Sandra White MSP tunes in to FeelsFM on #WorldMentalHealthDay

FeelsFM, the world’s first emoji powered jukebox, has been created to help young people in Scotland talk about how they’re feeling, after new research revealed only a quarter would tell someone if they were struggling to cope.

See Me, the national programme to end mental health discrimination, surveyed 1455 young people aged 12-26 on mental health. They found that only 26% of young people would tell someone if they were finding it difficult to cope, compared to 67% who would tell someone if they were feeling physically unwell.

To help young people to speak about how they are feeling See Me have launched

The online emoji powered jukebox, created as part of the Year of Young People, is designed to help young people express their feelings, use music as a positive coping strategy, and find new ways to talk about mental health stigma.

Alongside the online platform, young people have also helped See Me put together a FeelsFM Activity which brings FeelsFM to life so it can be used to support young people to have conversations about mental health.

See Me are looking for organisations who engage with young people to run Feels FM activities by downloading a pack from The pack is great for youth, community, or school groups, and we will give you everything you need! All you need to do is visit their website and put your order in and they’ll pop a pack in the post for you.

Part of the discussion involves asking young people what they would do to tackle stigma and discrimination. See Me will then look at all the ideas, and the one they think will work best will be given a £1000 grant to make the idea a reality. The deadline to submit your idea is October 26th.

Glasgow Kelvin MSP, Sandra White commented:
“The ever growing cultural conversation that we are having on mental health is vital to the well-being of so many of my constituents. Indeed, regardless of background or profession every single person needs to acknowledge the importance of their own mental health and in turn how they can positively affect those around them.

“As such I am delighted to support See Me’s new campaign aimed at increasing awareness amongst younger people – a group in our society who are faced with a variety of pressures on a daily basis. In the Year of Young People this is therefore a particularly appropriate campaign and one that I hope is successful, far and wide.

“With See Me kicking off this campaign at the Barrowland Ballroom, with the Scottish Government’s new Minister for Mental Health, Claire Haughey MSP, it again reiterates the seriousness with which our society is now viewing mental health and the commitment this Scottish Government is making to ensure that this conversation continues within all of our communities.”

Share your Feels FM fun and see what other folk are up to with the hashtags #FeelsFM and #YoYP2018.


Local SNP MSP Sandra White met up with students from the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) who are currently studying at the University of Glasgow (UoG) as part of the ERASMUS+ International Credit Mobility. 

International Credit Mobility (ICM) is an Erasmus + Key Action 1 project which aims to facilitate exchange and education links between European and international partners. The ICM programme offers funded mobility opportunities for staff and postgraduate students to and from international partners.  

The UoG were successful in their bids to the European Union Erasmus+ in 2017, receiving a total of  €600,000 which has enabled 20 students, the biggest ever cohort, from IUG to study at UoG. 

UoG also provide the EAST Project every summer which accommodates overseas engineering students with engineers from Gaza to research ways to solve the engineering problems facing Gaza due to the ongoing blockade by Israel and Egypt.  Many students have worked together since the Project began in 2015.   

They also offer an online Palestinian Arabic Course which was written in partnership with IUG, combining video and skype lessons, allowing trained teachers in Gaza to access paid work, which also helps overcome the employment effects caused by the ongoing blockade. 

Commenting on the visit Ms White said: 

“It was inspiring to meet with the students from the Islamic University of Gaza and to talk to them about the situation in Gaza. This opportunity is having a positive impact on not just their lives, with the chance to study here in Glasgow, but the knowledge they are taking home to Gaza to improve a very desperate situation.

“It is thanks to the commitment from the team at both the University of Glasgow and the Islamic University of Gaza and of course the enthusiasm and willingness to take part from the students.

“Not satisfied with offering the Erasmus+ programme the University also offers the EAST project summer course which has been running for 3 years now bringing together engineering students from Gaza and around the world to find new ways of tackling engineering problems in Gaza. And of course they have the online language course which they produced in collaboration with the Islamic University of Gaza and is taught by teachers in Gaza.

“My concern is that with Brexit the Erasmus+ programme will no longer be accessible and the opportunity for students from Gaza to come here to Glasgow to learn will be lost as well as the significant contribution their learning and collaboration brings to the people of Gaza.”



Thursday 4 October 2018

Age Scotland

10.18 Age Scotland GOPWAAs Convener of the Cross Party Group on Older People, Age and Ageing it was a pleasure to attend the 75th anniversary celebrations of Age Scotland in the Parliament.

It was a special evening not least for Glasgow Old Peoples Welfare Association, now renamed Glasgow’s Golden Generation. Their new CEO Morag MacLeod whom I’m pictured with received the award on behalf of the organisation.

I also had the privilege of leading a members debate in the chamber on Wednesday celebrating this milestone for Age Scotland and highlighting the positive contribution organisations working on behalf of older people have made in both practical terms and policy shaping.

