Pastor John Harper drowned with 1500 others when the RMS Titanic sank in the early hours of 15 April 1912. He had founded the Baptist Church in the Plantation district of Glasgow where he ministered for 13 years. During that time, his wife Annie died and was buried in Craigton Cemetery where a monument was erected to her. John left Glasgow to lead a church in London. A renowned preacher, he was on his way with his six year old daughter Nana to the Moody Church in Chicago for a second visit as a guest speaker when the tragedy happened. The state-of-the-art ship was holed by an iceberg and sank within hours. Pastor John gave his life jacket to another man who was one of the few rescued from the icy waters. His name and his sacrifice were recorded on his wife’s headstone.
When the Plantation church was rebuilt many years later, it was named the Harper Memorial Baptist Church and was opened by Nana Harper. Quietly attending the memorial service in Craigton and laying their own flowers at the monument which tells the tragic story, were John Harper’s grand-daughter, Dr Mary Gurling, her sons Stephen and Paul and her nephew, Andrew Pont. Said Stephen: ‘We are standing on the shoulders of giants through this inspiring legacy.’
The memorial and re-dedication service was organised by the Harper Memorial Baptist Church as one of several events during their Titanic commemorative weekend, 100 years after the terrible disaster.
The service was conducted by preacher Craig Dyer who introduced Dr Erwin W. Lutzer who has been pastor for 32 years at the Moody Church in Chicago where John Harper was going. In his epilogue Dr Lutzer said: “When I became a Pastor there, you walked down the hall to the John Harper meeting room.” In his passionate witness he explained that there was compelling evidence that Jesus Christ rose from the death. “Jesus was the forerunner. But you can’t get into Heaven with your physical body. The spirit can be released through faith, alone, in Jesus Christ. John Harper believed that and was able to say as the ship sank – ‘I’m not going down; I’m going up (to Heaven)’ ”
Among the guests of honour were Bailie Iris Gibson who brought greetings from the Lord Provost and said the City had been pleased to refurbish the lettering on the memorial stone in Craigton. ‘Pastor John Harper’s story deserves to be better known,’ she said. Also speaking was Councillor Alistair Watson who told how he’d grown up in the district, played in the cemetery and knew John Harper’s story. ‘It is humbling to know of his remarkable self-sacrifice,’ said Councillor Watson. ‘He will feature in a booklet detailing the heritage trail through Craigton Cemetery. That is due to be printed soon and will tell the story to an even bigger audience.’ Also present were Councillor Stephen Dornan and Rebecca Lutzer, Dr Lutzer’s wife. MSP John Mason, who is an active member of the Baptist Church in Easterhouse, attended as a practising Christian and supportive church member and preferred to stand in the crowd.
Hymns and prayers were offered in thanks and tribute to John Harper and his sacrifice.
In the crowd were two particularly dedicated students of the Titanic. Andrew Learmonth, dressed in respectful white shirt and black tie, said he has been ‘obsessed’ by the disaster and all the attendant details since childhood. ‘My flat in Glasgow is like a Titanic Museum,’ he admitted. He is a member of the Titanic Historic Society, the British Titanic Society and the Ulster Historic Society – the ship was built in Belfast where a new museum has been opened to promote the fact. He recently visited Southampton to see the vessel which left to make the commemorative voyage of the fated Titanic.
Giving out sheets telling the story of John Harper and showing a dramatic image drawn at the time, was Brian Brodie, a fire officer at Govan fire station. He pointed out that the Titanic was correctly referred to as RMS Titanic. ‘That stands for Royal Mail Ship, Titanic,’ explained the former marine engineer. ‘It shouldn’t be SS – sailing ship – Titanic as engraved on the memorial stone.’ Enthusiastically, he walks visitors through Craigton Cemetery to tell them John Harper’s story, show them the monument and visit other interesting grave stones with their own fascinating stories.
The Harper Memorial Church’s programme continues through Sunday 15 April 2012 with a morning service conducted by Jim Wylie, soloist Gillian Strang and guest speaker Dr Lutzer of Moody Church, Chicago. In the evening, Walter Whitelaw offers the welcome for the celebration with Dr Lutzer preaching and the Govan Salvation Army Band playing.
