Govanhill Law Centre Opens

December 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

A new law centre in Govanhill was officially opened by the Lord Advocate the Right Honourable Eilish Angiolini, last month.

Located in Butterbiggins Road, it will provide information and support on housing, employment and other issues for local residents.

Advice is free and the aim is to root out slum landlords, gang masters and organised crime in the area.

Govanhill has some of the most severe housing problems in Scotland, with an estimated 750 slum flats. Many of them are occupied by Roma families who do not know their legal rights and are, therefore, vulnerable to exploitation.

The new law centre has four staff including a speaker of Slovak. They will serve all sections of the diverse Govanhill community.

The model is based on the successful Govan Law Centre and has been developed by that Centre’s Principal Solicitor, Mike Dailly. It has taken almost three years and £500,000 to get the Govanhill Law Centre open.

Funding and support has come from the Scottish Government, Govanhill Housing Association, Govanhill Community Development Trust, Oxfam and trade unions Usdaw and Unison.

The centre’s first case is already under way to find a sure and swift way to use compulsory purchase legislation to force the closure of the area’s slum properties.

Already the Centre has instructed one of Scotland’s top QCs to provide a legal opinion on how legislation can be used to eradicate substandard private rented accommodation in the area.


Mike said: ‘We will work hard to earn local trust and confidence. Together, we can root out the slum landlords and the gang masters. Together, we can expose the Mr Bigs and their criminal practices. Govanhill Law Centre will always be on your side and we will always help to fight your corner. It’s your community and it’s time to claim it back from unscrupulous private landlords, gang masters and criminals.’

Eilish told the Local News: ‘Govanhill Law Centre will provide a very valuable rights-based facility for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. When I was growing up in Govan, I was struck by the inequality of the opportunity which existed for people who did not have proper access to clear information. As a result, they could miss out on services and advice which was available.’

Glasgow City Council leader, Councillor Steven Purcell said: ‘The new Govanhill Law Centre is a very welcome addition to the range of support now available in the area. Firm action is being taken to address the complex issues affecting the community. Providing better access to legal advice must be seen as part of the action.’

Janice McEwan, Chairperson of Govanhill Housing Association said: ‘We are delighted and excited at the prospect of the new Law Centre working in partnership with us to improve the slum housing conditions I thought we would never see here again.’

Louise Carlin, Manager for Oxfam Scotland’s Poverty Programme said: ‘Having its own Law Centre will be a real asset to Govanhill. People will have something on their doorstep that will help change their lives for the better.’

Advocate Ross Macfarlane from the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh, stated that he and another 20 Advocates will be on call to provide additional advice on matters relating to housing, employment and other issues.

For more information contact –

Govanhill Law Centre, 168 Butterbiggins Road, Govanhill, Glasgow, G42 7AL. Tel – 0141 433 2665

Slum Landlord Aslam Appeals Against Ban

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

Slum landlord Mr Mohammed Aslam from Govanhill, has submitted an appeal against his removal from the Private Landlords Register by Glasgow City Council. There will be a preliminary hearing on Thursday 13 November when a date is expected to be fixed for the full hearing.

Mr Aslam was removed from the register after his properties were found to be below the basic tolerable level. He was issued with two prohibition orders in relation to gas safety regulations, had substantial Council Tax arrears on several properties and was issued with seven abatement notices under environmental protection legislation. He was the first person in Glasgow to be issued with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in respect of housing and he is only the second in the whole of Scotland to be issued with one since the Anti-Social Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 was introduced in 2004.

Mr Aslam has a total of 39 properties of which 22 have tenants who are in receipt of housing benefit. However, the rights of tenants in these properties are not affected. They still have to be given proper notice in order for them to vacate the property.

Mr Aslam was issued with his ASBO on Wednesday 10 September and had 21 days to appeal against the decision.

Councillor Steven Purcell, Leader of Glasgow City Council said: ‘This is one of the first times these powers have been used in Scotland and it demonstrates the council’s commitment to tackling rogue landlords. Substantial evidence has been gathered against this landlord and I welcome the decision to refuse him a place on the Landlords Register.’

