Glasgow’s own plan Bee

August 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Councillor Matheson and PlanBee Ltd director Warrne Bader with some of the bees which have moved into the City Chambers hives.

Councillor Matheson and PlanBee Ltd director Warrne Bader with some of the bees which have moved into the City Chambers hives.

Glasgow’s plan B has nothing to do with the Referendum!  It is the Council’s strategy to increase the population of honeybees in the city. Around 120,000 bees have been installed in two insulated beehives on the roof of Glasgow City Chambers.

Vital in the food chain, this kind of bee is under threat because of pesticides and climate change.

Council Leader Gordon Matheson – who is also chair of Sustainable Glasgow – said: “Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat and also pollinate trees which helps reduce air pollution by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Numbers have dropped dramatically so Sustainable Glasgow is helping reverse that decline by installing these hives.

“I hope the bees will flourish and help us ensure Glasgow remains a Dear Green Place for generations to come.”

PlanBee Ltd is the company which provides the bees, the hives and the training programmes. Council staff have swarmed to be trained in hive management.

Bees can travel up to three miles to find their target flowers.  Said Warren Bader of PlanBee Ltd: “Glasgow is a fantastic garden city. Bees can be safer in a city than in the countryside where a lot of farmers use pesticides and plant monocultures (just one type of crop) which isn’t healthy for pollen production. In a good summer the bees can produce plenty of honey.” He added: “Unless you are a flower, the bees really aren’t interested in you so no one should be worried!”

Wax from the bees will be used as furniture polish in the City Chambers. What happens to the honey will be decided when the quality and quantity is known.

Glasgow aims to become one of the most sustainable cities in Europe by cutting carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 / 21.

Already it has a network of electric car charging points; solar powered parking meters; Green Wardens; electric vehicles in the council fleet and a Green Energy Services Company to promote and oversee renewable energy projects. The Stalled Spaces initiative has seen 32 disused spaces in Glasgow brought back into use as community gardens, performance space and locations for public art installations. This scheme will be rolled out across Scotland.

Next year Glasgow plans to hold Green Year 2015.  Twelve months of activities will celebrate the city’s green credentials and encourage others to do their bit for the environment. Twitter: @greenglasgow.

Residents’ to quiz Network Rail on Queen Street Station plans

April 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

 Network Rail intends to redevelop Queen Street Station.  Because of concerns expressed by local residents and surrounding businesses, a Network Rail presentation will take place in Glasgow City Chambers on Tuesday 15 April at 7 pm.  This will be hosted by the Merchant City and  Trongate Community Council.
Said Gerald Hirst, the Community Council Treasurer: ‘This promises to be an interesting event. The proposal

impacts on our built environment. There are possible temporary effects on vehicular and pedestrian circulation during the period. Network Rail are seeking input from and dialogue with, affected residents.’

Helicopter death toll rises to nine

December 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A ninth person is now known to have died when a Police Scotland helicopter plummeted into the Clutha Vaults pub on Glasgow’s riverside on Friday 29 November.

Shortly after midnight, Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick confirmed a further body had been located. She said efforts were ongoing to formally establish the person’s identity.

At that point, the identity of five of the dead had been established and released publicly.

The three who were in the helicopter were: Air Support crew, Constable Tony Collins, 43, Constable Kirsty Nelis, 36 and pilot Captain Dave Traill, 51.

Pilot David Traill died when his helicopter plunged from the sky.

Both Police officers had been commended for bravery in separate incidents.

The fourth person was pub patron, Gary Arthur, 48, from the Paisley area. Samuel McGhee, aged 56, from Glasgow was the fifth victim to be named.

Said DCC Rose Fitzpatrick: ‘This remains an ongoing investigation and search focused on the Clutha Vaults pub. The site is extremely challenging and the efforts of colleagues from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Air Accident investigators have been painstaking.  Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy.

‘Our absolute priority has been to locate the bodies of people who were within the pub at the time of the incident and recover them safely. This process takes time, as formal identification procedures have to take place before we can notify relatives and publicly confirm identities.

‘We are doing all we can to support the families of those who have lost loved ones. It is essential that we maintain sensitivity and dignity for the families of the deceased.’

