A youth programme which helps reduce anti-social behaviour in the North and West of Glasgow has been hailed as a success by former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson.
The former Scotland International captain was among special guests at the annual awards and dance shows run by A&M Training – a programme which is part funded by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA).
Run by ex-Dundee United winger Andy McLaren, the A&M Training scheme tackles youth disorder, racism and gang violence. Founded on his own hard experiences, the scheme encourages youngsters to keep fit through football and dance classes.
Around 2000 youngsters have already signed up for Operation Reclaim in the North of the city and also the West End Diversionary Project.
Birmingham City star Barry Ferguson presented trophies at the Operation Reclaim awards night at the Mitchell Theatre recently.
Barry said: “I’m delighted to support A&M Training which delivers top-quality diversionary coaching activities across Glasgow. Each week around 2000 young people benefit from these services – and they are free.
“I attended the dance and awards show and was blown away by the numbers involved, the talent on show and the quality of the coaching.”
GHA and the Scottish Government fund the West End Diversionary Project, which covers areas including Drumchapel, Yoker, Scotstoun and Anderston. Operation Reclaim is funded by GHA and North Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and runs in areas including Sighthill, Springburn, Milton and Royston.
GHA’s Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire, said: “Projects such as Operation Reclaim and the West End Diversionary Project are making a real difference to young people in the North and West of the city.
Former Scotland footballers Robbie Winters, Charlie Miller and Gary McSwegan are also lending their support to programme.
Andy McLaren, founder of A&M Training, said: “We’re the only sports coaching charity in Scotland providing free coaching services delivered by professional footballers and dancers.
“The programme has had a tremendous benefit in reducing youth crime and disorder and improving the health and well-being of large numbers of young people.”
Ann McKechin has increased her majority over the Lib Dems and posted Labour’s third Westminster success of the general election by holding Glasgow North.
The candidates polled as follows: Martin Bartos, Green, 947; Erin Boyle, Conservative, 2089; Katy Gordon, LibDem, 9283; Patrick Grady, 3530, SNP; Thomas Main, BNP, 296; Angela McCormick, STUSC, 287; Ann McKechin, Labour, 13,181.
Maryhill has for generations been a Labour stronghold but was urged to change allegiance by Nick Clegg at Woodside Halls last night.
The Leader of the Liberal Democrats – who was there to back Glasgow North candidate Katy Gordon – made a point of first engaging the audience and then asked them to ditch the ‘habits’ of voting for Labour.
He said: ‘Many of you come from families and communities who have supported the Labour Party for generations.
‘It was part of who you were, and I think you have been let down. I think you have been taken for granted.
‘I know it is very difficult to break the habit of generations, and it can feel like betrayal. But it is not a betrayal of yours – It is Labour who has betrayed you.’
Clegg urged the people of Glasgow North – and across the country – to follow their hearts and not vote tactically.
He said: ‘I don’t think people should people should be pushed and bamboozled by desperate government ministers.
‘It is a council of despair for Labour by trying to frighten people into voting in a way they want them to.’
Clegg believes it is his party that can help rebuild the communities that he says Labour have let down, and Cameron’s Tories have done nothing but pay lip service too.
Before rushing off to his next stop on his tour of the UK, he said: ‘Labour supporters are thinking about lending us their support and I’m very optimistic we can do very well in this election.’
An attentive audience of more than 100 people attended the Sunday night hustings held by the West End group of churches under the banner of ACTS – Action of Churches Together in Hillhead Baptist Church. Taking the place of most denominations’ evening service, the meeting gave all the Glasgow North Constituency candidates an opportunity to answer voters’ questions. These covered issues from the Royal Bank of Scotland’s damaging environmental involvement to improving the lot of asylum seekers and priorities on extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
Deftly chaired by retired minister the Rev. Dr Norman Shanks, the line-up included current Westminster MP Ann McKechin (Labour) who is being closely challenged by Katy Gordon (Lib Dem) and Patrick Grady (SNP). But the other candidates – Martin Bartos (Green Party), Angela Mc Cormick (Scottish Trade Union and Socialist Coalition) and Richard Sullivan standing in for Erin Boyle (Conservative and Unionist) – gave positive contributions which left quite a few listeners admitting they felt unsure of where they would place their vote on Thursday 6 May. Thomas Main (British National Party) did not attend.
