Monday, 26 January 2015

Support for local theatre

In the last month, I have been aware of a special appeal to raise the funds needed to transform Lansdowne Church into Webster's Theatre. This theatre is named after stained glass designer Alf Webster whose remarkable windows feature throughout the building. The Trustees are aiming to open the entire venue on 11th April 2015.

View of Webster Theatre in the former Lansdowne Church.

To help raise the necessary funds, a campaign through is running until 10th February 2015. As you may be aware Crowdfunder is a new web based platform for professionally run charities to raise funds for worthwhile projects.
Giving support for the development of a local theatre in Kelvinbridge will have a positive benefit to the lives of many talented actors and sustain jobs in the creative industries. It is likely to have a wider economic impact on the local community and help create new custom for local businesses. The importance of this project in preserving the features of a unique local landmark should also be recognised. 

Useful information:

Lansdowne Church restoration -

WebsterTheatre -

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Electric Gardens experience

This evening, I enjoyed a walking tour through the Botanic Gardens with its natural features lit up.  I am glad to support the "Electric Gardens" Show taking place from 23rd January to 15th February

I hope it will attract supporters of the Botanic Gardens and help increase footfall to local businesses in the West End. 

Useful link:-

WEF Electric Gardens -

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Glasgow's Resilience Strategy moves forward

On Saturday 17th January, I attended a talk by Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation where she shared insights from her latest book. 

Glasgow is a member of the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Network. Council officials are developing a strategy to support Glasgow's resilience planning to limit the impact of climate change on the infrastructure of the city. Further information will be published in the next 6 months. 

Useful website:

Rockerfeller Foundation -

Glasgow's resilience challenge -

Funding decisions on mental health services

On 15th January, I attended the Operational Scrutiny Committee of Glasgow City Council to speak as a signatory of the Call-in Request in to Review and Reform of Mental Health Services. This meeting enabled councillors to re-consider a report approved by the Executive Committee on 11th December 2014. The key issues that I raised for councillors to consider included;

1) The perception that there has been a lack of transparency in decision-making process

A reduction of 40% in budget allocation for Glasgow Association for Mental Health is to be implemented based on the approval of the report to the Executive Committee on 11th December 2014.

The overall sum of £14.2m is stated in the report at point 3, the section on policy and resource implication. The report referred to a review and its conclusions, but this did not provide councillors with the detailed breakdown of how the £14.2m is to be spent.

Reference is made in section 2.5 of the report, I highlighted "a review of services delivered by GAMH through its three Community Service Centres and Clubhouse has highlighted a clear need to improve the performance of the provision.."

It is my understanding that the performance of the GAMH has been consistently reported verbally and in writing through monitoring meetings, quarterly returns and service reviews. The ongoing monitoring feedback has indicated that the performance of GAMH is satisfactory.

2) Lack of reference to benefits of partnership working and integration of health & social care as part of the review.

There is mention of potential duplication of services at point 2.3 of the report. GAMH has repeatedly indicated that it is willing to co-operate with SWS, NHS and other providers to ensure that the most appropriate and effective support opportunities are available to people who need support with their mental health. There is anecdotal evidence which suggests that NHS staff make referrals to GAMH because they are confident that their training, supervisory and management arrangements are robust. The Service Centres of GAMH are registered with the Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) and have achieved consistently high scores (5 and 6) when inspected.

3) Lack of reference to the council policy to support living wage pay rates by contractors

The official statement of the council website is "The Council is keen to widen the impact of the policy and will work within the current legislative framework to encourage contractors to pay the Living Wage.  It is important that companies who benefit from public money can demonstrate that they are putting something back into their communities and we intend to use our procurement to raise standards of pay across the city." It should be noted that GAMH is a registered Living Wage Employer.

4) What about support for equalities and human rights based approach?

