Flowers for tears as Clutha site changes

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Police Chief Superintendent Andy Bates and Fire Commander George McGrandles look at some of the flower tributes after leaving their own.

Now that the helicopter has been extracted from the Clutha Vaults and is on its way to the Air Accident Investigations unit in Farnborough and following the release of the names of the final four victims of the tragedy, the disaster site has been handed over to Glasgow City Council’s structural engineers to make it safe.

There is ongoing Police Scotland investigation at the riverside spot where a Police Scotland helicopter plummeted into the roof of the busy pub on Friday 29 November. Nine people died in the tragedy.

Hundreds of bouquets of flowers have been placed by people near the spot. Today, Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, Divisional Commander for Greater Glasgow and Area Commander George McGrandles of Scottish Fire and Rescue, added their floral  tokens of shared grief to the array of bouquets.

Quietly, they laid down their tributes, saluted, paused for a moment or two and left the scene.

The flowers left on behalf of the police and fire and rescue services

Two police officers and the pilot of the Police Scotland helicopter died in the disaster along with six people who were in the popular Clutha Vaults pub on St Andrew’s eve.

The identity of the final four people has been confirmed as: Robert Jenkins, 61; Mark O’Prey, 44; both from East Kilbride; Colin Gibson, 33, of Ayr, and John McGarrigle, 57, from Cumbernauld.

The others who perished were: Pilot Captain Dave Traill, 51; Police Constable Tony Collins, 43; Police Constable Kirsty Nelis, 36; and pub patrons: Gary Arthur, 48; and Samuel McGhee, 56.

In releasing the final names, Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: ‘Our thoughts first and foremost are with the families and friends of all those who have died. As our investigation continues we will, of course, go on providing support to the families involved.

‘This has been a difficult and complex operation which has involved painstaking work and the skills of specialist personnel from across the emergency services. I would like to thank all those involved for their professionalism and the respect with which they conducted this operation.

‘I would also like to thank all those who have passed on their messages of sympathy and support. This continues to be of great comfort.

‘The management of the incident has now been handed over to Glasgow City Council. The Police Scotland investigation, led by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and the inquiry by the Air Accident Investigation Branch both continue.’

Fire and rescue service staff have shown ‘exemplary’ courage and dedication throughout the process of rescue and recovery at the Clutha Pub since Friday, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety said today.

Speaking during a visit to Calton Community Fire Station, the Ministers met officers and crews who had taken part in the rescue efforts at the Clutha Vaults.

Ahead of a parliamentary statement by the First Minister at 2pm today, Ministers said the way the tragedy and its aftermath had been handled demonstrated the vital importance of  Scotland’s fire and rescue service and the excellent work they do.

Mr MacAskill said: ‘This has been a traumatic few days for  Glasgow, and for  Scotland, and we grieve for the lives of the nine men and women lost.

‘This morning, Ms Cunningham and I were privileged to meet firefighters, some of whom have been working round the clock at the Clutha since Friday.

‘The search for survivors is now concluded. However, while we will learn more about how and why this tragedy occurred, these events have underlined that  Scotland has a heroic fire and rescue service. I’d like to pay tribute to them all and everyone, emergency services and ordinary citizens alike, who helped in the rescue effort, of which we can be rightly proud.’

Ms Cunningham added: ‘The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service played a key role as part of the emergency services response which undoubtedly saved lives after the helicopter crashed on Friday night. The way in which they responded to an incident of this scale is truly exemplary. Air accident investigators have described this as one of the most complex crash sites they have ever worked on.

‘We are all indebted to their remarkable courage and dedication, working on a hugely complex operation, the relief effort from all of our emergency services has been simply heroic.’

Alasdair Hay, Chief Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, paid tribute to fire and rescue staff who have worked closely with their colleagues from emergency services and partner agencies since the helicopter crash on Friday evening. He said: ‘This incident was a very challenging, complex situation and I am extremely proud of my staff for such a dedicated and professional response.