I closed my speech with a quote from Professor Sir Stewart Sutherland, who said: “To say Scotland is facing an ageing crisis is a myth. While it is certainly true that Scotland, along with the rest of the world, is getting older, that, in itself, does not constitute a crisis.” Professor Sutherland was challenging the view that older people are a burden and a drain on our society and public services, as Age Scotland and its predecessor organisations have done for 75 years.

Instead of repeating that view, as people often do on the bus or on television or elsewhere in the media, we should celebrate what we know to be true: older people are an asset to our society and economy and they are the life-blood of our communities, providing the backbone of charities, volunteering and acting as a reserve army of unpaid carers.

You can view the full debate here:


On the back of reports of a restricted document from Police Scotland regarding the flying of certain flags I raised the matter with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice during General Question Time this week.

My concern was the guidelines issued by Police Scotland were not definitive and could be misinterpreted.

On the back of this exchange I will be pursuing a full response from Police Scotland regarding their guidelines.

You can see the full exchange here:


The Scottish Government announced funding of £300,000 this week which coincides with Women and Girls in Sport Week which runs from September 30 to October 5.

I took the opportunity to contribute to the debate in the Parliament recognising the huge positive contribution sport makes in women and girls lives and the amazing role models our younger generations have in sport.

You can see my full contribution here:

Hospice Care Week

10.18 Hospices ScotlandTo mark Hospice Care Week (8-14 October) Hospice UK held an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament giving members the opportunity to chat with representatives about their work and the work of their local hospices.

Some of the information is staggering, 21,000 people a year are supported by charitable hospices, 420 families a year are supported by children’s hospice care, 80% of hospice care is provided to people at home or in the community and £44 million needs to be raised by Scottish Hospices every year.

You can find out more information on hospice care in and around Glasgow here


With the Challenge Poverty Campaign taking place this week I took the opportunity to participate in the members debate.

All week there have been events across the country highlighting what we can do to tackle poverty. The Scottish Government also published the latest Welfare Reform Report which provides an update on the latest developments in UK Government welfare reform and brings together new evidence to discuss the negative impacts of these reforms and the mitigation policies the Scottish Government has introduced.

The report estimates that the UK Government’s welfare cuts will lead to a £3.7 billion fall in social security spending by 2021 in Scotland.

You can see my full contribution here:

Festival of Politics

IMG_1443The Festival of Politics returns to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 10 October 2018 for more debate, music and film.

The festival aims to provoke and inspire people of all ages and from every walk of life to listen, engage and debate.

Now in its 14th year, the Festival of Politics covers a range of topics, including major social, cultural and political anniversaries and movements that have swept the globe since 1918: from Suffrage to the #MeToo campaign; the end of the First World War and the importance of remembrance; Scotland’s Year of Young People; the politics of housing, disability and food banks; the impact and repercussions of Brexit, trade wars and a new Cold War; and finally a futures strand looking at mobile phone use and social media influence, a robot economy, and the changing face of public broadcasting.

Find out more and book tickets here

Red Card Racism

IMG_1447It’s hard to believe that Show Racism the Red Card campaign started 15 years ago. In those years it has gone from strength to strength garnering support from across the footballing family.

Over the next three weekends teams from the SPFL, SWFL, SWPL and SJFA will be taking red card action at their matches

In addition to increasing the awareness of Show Racism the Red Card’s work in Scotland, the Fortnight of Action from 5th- 19thOctober, shows commitment at the highest level of Scottish football to eradicate racism and discrimination of any form from our game.

Clubs will be united in calling for an end to racism in football and society. Players in over 40 European Countries are involved in similar events as part of FARE network against racism and discrimination.

Football is a sport that is followed by people across the world and football matches should be an enjoyable experience for all, whatever their background. We all have a part to play in challenging racism in football and society.

Show your support for tackling racism at


Carers are getting an additional payment of £442 this financial year, in two payments of £221, equivalent of an extra £8.50 per week and an increase of 13% on the current Carer’s Allowance.

Carers make a vital contribution to society, which this payment recognises, putting an extra £442 in their pockets this financial year. When the Scottish Government take over the devolution of Carer’s Allowance, they will continue this increased rate which will rise annually in line with inflation.

This investment of over £30m a year addresses the unfairness that Carer’s Allowance is the lowest of the working age benefits. Bringing it into line with Jobseeker’s Allowance was one of the first commitments the Scottish Government made in light of the new social security powers.


IMG_1468Look at these wonderful animals who had a trip to the Parliament this week to highlight the valuable contribution they are making to people’s lives across Scotland.

Some of you may recall that Glasgow University played host to a group of alpacas as part of their Raising and Giving week. The alpacas were offering some pet therapy to students helping them to de-stress.


Please note the ebrief will resume week beginning 22 October due to the parliamentary recess.


The Scottish Parliament this week marked the 75th anniversary of Age Scotland, in a debate led by SNP MSP Sandra White, who convenes the Cross-Party group on Older People, Age and Ageing.

