In common with many Community Councils (CC) in the city, Yorkhill & Kelvingrove CC is struggling because of lack of local activists.
A public meeting on Tuesday 16 April at 7pm in the Gaelic School in Berkeley Street will discuss its future. Said Chairman Tony Ownsworth: ‘Our Secretary, sadly, died of cancer. Our Treasurer recently stepped down after giving long warning that he’d vacate the volunteer position. I’ve been chairman for a number of years and would like to go out and smell the roses but I’m having to do the work of chair, secretary and treasurer.’
But the group will have only 1 hour and 40 minutes to deliberate as that is the strict time of the hire of the venue. ‘In the past we use the community centre in Overnewton Square but it was far too cold and is currently closed,’ said Tony. ‘This is a very important meeting to determine whether and how our Community Council is to continue.’
He added: ‘I’ve put notices up around the area but I noticed some of them had been taken down which is very disappointing. We could do with someone who knows how to operate our Facebook page. I’m sure that would help.’
By Martin Graham
Glasgow City Council has announced a £1.5m fund to help private homeowners to carry out essential repair work.
The fund, along with the new powers granted to local authorities as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, means that the council can enforce work to be carried out to resolve the issue, especially prevalent in tenements, where a minority of owners are unwilling to pay their share of essential repairs.
The money will be allocated from the Council’s Private Sector Housing pot and will be set aside into a fund that can be used to cover the costs of moderate repair work carried out under statutory notice.
Work paid from the fund will be replenished as accounts and fees are repaid to the council, with the local authority charging a fee of 15% to cover its technical and administrative costs.
A lack of participation by some homeowners often means that problems such as rain penetration is not dealt with, dampness not treated and this lack of timely remedial action leads to a much more serious and expensive repair, and misery for those owners willing, but unable, to get consensus to address the problem.
Until now, the council was unable to assist owners or property mangers in carrying out this work because it did not have the necessary resources to cope the scale of the problem and the housing services lacked the appropriate power to enforce the work by all owners.
As reported in the Local News previously, lack of repairs to properties can lead to buildings becoming dangerous, like the property on Cathcart Road in Mount Florida which was in such poor repair that masonry was falling on to the pavement below.
Councillor Elaine McDougall, Executive Member for Housing, said: ‘We regularly receive calls from frustrated home owners, across the city, in tenemental properties, who cannot gain agreement from all owners to pay for minor but essential repair work to their properties.
‘Up until now, we have been unable to assist all of these owners or property managers but this new power allows us to enforce the work to be carried out and recover the full cost from all the owners.
‘This scheme will help to improve the quality of the city’s older housing stock, preserving it for future generations, and I would hope that if proved successful, this self-sustaining fund can be expanded in the future.’
This is a step towards the model for property management common in Edinburgh, where there are no factors for tenement closes, rather the council acts as property manager and issues statutory notices for essential repairs to each homeowner.
Everyone has found things tough during the recession, including the media. Here we analyse two different perspectives on delivering news.
As you, our readers are the key to the future of this publication; we would love to hear your views on what you expect from The BBC, your local and national broadcasters, papers and online news platforms.
Today Atholl Duncan, Head of BBC News and Current Affairs, promised an ongoing commitment to the people of Glasgow.
Following a workshop on the future of broadcasting we spoke exclusively to Mr Duncan.
He said; ‘The BBC invested £180m in the most advanced broadcasting centre in Europe, right here in the heart of Glasgow.’
‘It employs 1200 directly and hundreds of others indirectly. There is a huge economic benefit to the city in terms of having the BBC here.
‘It’s only natural as we are based here - a lot of our content will have a Glasgow slant or a Glasgow angle.
‘But our job is wider than that. We have to serve the whole of Scotland – it’s important that we deliver for everyone from Shetland to Shettleston.’
However, not everyone is convinced that the corporation is going in the right direction in terms of delivering local news.
Heather McMillan, Project Manager at Sunny Govan Radio, argues that the BBC should open up and co-operate with local news specialists.
She said: ‘To be honest the BBC Scotland put out much of the same news as STV. There are stories which get missed or cut short at the expense of their daily obsession with Rangers and Celtic.
‘How often do the news cover stories in Possilpark and in Castlemilk? – Not often and not enough.
‘When it comes to the climate change conference in Copenhagen coverage, where are the voices from the people of Glasgow?
‘Sunny Govan – and other local news providers in broadcast, online and in print like Local News Glasgow – are well placed to help the BBC.
‘I have approached the BBC in the past and while they are very helpful and friendly we’ve never had a contract or done any work in co-operation with them.
‘You could say that the BBC has been a bit of a dinosaur in terms of meeting local needs.’
Easterhouse Baptist Church recently celebrated the opening of its £320,000 annexe with a week of services and open-door events to introduce community leaders, neighbours and congregation to the facility.
The extension to the landmark church, which sits at the junction of the M8 motorway and Westerhouse Road, adds a substantial kitchen and dining/function area, a brightly decorated, well-equipped crèche and a general purpose hall.
Minister Sandy Weddell, who arrived in Easterhouse as a trainee in 1979 and succeeded Jim Martin, threw open the doors of his church to guests including John Mason, Westminster MP for Glasgow East, who attends Sandy’s services and Glasgow Baillieston MSP Margaret Curran.
Looking back on a decade-long campaign to extend the church, Sandy observed that it was the determination of his congregation that brought the plan to fruition.
‘By and large, people just gave and gave,’ he said. ‘Once we firmed up our costs, people just started giving.They did diets, sponsored walks - we’ve had everything under the sun … it’s been sacrificial giving in some cases.
‘We have our ordinary offering, but we also have folk who have convenanted large sums of money for this.’
Such was the Baptist congregation’s determination to succeed that 72% of the funding for the new annexe was raised from within. Other finance came from the wider Baptist fellowship, as well as sympathetic trust funds and foundations.
In all, the church raised nearly £380,000 for the extension and remedial work to the original building.
While the Baptist community in Easterhouse celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, Sandy sees his renewed church as an opportunity for the area rather than a legacy of his ministry.
very soon, churches might be one of the very public facilities in an area.
The church runs a mother-and-toddler group. It employs a full-time children’s worker, Christine Brown. A breakfast club and a 12-step programme are also part of it does.
However, a lot of good initiatives weren’t ‘sexy’ enough for government funding, Sandy complained. ‘They don’t attract the help they need.’ But churches like Easterhouse Baptist are keen to help in any way they can.
Those schemes are at the heart of changing a community and ‘scratch where the people itch’, he said.
‘There might be a time when you can’t afford to open schools for lets. That’s quite conceivable. I see places like this as an oasis that can be used by different groups and it’s my hope that, eventually, this will become a place for the entire community.’
Clyde shipyard workers David Connelly and Joe McEwan have been honoured by the captain of HMS Dauntless for their work on the Type-45 destroyer.
The Dauntless, which was built at BAE Systems Surface Ships in Govan, recently entered service with the Royal Navy and has travelled from her home waters on the Clyde to base in Portsmouth.
He said: ‘It’s a real honour to receive this award from the ship’s captain. Joe and I have worked on Dauntless since her first steel cut back in 2004 and have an enormous sense of pride in the ship.
‘We’re about to embark on the delivery voyage to hand her over to the Royal Navy, which will mark the final stage in our current role, and it’s great to know that now we’ll always be welcome back on board.’
By Alan McCrorie
Staff at Momentum Scotland, the volunteer network which helps people meet the challenges of living with disability, delivered a sobering message along with their thanks to BT after the telecoms giants gifted the group with a laptop and free internet access for a year.
Momentum, who run their Adapt & Assist service to help those with serious spinal injuries access computers and the internet, were made the award by BT Community Connections and are one of 6,000 groups to have benefited from the scheme since 2000.
Assistive Technology Co-ordinator, Garry Ryan, and Volunteer Co-ordinator, Doug Ross, told a gathering at Momentum’s Yoker offices that a disability may only be the beginning of a person’s problems unless their world is adapted around them in order to help them cope.
Professional and private lives can collapse, Doug explained. One in six people who become disabled lose their jobs while the incidence of divorce rockets and, for some, isolation threatens – all this and more on top of lives that have changed beyond recognition.
Garry said: ‘Simply being able to do their own shopping online and communicate with others via email or social networking sites can help ease the challenge of living with a disability.
‘By learning new skills and working with members of our volunteer team we can boost confidence and social inclusion.’
He also explained the use of such devices such as the head mouse, where a camera mounted on the screen will track a dot attached to the user’s forehead or spectacles, allowing the computer to interpret movements of the head and cue the computer.
BT Scotland’s Senior Partnership Manager, James McClafferty, gamely volunteered to work a voice recognition programme, and joined John Roberston, Glasgow North West MP, Co-Chairman of the All-Party Communications Group and former BT manager, in struggling to operate a keyboard that resembled the controls of a melodion.
‘This is what it’s like to live with disability,’ said Garry, looking on. ‘Everything changes completely.’
Mark Longhill, the Chairman of the BT judging panel who made the award to Momentum, tested a remarkable retina-based mouse control programme, while a sip and puff switch, which controls the mouse with the mouth, was also demonstrated.
Pupils in primary six and seven at Carmyle Primary School who have ventured into the realms of crime scene investigations made a big breakthrough with their case when they asked a policeman for help.