On Friday 13 April, the Glasgow congregation held a holiday club for schoolchildren and a rock concert in the evening for young people. Both events were well attended and have strengthened the Church’s outreach, especially in the local communities around Kinning Park and Plantation off Paisley Road West.
Wellhouse and Provanhall Community Trust in Easterhouse has appointed Katie Gould as their new community development assistant.
A local resident, Katie grew up in the Wellhouse area and credits the Trust’s ‘Back to Work’ and volunteering programmes for giving many people valuable life skills.
She said: ‘When I grew up there was very little like this available. People couldn’t find work if they didn’t have qualifications or experience and would turn to gang culture and crime.’ As her own children grew up, she encouraged them to take part in schemes such as the Hub Sports Football Academy. ‘This encouraged team work and community spirit from a young age,” she said. ‘Through such schemes, people learn new skills, are made aware of new opportunities, gain a better sense of self-worth and meet others in the same position as themselves.’
The Trust goes the step further and, in partnership with the John Wheatley College, can guide people to training and recognised qualifications as well as CV writing, interview skills and references from volunteering work.
Katie says volunteering is particularly valuable in giving people a good profile with potential employers, practical skills and a boost to self-esteem. ‘You see a real change in attitude from people since the Hub’s services and volunteer opportunities came into place.’ said Katie. ‘People are much more optimistic about the future and feel they can make a difference.’
This mirrors her own experience of working with the Trust as a volunteer, gaining knowledge, skills and confidence and moving into work. ‘The Trust helps you get ILA funding for courses and teaches you skills that make you more valuable to employers,’ she added.
Now her hope is that young people in the district can be encouraged to take part in volunteer and community schemes run by the Trust to help them achieve their best.
The Trust offers a wide range of volunteer and work experience programmes to help people into work, improve skills or simply help others around them who need support.
For more info see website: http://www.wellhouseha.org.uk/
Facebook Wellhouse Provanhall Community Trust
Or contact : Wellhouse Housing Association, The Hub, 49 Wellhouse Crescent, Glasgow G33 4LA Tel: 0141 781 1884
There is no doubt what a lot of people will be doing this week-end – Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September. They’ll be knocking on doors that are specially open where they are invited in (usually at no cost!) to see what goes on in that place.
The magnificent Doors Open Day festival of Glasgow’s Built Heritage has more than 100 venues waiting for the visitors. Which doesn’t count the walking tours and talks which have been available throughout this week and the dozen allotments which will open their Gates on Doors Open Day weekend!
There are 16 new venues this year including the beautifully refurbished St Andrew’s Cathedral in Clyde Street. And there are free buses from George Square to Provan Hall in Easterhouse and a free bus service to Castlemilk Stables thanks to Cassiltoun Housing Association whose offices are in the complex.
There will be a host of walks on both Saturday and Sunday which enable experts to tell the stories of the places on that route. Check the website for up-to-the-minutes details: www.glasgowdoorsopenday.com
And don’t forget your camera for the photographic competition as well as the Passport competition for everyone under 16.
In a lengthy statement from Glasgow City Council, some of the information given out at the Accord centre by users’ families to Alex Salmond, was disputed.
Following dicussions and consultations from October 2007, a sub group to examine how to reform Learning Disability Day Service provision was set-up in May 2008.
At that time, around 850 people with a learning disability were signed up for day support at 11 day centres across the city. Two areas were highlighted – building -based activity to help to encourage therapeutic interventioins for those who need and benefit from them. And encouragement of participation in community based activities and opportunities.
Among the reforms noted was: To provide a balanced service with less emphasis on specialist buildings and greater emphasis on community focused/ connected care.
By 2010 the 850 service users of 2008 had been reduced to 693 service users.
At least 90 events were held between October 2007 and April 2008 as part of the consultation process. And Service users and carers were ‘directly involved ‘ in a number of strategic workstreams.
The City Council’s Executive Committee agreed in October 2010 to implement Self Directed Support. This meant that every person registered with a learning disability and funded by GCC would complete a Self Evaluation Questionnaire and be responsible for deciding how to spend their funding allowance.