The Scottish Parliament recognised the organisation’s achievement since its establishment as the Scottish Older People’s Welfare Committee in 1943.

Ms White paid tribute to the huge contribution of Age Scotland’s network of 1,100 local groups in tackling feelings of loneliness and isolation amongst older people as well as wishing the staff and volunteers every success in their mission to promote positive views of later life and ageing in Scotland.

Ms White also paid tribute to local organisations across Glasgow Kelvin including Glasgow’s Golden Generation formerly Glasgow Older Peoples Welfare Association.

Speaking in the debate, Ms White said:

“This has been an incredible journey for Age Scotland established 75 years ago as the Scottish Older Peoples Welfare Committee.  

“They have gone from strength to strength championing the rights of older people the length and breadth of Scotland.  

“This success has been possible due to the drive and determination of those involved, particularly their team of volunteers. 

“I am certain that Age Scotland will continue to vociferously campaign on improving later life for everyone across Scotland for many years to come. 

“I was particularly pleased to hear that Kelvin based Glasgow’s Golden Generation were recognised during the 75th anniversary celebrations at the Parliament this week they are most certainly worthy of their award.”



Thursday 27 September


09.18 SrebrenicaThe name Srebrenica has become synonymous with those dark days in July 1995 when, in the first ever United Nations declared safe area, thousands of men and boys were systematically murdered and buried in mass graves. The victims, predominantly Muslim, were selected for death on the basis of their identity. This was the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.

The Scottish Parliament was this week host to an exhibition which aims to promote the Remembering Srebrenica charity which seeks to increase public awareness of the genocide that took place in Bosnia in 1995.

The exhibition is both powerful and moving.

Social Security

Assessments for disability support will be carried out by Social Security Scotland, fully supported by public sector healthcare professionals – and people will be given greater choice and flexibility over their assessments.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “We will not farm out assessments to private companies.

“Furthermore under the Scottish government system, people will be given greater choice and control over their assessment through four actions I have committed to today.  People will be invited at a time that suits them and to a location that suits them. For those with difficulty travelling, the assessor will come to them.     

“In addition we will introduce audio recordings of assessments as standard to ensure accuracy and transparency. And we will also allow the social security appeals tribunal to access the audio recording to help inform their decision.

“From application to award, we will provide a service that manages performance, quality and outcomes.  And it is this approach that will see dignity and respect embedded throughout, and ensure people can have trust in the system.”

UN International Day for Older Persons

IMG_1437As the Convener of the CPG on Older People, Age and Ageing I was more than happy to promote the 2018 UN International Day of Older Person’s by submitting the following motion in Parliament and this was presented to representatives from the Scottish Pensioners Forum at their demonstration outside the Parliament this week:

UN International Day of Older Persons

That the Parliament recognises 1 October 2018 as UN International Day of Older Persons; understands that this resolution, 45/106, was passed by the UN General Assembly on 17 December 1990, which declared 1 October the International Day of Older Persons; notes the contribution and dedication that older people have made and continue to make to help safeguard welfare rights during the last 70 years in policymaking, campaigning and in wider society, and supports the theme for this year’s celebration, Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions. 


IMG_1430Representatives from the Kashmir community recently visited the Parliament and met with myself and my colleague James Dornan MSP and Anas Sarwar MSP.

They were outlining the current situation as well as a discussion on progressing the case for Kashmir independence.

Car Free Kelvin

09-18-car-free-2.jpgIn an unprecedented move, Glasgow City Council repeated the offer of free road closures to residents, local groups and community-based organisations who wanted to turn their local streets into temporary playgrounds for local children.

It follows the huge success of the Street Play event in June this year, which saw the council facilitate 25 road closures across the city to allow communities to enjoy the benefits of a traffic-free day close to home.

In marking this year’s International Car Free Day, Street Play was again available in the city for the second time this year, last weekend. Kelvin Way joined cities from all around the world celebrating a reclamation of the street for people.

Women’s Football

Scotland’s Women’s National Team squad will be able to train full-time for the FIFA 2019 World Cup with additional Scottish Government funding.

The financial support will allow those players in the national squad who are currently not professionals to train full-time from January ahead of the tournament in France.

The draw for the FIFA 2019 World Cup group takes place on 8 December 2018, and the final 23 woman squad will be announced in the lead up to the tournament which begins on 7 June 2019 in Paris.

Rebel Apprenticeship

09.18 Rebel Rebel Barbering CourseOut and about in the constituency at the beginning of the week and I popped in to Rebel Rebel to discuss a few problems they are having but also to find out about their training opportunities.

They have linked up with Glasgow Kelvin College to offer a Modern Barbering City and Guilds qualification.

The collaboration includes the establishment of a customised training centre at the Grainstore. Within this newly refurbished 150-year-old building they have constructed a bespoke barbershop workspace less than 10 minutes’ walk from Glasgow Central Station.

They have designed a setting which will offer both theoretical knowledge and practical tuition, including both traditional and on-trend barbering skills.

You can find out more here: