Thursday, 27 October 2016

Glasgow's Improving the Cancer Journey

Congratulations to all of the staff and key partners across Glasgow working very closely together to deliver "Improving the Cancer Journey". Through work with the NHS, this service can contact everyone in Glasgow who has had a cancer diagnosis, as part of a data-sharing agreement.

The development of this new service supported by MacMillan has transformed people lives, enabling them to access support across the city in a much more efficient way. 

All carers who are identified are referred for a formal statutory carers assessment which is making a significant difference to people's lives. The provision of information and advice within local community facilities managed by Glasgow Life has encouraged support networks to develop within communities. I have been very impressed with the drop-ins and information available displays for the general public in libraries.

There has been learning about unmet needs since the service was set up in 2014. Almost everyone who has been seen by the service has between six and eight concerns that are not about health. As Macmillan has found through research, this includes caring responsibilities, housing and family concerns. 

"Improving the Cancer Journey" is about people coming together and using various expertise to help solve a complex problem. This fantastic project has seen everyone pull together to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. 

Further information at:

Support ongoing reduction in re-offending

Glasgow Community Justice Authority is responsible for bringing together a range of agencies and local elected members to work in partnership to reduce re-offending and make our communities safer places to live in. This involves coordinating the delivery of quality services for people with convictions and their families, as well as victims of crime. 

Glasgow's Community Justice Authority is responsible for the allocation and monitoring of the section 27 grant awarded to Glasgow City Council by Scottish Government. This grant funding of £18m annually provides core statutory services set out in Scottish Government legislation such as court reports delivered by Community Justice Social Work. It also provides for investment in long-term prevention projects focused on sending less people to prison on short sentences and supporting community-based programmes. 

A continuation of the S27 grant at its current level is critical to delivery of ongoing reduction in re-offending in Glasgow and to ensure delivery of innovative, evidence based work by third sector providers.

Glasgow Community Justice Authority has been in receipt of an administration grant of £227,000 on an annual basis. Under the transition arrangements arising from the dissolution of Glasgow Community Justice Authority at the end of March 2017, the same level of grant to cover the operational costs to support the delivery of services has not been made available. 

Glasgow is the only one of the 8 CJAs that corresponds to one local authority area. We would anticipate this being taken in to account as part of the transition planning. The level of transition funding should be about £200,000 annually to ensure that existing Community justice awareness and activity across Community Planning partners is maintained.

We face many challenges and influences on offending which justify this level of funding support to the city. 

Poverty and social deprivation affect one in five people. Evidence suggests that there continues to be a strong correlation between poverty and crime levels. 

Drug misuse is an issue as Glasgow has the second highest rate of drug-related offences recorded in Scotland between 2011-2015. 

Glasgow has experienced considerably more deaths in those aged under 65 than other UK cities, with a higher proportion of these deaths being related to alcohol consumption. In the 2015 Scottish Prisoner Survey, 38% of participants from HMP Barlinnie and 49% from HMP Greenock reported being drunk at the time of committing their offences.

Homelessness is a major issue. Recent research of prisoners in Glasgow has identified that 15% were homeless when they first came in to prison and 42% had no accommodation at their time of release. About one fifth indicated that they did not know where they would stay on the first night out of prison.

Short term sentences are having little positive impact as they are not able to address the root cause of offending behaviour. Community sentences have been shown to reduce re-offending rates. 

Remand prisoners are likely to receive little or limited support to tackle their offending behaviour. However, many will lose accommodation, work and family links as a result of their sentences.

Re-offending is costly to the public purse and is estimated as £600m per year in Glasgow.

Glasgow Community Justice Authority has given leadership and direction to build effective joined up working to address the key triggers to offending in Glasgow. 

The current challenges linked to re-offending require alignment of resources across Community Planning partners under the new Community Justice Scotland model from 1st April 2017. 

This requires dedicated local authority funding at current levels provided to the Glasgow Community Justice Authority.  Resources are needed for local authority Community Justice staff with expertise and knowledge to support forward planning and early intervention. They are vital to coordinate services, provide a single effective point of contact and offer leadership and direction to ensure we can continue to reduce offending.