The day before he was elected First Minister for a second term, Alex Salmond sat with Glasgow families in the Accord Centre in Dalmarnock to hear, first hand, their concerns about its demolition. In an easy and interested manner, he talked to many of the 50-60 people there. And he listened closely to what they were saying.
The uninspiring building was to be flattened and used as a bus park for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. But those who use the place – people with conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, autism and other special needs and their families – have protested loudly and brought a temporary halt to the proceedings. They had understood the facility would be replaced ‘like for like’. Instead they had been offered space in an existing community centre which was not suitable for the special needs of the folk who used the Accord Centre on a daily basis.
Said Grace Harrigan, whose 25-year-old son Craig Anderson has Down’s Syndrome: ‘I believe Glasgow City Council thought we would not put up a fight. They thought we were young mums they could bully. But 120 people use the Accord Centre and we are part of a citywide carers network.’ She said the carers had made many approaches to their local Councillors. ‘They did not even phone back or email us back. The two MSPs stopped answering our emails.’ Explaining that the area has been, traditionally, a Labour stronghold, the local centre users and carers were very disappointed by this lack of response from elected representatives. ‘After all, these were the people we voted for,’ she commented.
Having once met Billy McAllister, an SNP Councillor for a different part of the city, she contacted him in desperation. ‘At last, someone seemed to be listening,’ said Grace.
About the same time, one of their supporting groups – Citizens United – which had challenged Iain Gray on such cuts and caused him to run out of Central Station – took up their cause in a face-to-face meeting they were given with Alex Salmon during the election campaign. ‘He told us that he, personally, would look into the situation as soon as the election was over,’ said Citizens United leader Sean Clerkin. ‘And he’s kept his word. I think the Labour-led Glasgow City Council will have to giveway to these demands and give these families a ‘like for like’ centre. If they don’t they will be breaking up a community of the most vulnerable people.’
Carers from Riddrie who were part of the support network for the Accord Centre told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘We know we’ve got to stick together or we’d get nowhere.’ Ina Ross and her son Graham look after another son, Stephen who is 37 and has Down’s Syndrome. ‘The Accord Centre is a life-saver for us. He considers coming here is going to his work. With all the talk of closing it, he’s frightened he won’t get back to his work,’ said Ina.
Another family whose 32-year-old son, Paul, has been attending the Accord Centre since he was 19, said the knock-on effect of the proposed closure had been noticeable in his behaviour. ‘It has been shocking. He’s swearing and behaving badly. He is clearly very upset,’ said dad Andrew.
Helen McCourt explained that the community centre she’d been told her 28 year old daughter Laura would attend was in Easterhouse. ‘I don’t drive so it would take me two buses to get there. She would be taken there, given tea and toast and then have nowhere to go and nothing to do. She has Down’s Syndrome. I need to know she’ll be safe and she wouldn’t be in that environment. In the Accord Centre she has lots of things to do and friends and people she knows.’
When Alex Salmond arrived he was shown round the Centre by manager Vivienne Ferguson. Then he met the families. One of the first people he spoke to was wheelchair bound Joseph Loughran who is 24. ‘Did you vote SNP,’ questioned the soon-to-be First Minister. ‘Yes!’ was the resounding reply. Joseph’s parents Helen and Joe said that a community centre was not a suitable place for Joseph to go to because it was open to the public and that made him vulnerable. ‘He has many complex needs. They can be met in the Accord Centre. He knows the place and feels confident here. We know he’s safe here in a caring community,’ said Joe.
Several of the regular users of the Accord Centre spoke up for themselves directly to Alex Salmond. Cheryl McArthur (32) told him: ‘I don’t want to go to a community centre. All my friends are here. And I’d love to come here five days a week.’
Laura McLauchlan (27) said: ‘I come here three days a week and would like to come five days.’
When the conversation turned to establishing what, exactly, the Accord Centre families had been promised, Alex Salmond asked for minutes of meetings. Quickly scanning them he pointed out that a ‘like for like’ centre was described ‘if possible.’ Said Mr Salmond: ‘Those are weasel words. The intention is clear.’
Promising to follow up the meeting, he left after almost two hours of discussion.
