One of the special events during the West End Festival is the ‘Gruffalo’s child afternoon on Sunday 24 June in the Children’s Wood at North Kelvin Meadow starting at 2pm. Tam Dean Burn will read the Gruffalo’s Child story. There will be Gruffalo face painting and Gruffalo prizes to be won, plus lots more..
As the North Kelvin Meadow campaigners say: ‘Experience the Children’s Wood on North Kelvin Meadow before this beautiful green area is lost forever. A planning application has been submitted. We have about a month to Save the North Kelvin Meadow. This is the only wild space in the West-end. Children need this type of environment – manicured spaces and parks are not the same.’ They emphasise that wild spaces like the meadow, are invaluable to children, especially those growing up in towns. ‘Meadows like this stimulate the imagination and nurture the spirit. Places like this are hard to come by in urban settings so should be preserved at all costs,’ said Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo.’
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Keep in touch with the latest on the North Kelvin Meadow campaign
Ruth Simpson, who had been a Glasgow City Councillor for Calton and a Labour Party member for more than 40 years, was standing as an Independent candidate in the 2012 city council elections.
She was one of the long-established Labour Councillors in Glasgow who was de-selected and not allowed to stand again. ‘I thought at the time the way things were done was not democratic,’ she said as she handed out flyers at polling stations for Ward 11- Hillhead where she was one of 13 candidates.
‘I read about my de-selection in the Herald. And my feedback form from my interview pre-dated the interview. My former Labour colleagues have all been good, it is just the Party machinery which is wrong. I thought about it and was tempted to go quietly into the night but after supporting the Party through the budget and listening to the debate in the Labour Group afterwards, I decided not to let things go. I felt the Party had left me.’
Not tempted to join any other party – ‘ I’ve been a Labour Party member since I chaired the Labour Club at University ‘ – she decided at the last possible minute to stand as an Independent candidate.
‘Hyndland people have been very nice and they know me,’ she said. Her family rallied round with her daughter and grandson among the team of supporters handing out leaflets to voters at local polling stations.
Environmental issues of bins, roads and clean streets were top of people’s lists on her campaign trail. Buses were also a big issue: ‘De-regulation is the only answer. But what is happening with the loss of routes is dreadful.’ Ruth also has strong views on education and how it has to be improved to enable young people to attain their true potential.
‘I thought going Independent would be like losing a limb. But it’s not been like that,’ she said cheerfully. ‘If I’m elected, my constituents know I’ll work hard for them all, as they can see from my track record. If I’m not elected – well – I’d have more time to spend with my grandsons.’
‘Localism’ should be at the heart of our democracy and business practices, Glasgow North-West Green Party election candidate Moira Crawford has said.
As ash from a volcano in Iceland choked off air freight and passenger traffic in and out of the UK and media ‘experts’ shrieked about vulnerable commerce and food supplies, sustainablity has been catapulted onto the election agenda.
‘Localism is a core Green policy,’ Moira said. ‘We’re looking for more local autonomy in order to create jobs and make a nicer place to live in. We would change procurement legislation so that public goods could be got from local shops and suppliers.’
This would also cut transportation costs and enhance the traceability of our food, she added. Few can forget the BSE crisis of the late 1990s and its impact upon the public’s perception of how the food we eat is produced.
‘It’s a very sensible policy that would create jobs, would protect the environment and would encourage local businesses. To do that we would have a taxation system that favoured local businesses.’
In that, she acknowledges, the Greens have a huge fight on their hands as big business and its lobbying machine goes to work at Westminster.
‘Reducing their stranglehold on the economy is not going to be easy and there’s no point in saying it will. You have to make a start and we would make a start.’
With the word ‘economy’ on the lips of everyone seeking votes, the Greens are going straight to what they see as the heart of the matter.
‘We have always said this economic model won’t work. It’s unsustainable,’ said Moira, a retired schoolteacher. ‘We’re looking for a progressive taxation system, basing it on ability to pay.’
There would be new taxes on currency and financial transactions and ‘we think that would help calm down the wilder speculation, the gambling’.
Moira added: ‘We’d cut the banks into deposit taking and the retail side of it. No more “too big to fail” we would say.
‘Tax is never popular, but we need a culture where it’s awful to dodge paying taxes like it’s awful to drink and drive.’
Electoral reform, she said, must happen. ‘The way the system is, small parties like the Green Party, are squeezed out because of first-past-the-post. After the whole expenses scandal there’s hope all of that will change. There is a move towards reform.’
With the first-past-the-post system, some voters are completely marginalised. ‘These people are entitled to have someone to vote for. When I voted I voted according to the party whose programme I wanted.
‘I think you have to have the possibility that people will vote positively, for a programme they approve of rather than for the party they dislike least.’
More than 30 people hit the streets of Priesthill in an effort to clean up the area and tackle the nuisance of illegally dumped rubbish.
The community group, aided by police officers, staff from Sanctuary Housing, Glasgow Community and Safety Services, members of Priesthill Youth Club, and Orlit Tenants Group donned rubber gloves, masks and goggles to reclaim the area.
Organiser and Priesthill resident, Donna Foote said: ‘We live in a very environmentally rich area where many birds and wildlife settle next to our burns and woodlands, so it’s essential we do our best to keep this area clean and free from litter.
‘We’re delighted so many made it along to help us with the clean-up, and the young people in Priesthill intend to keep up the good work by participating in a garden clean-up scheme.’
The past, present and future of Drumchapel all met on a rainy, muddy hillside at Garscadden Woods to celebrate the unveiling of a 22-foot long wooden bench inspired by a Glasgow community of long ago.
The Antonine Wall Wooden Bench, which was created by furniture maker Alan Kain and developed by 150 pupils from six local schools, was unveiled by Environment Minister Roseanne Cunningham as two fiersome figures from the past – a Roman soldier and a Caledonian warrior – looked on.
The Antonine Wall was built more than 1860 years ago and runs between the rivers Forth and Clyde. It was named a World Heritage site in 2008.
Alan’s collaboration has led to a bench that features Roman carvings on one side and Caledonian motifs on the other. The bench sits close to the Wall and Castlehill Roman fort.
The pupils from Antonine and Camstraden Primaries, Drummore School, Langfaulds, St Clares and Stonedyke Primaries also took part in Roman-themed workshops run by the Hunterian Museum, while students from North Glasgow College and Drumchapel Arts Workshop helped the children in developing their ideas.
The six-foot high bench is the latest initiative for the area brought about by a partnership between the city’s Glasgow Greenspace and the Forestry Commission, who manage the woodlands.
The Minister said: ‘It’s been great to meet schoolchildren from the surrounding area. Their enthusiasm is a fantastic asset and they must be thrilled to see their input actually making a tangible difference to the woodland.’
The site is also used by Branching Out, a group who see woodlands as part of their campaign to boost mental health and wellbeing, inspired by the theory of ‘ecotherapy’ – that being close to nature is a valid treatment option for many people.