Kinship Carers will be the first ever group to present a petition to Glasgow City Council’s year-old Petitions Committee. The historic meeting will be on Tuesday 7 May at 1.30pm in the City Chambers when the Carers will claim the children they look after are being discriminated against.
Most Kinship Carers have taken responsibility to raise their own grandchildren when the parents are unable to do so.
Representatives of the New Fossils Grandparents Support Group in Glasgow’s East quarter will put forward their concerns.
They claim that despite having the same legal status under Section 70 of the 1995 Children’s Act, a child placed in foster care by a Children’s Panel receives recognised allowances while a child formally recognised by the Children’s Panel as being cared for by a grandparent or other kincarer, gets nothing.
Said one kincarer: ‘These disadvantaged children are Scotland’s real shame. They walk away with just the clothes they stand in. The other children have a £100 emergency grant for immediate needs, a cheque for up to £500 to buy necessities like beds and an age related allowance from £131 to £231 a week: all paid to their carer.
‘If this kind of discrimination was being made between children of different colour or gender or religious background, there would be a public outcry. But because it is ‘only’ grandparents who are taking care of their grandchildren, the assumption is they don’t deserve or warrant the same help or support that official foster carers receive.
‘I believe this is systematic and institutionalised discrimination just as bad as apartheid. It is no way to treat our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.’
The petitioners ask Glasgow City Council to give kinship children the same allowances and levels of support as foster children. The Scottish Government agreed unanimously in 2007 that this should be done within three years. Subsequently all Councils in Scotland signed up to a Concordat to do so. But to date, only Highland Council has implemented it.
Earlier this year, Kinship Carers across Scotland launched a new national organisation to be the single campaigning voice for the rights of the children in their care. Said Anne Swartz, Chair of the Alliance and a kinship carer from Dumbarton: ‘We are sick of seeing the children in our care suffer without the basic support from Local Authorities. Our children are routinely written off and discriminated against while foster placement children 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.’
A recent study of kinship carers and the children they cared for was carried out by Buttle UK, a children’s grant-giving charity and the University of Bristol. It showed that each child cared for by an informal kinship carer, saved the taxpayer between £23,500 and £56,000 a year. In Scotland, one child in every 71 was being brought up by a kincarer such as a grandparent, sister or brother or other relative. Most of these family carers were put into severe poverty as a result of taking in the children. And while the children were doing considerably better than children in formal care, they still had unaddressed severe behavioural and emotional difficulties as a result of the traumas they had experienced.
Councillor Billie McAllister of Canal Ward in Glasgow is one of the members of the City’s Petitions Committee.
He told this website: ‘I’ve been on the committee for one year and this will be the first petition we’ve heard. We should be inundated with petitions for the amount of injustice being experienced in our communities. But I don’t think the Council is serious about this. A recent meeting was cancelled because we were told there was ‘nothing on the agenda!’ I couldn’t accept that and pushed to get some action. This petition is, I believe, the result of that. I’m not at all happy with how things are run. There is talk of democracy and community empowerment but no-one can open their mouth to say anything other than to agree with the powers that be.’
The other items to be considered by the Petitions and General Purposes and Policy Development committee on Tuesday will be (a) an update on the progress of the City Centre Service Desk which went live in August 2012 and (b) Glasgow’s Draft Single Outcome Agreement 2013. This was submitted by the Community Planning Partnership to the Scottish Government on 2 April 2013 and is a ten year plan for priorities and ‘better outcomes for residents.’ After consultation with the Community Planning Partnership partners, the plan will be submitted to the Scottish Government for final agreement by 28 June 2013.
An independent report on work done by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to re-roof and re-clad properties in their care, has been condemned as ‘whitewash,’ by those who pressed for it.
The report was presented to Glasgow Home Owners and Tenants’ Campaign on Wednesday 12 December by representatives of Michael Dyson Associates Ltd – the company commissioned by the Scottish Government to do the inspection.
They surveyed the exterior of 252 blocks and the interior of 465 properties for signs of defects or deficiences arising from the overcladding installations or re-roofing work or how that work was done. Their report states: ‘We have discovered no evidence of inherent defects within the over-cladding systems or re-roofing works which would give rise to dampness within the properties to which they were applied.’