Useful link:

Glasgow Community Justice Authority -

Monday, 17 October 2016

Save the 4A Bus Service

Local residents rely on the current 4A bus route to get to the shops and services available in Byres Road. It is also essential for students who live in Kelvindale, Anniesland and Knightswood and study at the University of Glasgow.  
The move by First Bus to terminate the 4A at Broomhill will have a devastating affect on School pupils. The current bus service has to be retained to maintain a direct bus service for pupils attending Cleveden Secondary School and it is relied upon by young people travelling to Hyndland and St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary schools. 
On the route of the 4A at University Avenue.
First Bus has to urgently reconsider this decision, and to consult much more closely with the local schools, businesses and University.

Road safety issues at Kelvinbridge

In the last month, there has been ongoing concern about road safety at the pedestrian crossings on Great Western Road, around the Kelvinbridge area. 

The importance of maintaining two school patrol attendants at Otago Street and Belmont Street has been highlighted as critical to support children crossing the Great Western Road at the start and end of the school day.

View of Great Western Road at junction with Otago St. and Belmont St.

Otago Street is a difficult road to cross, even though it is a one way street as cars appear from both west and east directions on Great Western Road. It is well used by pupils attending Hillhead Primary, Hillhead High and Glasgow Academy.

The difficult pedestrian crossings at Bank Street and Great Western Road have been highlighted as well. I understand that Road Safety staff are available to visit schools to offer advice and guidance to pupils and staff. Ongoing issues around people walking in to the roadway when it is not safe to cross,  the traffic congestion at peak times, careless driving and cars not always stopping at red lights have been raised. 

Traffic survey and discussions are underway to develop solutions on how to improve road safety within Kelvinbridge. 

Useful link:

Road safety resources at:

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Focus on North Woodside Road

Today, I met with residents on North Woodside Road to hear their concerns and take up complaints about council services on their behalf. This is a quiet street with a new student residence known as Woodside House.

Newly opened Woodside House

Discussions are taking place with residents about the impact of this new development on their neighbourhood.  Provision of bins, community safety issues and repairs to the pavements/footpaths are priorities.

Within the street, there is a barbers shop which I hope will benefit from new customers living in the student accommdodation.

Penny Lane Barbers on North Woodside Road.

There is a swap shop event at the Napiershall Street Centre at the corner of North Woodside Road / Napiershall Street on 22nd October where residents can exchange clothing and take part in recycling initiatives.

Napiershall Street Centre

There is ongoing investment needed for this Centre. It is providing vital services for local residents.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Graffiti Trail

This week, I found a graffiti trail during a walkabout in Woodlands. Graffiti has been painted across walls and garage shutters of backcourt areas.

If you have concerns about graffiti or are interested in developing an arts project to improve the local environment, please let me know.

Don't Stay Silent!

Today, I attended the launch of Hate Crime Awareness Week at the CCA on Sauchiehall Street. This is the 2nd annual week of awareness raising and the theme is Don't Stay Silent! 

There were a range of presentations including Remembering Srebrenica, an example of hate crime leading to Genocide in 1995. Over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were massacred and buried in mass graves. Further information with video footage is available at:

The independent chair of Glasgow's Adult Protection Committee highlighted a guide on Disability Hate Crime available from their website at:

The highlight of the event was a performance by the Purple Poncho Players from Glasgow Disability Alliance. Further information available at:

There is an exhibition about the life of Anne Frank touring Glasgow's Schools. Further details at:

Anne Frank has had a major influence on my life. I gained increased knowledge and understanding of the holocaust from a visit to her home in Amsterdam as part of a school trip when I was in primary 7. I have signed the Anne Frank Declaration making a personal pledge to join thousands of others in: Standing up for what is right and speaking out against what is unfair and wrong; Defending those who can’t defend themselves and Striving for a world in which everyone is treated fairly and has an equal chance in life. 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Contribute to local election campaign

A fundraising appeal has been launched by the Glasgow Green Party to help gain funds to support the local election campaign for May 2017. This appeal is organised with Lorraine McLaren, the Green councillor candidate for the Calton Ward. We both completed the Great Scottish Run 10K through Glasgow to help raise funds. today.

