Thursday, 27 December 2018

Support for topping up Child Benefit

At a debate on Child Poverty in the City Chambers on 14th December, I spoke in support of the topping up of Child Benefit to reduce poverty. This is possible by using the devolved welfare powers to help children and families out of poverty.

Between 2010 and 2020, there are changes to the UK Government policies which mean that Child Benefit is projected to lose 28% of its value and so, it is essential we make use of devolved powers to counter act this.

Almost one in four of Scotland's children are officially recognised as living in poverty. This is higher than in many other European countries. We must act to reduce the number of our children for whom poverty is destroying their childhood and stifling their future.

A coalition of third sector groups are advocating that all families in receipt of Child Benefit should receive a £5 top up per child to their weekly payment. Introducing a single rate top up to Child Benefit would be the simplest and most effective way to boost family incomes. Most families receive Child Benefit. It is easy to claim because it is not means tested and is not part of Universal Credit, nor is it affected by sanctions.  Child Benefit supports families in and out of work, creating no administrative issues, when parents take up work or increase their hours.

The additional £5 a week to Child Benefit would be spent on clothes/shoes, food, a child's education or other costs associated with bringing up a child.

There is a need to take in to account the impact of child poverty including poorer children's reduced productivity, lower educational attainment, and poorer physical and mental health. We must develop plans to top up Child Benefit to ensure that our children grow up in families with the resources needed to give them the best possible start in life.

Clearing of site next to 213A New City Road

This month, the car park and woodland area at the site next to 213A New City Road has been cleared to build student accommodation with associated landscaping.

View of the site on New City Road.

There is planning consent for 12 floor levels of student accommodation on the site, with external or internal communal amenity spaces.

The people occupying the new building will be full-time students of institutions of Higher Education or Further Education.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Humpback Bridge repairs completed

This year, there has been significant investment in bridges over the River Kelvin. The substantial repairs to preserve the Humpback Bridge have been completed. This has transformed the appearance of the ironwork at the bridge and enhanced the views along the Kelvin Walkway.

This bridge is a vital link between North Kelvinside and the Botanic Gardens for pedestrians. I hope the improvements to the bridge will encourage more people to take part in health walks and reduce barriers to access the area along the Kelvin Walkway by foot.

Road safety issues at Gibson Street

This month, there has been ongoing concerns about the safety of pedestrians within Kelvin Way and Gibson Street area. There are a high number of people at the pedestrian crossings making their way to/from the primary school and early years centre in this location. 

Concern to improve safety at a shared space for cyclists 
and pedestrians outside the entrance to the early years centre on Kelvin Way. 

Damaged road barrier at Gibson Street

The new barrier at a junction on Gibson Street was hit by a vehicle within a few weeks of being installed. Further to a walkabout, a request was made for this barrier to be replaced.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Black History Month - Sharing Stories

Yesterday, I attended a book launch, "New Shoots, Old Roots", by the African & Caribbean Women's Association at the Glasgow Women's Library. This lively event supported a sharing of stories by women from African and Caribbean backgrounds living in Scotland.

 Cover of the book "New Shoots, Old Roots"

The stories told in the book should be shared widely to promote better understanding of Scotland's history. To promote health and wellbeing, there is a need to ensure this history of an older generation of women is shared with new migrants and a wide range of educational institutions. 

The African & Caribbean Women's Association supports awareness raising about Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia as well as promoting social welfare, recreation and leisure to improve the lives of its members and their children. 

Celebrate Allotment Heritage

I attended a Glasgow Allotment Forum's event on 6th October where I received information about an exhibition "War and Peas" taking place from 5th November to 17th December 2018, at the Mitchell Library. 
War and Peas Booklet is available.

The exhibition will tell the stories of Glasgow's WW1 allotments and detail why food growing was a vital part of home-front life.

Cycling on the John Muir Way

Between 14th - 18th October, I made a cycle trip along the John Muir Way from Balloch to Dunbar. It was a chance to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Scottish Canals and a series of woodlands that were full of autumn colours. The days were dry and sunny. I had overnight stays in Blanefield, Falkirk, South Queensferry and Longniddry. 