Of the 12 people in hospital with serious injuries, 3 were in intensive care and one was in a specialist  spinal injuries ward.

A Book of Condolence opened in Glasgow City Chambers on Sunday for the public to sign. The Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, was the first to sign it,  followed by Council Leader Councillor Gordon Matheson, Chief Constable Sir Stephen House and Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

The Book will be open to members of the public to sign from 8.30am on Monday 2 December 2013.  The City Council has also organised  financial assistance to the victims of the tragedy facing hardship and has offered a venue to a planned benefit concert.

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay  sent their ‘most heartfelt thoughts and sympathy to the families of those who were lost or injured in this truly shocking helicopter accident.’ They said: ‘Words can seem wholly inadequate in such circumstances. But in offering every possible healing thought to those who survived, we also wanted to pay tribute to the emergency services and their exemplary response. Glasgow has had to endure a tragic episode. But, knowing the city and its people as we do, we have every confidence that it will find the necessary strength to recover.’

Revd DrLaurence A B Whitley, minister of Glasgow Cathedral held a special service on Sunday to remember everyone who had died and everyone connected with the tragedy. ‘Glasgow has the kind of family solidarity that kicks in at times like this,’ he said. ‘People react first with their heart. They run to the incident, not away from it.’  Children from the Cathedral congregation lit a candle for each of the known dead at that time.

Work continued for a third night to extract the helicopter which had impacted in the roof of the pub. Emergency personnel then have to make safe the structure below to continue  the search for other victims.







Human Rights being violated by poverty

October 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Awareness of fundamental Human Rights would help eradicate much of the inequality being experienced in Scotland today.

Speakers (from left) Kate Lauchlin, Tricia McConalogue and Duncan Wilson with Bailie Jim Scanlon.

Glasgow Human Rights Network gave a platform to three leading exponents of the theme: Poverty is a Human Rights violation.  Hosted in Glasgow City Chambers and welcomed by Bailie Jim Scanlon, the event attracted around 50 people on Thursday 17 October 2013.

Kate Lauchlin – a seasoned community  campaigner in Partick and now working on her PhD on Human Rights at the University of the West of Scotland, set the scene: ‘Not only is it an outrage that poverty is a violation of Human Rights, it is enshrined in international law that poverty is a violation of Human Rights.’ United Nations conventions, continental ‘groupings’ and national constitutions all set down human rights. But those international conventions the UK has signed, are still awaiting ratification in many cases, she pointed out.

Among the intrinsic human rights are the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to a home which includes local family and community interaction and is much more than just a ‘house’; the right to a free choice to work, the right to social security, the right to take part in cultural life.

An illustration of a dove carrying human rights on its wings but with the bird encased in a cage,  summed up the UK’s position on human rights for her, she said.

Part of the solution was for the country to ‘invest in the human rights culture.  It matters.’  She said: ‘As far back as 2009 the United Nations’ Economic and Social and Cultural Rights inspectorate was concerned with the low level of awareness of human rights in the UK among all strata of society.’  If human rights were to be integrated into something like the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework, it would make a difference.

Another speaker was Tricia McConalogue of Bridging the Gap an organisation working in the Gorbals supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

She said that people needed to challenge the frequently presented- often Government originated – ideas that people in poverty could be used as a scapegoat. ‘If this isn’t challenged, it is accepted as fact and that is simply not the truth,’ she said.

Having been most of the day standing outside the City Chambers at the Poverty Stone in George Square hearing testimony from people in poverty, Tricia elected to sit to share her thoughts and experience.

She said: ‘Poverty today in Glasgow is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime.’ She gave details of individual situations when people receiving food from a foodbank could not afford to cook it. Of people  being ‘sanctioned’ at the Job Centre even when they had found a job. Sanctioned means that person would be denied any benefits for a period of time because of some infringement of rules which frequently was an administrative mistake.

She also mentioned how people with mental health issues could be left terrified by any appeals process they may have to face. ‘If they are deemed fit for a job, where does that leave them to recover from their mental health issues?’ she asked.  Tricia said she’d been moved to tears recently by some of the people she’d talked to – including one young man who was contemplating suicide because of the way he was being treated.

