Thursday 7 June 2018
The Health Committee were in Glasgow on Monday as part of our Outreach work visiting both Sunnyside Primary School and Clyde College.
The purpose of these informal sessions is to bring together young people and seek their views on health and sport policy as well as finding out about young people’s priorities in health and sport.
Some of the areas we covered included health inequality, eating disorders, sexual health advice and information in schools, self-harming, mental health and physical activity.
Both sessions were very informative and the information gained from these sessions will be fed back into the formal Health Committee work programme.
The Scottish Parliament passed the Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Bill this week. The Scottish Government wanted to address the injustice that people experienced simply because of their sexual orientation and this Bill will help ensure we address this historic wrong.
The aim of this Bill is to provide a form of redress against the discriminatory effect of convicting men for same-sex sexual offences in the past, for activity that is now legal. While Scotland is a different place than it was 30 and 40 years ago in terms of the attitudes held by much of the population towards same-sex sexual activity, the discriminatory effect of these laws lingers on.
However, this legislation marks an important milestone in Scotland’s progress towards LGBTI equality – but there is still more to do.
More homeowners will be able to carry out energy efficiency work and improvements on their properties as a pilot scheme expands.
The HEEPS (Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland) scheme lets homeowners on low incomes borrow up to £40,000 for energy efficiency improvements and essential repairs, including the installation of a new boiler, double glazing or repairs to reduce heat loss – which will be repaid when they sell their home or transfer ownership.
The scheme was launched in January 2017 in three local authority areas (Glasgow City, Argyll and Bute, and Perth and Kinross) and has now been extended to include Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Stirling, Dundee and the Western Isles until March 2019.
Cycling Without Age were in the Parliament this week and I was delighted to catch up with their representatives having hosted them at the Cross Party Group on Older People, Age and Ageing last year.
Cycling Without Age was actually started in Copenhagen by Ole Kassow in 2012. Ole wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles, but he had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents.
Cycling Without Age is a transformational project which brings the elderly population closer to the outdoor environment through the power of Cycling. The principles behind the initiative are to combat loneliness and isolation and begin when a volunteer (pilot) takes one or two older or less able people out on a trishaw bicycle. Experience of doing this has shown that the slowness of the bike ride enables the participants to absorb the environment, exchange stories, build relationships and enjoy a sense of fun and with ‘wind in the hair’.
There are 450 chapters around the world offering Cycling Without Age from over 1,500 trishaws. Many of the older people are from nursing or care establishments who have had the chance to get out of doors and explore the world around them.
Cycling without Age have been overwhelmed with the response to this initiative and they have recently been awarded Scottish Government funding to expand the service into other communities. I signed their pledge to assist them in expanding this initiative even further across Scotland and I am hopeful that we will soon be seeing these trishaws across Glasgow Kelvin.
To find out more about the project and how you can get involved go to:
Representatives from the British Psychological Society Scotland were exhibiting in the Scottish Parliament last week and I took the opportunity to chat with them about their work.
They were promoting a number of their key policy themes, including:
children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing
psychologically healthy workplaces
behaviour change interventions on energy conservation, smoking cession, physical activity, school attendance and screen use.
We are also promoting the Society position on public health issues such as obesity and healthy weight and our expertise on adults without capacity and on traumatic brain injury.
Communities will be able to decide how best they can tackle poverty and inequalities in their own area backed by a £20 million fund.
Since 2015 the Empowering Communities Fund (ECF) has supported hundreds of projects, giving communities more control over planning and decisions that affect them locally as well as driving forward regeneration and making changes through training, employment, arts and volunteering opportunities.
You can find out more here https://beta.gov.scot/policies/community-empowerment/empowering-communities-fund/
My colleague Christina McKelvie MSP hosted the event ‘An Evening of Scottish Gin and Spirits’ reception in the Parliament this week.
It was good to meet up with local Glasgow based retailer The Good Spirits Co pictured with some of their gin stock.
Founded in 2011 by three drinks enthusiasts – Shane Goodbody, Matthew McFadyen, and Mark Connelly their business has grown with three outlets across the city offering a wide variety of spirits.
The event provided MSPs the opportunity to meet producers and retailers, of gin and other spirits, from across Scotland.
There was of course the opportunity to sample produce, and hear from SMEs and multinationals.