Authorities are working hard to improve Govanhill’s below tolerable housing.

Councillor Purcell saw for himself how bad the housing was in Govanhill during a recent visit. After his visit he allocated £2million of the city’s housing investment budget of £10.5 million to Govanhill. This will be used to improve the below tolerable housing in Govanhill and will be administered through the council’s Development and Regeneration Services.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government, Health and Wellbeing said: ‘Local authorities have powers under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 to deal with houses which are in a state of serious disrepair. They can do this by serving repair notices, improvement orders or designating an area as a Housing Action Area where at least 50% of the houses fail the tolerable standard.

‘These powers are being updated by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006. We have already consulted on draft guidance for local authorities on implementing the new powers. The consultation closed on 1 July. The Housing Renewal areas will be introduced early next year. Local authorities receive an annual Private Sector Funding Grant allocation. It is up to them how they spend it.’

Southside Councillor James Scanlon said: ‘I am delighted that Mr Aslam has been struck off the Landlords Register. In Govanhill the Neighbourhood Management Team has been set up, which is led by Cathie Cowan, who is the Director of the South East Community Health and Care Partnership to deal with the problems facing local residents.’

Another Southside Councillor, Anne Marie Millar said: ‘The Council have taken appropriate action because Mr Aslam’s flats were totally unacceptable in this day and age. How anyone could expect others to live in these sub-standard conditions, beggars belief. I requested that they should declare Govanhill as an area of ‘Special Status.’

Rajana Hospital New Home

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

Mohammad Sarwar Glasgow Central MP founder and Chairman of the Rajana Foundation Hospital, with all the board members and all donaters to the hospital at the opening dinner at their new offices in Govanhill.The new offices of Pakistan Foundation International (PFI), which runs and funds the Rajana Foundation Hospital, in Pakistan, were opened at Network House, Calder Street, in Govanhill. They are much bigger than the previous ones which were behind the Habib Bank in Norfolk Street.

Around 150 people attended the opening ceremony which was done during Ramadan (a month in which Muslims fast from sunlight to sunset)

The hospital board members along with the founder, Mohammad Sarwar, Westminster MP for Glasgow Central and Maulana Mohammed Faroghul-Quadri of  the Glasgow Islamic Academy said a prayer to bless the premises.

Mr Sarwar thanked the board and the volunteers for their hard work and thanked everyone who had given donations.

The hospital was set up in 2005 by Mr Sarwar after a visit to Pakistan when he observed that abject poverty meant that poor and vulnerable people could not access any proper medical services. Only people with money could get medical attention. This prompted him to set up an easily accessible hospital where the charges are a quarter of those at other hospitals.

Toba Tek Singh District in Pakistan has 1.7 million people. Many live in rural areas which lack clean water and basic sanitation. Malnutrition is commonplace. These factors add up to a multitude of preventable health problems. The Rajana Foundation hospital is located in this District and provides quality and affordable healthcare for most of the poorest people in the area.

The annual budget for the 65 bed hospital is £150,000, and it dealt with 54,000 patients last year. There are 120 staff with 20 consultants and 9 surgeons. The hospital recently received a 50 million Rupees (£370, 600) donation from Mian Shabaz Sharif, the brother of Nawaz Sharif, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan. The money will be used to build a floor at the top of the building for dentists and opticians. A 35 bed Hospital, called Rai Al Nawaz, will open this month (October 2008)  in the Chichawatni district of Sahiwal. It cost £300,000 to build and will have around 50 staff.

The annual running costs will be £75,000.

To make a donation contact: Pakistan Foundation International (PFI), Network House 311 Calder Street, Glasgow, G42 7NQ. Tel: 0141 585 8024. Website:


Doors Open Day – Govanhill Pool

November 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

A staggering 1,000 people queued for hours to enjoy tours of Govanhill Baths, during the annual Doors Open festival. The facility – closed seven years ago by Glasgow City Council despite massive opposition and a lengthy sit-in by local people – now has a future. Govanhill Baths Community Trust (GBCT) was set up specifically to re-open the B listed, Edwardian Baroque-styled building dating from 1917 and their plans were on view for all to see.