The hustings panel agreed that every vote counted in this election and could make a positive difference.
A further churches organised hustings will take place in Ruchill Parish Church, 15-17 Shakespeare Street, Glasgow G20 8TH at 7pm on Sunday 2 May.
And a service of prayer for the general election will take place in Kelvinside Hillhead Church, Observatory Road, off Byres Road at 7.30pm on Wednesday 5 May, the eve of voting.
Glasgow North is shaping up to be quite a battle. Two women, sitting Labour MP Anne McKechin and Lib Dem candidate Katy Gordon, along with the SNP’s Patrick Grady are fighting a tight seat.
Katy Gordon has lived in Glasgow for nearly 20 years. She is pushing the notion that Glasgow North is a two-horse race between her and Labour. But it has been 23 years since there was a Liberal MP from any Glasgow seat.
Backed by Vince Cable, Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor, Katy said: ‘There is still a Liberal tradition here, a flickering flame that has never gone out.’
She has a massive task ahead of her. The seat is occupied by Labour MP Ann McKechin who polled 11,001 votes to the Lib Dem’
s 7,663 votes last time, with SNP trailing on 3,614.
McKechin expects real challenge from the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, but says most voters will be making a ‘key decision’ between Tory and Labour. She said: ‘This is always a seat that will be tighter than others in Glasgow.
‘The overwhelming number of people that I talk to don’t think David Cameron has anything to offer them . We have the strongest policies on jobs.’
The SNP can be optimistic, as they polled highest at last year’s European Elections in the North of the city. Their candidate, Patrick Grady, an Invernessian now living in Dennistoun, launched the SNP campaign in February at Summerston Asda, assisted by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Patrick said: ‘The Labour party in Glasgow have let local people down. With hard working councillors, MSPs and MP John Mason, people know that the SNP will put local interests first, last and always.’
Martin Bartos, the Green Party candidate, said: ‘At some point Scotland will elect its first Green MP, and Glasgow North will be the place to do it.’ Also standing will be Erin Boyle – Conservative, and Angela McCormick – STUSC.
VINCE Cable, The Liberal Democrats shadow chancellor, has backed his party’s Glasgow North candidate Katy Gordon to triumph at this year’s general election.
Cable is a respected politician who was one of the first to call for the nationalisation of Northern Rock at the start of the banking crisis.
He also has strong Glasgow links, as he studied at Glasgow University and was a Labour Councillor in Maryhill in the 1970s.
Speaking exclusively to Local News Glasgow today, he said: “I have seen first-hand how tirelessly Katy works on behalf of local people.
“She has been an effective and inspirational campaigner and would be an excellent parliamentary voice for the people of the constituency.”
44-year-old Katy Gordon, who was born in Cheshire but has lived in Glasgow for nearly 20 years, gets almost starry-eyed talking about her party’s economic spokesman.
Cable joined fight against school closures in Wyndford which inspired Katy, and she believes the local people in the neighbourhoods.
She said: “Following our campaign against the school closures the people in the Wyndford have gone on and set up a community council.
“Getting the public involved in politics through something that affects them is the way forward – my party has always been good at building from the bottom up.”
She is aware that it’s been 23 years since there was a Liberal MP from any Glasgow seat and even then it was the old SDLP, yet remains unhindered.
She said: “Roy Jenkins was the last Liberal MP in Glasgow. He was well liked and is well remembered round these parts.
“There is still a liberal tradition here, a flickering flame that has never gone out.
“The party has had solid campaigns here, developed strong roots and has repaid its faith in me by supporting me as much as it can.”
But Gordon has a massive task ahead of her; the seat is occupied by sitting Labour MP Ann McKechin.
McKechin worked under George Galloway in the old Kelvin seat in the early 1990s before she was elected herself to serve as MP for the old Maryhill seat in 2001.
She expects real challenge from the Liberal Democrats, but says most voters nationally will be making a ‘key decision’ between Tory and Labour.
She said: “This is always a seat that will be tighter than others in Glasgow.
“There are voters in the middle-class areas of the west end as well as the working class areas of Maryhill and Summerston.
“But the overwhelming number of people that I talk to on a regular basis don’t think David Cameron has anything to offer them in this constituency, or in Glasgow.
“We have the strongest policies on jobs such as the young person’s guarantee.
“This is where any young person who has been out of work for more than six months we will guarantee them six months paid work or training experience.”