Thursday 7 December 2017
A big thank you to Susan Lowes and Margaret Lambie of Marie Curie for taking the time to come to the office to speak to me about their work.
I had some prior knowledge of the services they offer but I am certainly more informed about the range of services they provide. From practical hands on care to emotional support for those diagnosed with a terminal illness and those affected by a terminal illness.
Organisations like Marie Curie rely on the kindness and generosity of other people giving up their time to volunteer and their Helper Service is quite exceptional offering emotional support, companionship and information about relevant local services for people, carers and families.
Could you give up some of your time to volunteer? If so please get in touch with Geraldine Ross-Hargreaves on 08003047740 or do you know of someone who would benefit from support offered by Marie Curie, if so please contact the Marie Curie Support Line on 08000902309.
There is a huge chance that by the time you receive this ebrief things will have changed yet again with the Brexit negotiations! What an utter shambles.
There is overwhelming support in the Scottish Parliament and across the country for retaining Scotland and the UK’s place in the single market and customs union. It is time for Scotland to speak with one voice and more importantly for those voices to be heard.
Townhead Christmas Lights
It was a pleasure to attend the official switch on of the Townhead Christmas Lights this week. They look fantastic!
I was accompanied by my colleague Councillor Angus Millar who represents the area. Not only were lights amazing but we were also entertained by the wonderful choir from St Mungo’s Primary School.
On such a special day I took the opportunity to gift Katy an apple tree to Townhead Village Hall. The trees were kindly donated to schools, and local community groups from Scottish Fruit Trees. They celebrate Holyrood Apple Day every year in the Scottish Parliament at the end of November. You might remember in my ebrief last week I had a photo of the nursery children from Belhaven Nursery who were this year’s winner of the Wee Apple Award – they have a wonderful orchard in the nursery grounds.
I’m hoping Katy will grow and flourish in its new surroundings and the local community can benefit from any harvest it brings!
The 16 Days of Activism campaign is drawing to a close. It ran from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day.
This year, the UNiTE Campaign theme was Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls and reinforces the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, while reaching the most underserved and marginalized, including refugees, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, and populations affected by conflict and natural disasters.
Scotland’s Chief Statistician released the latest Council Tax Reduction estimates this week. In September 2017, Scotland’s Council Tax Reduction scheme supported 489,560 households and the total weekly income foregone by local authorities was £6.5 million.
The total number of Council Tax Reduction recipients in Scotland was 11.4 per cent (62,820 recipients) lower in September 2017 than it was at the beginning of the scheme in April 2013. In general, this fall has been gradual, punctuated by small rises each January to March. Since April 2017, reforms to Council Tax and to Council Tax Reduction have exerted an upward pressure on recipient numbers although the longer-term downward trend continues. These reforms are also reflected in the increase in income forgone between March and September 2017 of over £200,000 per week. This is within forecast spending for 2017-18.
Local Governance Review
Communities are to have their say on how more decisions can be taken at a local level.
The Scottish Government and COSLA have jointly launched a Local Governance Review, which will make sure local communities have more say about how public services in their area are run.
The review will involve hearing from communities all across the country to get a clear understanding of the type of changes that are needed, and how these can be made to happen.
You can find out more information on the Local Governance Review at https://beta.gov.scot/policies/improving-public-services/local-governance-review/
Acclaimed artist and writer John Byrne was commissioned to create this year’s First Ministers Christmas card and what a brilliant design he has produced.
Discussing the design he said “I had a notion to paint a young couple from my boyhood days in Paisley, having a great time jiving to the music of Jimmy McCracken’s ‘Big Band’ at the Town Hall c1957 dressed in the style of the day, with a nod to the Festive Season.”
‘Say It With A Kiss!’ is an original artwork in Byrne’s celebrated trademark style.
The artwork will be auctioned next year with the proceeds going to four charities – Food Train, SCIAF, Scottish Women’s Aid and Teapot Trust.
SCIAF and children’s art therapy charity the Teapot Trust were chosen by John Byrne, while Food Train, which provides a range of services, to older people including grocery shopping and befriending and Scottish Women’s Aid were selected by the First Minister.
Small Business Saturday
I was out and about meeting up with small business owners in the constituency highlighting Small Business Saturday.
With Christmas just a matter of weeks away this is a great time of year to get out and support local businesses.
We have a fantastic range of businesses across the constituency and I had a wander along The Hidden Lane popping in to see what was on offer at the Lean Factory Healthy Food Kitchen, Decadent Riot have an eclectic and hand picked selection of art, gifts, accessories, jewellery and homeware and Hidden Lane Soft Furnishings provide bespoke curtains and blinds. These are just a very small selection of what’s available so please offer your support to our local businesses.
What another successful evening at the SSE Scottish Music Awards 2017 in aid of Nordoff Robbins. This year’s event took place in the Old Fruitmarket at the weekend and I had the pleasure of sharing a table with Dougie and Jennifer MacLean – many thanks to Jennifer for the photograph!
There was a star studded line up including Emeli Sande, Nina Nesbitt, The Waterboys, Hipsway, Lewis Capaldi, The Temperance Movement and Tom Walker and some very worthy winners.
However, the biggest winners are the children and adults who benefit from therapies offered by Nordoff Robbins.
The glittering ceremony has been Nordoff Robbins Scotland’s biggest fundraiser since 1996 and funds raised on the night are a vital part of the charity’s ability to provide music therapy to over 450 vulnerable children and adults across the country every week.
A total of 3,459 people have joined new transitional employability services which support individuals with disabilities and health conditions.
Work First Scotland (WFS) and Work Able Scotland (WAS) are one year transitional services which precede the launch of the £96 million Fair Start Scotland service – Scotland’s devolved employability service – in April 2018.
You can get more information on the contract awards: http://www.employabilityinscotland.com/devolved-employment-services/employment-support-2018/