The final speaker was academic and former Amnesty worker Duncan Wilson who represented the Scottish Human Rights Commission. The Commission is working with public bodies – such as the National Health Service – and the third sector to develop Scotland’s first National Action Plan.

Voicing the question: ‘Is poverty a violation of Human Rights?’ Duncan said: ‘To some people it isn’t as clear as torture, for example. But I think it is clear there is a a very strong case to be made for poverty to be seen as a violation of Human Rights.’

He defined poverty as the denial of freedom to live, to develop, to be free from hunger and to be free to take part in society. Around the world, these freedoms are denied. Official reports suggest the issues have been addressed ‘A government report says they’ve achieve their target of having no slums, for example. But what they’ve actually done is clear the land where the slums were- leaving 100,000 people without any place to stay.’

New United Nations targets are to start from 2015 when the UN Millenium Goals programme will be completed. ‘New goals will not be achieved without accountability being incorporated in the framework of any programme. Accountability is lacking in the current framework,’ he said.

He said that poverty exist all over the world – even in Glasgow. ‘Just take a train from Hyndland in the West End to Bridgeton in the East End. There is a difference of ten years’ life expectancy among men in that short journey.

Among the ways to address poverty were that those with the least should be the last to take any cuts.  ‘That is a fundamental principle of Human Rights, he said.

He instanced people in Edinburgh using candles because they couldn’t afford to switch on electricity. ‘This is the 21st century in the capital of Scotland!!’ he emphasised. ‘

He also said that people working in public services should be empowered to prevent problems rather than having to implement bad decisons of the authorities.  He commended the Poverty Truth Commission which stood by its motto: ‘Nothing about us , without us, is for us.’

‘The participation of people and the information they need to understand and take part in those decision is what is needed, especially for the most marginalised.’

Scotland’s first ever Action Plan for Human Rights will be a ‘roadmap’ for everyone at home, in school, at work or anywhere, he said. Expected to be launched next year it will empower people to know about their Human Rights, to take part in decisions, to address stigma and to increase the ability of those delivering services to ‘get it right more often.’

Dr Vikki Turbine of Glasgow University Human Rights Network thanked the panel and said it was an inspiring start to further conversations which would help protect, respect and fulfil Human Rights in Scotland and help produce solutions to poverty.










The ties that bind an Alliance

April 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

SUNDAY 14 April 2013

Tomorrow, more than 100 kinship carers and VIP supporters will meet in Glasgow City Chambers to launch a Scottish Kinship Care Alliance.

They will campaign for the rights of the children – often their own grandchildren – in their care.

Chair of the Alliance and a Kinship Carer from Dumbarton, Anne Swartz, says: “We are sick of seeing the children in our care suffer because of the lack of basic support from local authorities. Kinship children are routinely written off and discriminated against while foster placements have access to a wide range of support and services. Enough is enough. We have come together to put a stop to this institutionalised discrimination and to fight for the rights of our children.”

She adds that large charities had been tasked with representing and supporting Kinship Carers. “We do not feel that these agencies represent us. We want direct access to policy makers and politicians. We are the experts with the best knowledge of the issue and it’s solutions. From now on, we should be the first port of call on Kinship Care for all service managers and policy makers.”

According to Buttle UK – a leading children’s grant-giving charity – as many as one child in every 77 in the UK was being brought up by grandparents or other relatives in 2001. The charity considers that figure is higher today and in Scotland currently estimates one child in 71 is cared for by relatives who are not their birth parents.

At the Alliance launch, Buttle UK will deliver their most recent study of the true cost of Kinship Care in advance of publishing it in London. It will reveal the correlation between Kinship Care and poverty as well as give up-to-date figures and details of the impact on the caring relatives.

The move will coincide with negotiations on the new Children and Young People’s Bill later this month. The Alliance proposes a number of changes to Kinship Care provisions and will press to have them taken into full consideration.

The launch will be attended by a range of MPs, MSPs, Councillors and civil servants as well as heads of Social Work, Police, Scotland’s Human Rights Commission and the Children’s Commissioner.




Thousands say ‘Axe the bedroom tax.’

March 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Wheel chair and mobility carts headed the march from Glasgow Green.