However, they concluded that there were issues around condensation and mould growth ‘as a direct result of how moisture, ventilation and heating is managed in the properties.’
Said Campaign Chairman, Sean Clerkin: ‘It is an absolute insult to the people who live in these houses to put the blame on them. The company produced no evidence to support their contention instead they say “we believe” this is caused by people who live there.’
Subsequently to the formal presentation of the report, he and the Campaign Committee discussed the findings at length. The Campaign is now advising home owners with dampness to consider action through a Cambuslang legal company, Duffy Toshner.
The Campaign will consider the report findings at their next regular meeting in Jurys Inn Hotel, Jamaica Street, Glasgow on Thursday 31 January 2013 at 7pm.
‘We would encourage all home owners affected by dampness following re-cladding or re-roofing, to come along and hear from Duffy Toshner who are as concerned as we are about these issues.’
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: ‘The First Minister fulfilled his promise to the Campaign that an independent survey would be carried out to assess the work to home owner properties and we are satisfied that this has now been done.
“This is the third survey of the GHA overcladding and re-roofing works. All have confirmed that there are no issues with the overcladding specification or its application.
“We are satisfied that a robust independent survey was carried out which was technically correct and procured in accordance with Scottish Government procedures. Each of the stages of the survey was discussed in detail with the GHA and the Glasgow Home Owners and Tenants’ Campaign to ensure both parties were content with the approach taken.
“We fully appreciate the efforts from both and each co-operated fully. GHA owners and tenants are showing increasing levels of satisfaction with the investment programme.”
GHA’s Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire, said: “The survey results speak for themselves. There are no inherent defects in the overcladding systems or re-roofing, and no dampness has been caused by any of the work done. We will continue to help and advise tenants and factored home owners who have a problem with condensation.”
The report recommended that all properties should be provided with adequate heating and ventilation and that individual residents should be advised on how to correctly manage moisture through the ventilation and heating within their homes.
However, Sean Clerkin commented: ‘The fight goes on. The report’s major weakness is that it does not give any number for the houses affected by condensation/dampness. That is what this whole issue is about. The report also notes that roof ventilation was not visible in some properties. We’ve pointed out properties where the ventilation was sealed in the course of the work to the building. Another worrying thing from the report is that during the inspection of ‘rainwater goods’ – gutters and the like – the surveyors noted places where guttering and down pipes were blocked or defective. They recommended speedy repair and regular maintenance to ensure this does not become a problem. But there was no quality control. However, the truth will out despite what I believe is a housing mafia trying to prevent it.’
Karibu’s annual general meeting (agm) was as busy and productive as any gathering of African women could be.
The organisation was set up almost ten years ago to bring together women in Scotland who came from Africa so that their combined energy and talents would help them integrate and make them stronger and self-sufficient.
The agm was held in the Pearce Institute in Govan.
Among the many items on the programme were the launch of a Karibu tartan; a fashion show of clothes made by the Karibu Sewing Project; notice of an upcoming launch for Karibu Scotland’s African Tartan and Textiles book as well as Scottish Government Equalities Section speaker Mukami McCrum. This being Black History Month, there were celebrations to mark it. And, of course, there was sumptious food, glorious food as only Women of Africa can prepare.
The charity is planning to re-open the cafe in the Pearce Institute in collaboration with Tea in the Pot, a local women’s support group which has been at the Pearce for several years.
Laurentine Zibi, Chair of Karibu (Welcome in Swahali) said afterwards she was ‘proud and pleased’ that the charity had overcome various challenges this past year.
‘To see between 100 and 150 people here today is emotional for me.’ The group has moved offices from Albion Street to Gorbals’ Adelphi Centre and now to the Pearce Institute in Govan.
‘We didn’t have enough funding to carry on in the Gorbals,’ said Laurentine. A full time worker post was reduced to part-time and then was lost in April when funding finished.
But with the support of Oxfam, the volunteer work of the Karibu Sewing Project gathered in strength. ‘We hope to move this into a social enterprise soon,’ added Laurentine. Their exclusive Karibu African tartan – devised with the expertise of tartan expert David McGill – can be purchased in Byres Road Oxfam shop.
Karibu founder, Henriette Koubakouenda, declared at the end of the day she felt ‘comforted’ that the organisation was making progress. ‘To see people taking over is good. Even if I die, Karibu will continue. The fact that the next generation shares the same vision as we who founded Karibu – is worth more than a million pounds to me. This annual general meeting has been a real joy for me.’
