Robert Burns attracted a full house at Glasgow South Business Club’s January meeting. Held in the beautiful function rooms of the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston, the lunch celebrated the Bard with former chief executive of SPT, Ron Culley, sharing his wit and wisdom on the subject.
Welcomed by Govan High School music students, the gathering of around 80 members and guests had a feast of entertainment before the meal. Under the baton of Elaine Bonner, Head of Music and accompanist Stephen Roger, vocal soloists were Jennifer Baird, Frazer Chisholm and Tiree McDonald. Recorder soloists were Colette Rinaldi and Gabriele Pikturnaite. Clarinet soloist was Kristofer Shaw and guitar soloist was Craig Connell.
School Head Teacher, Iain White, piped in the haggis which was address, with panache, by Local News Editor, Grace Franklin.
After the delicious meal, Ron Culley took the floor. He had been chief executive of Govan Initiative when it launched the Business Club in 1987. Its first secretary, he reflected on what Govan was like in those, not so far off, days. ‘There was no BBC, no Science Centre – that was all derelict dockland. Some parts of Govan had 100% unemployed. So in that relatively short time it is good to see what changes have been made.’ He paid tribute to Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency which is today’s version of Govan Initiative and the other agencies who are transforming the area.
Since stepping down from the SPT for health reasons, his heart problems are being overcome, he told the audience. Twice before, the Club had anticipated his Immortal Memory at their Burns lunch and twice they’d been disappointed when he’d had to call off for those very health reasons.
Using the lunch as the trial run for his speech – he had three other audiences to address in similar fashion – he asked why Burns had transcended the centuries and was celebrated as the man and the poet, while Shakespeare and Charles Dickens were only celebrated for their works and not their humanity.
‘We could ask ourselves if Burns would have stood in the queue at Cupids?’ he questioned to much laughter. ‘He was a genius but also he had honesty and despite his faults, kept his feet on the ground and despised hypocrisy.’
Explaining how Burns was well schooled in grammar, Ron Culley said his generation of Pollok residents was schooled in the same way. That’s why he found writing came relatively easy to him and he has now published two books – copies of which he had with him.
The Kaibab Resolution was a thriller set in America and I Belong to Glasgow – with a foreword by Sir Alex Ferguson – was his own look at his native city. Ron is working on two other novels to complete his first trilogy.
Thanks were expressed to Ron and the other participants by Club member Ralph Riddiough with the whole day efficiently conducted by Club Chairman Remo Pisaneschi.
READERS OF THIS ENEWS have a chance to win a signed copy of Kaibab Resolution. Just tell us what year Glasgow South Business Club was founded. Email answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org with GSBC in the subject box to arrive by 9am Friday 11 February 2011.
Members of the Glasgow South Business Club are raising £500 to pay for one country team to enter the next Homeless World Cup. They have a football signed by Sir Alex Ferguson, who wrote the foreword to Ron Culley’s book ‘I Belong to Glasgow’ which is being raffled. Tickets from the Club committee. See website: www.glasgowsouthbusiness club.co.uk or phone 0141 440 2334 or email Frank
For a one-year-old, the Shawlands base of Glasgow South East Regeneration Agency (GSERA) has a lot to celebrate. In the year since the team set up in a vacant shop on Kilmarnock Road at the entrance to the Shawlands Arcade, they have supported 30 new businesses, 40 volunteer placements, 50 qualifications and 50 jobs. So some birthday cake was dispensed among shoppers and traders in the Arcade when Shawlands Market stalls were open on their regular Thursday and Friday sessions.
Said Councillor Archie Graham, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Shawlands Town Centre Planning Group: ‘People living in the Shawlands area have a very valuable resource on their doorstep. This is particularly important in the current economic climate. I am delighted with GSERA’s work.’
Fraser Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of GSERA added: ‘We are particularly pleased that many of the new businesses we have worked with are now investing in premises of their own, recruiting staff and creating genuine economic return. We are also pleased to be working jointly with our partners in Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency to encourage new-start businesses.’