The biggest protest rally Glasgow has seen in years had more than 3000 people marching from Glasgow Green to George Square,  united in their opposition to the bedroom tax.

Seasoned campaigners, families with their children and baby buggies, trade unionists, people in a wide variety of mobility carts and folk walking their dogs, took more than an hour to wend their way to the city centre. Many of them shouting: ‘Axe the tax.’

Facing the City Chambers, a series of speakers explained why their campaign was part of a wide strategy to protect the most vulnerable in the community.

Labour MP Ann McKechin, MSP Frank McAveety and Glasgow City Councillor George Redmond were among the group who marched. Arriving in George Square, Westminster MP Ann McKechin said to this website’s reporter: ‘I’m not surprised at this turnout. People are shocked by the scale of this unfair and unjust tax. The Westminster government doesn’t understand the full impact it will have.’

But Labour politicians were castigated by different speakers. Said one: ‘They might have marched near the front but it is inconsistent with what they are doing to the families they are victimising in the learning disability community in Glasgow. Glasgow City Council has these families on its hit list by closing three of the seven day centres they use.’

Campaigners against the closure of Glasgow's day centres were out in force.

Another speaker put it more bluntly: ‘Glasgow City Council should be ashamed of themselves. They have influence and power. They should tell all Housing Associations in Glasgow and Glasgow Housing Association that there must be NO EVICTIONS in the city. We need to know who’s side they are on.’

The same speaker highlighted the £100 billion cost of the Trident refit and warheads for Faslane nuclear base. She urged people to support a March on Easter Monday from Glasgow to Faslane which they intended to shut down for the day. ‘All these things are connected. They say there is no money, so attack the poor. But they can spend billions on weapons which can wipe out half of humanity. If we stand together we have the power, strength and determination to stop evictions and end this bedroom tax policy.’

Alan Wyllie of the West of Scotland Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation summed it up for most of the speakers: ‘I’m an ordinary guy and don’t see this as a political fight. I ask what is right and what is wrong? I believe it is wrong that the most vulnerable people are the hardest hit. It is wrong that fuel and food costs are rising while wages and benefits are going down. It is wrong to have this tax on bedrooms when millionaires are having their taxes cut. We are all in this together and must stop evictions. I urge Labour and SNP to protect all Scots. It is your duty!’

He said he’d read all the 2010 election manifestos. ‘There was no mention of the bedroom tax. The Westminster government has no mandate for this,’ he claimed to loud applause from the crowd. ‘We didn’t ask for this. We don’t want it. But the Government is attacking the most vulnerable in our communities. Mark my words: We will unite and we will win.’

He led the way for many different groups to work together against the bedroom tax, by launching a Facebook campaign several months ago.

More than 3000 people were estimated to have marched against the bedroom tax.

Speaker John McFarlane said the first round of the battle had been won by Dundee City Council declaring there would be no evictions in their city as a result of the tax. ‘Every council should do the same. MPs and MSPs are supposed to represent us but we have to ask – do they stand for us or do they stand for the Tory bankers? If they do we must remove them!’

Black Triangle speaker David Churchley said: ‘This bedroom tax is unworkable and unmanageable. It’s better for us to get off our knees and fight than not to fight at all.’ Calling for a 24 hour strike he added: ‘It is up to us to keep what has been ours for 100 years. We didn’t cause this crisis but we’re being made to pay for it.’

Daniel McGarrall from the Glasgow against ATOS campaign said that 73 people die each week after being found fit to work by ATOS. He invited listeners to join the demonstrations on the last Friday of each month outside ATOS offices and the Commonwealth Games offices because ATOS is a sponsor of the Glasgow 2014 Games.

He outlined how he and another campaigner face a court trial for campaigning. ‘We are defending the right to protest. And we will not be beaten.’

A spokesman from Govan Law Centre said that the bedroom tax was bringing misery to 100,000 people in Scotland. ‘Around 80% of those affected are disabled. It is wrong that the Government is targetting the most vulnerable people,’ he said, voicing his support to axe the tax and for no evictions.