Later his office issued a formal statement: ‘During the election campaign I met many people who benefit from the Accord Centre. They put a good case to me for the future of the facility. They told me that a commitment had been made to them by Glasgow City Council some years ago, that if the centre had to go to make way for the Commonwealth Games as part of the local authority’s programme of modernisation, then they would be offered a like-for-like replacement. I was asked to come and see the centre so that I could understand why those who benefit from the services it provides believe that the alternative they are being offered is not appropriate. Today I was proud to meet staff, carers and service users as well as local people campaigning to save the centre. I think it is an important service for the community and I will continue to urge Glasgow City Council to ensure it is re-housed in suitable premises.’
Glasgow City Council is preparing a detailed response to the issues raised by the families who are fighting for the Accord Centre for publication on this website. Their spokesman said that 22 of the registered users of the Accord Centre had agreed to move to a Centre in Riddrie and were due to start on Monday 23 May.
Tenants in three areas of Glasgow have voted to transfer ownership of their homes from Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to community-based housing associations.
The ‘yes’ votes will result in the transfer of 2336 homes under the process known as Second Stage Transfer (SST).
The results were:
- Tollcross – 72.1 per cent of the tenants who voted supported the transfer of 1619 properties to Tollcross Housing Association. The turnout was 51 per cent.
- Blairtummock, in Easterhouse – 83 per cent of the tenants who voted supported the transfer of 275 properties to Blairtummock Housing Association. The turnout was 57.1 per cent.
- Halfway in the Southside – 82.2 per cent of the tenants who voted supported the transfer of 442 properties to Southside Housing Association. The turnout was 50.4 per cent.
If Scottish Ministers give their consent, the legal transfer of homes could take place as early as the end of June.
The latest ballots, in which tenants voted by post, text, phone or online, began on 20 April and ran for 21 days.
GHA Chair Gordon Sloan said: “Our Second Stage Transfer programme has already seen more than 12,000 tenants transfer to community-based housing associations with thousands more ready to transfer in the next few weeks.
“This means our agreed programme of transfers is due to complete by the end of June. I wish all the tenants who voted in these latest ballots every success in the future.”
Bill Dougan, Chair of Tollcross Housing Association, said: “We are looking forward to working with our new Committee and staff colleagues, getting our sleeves rolled up to deliver the promises we made to our tenants during the campaign.“
Catherine Black, Chair of Blairtummock Housing Association, said: “I am delighted at the support shown to our Association by the people in Rogerfield. We will now get down to the hard work of delivering on our commitments to them.”
Jimmy Hobbin, Southside Housing Association Committee Member, said: “We are delighted with the positive result for community control and want to build on the investment success to-date. On behalf of everyone at Southside Housing Association, my sincere thanks to all the Halfway tenants for putting their faith in us.”
The five regeneration agencies in Glasgow – tasked to get people ‘job ready’ – made 200 staff redundant at the end of March. Employees had to volunteer for a severance package. But key workers will not be allowed to go.
Because funding from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Enterprise Agency has been withdrawn, the five agencies are merging into one body funded solely by Glasgow City Council.
From Friday 1 April, the new single body – Glasgow Regeneration Agency (GRA) – will employ a total of around 600 people compared to 800 over the five previous bodies.
Instead of headquarters in Gorbals, Govan, Springburn, Drumchapel and Easterhouse, a central headquarters will be established at 112 Ingram Street. Each of the current five areas will have a local ‘hub’ which has still to be identified from their local properties portfolio. All the companies are limited by guarantee and registered charities.
Said Councillor Alistair Watson: ‘We are determined to ensure local delivery of services is maintained. We do not have the money to sustain five agencies but the local service delivery has been proven to work.’ He said property that was surplus to requirements, would be sold and leases would be evaluated to establish what was cost effective to retain or to buy out.
Behind the scenes at the five agencies, bitter tears are being shed. Said one insider: ‘This has been a horrendous process. There has been no information forthcoming. Everything is totally outwith local control.’
In another agency an employee said: ‘I don’t know whether to take the package or not. Nothing is clear and I certainly don’t know if I’ll be offered a job in the new set-up.’
At a third establishment, a staffer declared: ‘I’m going. It is sad to see such good teams being dismantled.’
