Thursday 10 May
On Wednesday, with the support of the European Commission Office, Glasgow’s George Square played host to stalls, exhibitors and musicians to mark Europe Day and I was privileged to attend the event.
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, and the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Cllr Eva Bolander, opened the celebration with Stuart McMillan MSP making an appearance as Scottish Parliament’s piper with his rendition of “Ode to Joy”.
Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain were all there to promote their country, culture and language. Scotland and Member States also showcased their countries through musical and dance acts.
Europe Day remains an opportunity to bring various communities together and to celebrate peace and unity in Europe.
I’m pictured highlighting the Erasmus Plus programme. Thousands of Scottish students have had the opportunity to live, study, work and make lifelong friendships all over the EU through the Erasmus programme. However, the UK leaving the European Union puts the programme in jeopardy.
Youthlink Scotland are spearheading a campaign and I’ve signed their petition asking the UK Government to commit to maintaining participation in the Erasmus programme after Brexit.
I’d encourage everyone to pledge their support and sign the petition at Youthlink Scotland https://www.youthlinkscotland.org/press/keep-erasmus-plus/
Following on from our Europe Day celebrations the Scottish Government announced this week new support to ensure community organisations, charities and other grassroots groups are listened to during the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
The £150,000 stakeholder engagement fund will provide grants to Scottish organisations who wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to gather and promote the views of their members on preparing for the UK leaving the EU.
The new fund will focus primarily on enabling community and third sector organisations to consider the impact of Brexit, highlight their concerns and plan for the future – giving them a greater platform to be heard at a Scottish, UK and EU level.
The Scottish Government fund will offer organisations and networks targeted financial support, as well as welcoming suggestions and ideas from local community groups around the country.
Year of Young People
What a great atmosphere in the Parliament as we celebrated the Year of Young People last week.
The Princes Trust held a reception with some extremely talented young people as they highlighted their Youth Can Do It campaign.
It’s hard to believe that it was as far back as 2013 when the decision was made to have 2018 as the Year of Young People.
Year of Young People 2018 aims to inspire Scotland through its young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.
As well as the Scottish Government Year of Young People have also partnered with Young Scot, Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Scotland, Visit Scotland, Event Scotland, Glasgow 2018, Creative Scotland and Youthlink Scotland.
There have been countless events and projects marking Year of Young People since the beginning of the year and we’re not even halfway through yet. You can find out about the latest events and news at www.yoyp2018.scot
Refugees can now organise financial support for family members before they are reunited in Scotland.
Up to £100,000 in Family Reunion Crisis Grants will smooth the path for new arrivals, bridging the gap before they can be assessed for benefits entitlement.
The grants provide assistance with initial living costs as well as essential items, such as beds, for those arriving in Scotland under family reunion rules.
Walking and Cycling
The Scottish Government have announced plans to more than double the Community Links Fund which supports the introduction of new walking and cycling infrastructure.
£36m will be available through the Community Links Fund in 2018/19, the highest amount since it was launched in 2010.
The fund has previously helped projects like the cycling and walking path between Elgin and Lhanbryde, locally a cycle path linking Glasgow City Centre with its southern suburbs, and plans to redesign Stirling Road in Dunblane.
You can find out more here: https://www.sustrans.org.uk/scotland/community-links
For 27 years Human Appeal has been delivering aid and development programs that transform lives in the world’s poorest nations. I was delighted to meet representatives of the organisation at their reception in the Scottish Parliament to launch Human Appeal Ramadan.
Human Appeal has had a presence in 25 countries around the world and has become the global agent of change for a just, caring and sustainable world. They have also delivered and supported many projects across the UK including the Wrap up Winter campaign, distribution of food to the homeless, provision of Qurbani meat to the needy and supporting the victims of the Manchester arena attack and Grenfell Tower fire.
You can find out more about Human Appeal and their work here: www.humanappeal.org.uk
The Scottish Government are currently consulting on the addition of secondary legislation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to introduce a ban on the manufacture and the sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds.
The proposed bans aim to further protect our seas from plastic pollution.
If you would like further information or would like to participate please go to https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/cotton-buds/