those affected and open floor discussions on latest developments. Also the opportunity to hear from and meet those most affected.
The conference will also discuss our aims as a wider community group and what we can do to make personalisation work in Glasgow and the whole of Scotland.
Places may be available on the door but to secure your place please contact UNISON Glasgow City Branch, on 0141 552 7069 or
This meeting is open to workers, service users, families and campaigners affected by the issues around personalisation and self-directed support. While it will focus on what is happening in Glasgow, it is relevant beyond the confines of the city.
Personalisation Networking Meeting
UNISON / Defend Glasgow’s Services Campaign / Social Work Action Network are hosting a joint meeting to discuss the impact of personalisation on people who receive support in the community.
This meeting comes at a key time as Glasgow plans a further £10 million in cuts to those with disabilities in its budget this month.
Tuesday 7 February 2012
UNISON Glasgow branch office, 84 Bell Street, G1 1LQ
(Tel: 0141 552 7069)
Battlefield Community Project is holding a planning meeting on Sunday 7 March at the site of the community garden at the corner of Ledard Road and Arundel Drive. The meeting starts at 1pm and everyone from the community is welcome to attend and contribute ideas for the development of the site. Proposals include vegetable planting, flowers, shrubs and a community composting project. The group has managed to secure funding towards the project from O2 and is currently awaiting conformation of further funding from another source.
Other plans for this year include another family day on Sunday 18 July, with entertainment, stalls and food.
By Alan McCrorie
Staff at Momentum Scotland, the volunteer network which helps people meet the challenges of living with disability, delivered a sobering message along with their thanks to BT after the telecoms giants gifted the group with a laptop and free internet access for a year.
Momentum, who run their Adapt & Assist service to help those with serious spinal injuries access computers and the internet, were made the award by BT Community Connections and are one of 6,000 groups to have benefited from the scheme since 2000.
Assistive Technology Co-ordinator, Garry Ryan, and Volunteer Co-ordinator, Doug Ross, told a gathering at Momentum’s Yoker offices that a disability may only be the beginning of a person’s problems unless their world is adapted around them in order to help them cope.
Professional and private lives can collapse, Doug explained. One in six people who become disabled lose their jobs while the incidence of divorce rockets and, for some, isolation threatens – all this and more on top of lives that have changed beyond recognition.
Garry said: ‘Simply being able to do their own shopping online and communicate with others via email or social networking sites can help ease the challenge of living with a disability.
‘By learning new skills and working with members of our volunteer team we can boost confidence and social inclusion.’
He also explained the use of such devices such as the head mouse, where a camera mounted on the screen will track a dot attached to the user’s forehead or spectacles, allowing the computer to interpret movements of the head and cue the computer.
BT Scotland’s Senior Partnership Manager, James McClafferty, gamely volunteered to work a voice recognition programme, and joined John Roberston, Glasgow North West MP, Co-Chairman of the All-Party Communications Group and former BT manager, in struggling to operate a keyboard that resembled the controls of a melodion.
‘This is what it’s like to live with disability,’ said Garry, looking on. ‘Everything changes completely.’
Mark Longhill, the Chairman of the BT judging panel who made the award to Momentum, tested a remarkable retina-based mouse control programme, while a sip and puff switch, which controls the mouse with the mouth, was also demonstrated.
Glasgow community workers are being challenged to take part in an exchange visit to Kenya next year.
Global Xchange, a development programme for community workers who focus on youth, wants to hear from 15 people in the Glasgow area keen to pick up their Kenyan challenge.
Community Xchange is run by Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) in partnership with the British Council. It has brought groups of young people to Glasgow from around the UK, Syria, Pakistan, Nigeria and India, and the volunteers have worked in organisations to make a difference in the community.
Global Xchange Programme Supervisor, Rohanna Law, said: ‘I am looking for 15 amazing people based in Glasgow to become participants on the exchange to host a Kenyan in their workplace for three weeks and to go to Kenya to work in a Kenyan organisation.
