Thursday 8 March 2018

International Women’s Day

IMG_0623Celebrating International Women’s Day my colleague Gillian Martin MSP launched a campaign for a tourist trail of Scotland’s monuments to women. This comes on the day that a statue (long awaited) of Mary Barbour is being unveiled in Glasgow, a prominent activist who led the rent strikes of 1915 and the first woman councillor in Glasgow.

I wholeheartedly support plans for a tourist trail, highlighting memorials across the country that mark the contribution made by Scottish women. How we commemorate our history is enormously important – it shapes how we understand our society, and is a vital part of our thriving tourism industry. Too often our public memorials can be about Kings and Generals and not about the ordinary and extraordinary Scots who’ve shaped our country – and women in particular are shockingly underrepresented. The Scottish Parliament also marked the day with a debate in which I participated highlighting some of the extraordinary young women and their contribution not just here in Glasgow Kelvin but reaching as far as Rwanda.

You can read my full contribution here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2018&page=0&meeting=-1

And finally I’m pictured with Eve Gardiner an S5 pupil at Coltness High School in Wishaw who is doing a photography project entitled Empowered Women. Eve came into the Parliament to photograph female MSPs of whom she said I am inspired by the dedication, resilience and ability to disrupt stereotypes that female politicians have.

Scottish Youth Theatre

I was completely shocked to hear the Scottish Youth Theatre will cease in July this year due to funding cuts by Creative Scotland. The Scottish Youth Theatre have been a stalwart of the creative youth scene here in Glasgow and across Scotland for over 40 years and its closure will be a huge blow for our young people and our creative industries.

I took the opportunity to question the First Minister on this during FMQs in the chamber today and pressed for a resolution to ensure this fantastic resource for young people is not lost.

You can read the full exchange here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/ReportSelectPage.aspx?type=plenary&year=2018&page=0&meeting=-1

First Mentor

The ‘First Mentor’ initiative, which gives a young woman aged between 18-23 a chance to be mentored by the First Minister, will run again in 2018.  Following the success of the 2017-18 opportunity, a new round of applications will open today.

To enable more young women to benefit from the programme, Scottish Chambers of Commerce have committed to match some of the shortlisted candidates with mentors in their network.

You can find out more about the scheme here: https://young.scot/things-to-do/events/edinburgh/first-mentor/

Scottish SPCA

03.18 SSPCAThe Scottish SPCA have been helping animals in need for over 175 years and I was delighted to see them in the Scottish Parliament this week highlighting and promoting the work they do.

Rescuing animals and nursing them back to health before finding them loving new homes or releasing them back into the wild is just one aspect of the work they do. They are at the forefront of preventing cruelty to animals investigating animal abuse across Scotland with their inspectors enforcing the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

They are committed to supporting the welfare of all animals – domestic, farm and wildlife – and are continually deepening their welfare expertise through their ground breaking work and research with partners.

Education is at the heart of what they do and they play a vital role in supporting and educating the public on animal welfare issues. Their free interactive Prevention through Education programme for Scottish primary schools reaches over 300,000 children each year.

You can find out more about their work and in particular their educational work here: https://www.scottishspca.org/education/


03.18 respectmeI caught up with respectme the Scottish Government funded anti-bullying service whilst they were in the Scottish Parliament this week. respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service, was launched in March 2007.  The service is fully funded by the Scottish Government and is managed by SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland.

They work with all adults who play a role in the lives of young people, to give them the practical skills and confidence to deal with bullying behaviour wherever it arises.

Their vision and what should be everyone’s is of a respecting, just, equal and inclusive Scotland in which all children and young people can live free from bullying and harassment and are encouraged to reach their full potential.

Bank Closures

The closure of more than a third of Scotland’s banks since 2010 is set to come under the microscope, as the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee calls on local businesses and consumers to ‘speak out’ on the impact on local communities and economic growth.

Bank closure numbers vary across Scotland. According to 2018 figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) with around half of all banks closed in Glasgow.

You can participate in the survey here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/HM0JX/


03.18 AirbnbRepresentatives from Airbnb were in Parliament this week to discuss their business and the contribution this venture makes to the tourism industry.

Airbnb was set up to offer both homeowners and travellers the opportunity to stay in a home from home.

I’m pictured here with Dani from Glasgow who rents rooms within her house. I took the opportunity to chat to her and others about the various issues related to the Airbnb business model.

Mental Health

Workplaces across Scotland will receive a suicide prevention and mental health training programme under proposals announced this week.

The Scottish Government is seeking views on the creation of a nation-wide training programme, aimed at embedding mental health training in workplaces.

Other proposals in the draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan include:

making more use of social media to provide information and support

building stronger partnerships between public, private and third sector organisations

better use of data and evidence to ensure more effective interventions

The draft plan is open for public comment online for seven-weeks as well as six public events being held during March and April, with a view to publishing the final plan in the summer.

You can access the consultation here https://consult.gov.scot/mental-health-unit/suicide-prevention/



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