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Overdose Victims Revived 17 Times at Glasgow’s Winter Night Shelter

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Rapid action was taken to revive overdose victims 17 times in four months at Glasgow’s Winter Night Shelter last year.

Staff trained in the use of Naloxone, a drug which can revive people experiencing potentially fatal overdoses, sprang into action to avert disaster.

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The number of Naloxone interventions in four months, at the Winter Night Shelter alone, demonstrates the high prevalence of drug addiction among Glasgow’s homeless community.

Naloxone is used across homelessness services in the city, as Glasgow, like the rest of Scotland, is battling a drug deaths crisis. Fatal and non-fatal overdoses are on the increase.

In 2018, Scotland suffered a record number of drugs deaths. Tragically, 1187 people died across the country and 280 (24%) of deaths were in Glasgow. A number of the people who died were being helped by the city’s homeless services, as well as our addiction services. We are currently working on a comprehensive drugs deaths action plan to implement a range of action to respond to this crisis.

Sadly, last year, 45 people recorded as homeless in Glasgow died. Forty-three of the people who died (95%) were in temporary accommodation at the time of their deaths. Drug and alcohol addiction along with mental health problems are prevalent among the city’s most vulnerable homeless people. They threaten their long term health and ultimately, their lives.

Susanne Millar, Interim Chief Officer of Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership said: “Sadly, of the 45 people who died, the majority of those deaths were related to complex health issues often associated with previous or current addiction issues, including mental health, with a smaller number recorded as drugs deaths.

“Many of our service users who died had previous or existing addiction issues, some also with significant mental health needs. It is the complexity of those needs which contributed to their deaths, rather than issues relating to their housing status.

“The number of lives potentially saved at the Winter Night Shelter demonstrates the scale of the problem. Unfortunately, this heart-breaking reality is replicated in our other homelessness services too. It is emotionally difficult for staff and trained volunteers at the Night Shelter who work closely with service users and whom I’d personally like to thank for their dedication and professionalism in these difficult circumstances.”

At the last official count, there were 29 people sleeping rough in the city. The Winter Night Shelter, run by Glasgow City Mission, can accommodated up to 40 people and in winter 2018, although more people used it, it was never full and multi-agency work at the shelter saw the vast majority of guests offered alternative accommodation quickly.

HOUSING FIRST TENANCIES

Homeless people with complex needs are being helped by Glasgow’s Housing First initiative which provides mainstream secure tenancies for people. Reintegrating into a community can prove difficult for people who have lived in hostels or slept rough.

As well as offering people their own homes, Housing First also provides intensive wraparound support to help them maintain their tenancies. This can include help liaising with utility companies, buying basic furniture, ensuring they are in receipt of all the benefits they are entitled to, encouraging them to attend medical appointments and learn new skills to boost their self-confidence and future employability.

Since Glasgow’s Housing First programme began in September 2018, 70 people have moved into new homes and 91% of those tenancies have been sustained. This includes people who were previously accommodated in outdated and unfit hostel accommodation which has been closed.

The Housing First programme operates in addition to existing homelessness services for people who do not have such issues.

ALMOST 10,000 APPROACHES

In 2018/19, Glasgow received 9,688 approaches for Housing Options advice, with 59% (5,679) progressing to a homeless application. This is 16% of Scotland’s total homelessness applications.

The 4009 cases which did not progress to homelessness applications, were not roofless and were seeking information and advice regarding their housing status.

We know that where we have a duty to provide permanent accommodation for people who are homeless, this does not happen quickly enough, and many people spend too long in temporary accommodation. We are working with partners and with the Scottish Housing Regulator to speed up our processes and reduce the length of time people spend in homeless accommodation.

Our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP) will transform the service over the next five years, including the reduction of time spent in temporary accommodation and speeding up access to permanent solutions, including for those with complex needs through Housing First, moving away from outdated hostel accommodation and reducing the use of B&B accommodation.

This works includes an investment in statutory and third sector resources to support implementation of the RRTP.

Critical to the success of all of this work is the need for us to continue to work closely in partnership with the city’s 68 Social Registered Landlords, Third Sector partners and people with lived (personal) experience of addiction and homelessness to address the challenges faced in a city with well documented deprivation issues.