Mary Lockhart reminded people of the Govan women who fought against the rent increases in 1919 when their menfolk were fighting in the war. ‘They fought the landlords so that their children wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor. They took a stand, got the shipyard workers on their side and said: ‘I will stand by you, if you will stand by me.’ Everyone today needs to be ready to protest and take action and stand by each other.’

As the marchers assembled at Glasgow Green, David Churchley was proudly holding the leading banner with his one good hand – the other being unusable because of a stroke. He said: ‘ I’m on the march because of this appalling, vicious vindictive bedroom tax. If you thought Thatcher’s poll tax was bad; Cameron’s is worse.’ A former IT worker, he has been unable to work since his stroke. He added: ‘My benefit will be reduced by £12 a week. I use my spare room for equipment like my treadmill so that I can do the exercises that keep me reasonably fit.’

Said worker Michael Collins with son Finn (8): ‘We work and pay our taxes so that people can get help when they need it. We don’t want our money to be given to bankers.’

Said student Jennifer Dornan: ‘We must fight to oppose the injustice of the bedroom tax and convince people to do something about it. This attack is on the most vulnerable. We should be gunning for the people in government who can afford it.’

Paul McLaughlin of Glasgow West GAP which has been providing welfare support and advice for 13 years, said: ‘We have to show our real anger and opposition to these charges. People of good conscience can’t let this happen. Everyone must stand up and be counted because individuals are being isolated and made scapegoats. We’ve got to waken people up to the need to organise.’ The advice centre is now located at Kinning Park Complex, 43 Cornwall Street, near Kinning Park underground.

Frank Doyle of Glasgow Against Atos said: ‘This is an unjust society. The bankers get off but there is an assault on the most vulnerable.’

A 23-year-old banner last used in protest against the poll tax, was dusted down and on display by Dundee Fintry fighters.

The Fintery fighters recycled their old banner.

Said Albert Mitchell: ‘I’ve got a two bedroom house. My benefit of £141 will be reduced by £41 a fortnight. By the time I pay things like my gas and electricity I’m left with £10 a week to live on.’ Colleague Michael MacGregor, who brought the banner out of his cupboard, said: ‘We have the same threat of evictions and bailiffs now as we had in the days of the poll tax.’

Another marcher, called Sarah, of the West of Scotland Anti-bedroom Tax Federation said: ‘There are an awful lot of people worried about the consequences of this terrible tax. A separated couple with joint custody and where the woman receives the child benefit, will find that the man will be penalised for having a bedroom for his own child.’

Supporting a 'no eviction' strategy, Margaret Jaconelli knows what it is like to be evicted.Fighter Margaret Jaconelli, who was evicted from her East End property because it was in the way of Commonwealth Games development and who wouldn’t accept £30,000 compensation for her home of more than 20 years, was also on the march. ‘This bedroom tax will mean that people will be evicted – just like me. I’m still fighting for justice two years on and haven’t received one penny of compensation.’

Mum Sharon with her two-year-old, was protesting on behalf of a friend who also has a two-year-old. ‘My friend has the wee one and a 14 year old. The two children will have to share one bedroom. Their dad, who is in a new relationship, will have to move into a one bedroom place from his present two bedroom house. He’ll need to sleep on the sofa when his kids come to stay. But where is his new partner expected to sleep? Families aren’t static today and there is no thought given to that.’

Lots more campaigns to march for too.

Another woman in the crowd told this website’s reporter: ‘I’m not paying the bedroom tax. I’ll put the money by and hope that stops them evicting me. But I’m not paying it.’

Supporters were urged to turn out ‘in your hundreds’ at every local council chambers and Housing Association headquarters on Wednesday 10 April. ‘Give them holy hell,’ said the speaker. ‘Tell them in no uncertain terms we say ‘Axe the bedroom Tax’ and ‘NO’ to evictions.’


Seasoned campaigners included former MP Marie Fyfe (centre)


Picture the welcome to Glasgow

March 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Thursday 7 March 2013

Winning photographs of Glasgow were unveiled at Glasgow Airport this week.