‘While fire fighters train for these sorts of emergency situations, the reality of actually dealing with them takes its toll on us emotionally and physically. It has been an extremely difficult time for everyone involved and I have the utmost respect for every single person who has been part of this operation.

‘I would also like to pay tribute to our Control Room staff and support staff who have also worked extremely hard, ensuring a first class response to an extremely difficult incident which has affected people not just in Glasgow but across Scotland and beyond. Our thoughts remain with all those affected by this tragedy.’

Yesterday, Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, visited the Scottish Ambulance Service at Springburn Ambulance Station and met personnel who’d responded within one minute of the Clutha incident being notified and who’d subsequently attended to the injured there. The Deputy First Minister said: ‘We are here to put on record our enormous thanks to all who were involved. I know beyond a shadow of doubt they saved lives.’ She added her personal thanks to them and said they had ‘shown great heroism’ through their ‘continued professionalism.’

Commander Gary Hardacre, Head of Risk and Resilience for the Service offered his condolences to all who were affected by the incident. ‘The enormity of this has affected us all.’

Police and emergency services personnel formed a guard of honour for the helicopter as the 3 tonne wreck was taken away to Farnborough for intensive scrutiny.

Following the discharge of a patient yesterday evening, 11 people now remain in hospital being treated for a range of serious injuries including bone fractures, spinal injuries, lacerations, chest injuries and head injuries. Seven people are in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, three are in the National Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit at the Southern General Hospital and one person remains in the Western Infirmary. Originally 14 people were hospitalised after sustaining serious injuries. More than 120 people were in the pub at the time the Police helicopter plummeted through its roof.

Poignant mementos among the mound of flowers included a martial arts white belt, a toy police helicopter with three red roses and a tee shirt from Ska fans whose band Esperanza were playing in the Clutha that night.

A toy police helicopter and three red roses was a poignant memento.


A field of flowers shows a city's grief


Maybe aye or maybe naw!

September 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

18 September 2013

The Yes, No and Not Yet Decided debates have one year to go before the people of Scotland have to make up their minds and cast a vote in the Referendum.

History will be made on 18 September 2014 when the people of Scotland have to answer the question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’

In the interests of the 5000 unique visitors Google Analytical says visit this website each month, the    reporter has been to a Yes and a No campaign meeting.

To be strictly accurate, the No people operate under the official banner of ‘Better Together.’

And while both had the regular format of chairperson introducing four speakers, the mood and tenor of each occasion was very different.

Sounding positive and aspirational was a recent gathering in Maryhill Burgh Halls where Bob Doris, an SNP MSP, chaired for Yes Scotland with an audience of around 200. The line up was John Paul Tonner from the Labour for Independence group; Carolyn Leckie from the Women for Independence group; retired politician Dennis Canavan, Chair of the Yes Scotland campaign and Cat Boyd from the Trade Unions for Independence group.

At the Mitchell Library some days earlier, the ‘Better Together’ campaign fielded former Chancellor Alistair Darling along with Scottish Labour Party Leader Johann Lamont, Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie and Ruth Davidson Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. The audience of around 300 saw a professional, big screen video. It had a variety of Scottish people of varied age speaking in a variety of regional accents, all saying why they will vote ‘No’: because they believe the nations would be ‘Better Together.’

It was unfortunate for the speakers that they were seated directly in front of the screen on the stage. They would have had a very sore neck if they’d turned round and watched the show. But to the audience watching and listening, the speakers were clearly visible. Both Alistair Darling and Johann Lamont busied themselves with reading their notes during the screening while Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie made attempts to watch and listen.