‘If you believe that young people can engage in active global citizenship to create positive change and build mutual understanding and respect. If you think that the organisation that you work with has something to share with someone from another culture, then I would love to hear from you.’
Community Xchange are also looking for people who have a spare room and would open their door to a visiting Kenyan professional for the three weeks of the programme in February 2010.
and applicants can call 07785 792 769 or email email@example.com.
The next meeting of the Oatlands Steering Group, on 3 December, will discuss the future of the former St Margaret’s Polmadie Church and its conversion into a community facility.
Residents and ‘stakeholders’ are encouraged to participate in a St Margaret’s community working group. Those interested will be asked to take part in a workshop to look at the latest design proposals and uses for the building; to discuss ways the community can be involved in running the facility in the long-term and training initiatives which will enable this to happen; to visit other sites which share similarities with St Margaret’s, and to set up and attend regular meetings.
The meeting will take place at Oatlands Community Resource Centre (the Blue Hut) Wolseley Street, Glasgow, at 2pm.
A group of 20 youngsters have left Glasgow for the roof of the world and a once-in-a-lifetime challenge to follow in the footsteps of climbing greats – Sir Chris Bonnington and Dougal Haston.
After a hectic round of fundraising, the travellers, part of the Who Cares? Scotland advocacy group, are off to Kathmandu, Nepal. The 11-day trip will involve a 100-kilometre trek, taking in some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
Who Cares? Scotland celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and the adventurers had to raise nearly £2,000 each to make their trip a reality. The money goes to pay for flights, travel in Nepal, expedition leaders, porters, food and accommodation.
The visit will also be a boost for Community Action Nepal (CAN), which aims to raise awareness of people living in remote villages with its focus on health and education projects.
Expedition leader Grant Gilroy, a regional manager with Who Cares? Scotland, says the trek through Bhara Pokhari region West of Kathmandu, will not be a cakewalk, but it will have its compensations.
‘Foreigners seldom take this particular route and, consequently, the Nepalese greet visitors with a great deal of friendliness.’
Trek veteran Grant added: ‘This is a major undertaking for Who Cares? Scotland. We are collaborating with CAN and Scottish local authorities to raise much-needed money to improve the health and education of people in Nepal.’
Who Cares? Scotland’s chief executive, Heather Gray, who is also participating, believes travel will broaden the minds of the Scottish youngsters.
‘This trip is giving young people in care throughout Scotland and their workers the opportunity to plan and work towards an amazing experience that will provide them with a completely different perspective on their lives.’
Trekker David Dunne, who is young people’s chairman on Who Cares? Scotland’s board, said: ‘I am so excited to be part of this adventure and for me and the other young people going to Nepal it’s a dream come true and will inspire us to even greater things in our lives.’
Fundraising efforts are ongoing and a series of events including hill climbs, walks, cycle rides, supermarkets and Nepalese themed evenings are planned. Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/nepaltrek2009. Who Cares? Scotland’s website can be found at www.whocaresscotland.org.
Television celebrity weatherman Sean Batty breezed into Castlemilk recently to launch a £145,000 lighting project that will bring a splash of colour to the area and promises to defy the winter gloom.
The Castlemilk Lighting Project is centred on three high rises at Dougrie Place. Each of the 19-storey blocks has a set of lights installed in the stairwells, creating a landmark that can be seen across Glasgow.
The system was designed by Collective Architecture, an employee-owned trust with strong green and community credentials based in Glasgow city centre, and Northern Light, who provide the technical support and installation.
The two companies collaborated on the city’s lighting installations at a water tower in Cranhill in 2000.
The project, part funded by Glasgow Housing Association and developed in co-operation with Castlemilk Tenants Association, uses smart technology and the internet to broadcast weather and temperature details to the community.
Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and the Fairer Scotland Fund also contributed to the financing of the project.
Each tower has a computer and lighting controller to regulate the system, which can also be accessed by broadband internet from elsewhere in the city. Tenants and passers-by will receive not only a sparkling lights display, but weather forecasts and visual representations of the current weather.