The twenty amateur photographers took up a challenge from Glasgow Doors Open Day last year to produce images of the city’s landmark buildings.Some of the photographers who attended the unveiling at Glasgow Airport Arrivals lounge. The competition winners were: 1st – Surjit Paul for his ‘Geometric Impression’ of the Riverside Museum. 2Nd – Bobby Borland’s ‘Take a Seat’ at Glasgow University. 3Rd – Chris Bonnington for an interior shot of Glasgow City Chambers. 4Th – Bill Crookston for an ‘Unusual view of the front of the Sir Norman Foster & Partners’ Clyde Auditorium.’  Some of them are pictured at the unveiling (above) at Glasgow Airport.

Run in conjunction with the Creative Mackintosh Festival, the competition attracted 150 entries from members of the public. The final 20 photographs will now highlight Glasgow for visitors arriving at the airport.

Said Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau: ‘These wonderful images capture the breadth and wonder of our city’s architecture. They offer a fitting welcome to Scotland’s most stylish city and greatly complement the friendly welcome, for which we are world-renowned. When visitors step off the plane and witness this photography display, they will instantly know they have arrived somewhere special.’

Steven Marshall, Marketing Manager at Glasgow Airport said: ‘We are very pleased to have such high quality images showcasing the city’s leading attractions to welcome international visitors and those returning home.’

Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, which runs Doors Open Day and Glasgow Mackintosh Group which promotes the work of architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh will continue to collaborate to promote the city. Glasgow’s Doors Open Day will take place on 21 and 22 September this year.

All the photographs can be seen on Facebook:


More protests on asylum seekers’ evictions

May 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

A sizeable crowd protested outside Glasgow City Chambers today (Thursday 17 May) at the eviction of asylum seekers from their homes in the city, leaving them to sleep on the streets.

Councillors from all parties  spoke out, just before they attended the first full Council meeting of the new administration.

The crowd listened intently to many speakers who all said it was unacceptable that asylum seekers should be made homeless .

One of at least six people left destitute is Ako from Kurdistan. He explained how he returned to his accommodation provided by Ypeople, to find the lock had been changed without any warning. ‘This was a most stressful and dangerous situation for me,’ said the human rights activist and journalist. ‘I can never forget this. It has destroyed me. It is important to press the system and the government because this should not happen again.’ He says he was lucky and got to sleep in a church hall which is being used as a temporary night shelter for destitute asylum seekers.

A few days later, after long negotiations with Ypeople, he was given a key to the new lock and allowed back into the flat where all his possessions were. Others are not so lucky and still wait for their personal things to be returned to them.

Margaret Wood of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees said: ‘Some of the most vulnerable should be eligible for help from the Social Work Department. It is indecent this is happening at all,’ she said. ‘We will continue to fight.’

A massive demonstration had been planned for Saturday 9 June but will be postponed as that is the day the Olympic torch is due to go through Glasgow. Said Margaret: ‘That is not a disaster. It gives us time to build and have a nationwide demonstration.’ She added: ‘We should be asking the serious question – is this the kind of society we want in Scotland? Do we want to provide a safe haven for people who have had to flee terrible treatment in their own country or do we want them to be treated like rubbish and dumped on the street? This has been a most disgraceful episode but we will fight on alongside the trade unions and the inspiring destitute asylum seekers themselves. We have to win for this society will not be worth living in until we do.’





Protesters target Maryhill Burgh Halls opening

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In true Maryhill style, the official opening of the £9.6 million revamped Maryhill Burgh Halls, attracted protesters.

The Lord Provost stood in solidarity with the Kinship Carers before he went in to the official opening of the Maryhill Burgh Halls.

A crowd of local schoolboys, complete with bikes and skateboards, marched into the invitation only evening on Thursday 26 April. And the VIPs arriving had to walk past an array of banners held by determined grannies demanding justice for Kinship Carers.

They, and the official guests, were serenaded in proper Scottish style, by professional piper Chris Waite at the door. He was one of the Jim Jam Ceilidh Band musicians who entertained, later, inside.

The boys with bikes boldly go where the VIPs went.

The boys told this website reporter earnestly:’We should be allowed in,’ said Rhys McNally (14). ‘It’s discrimination that we are not.’ His pal Mitchell McGowan Ross (13) added: ‘We’re normal people. We deserve the right to go in. The place should be open to the whole public.’ They were politely, but firmly, shown the door by courteous door stewards and trundled back outside.