Setting the tone for the speakers, Johann Lamont said she was delighted to be at the event. ‘I’m a proud Scot. I love Scotland and its people and dearly believe we will stay stronger in the United Kingdom.’ She said Scotland deserved better and was currently ‘on pause’ because Alex Salmond wouldn’t address the issues around the referendum. ‘I believe there is more that binds us than divides us. Alex Salmond believes he is a Tartan Messiah who, uniquely, speaks for Scotland. He does NOT!’ she emphasised. ‘This is not a fight between Scotland and England. It is a fight between Scotland and Salmond and Scotland is going to win.’ Speaking of the ‘shared vision’ within the UK rather than a political ‘shouting’ match, she concluded: ‘I enthusiastically embrace the opportunities to work in partnership to make Scotland a place that is better than the past.’

Lib Dem Scottish Leader Willie Rennie said that as part of the UK, Scotland had the ‘best of both worlds. It is up to us to keep it that way.’ He insisted that while the Scottish Nationalists were right about the success of the Scottish Parliament they were wrong to believe the only way to protect that was apart. ‘With Johann and Ruth we have achieved change in Scotland by coming together.’

Ruth Davidson, Scottish Conservative Leader said she was talking personally and reflected on her three years as a Territorial Army reserve. ‘I was so proud we stopped the slaughter in Kosova. Our armed forces are truly inseparable as is our NHS.’ She highlighted the job opportunities for young people and the value of exports to ‘our partners across the way.’ Control of health, Police and Parliament gave the ‘best of both worlds.’ She added: ‘Security with our armed forces and our NHS means we get the best of both worlds and stand up better together.’

Alistair Darling who is Chairman of the Better Together Campaign said plainly: ‘The stakes are high. Even if we win by only one vote we will have won.’ He urged his audience to help: ‘Point out the case for the UK. Our opportunities come through being a part of a larger country. That applies to jobs, health and education. We are part of a larger economy and of a UK we helped build. It has such a good influence in the world.’ He added: ‘I am a proud Scot and a proud Brit. I don’t see why I have to choose one or the other. I want to be both.’ As Chancellor of the Exchequer who handled the economic crisis when the banks collapsed, he said: ‘Panama uses the US dollar so their currency rate is set by a foreign government. They allow another country to decide how much they can spend and borrow. I used to run the Treasury. If you use a foreign treasury you have no democratic control of your finances. When the RBS ran out of money I asked them – how long can you last? – the answer was three hours. I was able to save the situation and stop that happening only because the UK had the strength behind it. An independent Scotland could never have done that.’

He said: Whether it is currency security or eavesdropping on the BBC – which Scotland would as a foreign country – we can’t walk away from that kind of co-operation. We have strength as the UK We are bigger, better and stronger together.’

Dorothy Kelly from Dunblane is a keen supporter of 'Better Together.'

Two members of the audience were united with the speakers. ‘I’m not political,’ said Dorothy Kelly from Dunblane, who recently retired as a secretary from Stirling University. ‘But I really believe in the UK together. Separation would cause problems. I’ll be voting ‘No’ to protect the union.’

Hamish McArthur is studying social science and politics at Stirling. He said: ‘I’ve got my own NO Campaign on facebook and will be voting No to Scottish independence.’ Originally from Hagshill, Glasgow, he said: ‘There is so much on line. There is a real public forum and a big lot of information. We’ve five or six students involved from all political parties. It’s good and gets everyone engaged.’

Hamish McArthur has set up a Facebook page to debate Better Together.

The member of the public who took most attention at the Maryhill and Springburn ‘Yes’ Campaign meeting in Maryhill Burgh Halls a few days later, was Julie Hyslop who runs the local food bank. She said: ‘The Food Bank is not there to do the job of the benefits agency. But it is clear that if we didn’t feed people they’d starve. It is a disgrace. Working class people have been misrepresented and abandoned. I hope for change.’

Chairman Bob Doris said: ‘The Referendum decision is not a party political one. It is too important to leave it to the politicians. If we leave it to them we’ll lose. The best way is to bring the discussion back to the community. That’s what it is all about.’

