Opening blow-down leading to bust-up

April 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The last blow-down at Red Road.

The last blow-down at Red Road.

An explosive launch to the Commonwealth Games has brought more fireworks with it.

The Red Road tower blocks in Sighthill will be demolished LIVE during the opening ceremony and seen by 1.5 billion people around the world. Those in Celtic Park, where the opening ceremony will take place, will see the blow-down on the enormous 100 metre-wide screen which will occupy the entire south stand.

Eileen Gallagher Chair of the Ceremonies, Culture and the Queen’s Baton Relay Committee: ‘By sharing the final moments of the Red Road flats with the world as part of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games,  Glasgow is proving it is a city that is proud of its history but doesn’t stand still. Glasgow’s story is always one of its people; their tenacity, their genuine warmth, their ambitions. Marking the end of Red Road is very much a celebration of all of those things.’

Commented Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council: ‘The opening ceremony will be a ceremony like no other, showcasing our city’s unique style and personality and with our people and communities at its very heart. We are going to wow the world, with the demolition of the Red Road flats set to play a starring role. Their demolition will all but mark the end of high-rise living in the area and is symbolic of the changing face of Glasgow, not least in terms of our preparations for the Games.’

Gone! in seconds.

Gone! in seconds.

Gordon Sloan, Chairman of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) said: ‘The Red Road flats were very popular in their day and hold a special place in many people’s hearts. But they are no longer viable as modern homes and GHA made the decision to demolish them as part of the wider regeneration of the North of Glasgow. We will bring them down in strictly controlled conditions with the expertise of our contractor Safedem, during the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.’

David Zolkwer, Head of Ceremonies & Artistic Director for Glasgow 2014 said: ‘By sharing the blow-down with the rest of the world, I hope it will be seen as the noble, respectful and celebratory send-off that it is intended to be.’

Shona Robison, Minister for the Commonwealth Games said: ‘This spectacular start to the Games within the opening ceremony will send a strong signal about the power of the Commonwealth Games. For many people, these Games are more than sport. They are the chance for regeneration, renewal and having better places to live and work.’

But Neil Baxter,  secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said: ‘It’s the oddest thing. They will knock down five blocks but leave one which houses asylum seekers. What does that say?’

The Red Road flats were ‘a place of despair’ and should never have been built, said Robina Qureshi, Director of the charity Positive Action in Housing (PAiH) ‘Through our work we have regularly visited refugee and asylum seeker families and seen the misery for everyone. This is where the Sehryk family committed suicide from the balcony of their 15th floor flat on the day they were to be made destitute by the UK Borders Agency. The windows all had so-called suicide prevention netting but they managed to tear it away. Those flats were not meant for human beings, they were just great big filing cabinets of humans living in misery or despair.

‘Before the demolition programme the Council tried to market them to university students, then professionals, but it didn’t work. No one wanted to stay there. And I guess that’s how the planners wanted it.

Local children plant trees to regenerate the area adjacent to the Red Road flats to be demolished at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Local children plant trees to regenerate the area adjacent to the Red Road flats to be demolished at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

‘Then thousands of asylum seekers came in from war torn countries like Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan in 2001 as part of a five year contract between the Council and the Home Office. They had no choice in housing.  Red Road was one of the places where they were effectively dumped out of the way while Glasgow City Council collected the council tax payments and rent from Westminster.

‘What is ironic is that the Commonwealth Committee in Glasgow denied asylum seekers the right to volunteer for the games.’

She went on: ‘For the Olympic games, they light a torch. Here in Glasgow, they celebrate the start of the Commonwealth Games by blowing up the Red Road flats. It is highly insensitive and jars with the senses.

‘Sports men and women in the Commonwealth Games may well be claiming asylum here because of the threat of torture or denial of certain freedoms in their own countries. The Commonwealth Committee clearly thinks it’s a great idea to blow up the high flats but has no concept of the misery the Red Road flats caused to thousands of people from Glasgow and across the world. No change there then.’




Activists wanted

April 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.’


Community appointment in Easterhouse

March 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Wellhouse and Provanhall Community Trust in Easterhouse has appointed Katie Gould as their new community development assistant.

A local resident, Katie grew up in the Wellhouse area and credits the Trust’s ‘Back to Work’ and volunteering programmes for giving many people valuable life skills.

She said: ‘When I grew up there was very little like this available. People couldn’t find work if they didn’t have qualifications or experience and would turn to gang culture and crime.’ As her own children grew up, she encouraged them to take part in schemes such as the Hub Sports Football Academy. ‘This encouraged team work and community spirit from a young age,” she said. ‘Through such schemes, people learn new skills, are made aware of new opportunities, gain a better sense of self-worth and meet others in the same position as themselves.’

The Trust goes the step further and, in partnership with the John Wheatley College, can guide people to training and recognised qualifications as well as CV writing, interview skills and references from volunteering work.

Katie says volunteering is particularly valuable in giving people a good profile with potential employers, practical skills and a boost to self-esteem. ‘You see a real change in attitude from people since the Hub’s services and volunteer opportunities came into place.’ said Katie. ‘People are much more optimistic about the future and feel they can make a difference.’

This mirrors her own experience of working with the Trust as a volunteer, gaining knowledge, skills and confidence and moving into work. ‘The Trust helps you get ILA funding for courses and teaches you skills that make you more valuable to employers,’ she added.

Now her hope is that young people in the district can be encouraged to take part in volunteer and community schemes run by the Trust to help them achieve their best.

The Trust offers a wide range of volunteer and work experience programmes to help people into work, improve skills or simply help others around them who need support.