There is a statutory duty on the Council to carry out equality impact assessments.
The report makes recommendations which are likely to a negative impact on groups or individuals who access mental health services across Glasgow. It should be noted that GAMH is a membership organisation and on average 90% of the Principal Members of the Company are people who use their services.

I am particularly concerned about the proposed cut to funding on members of the Scotia Clubhouse. Since 1998, this has provided resources which are dedicated to the recovery of people experiencing mental health problems. It is providing opportunities for their members to develop skills and contributing their talents through a community of mutual support. The aim is a high quality of life for all members, ongoing recovery and the ultimate elimination of stigma surrounding those with mental health problems.

After a vote, the decision of the Operational Scrutiny Committee was to refer the report back to the Executive Committee recommending a 30% not 40% cut to GAMH.

Update: 22nd January 2015 
The Executive Committee has maintained the cut of 40% at a meeting today.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Flooding at entrance to Burnbank House

This week, I reported concerns about the large puddle outside the entrance to Burnbank House, Burnbank Gardens, Woodside to Land and Environmental Services. The water cannot drain way as the nearest drain is blocked with leaves. 

View of the large puddle on Monday 12th January. 

The problem of blocked drains has been highlighted during my walkabouts and in correspondence from constituents from across the Hillhead ward. There is an ongoing demand for more street sweeping and gulley cleaning by Land and Environmental Services to help avoid flooding on pavements and roadways. 

As rainfall is increasing, our streets and lanes will continue to face the prospect of flood risks. On 16th January, NASA and NOAA confirmed that 2014 was the warmest year on record for global land/ocean surface combined. Records go back to 1880. The development of the Climate Ready Clyde Project is needed to meet the climate changes we face.

Useful links:

Climate data -

Adaptation Scotland -

Friday, 9 January 2015

Cardboard and card recycling

It is possible to place cardboard packaging and your cards in the blue recycling bins in your backcourt or local street. Cards decorated with glitter can’t be recycled as this potentially causes problems at the paper mill. 

Unfortunately, I still find large amounts of cardboard dumped on the streets of Hillhead. It could be cut up and put in blue bins for recycling. If not placed in a blue bin, cardboard is likely to be sent to landfill and this will increase the landfill tax costs. If you require further information about recycling and access to a blue bin, please get in touch with me.

Support for Victims of Crime

There is a drop in to meet staff and volunteers from Victim Support Scotland on Tuesday 27th January 2015 from 6 to 8pm, at Woodside Library, on St. Georges Road.

Have you been affected by Crime??
Victim Support Scotland is a voluntary service providing emotional and practical support to those affected by crime. Crime can have a profound effect on victims, witnesses, their families and communities.

Victim Services
  • Support those who have been affected by any type of crime, anti-social behaviour, vandalism, assault, sexual crime, domestic abuse and murder.
  • Independent service providing a safe, confidential space to talk through your experience
  • Information on the Criminal Justice Process
  • Links into to specialist support services
  • Third Party Reporting Centre
  • Free advice and representation through the Criminal Injury Compensation process.
Witness Services
  • Provide opportunity to visit a local court, information about court processes & procedures, view an empty court room in advance of a trial
  • Sit with witnesses during evidence with prior approval of the court
Volunteering with VSS is a unique and rewarding experience. Full training is provided. Can you commit to a minimum of 4hrs per week in the Victim Service OR 1 full day per week in court? Then please get in touch by phone or by email for an application pack.

Victim Support Glasgow, 10 Bothwell Street.

Witness Service 
Glasgow Sheriff Court 0141 420 6676 - High Court 0141 552 5484


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Right of Way Reinstated

This week, I heard that the fence blocking the footpath between Lilybank Terrace and Glasgow University's Wildlife Garden has been removed. This reinstates an existing right of way within the Hillhead area.

View of the access route 

The creation of a fence blocking access for pedestrians was highlighted by various local groups and residents over the past year. Thankfully, requests for removal of the fence have been acted upon and the community's right of access has been protected.