First speaker, Cat Boyd of Trade Unions for Independence, said: ‘I work in a low paid area and conditions are getting worse. The 1% cap on wages is effectively a wage cut. There is not a 7% wages hike. Instead, there is a constant attack on jobs, pay and pensions. The Westminster government refuses to negotiate.’ She said she was ‘gobsmacked’ to hear Ed Miliband proposed to cap winter fuel allowance. ‘That, along with the Falkirk Labour candidate scandal gives enough reason to vote YES!’

Coming from a strong trade union background she said trade unions were the largest democratic bodies around. They were fighting to stop the NHS from being decimated and challenging the Victorian style poverty of today. ‘Economic justice, equality and solidarity are core trade union values. ‘We’re in our fifth recession of recent times yet there is a record number of billionaires. Solidarity is collective power. We should be demanding that the anti-trade union laws in Scotland be abolished,’ said Cat to loud applause. She went on: ‘The British thirst for war in Ireland and Iraq is an attack on ordinary people. Let Scotland break away from that. It is so long since I had any cause to hope. Now 18 September 2014 opens the possibility for radical change for us.’

She was followed by John Paul Tonner, youth officer for Labour for Independence. A modern studies teacher he said people in Scotland should ask themselves the question: ‘What kind of society do I want to live in?’

‘Some think there is nothing wrong with the society we live in. But do you want to have 74% of the government being millionaires? Do you want the welfare state to be equated to a parasite? Do you want institutions to be sold off? I don’t.’

He said his heart sinks when he hears students and colleagues saying Scotland is too poor or too wee and daft a country to go it alone. ‘Is child poverty all we can hope for from a Parliament we didn’t vote for, hundreds of miles away?’ He added: ‘We are only one pen stroke away from being the change we want in the world. It will not be a tartan Utopia with whisky drinking, bagpipe playing people. It can be a 21st century nation we can be proud of and we can be part of its just dynamics.’

Castigating the ‘imposters’ who are the Labour Party today, he said to loud applause: We must reclaim the Labour Party. We, the people, are labour.’

He continued: ‘If we want equality, fairness and social justice we have got to reclaim labour from London. The YES campaign provides the needed social conscience and a positive alternative. We can make a difference by using our energy and getting involved to make things better. We can listen, inspire and have a society we are proud of – have a Labour party we can be proud of.’

Added Chairman Bob Doris: ‘Just as independence doesn’t belong to the SNP, so the labour movement does belong to the Labour Party.’

The top table at the Maryhill Yes Campaign night. (from left) John Paul Tonner, Carolyn Leckie, Bob Doris, Dennis Canavan, Cat Boyd

Former MSP Carolyn Leckie then took the floor to speak on behalf of Women for Independence, a feminist collective. ‘The majority of women are unlikely to be inspired by men in suits,’ she started. ‘The fact is that 52% of the population is female. We need to persuade women. But first we need to listen to women.’ She said she believed in a pluralistic, autonomous, inclusive society. ‘Opinion polls say more people will vote for independence if they believe it will make them £500 better off. But my family – along with thousands of others – has lost an awful lot more in the past five years.’

She said that people in crisis had to wait 15 days for a social work crisis grant and were referred to a website and a food bank for help. ‘This does not match our aspirations,’ she said. ‘There is no guaranteed destination. But we have to take a risk. What are the odds on Miliband becoming Prime Minister? We have to weigh up the risks and opportunities and take responsibility for our own decision.’

She likened it to the process of deciding to borrow money to buy a car. ‘We take a risk going for a loan. We take a risk buying a car. Every day we take risks. The NHS, privatisation of the Royal Mail and the Post Office are all at risk. Break the rules and some people are jailed for ten years yet the bankers get bonuses and rewards for defrauding the rest of us,’ she said angrily to a supportive audience. ‘The biggest risk of all is that we are governed by a Westminster government in whatever guise it might be.’