A transition team has been working on the new single body under the leadership of Calum Graham who was Chief Executive Officer of Glasgow West Regeneration Agency. He is intrim Chief Executive of the new agency.
Working in Ingram Street, the brain stormers have to devise a strategy to maintain front line services from April 1 when the new financial year starts.
A spokesman for the team said: ‘This merger into one body will mean that, in the challenging financial environment, we are in a better position to maximise the resources we will have available to continue the fantastic front-line work of the regeneration agency staff. It is hoped that with the large numbers indicating an interest in leaving voluntarily, compulsory redundancies will be minimised. Service delivery will remain in the most disadvantaged communities across Glasgow.’
One of the key outcomes of the merger will be a reduction in senior management, back office and administrative staff.
The Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR) had to approve the dismantling of each of the five charities and the formation of one to incorporate the work of all.
Glasgow men who might not be tempted to watch another World Cup without Scottish interest this summer are being encouraged to pull on their boots instead of chucking them at the television – all in support of their own fitness and male cancer causes.
Scotland’s first national five-a-side football championship is on its way to Glasgow. Organisers, Creative Oceanic have teamed up with the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign to raise the profile of men’s health to bring the regional heats of the competition to the SoccerWorld indoor centre at Croftcroighn Road in Easterhouse on Saturday 5 June. There will be a similar event for the East of Scotland, held in Dundee a week earlier.
Creative Oceanic said the aim of the tournament is to celebrate Scotland’s footballing talent and promote an active lifestyle.
There will be prizes and goody bags for the regional heat winners, while the team that wins the national championship will land a weekend of luxury and adventure, experiencing life as a modern sports star.
Teams can sign up at www.scottishchampions.info or contact Fraser on 0141 420 1333 and email@example.com.
First Minister Alex Salmond has used an address at a summit in Easterhouse to announce a £34m jobs boost for Scotland.
The event, which also featured a speech by Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy, was attended by elected officials, local authorities, voluntary groups, the business community, trades unions, colleges and universities.
The package will come from European Union funds, creating at least 200 jobs and safeguarding many more, the audience at John Wheatley College heard.
Mr Murphy said some 300 jobs could be created by a boost from the Future Jobs Fund, an initiative driven by the Department of Work and Pensions.
The Scottish Government also announced a £4m package under the ScotAction banner, open to businesses to drive up the number of apprentices.
On the economic front, the Scottish Secretary explained: ‘The recovery from the recession of the 1980s, getting the jobs market back to where it was, was 19 years after the recession started.
‘After the 1990s recession it was six years. If we have a 1990s-style recovery in the jobs market, it’ll be 2014 before we get back to where we were. If we have a 1980s-style recovery in the jobs market, it’ll be 2027.
‘None of us are interested in waiting until 2027 to get us back to where we were before this recession and none of us are interested in waiting till 2014, but that has been the pattern. There is a warning within these figures.’
Education Secretary Mike Russell MSP told LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW: ‘Just as there are, on a national basis, 4,000 incentives of £1000 each to companies to take on an apprentice, there are always local initiatives. I know, on the Glasgow side, the Skills Development Scotland people will be looking for those who might benefit. That’s where the biggest skills pool lies.
‘They will need to go into Glasgow employers and they will need to make sure that those Glasgow employers are full aware of it. I would expect there’ll be substantial targeting of these initiatives within Glasgow.’
Easterhouse Baptist Church will officially open the doors of its new annexe at the end of the month.
The church, which has been part of the Easterhouse community for 50 years, will open the two-storey, £320,000 building – which has a multi-purpose space, servery and crèche – in an official ceremony for MPs, MSPs, city dignitaries and community groups, on 27 November.
While the building on Westerhouse Road will be dedicated by the congregation on Sunday, 22 November, with a special service and performance of the God Is With Us Choir, a general public open day and bakery sale will be held on 28 November.
Pastor Sandy Weddell, who has ministered at Easterhouse since 1980, said: ‘We have witnessed incredible changes in the last 30 year and it is our hope that the new church complex might be an oasis for many.’
The annexe, which was built with funds raised by the congregation, will become the home of a weekly youth initiative organised by Family Action in Rogerfield and Easterhouse.