Henriette arrived in Glasgow with her two young sons as refugees from the Congo. Along with other women she soon discovered their needs and wishes didn’t fit in with the system. ‘About 15 or 20 women gathered in my flat in Sighthill on 31 August 2003 to work out how we could organise ourselves. We needed to keep our self-respect and were willing to work hard but our voices were not being heard by the service providers. It was difficult for us because each woman was isolated and very few had fluent English. I knew that, individually, we would not be heard but together we could be strong and be the voice for our problems.’ Among the issues they had personal experience of that didn’t fit the official categories were human trafficking and genital mutilation.
The Gambia – a favoured, West African, holiday sunshine destination for many Scots – is now the bloodbath of Africa. Nine people have been summarily executed in recent weeks with the remaining 38 in the country’s ‘death row’ expected to be shot soon.
Since 1981, the Gambia has been abolitionist in practice and among more than two thirds of states worldwide, which have abolished the death penalty in practice or in law.
President Yahya Jammeh said publicly during recent Eid celebrations that he would: ‘rid the country of all criminals’ by ‘mid-September.’
Many of the people facing the death penalty still have legal processes pending – such as appeals. But the country’s legal system is now widely considered to be in disarray with lawyers, judges and other legal officials being removed at the whim of the President.
Members of the Campaign for Human Rights in the Gambia discussed this ‘sickening’ issue with officials in the Scottish Government on Thursday 13 September.
Said Campaign Chairman Arthur West: ‘The human rights situation in the Gambia is deteriorating fast. Amnesty International issued a report on enforced disappearances, torture and extra judicial killings in 2008. Last year they updated that with a ‘Climate of Fear’ report showing that the Gambia was not observing its international human rights obligations. These executions dramatically step up the erosion of human rights. We have brought this to the notice of the Scottish Government and are urging that they do all they can to make their concerns known and to prevent further executions.’
The bodies of those executed have not been released to families. Neither the people executed nor their families were given warning of their final hour.
More than 20 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) have signed a motion condemning the nine executions and urging the UK Government and wider international community to ‘seek a resolution at the UN General Assembly condemning the use of the death penalty and all human rights abuses in the Gambia and to consider that aid, trade, tourism and diplomacy all have a role to play in putting pressure on the Gambian Government to end its abuse of human rights.’
The sponsor of the parliamentary motion, MSP Patrick Harvie, said: ‘The death penalty is a gross violation of basic human rights wherever it is used. But in the case of the Gambia, the background is one of political oppression, unfair trials, torture and censorship. It`s vital that the international community opposes this brutal regime and supports those Gambians who are bravely speaking out against the authorities there.’
Arthur West, Chairman of the Campaign said: ‘Our campaign is grateful to Patrick Harvie MSP and the other MSPs who have supported this motion highlighting the worrying human rights situation in the Gambia now. We are particularly pleased that the motion highlights that aid, trade, tourism and diplomacy all have a role to play in putting pressure on the Gambian Government to end its abuse of human rights.’
President Jammeh came to power in a bloodless coup in 1994 when he was an army lieutenant. He has remained in power through three elections. The last – in November 2011 – was held in conditions ‘not conducive for the conduct of free, fair and transparent polls,’ according to the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS) Opposition parties were permitted only 11 days to campaign. Some of their leaders had been imprisoned beforehand. President Jammeh has total power over the media with almost all tv coverage being of his speeches and actions. Independent radio stations and newspapers have been shut.
Journalists have been imprisoned for asking, formally, for permission to protest publicly at the executions. They were charged with ‘conspiracy to commit a felony.’ Their homes were searched; they were held for more than the statutory 72 hours and were not permitted visits in detention by their lawyer or the Gambian Press Union. They were released on bail of US $8,000.
Currently, an estimated one third of the country’s population of 1.8 million, lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 (78p) a day. A good average wage is $24 (£15) a month. Most villages do not have clean running water, electricity or easy access to health care.
President Jamme claims to cure AIDS, personally, and has called for homosexuals to be beheaded.
By any measure, it was an extraordinary meeting in Sighthill’s KATS centre on Tuesday 11 September.
One woman in the audience of around 100 agitated people, was warned for belligerently interrupting and was eventually ejected from the room by two police officers. Glasgow City Council’s Leader, Gordon Matheson faced the angry crowd, fenced off awkward questions but answered others. And MSP Bob Doris missed a certain football match when he was asked, at short notice, to chair the rumbustious meeting where he did an adept job at holding the jackets.
At stake is the future of two high rise blocks which are earmarked for demolition in the newly announced £250million redevelopment of the area. The plan was announced suddenly on Friday 7 September by Glasgow City Council as part of their pitch to win the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
The Pinkston flats are home to around 400 households where people say they were promised the buildings would be refurbished. With the sudden announcement of demolition instead, they are angry and distressed especially as there was no prior warning or consultation.
‘I’ve lived in Sighthill for 35 years,’ said one pensioner. ‘Where will I go?’ This question was echoed by others. The unfairness on home owners planning for promised refurbishment but being suddenly presented with demolition, was also voiced. ‘What are the promises being made here tonight, worth, if previous promises have been broken,’ said another resident. The future of the primary schools and of the St Rollox church was also raised. The schools are to be merged into one new combined campus with the local nursery and the church remains on site in the plan.
But as a long-time local resident, Anne Marie Sinclair, pointed out: ‘I’m happy for £250 million to be invested in regenerating Sighthill. But I wonder when the plans were actually made – and I don’t think it was overnight last week.’
When Councillor Matheson (Labour Group Leader) and local Councillor Bailie Phil Greene (SNP) clashed, one irate local person said: ‘This is about us and our community. It shouldn’t be a bunfight between politicians.’
Councillor Matheson explained that the £250 million plan was only announced last week because both the Scottish Cabinet and the Executive of Glasgow City Council had just approved Sighthill as a location for the 2018 athletes’ village that week. ‘We made it public so as not to lead you local residents up the garden path.’ But he did not give an answer to the question raised by Community Council Chair, Elaine Ellis: ‘Was demolition of the flats a stipulation for approval of funding?’
The GHA (Glasgow Housing Association) stated they had started individual consultations to find out who wants to stay and who would be interested in the 135-140 new houses being built with back and front doors. It was anticipated those houses would be on site by July or August of next year.
Sean Clerkin a housing and community activist who had fought alongside the community to retain the Pinkston blocks said: ‘The local people should be involved in the decision making process. The two tower blocks should stay and be refurbished as promised. But what is happening is local people are being told ‘this is what will happen.’ Instead they should be asked: ‘What do you want to happen?’ ‘ Later he added: ‘This is a policy of gentrification. Only middle class, middle income people will be able to afford the rents. People who’ve lived here all their lives will be dispersed to the four corners of the city. And how can you get 400 families who are currently in the hi flats into the 150 houses for rent in this new plan?’
An incandescent Bailie Phil Greene told the meeting that the least the City Council could have done was consult Sighthill’s elected representatives such as himself. ‘I’m on the education committee but it was through a letter from the schools to parents about the plans to demolish the schools that I found out.’
At the end of the meeting MSP Patricia Ferguson said she’d arranged to meet Martin Armstrong, Chief Executive of GHA first thing in the morning. ‘This could be a fantastic opportunity for Sighhill but there are real concerns which have to be discussed with residents, GHA, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government. The number of social rented houses has to be looked at. How many local people want to remain here has to be established before things can move forward.’
She urged residents to attend the meetings being set up by GHA. ‘Only then can we begin to tailor the plan to suit the people. We can do it; but we are all going to have to work hard at it.’
She emphasised: ‘This is a SIGHTHILL project. Not a GHA/Glasgow City Council/ Scottish Government project. I’m with you all the way on this, I promise – and I don’t break my promises.’