She went on: ‘We have a right to make an arse of it. It’s our right and our arse. The Referendum is the one and only chance for the people of Scotland to say what they want. We must take that risk. And it is only a wee risk. We are not risking life and limb as some people in other countries do. Simply, we must stand up and be counted and put a cross on a ballot paper.’ She reflected: ‘Think about looking back afterwards and knowing if we did, or did not do that one, simple thing.’

Concluding she said: ‘If everyone who thinks like I do, can go out and persuade one more person we’d have a landslide vote for Yes! Go out and do it!’

The final speaker was Dennis Canavan, Chair of the Vote Yes Campaign who outlined his ‘political journey to independence.’

‘ I didn’t always believe in the cause of independence,’ said the former Falkirk MP who served at Westminster for 26 years followed by 8 years as an independent MSP. ”I’ve been retired for six years and had time to reflect and think. I’ve come to the conclusion that Westminster is completely out of touch with the people of Scotland. The Scottish Parliament is not perfect but judging by its track record over 14 years it has been positively responsive, by and large, to the wishes, needs and aspirations of the people.’

Quoting the Bible in Scots he said: ‘By their deeds shall ye ken them.’ He went on to weigh government in the balance and said. ‘Students are far better off at a Scottish university than south of the border. I went to university in the 1960s when it was the best funded and supported education system of any in the world. Even Maggie Thatcher never abolished student grants. But I was appalled when Tony Blair abolished them and brought in tuition fees. The Labour cabinet of John Reid – Lord Reid now – Gordon Brown and David Blunkett had all been beneficiaries of free education. They had the chance to stop this. But I couldn’t believe it when they kicked away the ladder of opportunity.’

He went on: ‘Senior citizens have free personal care in Scotland. In England they pay for it. The Scottish Parliament fully implemented a fairer system of help including free prescriptions. Frankly, I’m appalled to hear the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party castigating these benefits. She calls them ‘something for nothing.’ Nye Bevin and Keir Hardie must be birlin’ in their graves. Is free education or free NHS care, ‘just a ‘sweetie’, as she puts it? These were the two great pillars of the founders of the Labour Party.’


Doors Open to railways in September

August 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Glasgow Central Station is one of the star attractions during Glasgow Doors Open Day from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 September.

Edwardian ladies and their children in Central Station give a hint of the Railways theme for Doors Open in Glasgow in September 2013

Some of the behind-the-scenes places which visiting member of the public will be able to see will be the famous glass roof of the Station.

More than 100 buildings, 54 walks and tours and 23 talks and events are included in the free programme which can be viewed online or picked up as a brochure in public places such as libraries.

Railways is one of the themes running through this ‘built heritage’ festival which is in its 24th year. The Commonwealth Games and Green City are the parallel themes.

Pollokshaws West is the oldest railway station in operation in Glasgow and its doors will be open. Talks will explore the early days of rail in the city as well as Glasgow’s Southside suburban railways and Glasgow’s railway heritage and the materials used. A ‘Subcrawl’ will offer a ride on the city’s underground with information about buildings around the circle.

An advance look at the changes being made to accommodate the Commonwealth Games will be available during Doors Open days. This will include the Athletes’ Village, Glasgow Green Hockey Centre, Hampden Park, Kelvingrove Park Tennis and Bowls Pavilion and Tollcross International Swimming Centre as well as a discovery tour of hidden Bridgeton. The architecture of sport and leisure will be explored in the talk: ‘Starting Blocks & Building Blocks.’

To co-incide with 2013, the Year of Natural Scotland, Doors Open will also have a green theme. The natural beauty of Glasgow and the ways in which everyone can help to keep it that way will be addressed. Among the Doors Open events will be – viewing the city from City of Glasgow College; visiting the Concrete Garden’s home grown Scottish fare and the Hidden Gardens’ native and exotic plant collection; discovering Eco-Friendly Glasgow at Caledonian University and The Tall Ship.

People will be invited to relax in a temporary park with SEDA PARK(ing) Glasgow, turning parking spaces into parks. And folk can learn about the seven lochs wetlands park and go on a journey through the History of Glasgow’s Parks.

