Thursday 24 May
I was delighted to sponsor and address a joint event in Parliament this week with the Scottish Seniors Alliance and the Scottish Pensioners Forum.
The event was held to celebrate the contribution older make within society and concentrated on the work that the Scottish Pensioners’ Forum and the Scottish Seniors Alliance have carried out over the years on older people’s issues, within communities across Scotland.
I’m pictured (right) with representatives from the Scottish Seniors Alliance (SSA). They were formed in 2007 to act as the umbrella body for local senior forums and unattached older people’s groups located throughout Scotland.
The Minister for Social Security Jeane Freeman MSP also addressed the reception pictured here with Bill Johnson, Rose Jackson and myself.
The Minister welcomed the contribution of organisations dealing with issues affecting older people.
The Minister also spoke about the Older People’s Strategic Action Forum set up by the Scottish Government and the progress made to date.
The Scottish Pensioners Forum was set up in 1992 as an umbrella organisation for groups and individuals working and campaigning for a better deal for older people. It was initiated by the STUC Pensioners Committee to allow pensioners to speak on behalf of pensioners.
Age Scotland were also in attendance at the event. They had some very interesting information on their helpline for older people for MSPs to highlight to their constituents. This helpline provides information, friendship and advice through a confidential freephone number.
The service is available for older people, their carers and families in Scotland and advises on local services and opportunities, benefit entitlements, care rights, housing options and heating and legal issues such as Power of Attorney.
You can find out more about Age Concern at https://www.ageuk.org.uk/scotland/
Information on the Scottish Seniors Alliance can be found at http://www.spanglefish.com/scottishseniorsalliance/
And finally the Scottish Pensioners Forum have more information on their website at http://www.scottishpensioners.org.uk/
Communities and charities with new ideas to tackle child poverty will be given the opportunity to bid for part of a new £7.5 million Innovation Fund.
Announced as part of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, the fund, financed by the Scottish Government and the Hunter Foundation, is now open for applications from communities, local charities, health boards and councils.
A panel with membership from across the sector will judge the applications, which will support new or existing projects that will have an impact on reducing child poverty by 2030.
The Innovation Fund will support both new and the expansion of existing approaches that will have an impact on reducing child poverty by 2030 in a way that helps families to remain out of poverty for a minimum three year period and are viable and sustainable practices for public sector/third sector.
Guidance on the fund and application process can be found at http://www.thehunterfoundation.co.uk/
Applications open this week and will close at midnight on 29 June 2018 with awards being made, subject to final diligence and shortlisted interviews/project visits, no later than 17 August 2018.
Unicef held a reception in the Scottish Parliament this week and I took the opportunity to meet with their representatives.
The reception was held to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the Unicef and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games partnership.
In 2014, Unicef and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games came together, united by a groundbreaking ambition:
To transform children’s lives by reaching children in every part of Scotland, and in every Commonwealth Country by the next Games.
For the first time in history, a global organisation dedicated to saving and changing children’s lives teamed up with a global sporting institution dedicated to humanity, equality and destiny – to deliver change on an international level.
The partnership has reached 11.7 million children including more than 500,000 children in Scotland.
This year marks the 70th year of the NHS and the Scottish Government is encouraging people across Scotland to share their stories and memories of health care throughout the years at the launch of the celebrations to mark the run up to the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
National events to mark the anniversary include a civic reception for frontline NHSScotland staff, with local NHS board events including afternoon teas, photography exhibitions and services of celebration and thanksgiving.
Contributions from public, patients and staff will form part of the campaign leading up to the anniversary, with seven stories selected to feature in a short film of NHS memories across the decades.
For further information on the NHS in Scotland at 70, visit www.ournhsscotland.com
People can share their memories of the NHS by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An independent report detailing improvements to police call handling has been welcomed by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.
The report, published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, follows an independent review of call handling systems directed by Mr Matheson in 2015.
The review resulted in 30 recommendations, all of which have been discharged. The Justice Secretary has updated Parliament that the work to improve the system has delivered:
A revised staffing model for police call handling, ensuring the service has the right number of people at the right time;
An improved approach to training, ensuring staff have the skills needed to support the public, often in the most critical of circumstances;
Improved stability of key IT systems;
Controls to ensure Police Scotland maintains the highest standards, including the implementation of a “notable incidents” process which allows the service to learn from the few calls that haven’t been handled as they should have been.
The final report contains eight more recommendations, which aim to guide further improvements.