Litter issues are a concern for the communities on the John Muir Way, especially at Blackness and Dunbar. Specific local signs to discourage littering were on display.

Blackness, Firth of Forth


On the route, there was evidence of interest in food growing as there were community garden projects in place. In Falkirk, there are raised beds with kitchen vegetables in the main shopping area. On the Water of Leith Walkway, I found raised beds growing vegetables and flowers.


Edinburgh - Balgreen Community Garden

I came across wildflower meadows at several places including Saughton Park and Davidson Mains Park in Edinburgh. 

Edinburgh - Davidson Mains Park

This cycling experience has developed my knowledge of the natural heritage of Central Scotland. Also, I was able to access iconic features of our landscape such as the Falkirk Wheel and Forth Railway Bridge.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

A walk in the Park

This afternoon, I enjoyed a walk through Kelvingrove Park to the Snow Bridge which has been undergoing repairs. The works have been completed and so, I was able to walk across the bridge and look out across the River Kelvin.

Looking across the Snow Bridge
View of the Snow Bridge, River Kelvin and Glasgow University.

This is a vital access route for walkers and cyclists to/from the University. I am very glad that funding has been made available to carry out the vital repairs to the Snow Bridge.

Great Scottish Run 10K

Today, I participated in the Great Scottish Run and completed the 10K. I ran alongside the oldest runner who was 93 years old!

It was perfect weather for jogging across the city from George Square to Glasgow Green. Many thanks to the organisers, volunteers and the musicians on the route.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

International Car Free Day 2018

Yesterday, International Car Free Day was celebrated with the closure of Kelvin Way between 12 noon and 6pm. People gathered together to take part in various street games, bike projects and outdoor activities.

 Signage on Kelvin Way
 Bikes available to try out.
 Space for climbing wall, face painting, dancing, 
walking and cycling activities.
Road closure started at the bridge on Kelvin Way.

The sunshine encouraged people to come along and develop their cycling skills or enjoy playing in the street. Due to the success of this event, it is hoped to continue street play events involving local bike projects and outdoor activity groups across the city.

Tree damage by Storm Ali

I walked through Kelvingrove Park on Friday afternoon and found seven routes blocked by fallen trees. There is extensive damage to trees due to the high winds of Storm Ali. A clean up of the debris is underway with paths being opened up.

 Trees blocking routes through Kelvingrove Park.

A tree survey will be needed to identify the number and types of trees damaged by the storm. In the long-term, tree planting will be required to replace some trees that have been uprooted.

Macmillan at Glasgow Libraries

This month, there are coffee mornings taking place to help raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. I dropped in to the coffee morning held at the Mitchell Library, last Friday. There were various information stalls and displays about cancer for reference. 

Further information about coffee mornings is available at: 

Kelvingrove Park Walk Poster at the Mitchell Library.

There are weekly walks organised by Macmillan Cancer Support. Every Saturday, a walking group meets at the Mitchell Library and takes a walk to Kelvingrove Park. Further information about health walks are available at:

Suffragette connections to Hillhead

On Friday, I visited the Suffragette exhibition at the Mitchell Library to discover more about the campaigning to enable women to vote. I found amongst the records that in 1902, the Glasgow & West of Scotland Association for Women's Suffrage met for the first time in the home of founding chair, Mrs Greig (Jessie Turnbull Thomson) at 18 Lynedoch Crescent. 

View of 18 Lynedoch Crescent.

In July 1914, Dorothea Chalmers Smith was caught trying to burn down an empty property at 6 Park Gardens with leading suffragist Ethel Moorhead. At their trial held in Glasgow's High Court, hundreds of campaigners looked on and threw apples at the judge when the activists were sentenced to eight months in prison each. Both women went on hunger strike.

View of 6 Park Gardens.

Also, suffragettes organised from 70 St. Georges Road where there was a meeting place of the Women's Freedom League, who believed in non-violent protest.