Among the highlights will be a last chance to see the Henry Wood Hall which has been the RSNO Centre for many years; a costumed interpretation at Pollok House; discovering The Rome of the North – Springburn; sampling therapies at the Calman Cancer Support Centre; joining the Storytelling Tour of Pollok; seeing an exhibition of the world’s mosques at Madrasa Taleem ul Islam; learning to play the pipes at the National Piping Centre and Pipers’ Tryst Hotel; going behind the scenes at STV Studios – among hundreds of interesting visits and events.

Doors Open’s website is newly designed to enable visitors to plan their time to suit their interests. Try it!

Look for this year's programme for Doors Open Day.

There are competitions and many special interest events, talks and venues to be enjoyed.

As Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) said: “The 2013 Doors Open Day programme features an exciting and diverse range of buildings and locations, offering the chance to explore Glasgow as never before. There are many discoveries to be made!”

Anne McChlery, Director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust said: “We are absolutely delighted that it’s this time of year again and are so proud to be the organisers of this much loved event in Glasgow.”

Pauline McCloy, Events & Development Officer at Scottish Civic Trust said: “Doors Open Days continues to impress with its depth of variety and consistent quality. Glasgow’s programme effortlessly merges contemporary interventions in the city’s public space alongside the serenity of more tradition buildings.”

For the full national programme see:

Glasgow’s programme is coordinated by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, a charity that focuses on saving the built heritage by establishing new uses for and restoring much loved old buildings. Last year more than 80,000 recorded visits were made in the city during Doors Open. Around 1,115 people – mostly volunteers – worked 7,004 hours on the events which brought an estimated £101,297 into Glasgow.

Children of the Sky opens a new chapter for Duncan

August 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Duncan has never turned his back on the Sighthill Stone Circle and hopes that new supporters will ensure it is finally completed. check out

Science writer Duncan Lunan is a busy man. He has just had a book on the Green Children of Woolpit published and has two most interesting and in-depth interviews on a podcast for the Flat Earth Society.

Entitled ‘Children from the Sky’ the book explores theories around the appearance of two green coloured children suddenly appearing in a medieval village in England. They were dressed strangely, spoke a language totally unknown in the area – which was a busy pilgrim place where many travellers passed through – and who not only caused a great stir at the time but who are still being discussed today.

The podcast gives him time to give his detailed reasoning behind the book but also to explore other areas of professional interest to him ranging from outer space to Glasgow’s modern standing stones circle which he helped create.

He is still working on research on the Green Children by tracing the descendants of the girl who survived into adult hood, married and had children. The green boy died some time after being found.

Another book by Duncan is about to be published: The Stones and the Stars: Building Scotland’s Newest Megalith This tells the story of the creation of the modern stone circle Duncan devised and had built in Springburn Park. Said Duncan: ‘These two books have taken 18 years and 32 years to find publishers – it’s great to have them come off at last!’

Duncan’s wife Linda is developing a career as a photographer. Her image of an equinox sunset has been used by publishers Springer for ‘The Stones and the Stars,’ book cover and some of the illustrations in the green ‘Children from the Sky’ are Linda’s too. Both Linda and Duncan signed copies of  the latter title at a meeting of the Theosophical Society in Glasgow on Thursday 23 August. It can also be found in the CCA in Sauchiehall Street and ‘Plan B’ in Parnie Street.

Dr. David Clarke, an Honourary Research Fellow with more than a dozen books published on supernatural belief, UFOlogy and contemporary legends, plans to use some of Linda’s photographs in his forthcoming History of Astronomy in Glasgow.

On Tuesday 21 August, BBC Radio Suffolk  interviewed Duncan about his book Children from the Sky. This can be heard online in the Lesley Dolphin slot where Georgina Wroe sits in and talks about green things including farming, food and the green children of Woolpit.






Red flags flutter a bit at the City Chambers on May Day.