A full update on homeless services was presented to Glasgow’s City Administration Committee on Thursday November 28th.

www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/viewDoc.asp?c=P62AFQDN0GNTDNT1DX

CAPTION:-  Naloxone use has increased in the city as the number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses has risen. The drug may help revive people experiencing an overdose.

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Council approves regeneration framework for Glasgow’s St Enoch District

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Glasgow City Council has approved the St Enoch District Regeneration Framework (DRF) and its 10-year Action Plan.

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The St Enoch DRF shares a number of objectives with the other eight city centre districts:

      • Retaining and improving the competitive edge of Glasgow city centre;
      • A centre for all Glaswegians; integrating the city centre and surround areas;
      • Repopulating the city; increasing city density and function mix;
      • Reducing car dependency; making space for people and nature; and
      • Creating more attractive and remarkable spaces.

 

Over 5,500 people were directly engaged in the consultation process around this DRF, which aims to regenerate the district over the next decade.

 

A number of themes and projects were proposed in the St Enoch DRF, and the most popular of these was the theme of creating Great Streets and Spaces, with many respondents supporting the role of active travel in this.

 

Other popular proposals included more pro-active interventions to deal with gap sites and building maintenance; better integration of transport modes; the development of a range a range of day and night-time amenities and attractions to attract footfall and increase dwell-time; more local, independent business and retail, as well as bars and restaurants, and more usable outdoor green space.

 

There were also calls for a greater residential population that could tap into and drive the area’s existing art and creative scene.

 

Consultation feedbank on the proposed River Park along both banks of the Clyde in the city centre led to a change in the draft DRF, with respondents calling for mixed-use development to attract footfall and bring vibrancy to the area, more greenspace and trees, and the addition of jetties and platforms to allow greater access to the river Clyde.

 

The St Enoch DRF can be found here: https://www.glasgowcitycentrestrategy.com/st-enoch-district-regeneration-framework-update.htm.

 

The 10-year Action Plan to deliver this DRF features key projects such as the Argyle Street and Clyde Street Avenues, the River Park, and a number of local masterplans.  The council will work with partners and stakeholders to deliver these projects.

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Council considers findings of best value review into built heritage

People's Palace

Glasgow City Council recently learned about the findings of its recent Heritage best value review, and approved the release of funding for Glasgow City Heritage Trust.

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The maintenance of Glasgow’s built heritage – the city has over 1800 listed buildings – is a key part of the council’s Strategic Plan.  The council has a substantial portfolio of ‘heritage’ buildings, managed under the recently adopted Heritage Assets Plan.

 

As part of its commitment to the city’s built heritage, the council funds two organisations that aim to promote, protect and enhance it: Glasgow City Preservation Trust (GBPT) and Glasgow City Heritage Trust (GCHT).

 

GBPT is Glasgow’s only building preservation body, acting as a ‘developer of last resort’ in the preservation and regeneration of historic buildings, including Buildings at Risk.  GBPT has many years of experience and expertise in its role, usually working on behalf of local communities or communities of interest. GBPT fundraise for each project that it delivers and has a track-record of securing significant capital funding from a range of funders.  GBPT also co-ordinates the successful annual Doors Open Day Festival.  The council provides £50,000 of core annual funding to GBPT with a further £45,000 of events funding.

 

GCHT is one of seven City Heritage Trusts in Scotland, running a grants programme to aid the repair and restoration of historic buildings, as well as education, training and outreach programmes.  The council provides £50,000 of core annual funding, and a further £190,000 of grant funding, to GCHT. This is in line with the commitment made to provide contributory funding to augment Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) £750,000 contribution towards funding of the built heritage of Glasgow. This combined funding supports direct grant funding to building owners in Glasgow to allow them to undertake works in their listed buildings. The HES funding is conditional on the council’s contribution of £190,000.

 

The report on the council-commissioned independent best value review into the city’s built heritage found that both organisations provide good value for the allocated funding.  For more detail on the report, visit: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=47499.