Anniesland, Cardonald and Langside Colleges have now formally agreed to merge. The decision was made at a joint meeting of the Boards on Monday 30 July. Mark Toma, chairman of the Cardonald Board of Management, said: ‘We are delighted at the prospect of merging with Anniesland and Langside. We are three strong and successful colleges and as one unit we will be a stronger force in education in Scotland.’ Anniesland chairman, Ken MacAldowie, commented: ‘If there were any two colleges that we would want to merge with, then it would be Cardonald and Langside. We work well together and we will continue to work well together to take forward this proposal and produce the best outcome for our learners, staff and stakeholders.’ Chair of Langside Board of Management, Brian Keegan, added: ‘We are absolutely delighted to move forward with this. Our aim is that it will broaden the opportunities for our learners and staff, and enable us to contribute more to our stakeholders and communities.’ The legal due diligence was conducted by the legal firm Anderson Strathern, and the financial due diligence by the chartered accountants Scott-Moncrieff. Both firms confirmed that there were no legal or financial obstacles to the proposed merger. Murray McCall, a partner at Anderson Strathern, said: ‘This has been by far the most straightforward college merger proposal that we have dealt with. It is a tribute to the management and staff at all three colleges that we have got to this stage so quickly and it bodes well for the future of the proposed new college.’ The three colleges serve the south and west of Glasgow and have a combined student body of approximately 30,000. They began merger talks earlier this year in response to the Scottish Government’s reform agenda for further education in Scotland. A full internal and external consultation on the proposed merger will be launched on August 27 and will run until November 16. The planned vesting date for the new college is August 2013. All three colleges have stressed that courses will continue as normal at their institution during the ongoing merger process.
ABOUT THE COLLEGES:
Anniesland College is in the West End of Glasgow at Hatfield Drive. A brand new state-of-the-art campus was opened in August 2010. It is organised into five teaching departments, providing 8,000 students with full-time and part-time courses in areas such as Business and Digital Technologies, Care Health and Communities, Creative Industries and Sport, Engineering and Construction and English and Highers. The five departments offer a range of qualifications from SQA Intermediate 1 and 2 and Highers up to Higher National Diploma (HND) level. The College maintains close connections with local universities to enable student articulation into related degree programmes. It also works in conjunction with local secondary schools and offers a wide range of link courses for school pupils.
Cardonald College is a major provider of further and higher education, in South-West Glasgow based at Mosspark Drive. With an annual turnover of £20 million, the College is home to over 2,000 full-time students, 10,000 part-time students and 400 staff (full time equivalent). The College is accredited by many awarding bodies such as the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), VTCT, City & Guilds, CISCO and Microsoft and has excellent links with major universities and art schools across the country. It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012.
Langside College was established in 1947 and has been delivering quality education and training to the residents of the South-side of Glasgow and beyond for more than 60 years. It holds awards for quality including Investors in People. The College enrols more than 7,000 students annually, of whom, over 1,500 are from countries outwith the European Union. Its new campus on Battlefield Road, was formally opened earlier this year where it delivers a comprehensive range of courses at various levels covering childcare, greenkeeping and horticulture among many subjects.
Organisations in Glasgow which use volunteers and want to improve or develop their capacity to involve them can apply for funding of up to £10,000 providing they are a registered charity working in Scotland.
Called the Volunteering Development Grant, it his administered by Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) an independent body funded by the Scottish Government.
The new grant is targeted at those charities which would like to develop their volunteer opportunities or want to include volunteers in their work if they don’t already.
Encouraging charities to ‘seize the opportunity’ Bob Doris, SNP MSP for Glasgow, said: ‘Volunteers provide a vital resource across Scotland. Quite simply, no council or government could do without the people who give up their time to help others. The organisation of opportunities and activities for young people as well as assistance for our older citizens are just two examples where volunteers do essential jobs that we rely on every day. It is only right that our volunteers are supported and this is what the Volunteering Development Grant is all about. So whether a local group regularly uses volunteers or is considering using volunteers for the first time, I would encourage them to find out what the Volunteer Action Fund can do for them.’
Details from www.vaf.org.uk or tel: 01383 620 780 and speak to Chris Smith, Volunteering and Community Grants Manager. The deadline for applications is 8 June 2012.
Resistance is growing to the fact that as many as 140 asylum seekers will be made destitute in Glasgow in the next few weeks.
This follows a change of provider of accommodation from Ypeople, a British based Christian charity, to Serco an international conglomerate providing essential services in more than 30 countries. In the UK it runs electronic tagging, video surveillance, nuclear weapons maintenance, several prisons and two immigration removal centres.
At a rally of around 200 people on Thursday 12 April 2012, at the foot of the Red Road flats which are home to many asylum seekers, speaker after speaker spoke out against the inhumanity of putting vulnerable people onto the streets.
Chair of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Glasgow, John Matthews, told the crowd: ‘In Europe in living memory Jews were first of all refused the right to work, then removed from their homes. I see Glasgow going that way more and more with the asylum seekers. Asylum is a right under the United Nations Convention so don’t be put off by this struggle.’ The NUJ is the first trades union to count journalists who are seeking asylum, as full members of the union and it is encouraging other trades unions to do the same.
Jim Main of UNISON said that Ypeople’s proposal to throw out asylum seekers from their accommodation was ‘outrageous.’ He went on: ‘We will fight this through every trades unions branch. This is a civil emergency and we must demonstrate to prevent this happening. We must show we are a Glasgow that cares. Everyone must ask questions of people in power.’
Speaking as a Justice and Peace campaigner for the Catholic church, Carol Clarke stated: ‘People must be given human dignity and that means a roof over their head.’
College lecturer, Barrie Levine, praised the Scottish Government for its ‘excellent support.’ Both First Minister Alex Salmond and his Deputy Nicola Sturgeon had sent apologies and messages of support to the rally organisers. Said Barrie: ‘That is excellent, but I want to see Alex Salmond make representation to the UK Government which controls UK Borders Agency (UKBA) and I want to see him fully support our protests and make sure civilised values are brought into play. The Big Society should be called the Sick Society. It is a scandal that people are being made destitute and put onto the street. Make no mistake, Serco has this £175 million contract. But the Ypeople’s Board should hang their heads in shame. There is no need to evict anyone right now.’
In her address to the crowd, SNP MSP, Sandra White, said: ‘we have proposed practical ways forward. The Ypeople have a window of opportunity as they do not need to evict anyone till November. We have asked the Scottish Parliament Secretary for External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, to make our views known at Westminster. We are asking for the people who cannot be returned to places like Iran, Iraq and Somali because of wars, to be granted refugee status.’
Afro-Caribbean centre organiser Graham Campbell said: ‘The Ypeople Board should not be allowed to do this. It is disgusting. We should all tell them that in writing. The Afro-Caribbean Centre charity is refusing to work with Ypeople till it withdraws the threat of making destitute asylum seekers, homeless. It is a UK government issue and we must demand it be stopped.’
In a passionate speech, Angela McCormick of the Stop the War Coalition, declared: ‘We are here today to show Serco, Ypeople, Glasgow City Council, and everyone else that we will stand with those who have fled oppression – usually war. The link between this Coalition and the asylum seekers is that many of them have fled from war zones, bombs, missiles and weapons of destruction. They have come here seeking sanctuary. But how do we treat them? They are made destitute, kept in poverty and now being forced out of their homes.’ She added: ‘I believe we are the sensible majority. We do not want this to happen. Remember the people who fuelled the wars which caused the asylum seekers to flee in the first instance are the very people who make money from selling the missles and weapons of war.’
Organised by the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, master of ceremonies, Jock Morris commented: ‘We want to send a statement to the UK Government and the Scottish Government saying lound and clear – refugees and asylum seekers are WELCOME HERE.’ On a show of hands practically everyone in the crowd agreed with the statement.
‘We are now organising another, bigger rally at the STUC in Woodlands Road, on Tuesday 17 April 2012 to decide on the best way forward, together,’ said Margaret Wood of the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees. Everyone concerned about this issue is invited.’
Currently around half a dozen destitute asylum seekers are given overnight accommodation each night in a safe, warm place, with an evening meal, a full breakfast and a takeaway lunch pack. But that number is expected to increase dramatically as soon as Ypeople start evicting asylum seekers.
Glasgow Bike Station is freewheeling in good directions.
First – this weekend – they re-locate to new, bigger premises in Haugh Street, Yorkhill. ‘We’ve over run the tiny space we started with in Barrowlands,’ explained Richard Kidd, the workshop manager.
In the expanded space, they’ll have more space for recondition bikes for sale and bike repair workshops among the other bike related activities the charity fosters.
Their newly acquired Awards will also be given display space in the sales show room. Earlier in March The Glasgow Bike Station won first prize at the Scottish Green List National Awards. The 2012 event honoured those working to make a difference to sustainable development in Scotland.
Gregory Chauvet, Bike Station Project Manager, said: ‘I am extremely proud of everyone at The Bike Station for their continued hard work throughout the year and for winning this prestigious award.’ It was presented by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson and announced by Keep Scotland Beautiful Chief Executive, Derek Robertson.
The Glasgow Bike Station picked up a further two awards the next day (Wednesday14 March) at the Grow Green Awards held at the Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green.
The first was for Best Sustainable Transport Project in Glasgow and the second for Outstanding Green Project in Glasgow.
The awards recognise individuals, groups, schools, and local businesses that made a real difference; whether getting people out on their bikes, growing their own food or even setting up community composting schemes.
Greg said: ‘These awards act as a catalyst for everyone at The Bike Station. It pushes us all to work towards a more cycle and environmentally friendly city.’
The project is one of more than 40 across Scotland granted Scottish Government Climate Challenge Funding. Their ‘A Better Way to Work’ events which promote cycling, walking and public transport as convenient and sustainable ways to travel to work, continue to keep The Bike Station on the move.
The sharp disparity between jobs and joblessness was highlighted this week in Springburn. A government announcement on Wednesday said Remploy’s Springburn factory will close with the loss of 46 jobs of which 43 are held by people with disabilities.
On Friday, Scotland’s First Minister visited the nearby manufacturing base of Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft’s (RSBi) to pay tribute to its 240 award winning staff – of whom more than half have a disability.
The two establishments are within a five minute drive of each other.
On his visit, First Minister Alex Salmond said: ‘Jobs are this government’s top priority, and a major part of that is investing in workforce training and development.
Employers, workers, union and communities working in partnership with government to promote workplace learning, benefits all of us – which is why it’s so important to recognise achievements like those of the STUC award winners at Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries here in Darnick Street, Springburn.’
He went on: ‘Scottish Union Learning is supported financially by the Scottish Government and I’m proud of what our efforts are helping to achieve. But of course, the real credit lies with the staff here who work so hard to develop not only their own personal potential but the effectiveness of their teams. Each and every one of them has my very best wishes.’
RSBi is operated by City Building, Glasgow City Council’s arm’s-length construction firm.
City Building managing director John Foley said: ‘The First Minister’s visit today is recognition of the great job our staff are doing every day at RSBi, producing quality products for the public, private and third sectors. RSBi is a commercially successful organisation because we continue to adapt our product range to suit the evolving needs of our customers. That’s why we can employ 240 people. RSBi is not run as a charity but as a thriving social enterprise.’
Community Union – the largest trade union within RSBi – provides funding for a range of training courses via the Scottish Union Learning Fund, which is administered by the STUC.
Many RSBi staff have benefitted from training through the Fund, which has brought a direct economic benefit to individual employees and to the company as a whole.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said: ‘The STUC Union Rep Awards highlight the invaluable contribution that trade union members make in the workplace.’
The First Minister’s visit was organised after Robert Mooney, a development officer at RSBi, was awarded the STUC One Workplace Equality Award by the First Minister in November 2011.
A registered blind person, Robert invited the First Minister to visit his workplace and witness the state-of-the-art manufacturing taking place at Springburn.
RSBi has had a presence in Glasgow for more than 200 years. The business has continued to evolve to meet the changing needs of the marketplace and currently specialises in manufacturing a wide range of products from office, domestic and educational furniture to timber kits for houses and schools and beds among many other items.
In Remploy’s factory in Edgefauld Road, the impact of the closure announcement was just sinking in. Established since 1976, it is one of the 36 out of 54 Remploy factories expected to be closed this year as not commercially viable. This is because of the Westminster Government’s decision to reduce current funding as part of a package of reforms ‘to maximise the number of disabled people supported into work.’ Of the 46 workers at Remploy in Springburn, 43 have disabilities. They manufacture steel wheelchairs. Government funding for the entire Remploy network is expected to be reduced during 2012/13 with the aim of completing changes by autumn 2013. Soon, Remploy will start discussions with trade unions and management forums to begin the formal consultation on the proposals.
After the announcement William Bain, Labour MP for Glasgow North East said: ‘This is devastating news. In my constituency there are almost 20 people chasing every vacancy. It is incredibly tough out there. There is a big enough shortage of jobs without placing strain and pressure on some of the most vulnerable members of the workforce. The way this has been sneaked out is unacceptable.’
In Glasgow last year, Employment Services found 534 jobs for disabled and disadvantaged people.