Among the fledgling businesses nurtured by GSERA is Safe Lettings. Launched by Saima Ahmed, 28, the company is an independent residential lettings and property management agency with an office in Shawlands. Said Saima who left school at 16: ‘I came into GSERA with a rough plan of what I wanted to do. I met with my advisor who helped me with all the things I needed to do before I started. They even helped me find business premises.’ Now, six months down the line, she comments: ‘The business is going really well. I’m glad I took the leap into self-employment. It’s really paid off.’
GSERA is one of the five local regeneration agencies serving the city. Staff work face-to-face with each client to help them build the better life they want through improving health, increasing skills and helping them find a job or start or develop a business. Apart from the Shawlands drop-in office, GSERA has similar offices in Castlemilk’s Glenwood business centre; Gorbals’ Adelphi Centre; Govanhill’s Victoria Road; East Pollokshields’ Shields Road and Toryglen’s Community Base in Prospecthill Square. See website: www.gsera.org.uk or phone the headquarters number: 0141 420 3573.
By Grace Franklin
Almost 50 people in Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency’s area, received Learning Awards this week from Keith Brown, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning. And the Agency itself received its Investors in People Silver award.
At a happy, lunchtime event in Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, Councillor Stephen Curran welcomed a large audience of the achievers and their family and friends. Each person recognised in the ceremony is a client of the Regeneration Agency.
Said Minister Brown: ‘Those receiving awards have put in a great deal of hard work and thoroughly deserve to be recognised. I have met many people who have benefitted from taking part in community based, adult learning programmes, including literacy and numeracy, as well as programmes aimed at helping to prepare for work. I have heard first hand about the changes to people’s lives – being able to help children with homework, increases in confidence, as well as people developing the skills to go for promotion, or take those first steps back into work or learning.’ He continued:‘The importance of people gaining these vital skills has been underlined in the launch of the Scottish Government’s Skills Strategy and subsequent Literacy Action Plan. The programmes delivered by Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency bring these policies to life and help to build the strong communities we need to underpin a sustainable economy.’
Tommy Docherty, Depute Chief Executive of Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency (GSWRA) said, ‘This is a really important event for many people – it’s like a mini-graduation ceremony. It is vital that we recognise and acknowledge the hard work and determination that our clients put in to help them move on with their lives. The day was a great success and I was thrilled that Keith Brown, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, was able to join us. It made the whole thing a bit more special for everyone.’
At the end of the awards ceremony, Councillor Alex Glass congratulated everyone and said it was a fantastic achievement by everyone concerned. ‘There is a wide mix of people who have been successful.’ To loud applause he continued: ‘This would not have been possible without the staff of Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency who took them through their learning journeys.’ He then presented Peter Watson, Vice Chair of GSWRA and Board member Eleanor Harris with the Investors in People Silver Award. ‘It is important GSWRA continues to train its staff. Let them go for gold next year!’ he encouraged.
All GSWRA clients undergo a range of training courses designed to equip them for the world of work. These include literacy and numeracy, confidence building, community janitors, get ready for work, IT, work based training and progression in work training.
The successful candidates were:
Training For Work (Adult)
Lauren Boyle, David Dempsie, John Ferguson, Charlene Leith, William MaGee, Callum MacKay, James Myles, Christine Read, Chris Watson, James Young.
Training for Work (Youth)
Georgie Boyle, Nicole Boyle, Andrew Graham, Samantha Lyons, Carly McNeil, Leigh Semple.
Training for Life
Stephen Chisholm, Elaine Cleer, Anne Davidson, Robert Davies, Gerry Gormley, Graeme Logan, Michael Munro, Lynda Robertson, Sandra Tierney, Elizabeth Wallace.
Training for the Future
Stephanie Alexander, Ross Baird, Robert Brown, Gina Davidson, Jennifer Edwards, David Granger, Melissa Kennedy, David Lees, Joseph Stanulis, Fraser Taylor, Angela Todd.
Significant Learning Journey
Scott Anderson, Lauren Burns, Catherine Campbell, John Dearie, Freda Edwards, Kirsty McNab, Sheila Young.