There is a pop-up display of items from Special Collections telling the story of women’s suffrage in Glasgow at the Mitchell Library until 25th January 2019.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Recovery Walk in Glasgow

On Saturday, 15th September, I took part in the Recovery Walk 2018 which was held in Glasgow. The event began with a memorial ceremony for people's loved ones who have lost their lives through alcohol, drugs and mental ill health. Flowers were placed in the River Clyde to remember their lives.

 View of flowers in the river.

Information is available from Scottish Recovery Network at

The Recovery Walk involved groups from all over Scotland in a walk through the city centre, starting and finishing at Glasgow Green.

This annual walk is a celebration for people in recovery from addiction along with their families and friends, but it also offers hope to those still struggling with addiction. The Recovery Network is seeking more resources to support people recovering from addictions. The next walk takes place in Inverness in mid-September 2019.

Doors Open Day at Napiershall Street.

This year, for Doors Open Day, I visited the Napiershall Street Centre which is a three storey sandstone former school building which has been converted in to office and studio spaces. It is operated by City Property. An informative exhibition and tour of the building was organised by the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council who occupy offices in the building. 

View of main hallway with glass covered atrium.
Plaque to commemorate the first headteacher.

View of the Napiershall Street Centre in Woodside.

Former pupils of the school shared their memories and evidence from the archives, including old photos of the interior, was showcased for Doors Open Day. Thanks to everyone who supported this celebration of local history.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Culture at the European Championships

During the European Championships taking place in Glasgow, I made a visit to hear a classic music concert at the Woodlands Community Garden. 

 Crowd gathers for the concert.

 Views of the flowers and vegetables at the growing plots in the garden.

I have enjoyed various community events, this month and the gardens across the Hillhead area including Woodlands Community Garden have been thriving.

Stalled space at Sixty Steps

On a walkabout in the North Kelvinside area, I visited the wildlife garden and stalled space at the Greek Thomson Sixty Steps. This land is a special site planted to support bees, butterflies and insects.

Signage at the sixty steps

Wooden fencing and gate access to the stalled space.

There has been a charitable trust established to promote the Sixty Steps and this space gives a boost to the environment surrounding this important local heritage feature. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Helping reduce plastic waste

In July, I took part in a clean up organised by Glasgow Over Plastic. Volunteers gathered up rubbish next to the city centre motorway network which included cans, plastic bottles, crisp packets, plastic bags, plastic packaging and cardboard.
Some rubbish gathered as part of the clean up

Find out about Glasgow Over Plastic

View of wildflower area next to the motorway at Anderston

I was glad to clear litter from a grassland area which had been planted with wildflowers. There has been planting of wildlflower seeds to encourage bees across the city. 

University of Glasgow Settlement Celebrates

Last week, I visited the free exhibition by the University of Glasgow Settlement Management Committee in the Wolfson Medical School Building on University Avenue. This unique exhibition, on display until the end of August 2018, celebrates the history of the Settlement and its legacy of effective student social action. 

Views of the exhibition 
There are display boards featuring women's extraordinary contributions including references to Madge Easton Anderson, Marion Gilchrist and Janet Galloway. These women of Queen Margaret College made a significant impact on the life of our city and built the foundations for the continuing work of current students through the University Settlement.

Monday, 30 July 2018

New Woodside Health Centre takes shape

As part of my travels on Garscube Road, I have noticed the development of the new Woodside Health and Social Care Centre which is due to open in early 2019.

 View of the new building from Garscube Road
View of new bike parking and spaces for Nextbike, nearby on Firhill Road.

I am supporting the provision of a Green Travel Plan for the new facilities. Requests have been made for local cycle hire provision and better bike parking to make it easier to travel to and from the new centre by bike.

Visit to Claypits Local Nature Reserve

On several occasions in the last month, I have visited the local nature reserve known as Claypits, which has its main entrance located at the Applecross Basin. It has fully accessible paths throughout the area overlooking the Forth and Clyde Canal and rooftops of Glasgow's West End.

 Views of the new pathway through Claypits to Hamiltonhill.
Looking across the local nature reserve to the University of Glasgow.

I have enjoyed walking and jogging along the pathways. There are stunning views over the city's rooftops from the highest point on the path. It is the site of wetland and willow scrub used by roe deer and waterfowl.