At the finishing line of the Great Scottish Run 10K.

You can help by donating and/sharing this appeal with friends and family until 25th October 2016. Every penny is needed to help re-elected myself as a local councillor for the Hillead ward in May 2017. 

Further details at:

Risks of Nuclear convoys through Glasgow

A report by Rob Edwards called "Nukes of Hazard: the Nuclear Bomb Convoys on our Roads" includes information released by the MoD under freedom of information law, responses from local authorities and fire services and an opinion poll commissioned from YouGov. It is available from the webpage at:

On Tuesday 27th September, I supported a public meeting organised by Scottish CND and ICAN UK to discuss this report

With Alison Thewliss MP, Jane Tallents - Nukewatch, 
Rob Edwards and Rebecca Sharkey - ICAN.

An accident involving a nuclear convoy could do catastrophic harm to Glasgow's people, environment, and commerce.

In terms of public health, the convoys increase risk of injury or loss of life for people living in the city centre in particular. In addition, there is the long-term risk of cancers affecting those exposed to radioactivity contaminating within communities across the city and wider area. 

Risk of cancer increases for babies and toddlers. They are about four times as sensitive to radiation cancer-inducing effects as middle-aged adults. Pregnant women and young mothers are also highly vulnerable. There is a higher risk of low-birth weight babies and infant deaths as a consequence of this disaster. Women are uniquely impacted by nuclear radioactivity. In particular, there are high rates of stillbirths, miscarriages, birth defects, and reproductive problems.

Destruction of local infrastructure such as schools and hospitals disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in a population, including young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with chronic illness.

Members of emergency services, health care professionals, other personnel providing essential services, and the many who may be called to assist in responses to humanitarian emergencies would face unique dangers and difficulties following any nuclear explosion, with widespread and persistent radioactivity severely complicating and hampering access and relief efforts.

The capacity to assist survivors of a nuclear detonation would first and foremost be restricted by limited access to the victims.

As shown in the 2007 City of Hiroshima ‘Report from the Committee of Experts on Damage Scenarios Resulting from a Nuclear Weapons Attack’, any intervening agency would have to find a way to access the area affected without exposing themselves to unacceptable levels of radiation, particularly during the days immediately after the explosion.

The firestorms erupting a few minutes after the explosion would pose another barrier. The explosion from a single nuclear weapon accident would impose economic costs at least equivalent to, and most likely well beyond, the costs of a major natural disaster.

Past experience with large-scale natural and human-induced disasters tells us that the resulting economic costs depend strongly on the population density and the nature and extent of economic activities carried out in the zone surrounding the site of the explosion.

In a key urban area of Glasgow, the costs of the immediate destruction and longer-term economic disruption inside and potentially far outside of that area could easily run into millions of pounds. 

It is not difficult to imagine that extraordinary pressure would be placed on Glasgow City Council, and Scottish Government to take some form of strong action in response. Disasters affect the achievement of development through loss of lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure, but also through the diversion of funds to emergency relief and reconstruction and address the broader effects on the economy.

In the aftermath of any major disaster people are typically displaced from their homes for varying amounts of time.

As has been shown in the Marshall Islands, Fukushima, and Chernobyl, displacement is a serious issue in the wake of a nuclear catastrophe. The inhabitants of the Marshall Islands became nomads, “disconnected from their lands and their cultural and indigenous way of life. The tsunami, earthquake, and Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster destroyed 90 percent of homes in the small town of Futuba. The government evacuated residents living within 20 km of the nuclear power plant, resulting in the displacement of 77,000 people. Many people continue to live in temporary shelters and residences, uncertain if they would ever be able to return home. In October 2012, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) declared the Fukushima nuclear disaster to be an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Disasters have devastating effects on the environment depending on their type, severity, and location. Generally, disasters affect key natural resources such as fields, soil, forests, and biodiversity. In the near term, restoring these assets is often impossible. Nuclear weapons have a particularly horrific effect on the environment, from water through to soil.

This report highlights the responsibility on us all to show stronger leadership in outlawing and eliminating these weapons.