May 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Anti-Cuts Coalition didn't want May Day to pass without some red flags flying.

May Day in Glasgow was mainly unobserved by anyone of any political hue. A saltire flew above the City Chambers.

But there was one exception: – a group of Anti-Cuts Coalition Campaigners boldly stood outside the City Chambers’ front door and waved their red banners to show they cared.

They are all standing for election in local council wards so it wasn’t just a fun exercise.

Said Eric Stevenson (centre) ‘I haven’t given up on Socialism.’ A retired housing administrator, he is standing in Drumchapel –Anniesland ward. ‘I was a member of the Labour Party for 37 years and was expelled for being Militant. The current parties – including Labour – are letting people down. People have to have a voice and that’s why we are part of this country-wide Anti- Cuts Coalition.’

The others are from left: Ronnie Stevenson (Eric’s brother) who is standing in Langside ward; Luke Ivory who is standing in Springburn; Graham Campbell who is standing in Anderston City Centre and Akhtar Khan who is standing in Pollokshields.

Luke, who has recently come to Glasgow from Sutherland said: ‘People of Glasgow need an alternative. We’re it!’

Weel kent figure Graham Campbell who is secretary of the Afro Caribbean Centre in Glasgow and who  works for an  Anti Racist charity, added: ‘People are friendly but not giving away how they are going to vote. We think our results will run close to the Green Party’s votes.’

Added Akhtar, who with Graham , is a member of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC): ‘It’s a tough one to call. I might be fifth out of the eight candidates.’

The saltire fluttered in the breeze above the City Chambers on May Day.

All are agreed, the Anti-Cuts Coalition is a new political kid on the block and one they believe voters should consider as an alternative to established parties who’ve disappointed the electorate in the past.















City players vote to win the semi final

April 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

By Laura Montgomery

Donald Jennow, City's Assistant Coach pic by Lorraine Hill

Voting day has a special significance for Glasgow City, the women’s football team based at Petershill Park in Springburn. They meet Forfar Farmington in the Premier League Cup semi-final on Thursday 3 May when local elections take place across Scotland.
Having won the trophy two seasons ago, but knocked out at this stage of the competition last year, Assistant City Coach Donald Jennow knows his side need to keep their focus to progress against a talented and committed Forfar side.
He said: ‘On Thursday we will take on Forfar for the second time this season. As is so often the case at City, the big games keep coming. Having just faced Hibs and Celtic, back to back, we have this midweek game against a stubborn Forfar side. It was at this stage last year I tasted defeat for the first time with City and in seasons past the League Cup has proved a bit of a stumbling block for us. ‘We hope to put that right this year. All involved at the club are very keen to progress in the competition but are fully aware of the challenge we will face. Forfar will be a determined side and I’m sure all involved at Forfar will relish the opportunity to compete in the club’s first semi-final. For us, we will rely on our experience to hopefully guide us through to the final. Make no mistake, we do not take any opposition or any competition for granted. We must earn every victory, every point and every trophy we ever want to hold and that is what we aim to do on Thursday.’


Glasgow City defeated Forfar 4-0 on Thursday at Hill of Beith to progress to the final of the SWPL Cup. Goals from Lisa Evans, Leanne Ross, Eilish McSorley and Jane Ross. Full match report elsewhere on website.

Two sides of the Springburn jobs market

March 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

The First Minister chatted with many of RSBi employees.

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.



Glasgow’s open doors are waiting for you

September 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Riverside Museum designed by Zaha Hadid will be open as usual with the Glenlee 19th century sailing ship at the door.

You don’t even need to knock! More than 100 buildings and 12 allotments will be taking part in Glasgow’s Doors Open Day on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September. But the first Doors Open event starts on Monday 12 September with a hosts of talks, competitions and walks scheduled for the rest of that week in the run-up to the grand weekend. Look out for your free copy of the booklet containing all the information. They can be found in most public places like libraries.  But also look on the website for details: The Doors Open Day host, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, has organised a clever link with Google Map to pinpoint each venue you might be interested in.