The young sleuths are taking part in a six-week course that challenges their imaginations and equips them with the IT skills they’ll need in the years ahead. It also offers them a peek into the world of real crime fighting beyond the sets of television series such as CSI.
While the children learned how to examine fingerprints, hair samples, identify tyre prints and use digital microscopes, they also had the chance to question Constable Steven Docherty of Shettleston Police Office about his day-to-day work. Questions about DNA were high on their agenda as they put Steven through his paces – without the good cop, bad cop routine.
The course is the brainchild of ComputerXplorers, an educational franchise company which operates in 20 countries and offers information technology courses to children aged from three to 13.
John McGill, who set up ComputerXplorers South West Scotland earlier this year, said: ‘We’ve taken the pupils through some of the steps that the CSI investigators go through, fingerprinting, powder analysis, digital photograph analysis, and dental imprinting. With that, the kids have a great time. They bite into a piece of fruit and someone guesses who bit the fruit by looking at dental imprints in styrofoam plates.
‘The first analysis is with the eye,’ John explained. ‘To deduce who bit the the apple – and it’s not a serious crime – requires analysis of top and bottom teeth. We use digital imaging as well, and the whole point of our classes is to bring technology into the fun experience. We’re training kids for job that don’t yet exist but it’s clear technology is going to be a huge part of that.
‘It’s a real core life skill we’re trying to teach them through the fun, and through the educational aspects of CSI and forensics.’
Not everyone is good at sports, John said, so learning collaboration and presenting to peers in his class means that children can enjoy their creative side.
Headteacher Linda Logue said: ‘This class has been very popular and after consultation with parents, we hope to be running another in January.
‘The children are very motivated and actively engaged in every session, learning information and communication technology and problem solving skills without realising it.’
Staff, friends and clients of a beauty salon have stepped out to show their support for Breakthrough Breast Cancer in a sponsored walk which raised some £2,500.
More than 30 people and two canine friends took part in the five-kilometre walk organised by Ellen Conlin Hair and Beauty at Mugdock Country Park in Milngavie.
The team, which drew volunteers from salons in Hyndland and Giffnock, braced the wet weather and swapped heels for Wellington boots to raise money for the pioneering charity which aims to save lives through research, campaigns and education.
Managing director of Ellen Conlin Hair and Beauty, Ellen Conlin-Main, said: ‘The walk was a great way to raise money for a very important cause. The team put in a huge amount of effort and it was a great way to bring everyone together out with the salon.
‘Despite the miserable weather, we all had a lot of fun. I would also like to say a huge thank-you to all who supported us, especially our clients and, of course, to the people that made donations. The total we managed to raise was fantastic and I hope that we will able to do something very similar again soon.’
The 90-metre long ship, commissioned by the government of Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), is one of three that form part of a £150m contract. BAE will take the vessels from scratch to sea trials on behalf of the Caribbean republic and will provide five years of in-service support.
The UK Ministry of Defence is providing T&T Coast Guard crews with training.
The Port of Spain – the Scarborough’s sister ship – has been launched at Portsmouth. The third ship will be built on the Clyde.
BAE’s Govan operation recently launched HMS Defender – the fifth of six Type-45 destroyers for the Royal Navy.
Pollokshields and Garrowhill are two of the latest beneficiaries of the Scottish Government’s £1.25bn schools building programme.
Cabinet Secretary for Education, Fiona Hyslop’s, announcement includes rebuilding projects at Garrowhill Primary in the east of the city and Glendale Primary in the south.
The latest tranche of rebuilding also allows Glasgow City Council to nominate a third school project. A total of 21 primary schools are now part of the programme to replace crumbling post-war buildings with modern facilities.
In September, the Government announced that 14 secondary schools will be rebuilt or modernised.
The Cabinet Secretary said: ‘This Government inherited a legacy of 260,000 pupils in poor or bad condition school buildings and in just two-and-a-half years that number has dropped by over 100,000.
‘We are on track to deliver in excess of 250 new or refurbished schools in the lifetime of this Parliament through £2bn already under way, supported by decisions made by the Scottish Government.’
Welcoming the news of a new Garrowhill Primary, Glasgow East MP, John Mason, fired a broadside at the Labour-led council, saying they had failed in their responsibility to keep schools in good repair.
‘The Scottish Government’s school building fund is meant to provide additional support, but the Labour council really needs to start pulling its weight on schools.’
The rebuilding project will be managed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), a limited company wholly owned by Holyrood ministers, set up to govern infrastructure investment in Scotland, working in partnership with the private sector.
Established last year, the Government claimed the SFT would cost less than public finance initiative deals with the private sector. Infrastructure investment in Scotland over the next 10 years has been put at some £35bn.