Govanhill Baths

Between £8.5 and £10 million will be needed to transfom the place into a Sports and Wellbeing Centre and the Trust aims to open on 21 March 2011- 94 years to the day when it first opened its doors. 

The plans show that the three existing pools would be kept along with many of the original features. There would be a Turkish sauna, a rooftop garden, a café and an asthma clinic as well as a gymnasium and theatre/cinema, crèche, housing complex, retail and community space.  

Andrew Johnson, Chairman of the Trust and one of the original campaigners, said: ‘We believe the people have turned out on Doors Open because the closure of these baths by the Council hit a deep-seated nerve. People were treated with so much disrespect when the pool was closed.   I believe they have come to the Baths Doors Open day to make a statement against undemocratic decisions and because they believe that a community has a right to make its own decisions about its destiny and needs’

Danny Alderslowe, Southside Councillor for the Scottish Green Party, who took part in the 140 day sit-in, said: ‘The opening has been an emotional day for me. I feel horror at the negative impact the closure has had in terms of the health of the local people.’Esther Saussman helps tidy up the pool


Close Condemned in Govanhill

October 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Glasgow South, Local News

Residents at 276 Langside Road were evacuated at short notice after their building was condemned as unsafe by Glasgow City Council. The Council’s Building Control department had been contacted by the factor following concerns about dry rot in the basement.

The tenement is in the G42 postcode area where £2 million has been allocated by the Council to stop the neighbourhood becoming a slum.

Seven of the eight flats in the close were occupied. Now the ground floor windows have been sealed with metal shutters, the close door has been padlocked and a DANGER sign erected.

Next door neighbours knew nothing about the evacuation when it happened on Friday October 5.

Resident John Fleming told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘I came home from work at about 4.45pm and saw people leaving the building with their possessions. It was like a mass flitting. The Council’s community and safety services department have been in the area all week doing work to improve the environment. The Council guys were even helping folks to move their stuff.’



























































July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Local News

A fundraising day at Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre (MWRC) in Govanhill attracted over 100 people and raised £1,000.

The day included bowling, bouncy castles, face painting, henna, beauticians, massage, food, toys, gifts, clothes and advice on many issues.

Impact Arts provided free art workshops for adults and children.

Asma Abdalla, Acting Director of the Centre said: ‘We are really pleased with the turnout. The funds raised will be reinvested in the project. I would like to thank everybody who attended and all the people and organisations that helped out on the day.’

Amina provides culturally sensitive services, which include befriending, counselling, helpline and advocacy to women all over Scotland.

It took three months to organise the event, which was co-ordinated by Sofi Parveen and two Global Exchange Volunteers Vicky and Mima.

Amina MWRC are always looking for new volunteers. If you would like to get involved phone 0141 585 8026 or email:

Volunteers’ Farewell

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under Local News

Eighteen enthusiastic British and Syrian young people who have given more than 6000 hours’ work to make a lasting impression on Glasgow, said farewell to the city – and they left with a taste for one of its most famous exports – Irn Bru.

A special leaving event in Trinity Church, Govanhill, was attended by all those who provided bed and board to the volunteers and by people from the projects where they had worked.

Rhoanna Law, Communications Officer for Global Exchange which runs the volunteer programme, said: ‘They enjoyed traditional Syrian fayre washed down with Irn Bru! They had a lovely time in Glasgow and the farewell evening was a chance for everyone to see what a great impact they had made in local communities.’

A ceilidh allowed the volunteers to put other skills they had learned to good use.

They are now in Syria for three months doing similar community service.

In their time in Glasgow, the volunteers painted the Central mosque, cleaned up the streets around Woodlands, planted trees in Toryglen, worked with the Govanhill Youth Project and Govan’s Luv project.

Run by the international development charity VSO and the British Council, Global Exchange aims to bring young people aged 18 to 25 together to make a useful contribution to the communities they are living in.

After completing their work in Aleppo, Syria, the volunteers will return home better able to support their own communities with the skills they have learned.