Choosing to remain outside with their placards and banners were the Kinship Carers. All local women who look after children – usually their own grandchildren – when the parents cannot; they had lobbied earlier in the day outside Glasgow City Chambers. ‘If we fostered a stranger’s child we’d get £300 a week to look after them. Because the children are family, we get £50 a week and none of the important psychological help,’ explained Liz Lynch. In a campaign co-ordinated across Scotland, Kinship Carers met candidates of all parties to demand they sign up for the Kinship Carers’ national manifesto.

It asks for pledges from incoming councillors to:- end the postcode lottery across Scotland for Kinship Care support to ensure that every child had a fair and equal chance.

To:- create a one-stop shop approach to the necessary financial, health, psychological, educational and social work support. ‘Getting any one of these can be a huge struggle for Kinship Carers,’ said supporter Miriam Rose of the Poverty Truth Commission.

To:- recognise the hard job Kinship Carers do and how well they do it and to support them with respite and legal advice among other issues.

Would be councillors were also called on to work with the Kinship Carers when making policy so that funds are used wisely to benefit the children.

On arrival, Lord Provost Bob Winter stood and chatted with them while he put on his chain of office and was happy to pose with them. ‘I saw them earlier today at the City Chambers and support them,’ he said.

The date of 26 April was chosen for the re-opening of the Maryhill Burgh Halls because it was on that date 134 years ago they were originally opened. Already major events have been held in the beautifully re-furbished suites of rooms which include a business centre, a nursery, a cafe a recording studio and exhibition and halls space. Performing the opening this time, was Culture Secretary MSP Fiona Hyslop.

Pride of place in the Halls are original stained glass windows which – uniquely – depict workers in Maryhill in those far off days. They show men working with wood and metal and women working with dyes. Descendants of glass artists Joseph Miller and of the Provost of Maryhill in 1878, were also present at the 2012 opening.

The beauties of the windows and the well-thought-out interior will be available for the public to enjoy on Saturday 28 April from 10am till 4pm. There will be free tours of the buildings, talks, entertainment and samples of what activities will be available, regularly, in the Maryhill Burgh Halls. The boys will be back! And the Kinship Carers might even bring their children too.






Banned for life for listening to the budget debate

February 10, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Grace Harrington believes she has been banned for life from Glasgow City Chambers.

While the drama on the floor of the City Chambers was going on, one member of the public in the packed and very small public gallery, claims she was huckled out of the building and told she was banned for life.

Grace Harrington along with other parents whose adult children use the Accord Centre in the East End, was attending Glasgow City Council’s budget meeting on Thursday to hear if the budget included any hope for a new centre for them.

The last time she sat in the public gallery she was driven to shouting down to the Councillors below. ‘They were telling a pack of lies,’ she later told this website.

And because she had been removed from the public gallery on that previous occasion, she believes she was targeted on Thursday. ‘I was doing nothing but listening. Then the attendant came over and said I was disrupting the meeting,’ said a stunned Grace. ‘He also told me I was not a model citizen and would never be allowed back in the City Chambers again.’

The Accord Centre users are adults with special needs such as Downs Syndrome, autism and other complex conditions. In Dalmarnock, the Accord centre is scheduled to be demolished to make way for a bus park for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. This week the first person has been told the centre will be closed, finally,  on Friday 24 February.

This will leave more than 50 families and their adult children without a day centre to attend. Following a visit by First Minister Alex Salmond, last May, the centre was stripped of all the facilities that had been provided to make it a useful and appealing place for people to use.

‘Now we’re being told that we’ll need to go to the Banbury community centre where a room has been hired and a fire exit has been made into a door with a ramp.’ said another parent. ‘That’s all we’re getting and it’s ‘take it or leave it’ as far as Glasgow City Council is concerned.’

The Accord families had high hopes that accommodation would be provided for their special needs within the plans of the Tollcross Acquatic Centre which is being improved for the Commonwealth Games. ‘We’re still waiting to hear what a feasibility study has suggested,’ said Grace. ‘We’ve always believed we were promised a ‘like for like’ building and centre but we’re still waiting and hoping.’


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