For more info see website:

Twitter: www.wellhousect

Facebook Wellhouse Provanhall Community Trust

Or contact : Wellhouse Housing Association, The Hub, 49 Wellhouse Crescent, Glasgow G33 4LA Tel: 0141 781 1884

Call to rescue the Riverman

August 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Glasgow Humane Society officers George Parsonage and Tony Coia with some of the Society's volunteer lifeguards at the launch of the Riverman Appeal.

The life-saving charity – The Glasgow Humane Society – has launched a £100,000 appeal on its 221st birthday. It needs a new patrol boat and support vehicle as well as equipment to help save the lives of people they rescue from the River Clyde.

Launching the appeal on Tuesday 16 August, Glasgow’s Lord Provost Bob Winter said:’The Glasgow Humane Society is an important and well-loved society to which thousands owe their lives. We owe a big debt of gratitude to their officers and the volunteer lifeguards who patrol the River Clyde and our city’s waterways seven days a week to make them safer for us all.

In the last ten years the Society has saved 201 people and prevented 611 from drowning. So it is with a great sense of pride and purpose that we launch the Riverman Appeal. I hope the people of Glasgow and the business community will respond generously to raise the £100,000 to replace and upgrade the Society’s life-saving equipment.’

Supporting the Lord Provost at the launch was actress Blythe Duff of STV’s Taggart and actor Tom Urie of BBC’s River City drama. Both programmes feature the city and the River.

Donations to the Riverman Appeal can be made by text to 70070 quoting RIVE16 and the amount you wish to donate (for example RIVE16£5) or by paypal through the charity’s website or by cheque or postal order to the Glasgow Humane Society, Glasgow Green, Glasgow G40 1BA

Society Chairman John Park said: ‘This is our first-ever appeal to raise money. The Society still has a big role to play in making the city’s river and waterways safer and in preventing water accidents. We are an ever-present, voluntary resource to the statutory emergency services and always on hand for the hundreds of sports and boat users on the Clyde each week and the many thousands who use the waterway walkways.’

Set up in 1790 with a £200 legacy from local merchant James Coulter the aim was ‘prevention of accidents, rescue and recovery’ of people on the waterways. Drownings in the Clyde were much more common than today.

Affectionately known as “the Riverman” the Society’s officers and volunteer lifeguards have saved thousands of lives.

Since 1889 it has had only three senior officers – George Geddes 2nd (1889 – 1932) Benjamin Parsonage (1928 – 1979) and his son George Parsonage (1979 – till present day). They have passed down their knowledge of the Clyde and the city’s waterways.

Benjamin Parsonage and the Society is highlighted in a special display on the ground floor of the newly opened Riverside Museum. It features “The Bennie”, a river rescue rowing boat designed by Benjamin that will not capsize when rescuing or recovering someone from the water.

George Parsonage, the current Society officer, started at 14 years of age saving lives on the Clyde with father Benjamin. He has saved over 1500 people and recovered over 500 bodies. His rescue work on the Clyde and other waterways has been nationally and internationally recognised.

He is assisted by Antony Coia, who has been in post for five years, and a team of more than 30 volunteer lifeguards.

Apart from rescuing people and recovering bodies the Society personnel also help when floods strike. They have used their knowledge and experience in floods in the city’s East End and in Bearsden and Paisley’s Ferguslie Park.

A registered charity, the Society works closely with all the statutory agencies and local authorities

Laura nets a well-deserved award

February 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Laura Montgomery congratulated by Kenny Dalglish (left) and Craig Levein.

Laura Montgomery congratulated by Kenny Dalglish (left) and Craig Levein.

Women’s football stalwart, Laura Montgomery won a top honour at the McDonald’s / Sunday Mail Grassroots Awards, in partnership with the Scottish FA.
Laura was named Best Volunteer in Women’s/Girl’s Football at the awards ceremony held at Hampden Park on the Thursday 3 February. The awards celebrate the tireless efforts of volunteers who keep football flourishing in communities across Scotland.
Laura co-founded Glasgow City Ladies Football Club in 1998. It has gone on to become the most successful Scottish women’s team, winning the last four Premier League titles in a row and being the first Scottish team to qualify for the Women’s UEFA Champions League.
An unprecedented achievement, Glasgow City Ladies was the only amateur team to get to this stage of the tournament.
Scotland legend and McDonald’s Head of Scottish Football, Kenny Dalglish, praised Laura’s work and encouraged more women and girls to take up the game. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Kenny said: ‘Football in communities is built on the sheer hard work of individuals like Laura. Laura’s dedication over the past 13 years has seen Glasgow City Ladies become the most successful women’s team in the country, and to advance into the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League as an amateur team, is a remarkable achievement which is yet to be matched. As a long-term supporter of grassroots football in Scottish communities, McDonald’s is proud to honour Laura and her team’s achievements.’
Laura added: ‘Winning this award is a wonderful honour. When we founded the club, we never imagined we’d end up winning the Premier League – let alone four times in a row. Alongside playing, I’ve also been responsible for our sponsorship, accounts, marketing and the website. While I always say I’ve got two full time jobs – my day job and my work for Glasgow City – I wouldn’t change a thing.’
The eighth McDonald’s / Sunday Mail Grassroots event covered ten categories including Best Volunteer in Youth Football, Grassroots Community Club and McDonald’s Community Champion Award.
Over the last eight years, McDonald’s has helped to improve football in Scotland, significantly. The scheme has created more than 2,000 new community coaches and 1,800 new football teams. And it has worked with a network of McDonald’s restaurant franchisees to provide kit and equipment to clubs through the club twinning programme.
Last year alone, McDonald’s helped to create over 700 new boys’ and girls’ teams in the local community.
For more information on McDonald’s coaching programme, please go to