Thursday 25 January 2018
I was delighted to welcome and host a delegation of firefighters from Palestine in the Parliament.
The firefighters received training from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) in their National Training Centre in Cambuslang.
This training was only possible through the commitment of the FBU and I commend them on their support and solidarity with the firefighters and the people of Palestine.
The CPG on Palestine has also been instrumental offering support when needed and the Scottish Government have provided funding to ensure the training can take place.
A very well done to all the Palestinian firefighters in training and a huge thanks to the SFRS trainers and the FBU.
There was a recent parliamentary debate on the issue of loneliness and isolation focusing on what more can be done to tackle this issue.
A new national strategy, one of the first in the world, is being developed to tackle loneliness and isolation.
The draft plan, now open for consultation, will look at the causes of social isolation and loneliness and how they can be addressed.
Views are also being sought on how communities can build on the work of the Scottish Government, and lead on ensuring those at risk of becoming lonely or isolated have access to the right support networks.
I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate highlighting some of the excellent work being carried out across the constituency to combat loneliness and isolation. Many of you will be familiar with the Glasgow Older Peoples Welfare Association who provide some fantastic opportunities for older people to get out, socialise and enjoy life.
You can read both the debate and my contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11309&i=102951
Scots all over the world will be coming together to celebrate our national bard with Burns suppers and recitals of his great works. I too will be celebrating his contribution to our great literary history and his verses that have stood the test of time and recited many times over across the world.
If you are also celebrating and toasting the bard…enjoy!
I had a return visit to The Distillery at The Old Pump House, Queens Dock now it is open to the public. Housed in the beautifully restored Pump House is an incredible interactive museum that mixes the shipping history of the Clyde, with Glasgow’s vibrant whisky heritage, as well as the role the Morrison family have played in both industries.
The fact there is an on-site operational distillery certainly offers visitors an up close and authentic experience of all things whisky! I have no hesitation in saying this is easily one of Glasgow’s premier attractions and I have every faith this excellent venue will be attracting people down to the Clydeside for many years to come.
In 2018 Scotland puts its young people (with a focus on 8-26 year olds) in the spotlight, celebrating their talents, contributions and creating new opportunities for them to shine.
The Year of Young People 2018 (YOYP) is a year-long programme of events, activities and ideas that will give young people in Scotland the opportunity to show the world what they are made of.
Year of Young People 2018 is led by the Scottish Government, working in collaboration with a core group of delivery partners including VisitScotland who were in the Parliament exhibiting some of their work, EventScotland, Young Scot, Children in Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament, Creative Scotland and YouthLink Scotland.
Fantastic news this week for our Digital Classrooms campaign. The collection of tablets for a children’s digital classroom for refugee camps established by Glasgow based tech firm Equator has been supported by Angus Appeal and local Angus South MSP Graeme Dey.
I am thrilled that the collection efforts for the refugee digital classroom has become a national activity, well done to Angus Appeals for their brilliant collection efforts which has brought many more tablets to the scheme.
I am also very grateful to all so far who have generously donated their old tablets and iPads to help provide children in refugee camps with an education. For those interested in adding to the collection efforts, my office still welcomes any spare or old tablets which will be cleaned and utilised by Equator to help child refugees.
Old phones, computers, iPads and tablets can so often gather dust after Christmas. But there’s some great initiatives out there to put them to better use – and potentially change someone’s life in a big way.
I would urge people to donate tablets, old or new, to help ensure that more Digital Classrooms can be delivered, and am happy to be able to support Equator with this collection.
Members of the public can help provide educational support to children in the Calais refugee camp by donating iPads and other tablet devices.
Any tablets which are donated will be restored to factory settings and sent on to refugee camps with learning software installed – alongside a projector and charging kit.
They can be sent in a padded envelope or dropped off in person at Sandra White’s constituency office at 1274 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G3 8AA.
Trimontium Trust were in the Parliament this week showcasing their work and I stopped by and had a fascinating chat with the Trust representatives.
They are a historical society based in the Scottish Borders which concentrates on Roman / Iron Age history.
The Trust’s aim is to educate and connect people, of all ages and from all walks of life, with the history of the Roman / Iron Age in Scotland and what it means for us today.
They curate the site of the largest Roman Fort in Scotland (called Trimontium by the Romans after the three Eildon Hills) and lead a small but active research group who investigate the frontiers of knowledge of the Roman Iron Age.
To mark Young Carers Awareness Day, Ministers have announced additional support and engagement activities.
Minister for Public Health Aileen Campbell outlined an enhanced programme of events for young carers, which includes hosting the annual Scottish Young Carers Festival in two locations for the first time.
And ahead of the introduction of a new Young Carers Grant by autumn 2019, Social Security Secretary Angela Constance has launched a recruitment campaign asking carers aged 16 to 25 to help design parts of the new Scottish social security system.
If you would like to take part you can register online at https://response.questback.com/isa/qbv.dll/ShowQuest?QuestID=5134319&sid=wMDsVbBMjh
Or Freephone: 0800 029 4974 (includes language line translation), Text: Prefix 18001 or SMS: 07467 447375