For anyone who has not yet enjoyed Doors Open Day, the whole idea is that you get to see inside some of the city’s magnificent buildings that would not normally be open to the public. Among the new places this year are Red Road Community Flat in the 31 storey tower block in Springburn. They are set to be demolished soon. The former Our Lady and St Francis Secondary School which is now the HQ for the Wise Group in Charlotte Street, G1 5DW.  Hampden Park for football fans in Letherby Drive, G42 9BA.  The Hunterian Museum within Glasgow University G12 8QQ and a multitude of other interesting places.

Running alongside the Doors Open will be OPEN GATES in which twelve of the city’s allotments will put out the welcome mat and people can see what happens there.

Free shuttle buses will operate from the front of Glasgow City Chambers in George Square to go to historic Provan Hall in Easterhouse – at least as old as Proven’s Lordship in the city’s High Street. Another free service will go the award winning Stables building in Castlemilk thanks to Cassiltoun Housing Association.

A photographic competition will have a category for over 18s and for under 18s with fabulous prizes.  For those aged under 16 a fascinating Passport competition will be running. In marked venues, a question will be displayed related to the building itself. Each competitor is challenged to find the answer to that question within that venue and do the same for at least four different places  with the deadline for sending in the forms being Friday 30 September.

The whole concept is a great way to get people talking and walking and gaining knowledge of and a pride in this wonderful city of Glasgow.

Clear your diary – get through as many doors as you can. It’s fun!

Women footballers net world top status

August 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Scottish Champions, Glasgow City Football Team is through to the last 32 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. They will know on Tuesday who they will play when the draw is made at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
The team qualified when they beat Klaksvik in Serbia 5-0. This ensured that City topped Group 5 with three wins out of three, scoring 17 goals and conceding none. In turn, they became the first Scottish team ever to reach the last 32, knock-out stages of Europe’s most elite club competition.
Said Head Coach Eddie Wolecki Black: ‘I am delighted we have gone through and to be honest, we thoroughly deserved it. We can now look forward to a really challenging end to the season. I am proud of the players for all of their hard work and dedication. They deserve to play at the highest level in European football.’
On the day, Glasgow City defender, Rachel Corsie celebrated her 22nd birthday, captaining the team. Goals from Katharina Lindner (2) Leanne Ross, Jo Love and Eilish McSorley ensured City’s place in history.
To fund the next stage of their progression upwards, they will host a Sports Person’s Dinner on Friday 26 August at the Art Club, 185 Bath Street in Glasgow’s city centre. The trip to Serbia alone, cost £15,000. There are a few seats remaining at £40 per person and sponsor spots of £100 are on offer. The beautiful venue, three course meal and first class speakers in Kenny Clarke and Sandy Strang make for an inviting evening. Contact Laura Montgomery, Manager on: Eddie will fly out on Tuesday 23 August to Nyon for the draw. His team is now seeded 20th in Europe. The top 16 seeds do not need to qualify and City expect to be drawn against stiff competition. Said Eddie: ‘This gives our girls the chance, once more, to really test themselves against some of the best in the world. Naturally, we’d like to avoid the Germans and the French. And we’d prefer not to face the might of Arsenal who are No.2 seed. But we are under no illusions. We may even be the only completely amateur team still in the competition so no matter who we get, we will need to be at our very, very best.’

City’s home leg will be played on either Wednesday 28 or Thursday 29 September at Petershill Park,  Springburn, Glasgow, their home ground. ‘Not too shabby for an amateur side.’ comments Laura Montgomery Club manager and reporter for all the games.

Plaudits for unique youth scheme

April 12, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Paul Smith of Possilpark A team receives his award from Barry Ferguson

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.”

Mohammed Shams of Red Road team receives his award from Barry

Mark Steel of Royston receives his award from Barry

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