 

A number of recommendations were made in the report:

  • The adoption of a partnership model, which reduces the property burden upon the local authority. HES is supportive of this type of model and it has the potential to provide sustainable, inclusive, heritage-led regeneration;
  • Maximise the potential for the two organisations to access external funding for Glasgow’s historic environment, through applications for large-scale heritage-led regeneration schemes such as (for example) Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Renewal Schemes;
  • Explore other ways in which GCHT and GBPT could work in closer partnership with each other and the council to protect and enhance the City’s historic environment, such as working jointly with the council to deliver aspects of the council’s Heritage Assets Plan.  This working would see a joint analysis of the heritage estate carried out by GCHT and/or GBPT in partnership with the council;
  • A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – or similar suitable arrangement – be put in place to clearly set out the relationships between the council, GBPT and GCHT. The MoU/partnership arrangement will document the roles and responsibilities, governance and reporting arrangements and financial obligations of all the parties; and
  • Explore the potential of GCHT and GBPT working more closely with other organisations such as HubWest and similar bodies.

 

Current funding arrangements will be kept in place to ensure that grant commitments are met, that the grant funding from HES is secured, and to ensure the financial sustainability of both heritage organisations.

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Glasgow City Centre Living Strategy approved by Council

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Glasgow City Council has now approved its City Centre Living Strategy, a document which shows the way to doubling the area’s population to 40,000 over the next 15 years.

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A 10-week public consultation on the strategy will now begin on 6 December.

 

While the city centre is currently home to a growing figure of just over 20,000 people, Glasgow lies behind competitor cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in terms of the numbers living and moving to live in the centre of those cities.

 

Although Glasgow is now seeing a significant increase in both investor interest and planning approvals for private sector rent developments – and so an increase in the city centre population – the need to accelerate this trend has been identified through the City Centre Living Strategy (CCLS), which aims to establish a city centre population of 40,000 by 2035.

 

Population density is now considered crucial to the success and sustainability of city centres.  These areas have traditionally been home to a thriving retail sector, and while Glasgow continues to be the biggest shopping destination in the UK outside of London’s West End, the rise of online shopping and shifting investor demand means that new uses have to be found for redundant floorspace, and residential development offers a good opportunity to repurpose this space.

 

The number of people living in UK city centres almost tripled between 2000-2011, as young, single and highly-educated millennials choose to live in urban areas and – while both Glasgow‘s city centre strategy 2014-19 and city development plan have contributed to making a more mixed-use (combining leisure with retail) city centre that is more attractive as a residential location – the CCLS will further guide the growth of this population is Glasgow and the provision of all the supporting infrastructure and services that will be required.

 

The city centre strategy 2014-19 had proposed a number of measures to make the area a ‘place to stay and live’, including:

  • Encouraging new developments, and the conversion of vacant properties into residential properties, to attract professionals, families, down-sizers and students;
  • Providing appropriate services such as schools and open spaces; and
  • Creating quality spaces and environments – now being made a reality through the Glasgow City Region City Deal Avenues project.

 

Glasgow does have advantages over other city centres in terms of attracting a wide demographic to live there, due to its atmosphere, vibrancy, connectivity and the scale of its shopping and leisure facilities, but there are also challenges around meeting supply and demand for residential development, such as a high proportion of listed buildings (possibly difficult and expensive to convert) and pre-1945 properties.

 

Research and public engagement by Savills over the past couple of years generated some key findings on the issue, including:

  • A lack of residential availability and choice, and unmet demand;
  • Social housing plays a key role in some districts, providing affordable and secure accommodation;
  • A perception that private housing in the city centre was expensive, and calls for more variety in housing cost and types;
  • The greatest demand for city centre housing was in the Merchant City, Broomielaw and Sauchiehall Districts;
  • Different types of infrastructure – community, social, smart and green – and tackling cleaning and anti-social behaviour issues are needed to make the city centre liveable; and
  • Developers look for information on the local authority’s priorities on issues such as the vertical separation of uses (ie retail on ground floor, residential above).

 

The CCLS has six key objectives:

  1. To increase the city centre’s population from just over 20,000 to 40,000 by 2035;
  2. To find productive outcomes for vacant commercial space, with a particular focus on upper floors;
  3. To provide a quality city centre environment that is cleaner, greener, more sustainable and better connected;
  4. To deliver quality in design across all development;
  5. To offer a responsive, innovative approach to investment opportunities that support this strategy; and
  6. To enable resilient, empowered and socially cohesive neighbourhoods.

 

The CCLS also takes into account the critical nature of climate change, and will identify actions that form part of the collective response to the emergency.  Some of these are likely to include: enabling the reuse of buildings; the promotion of district heating systems where possible; supporting the ‘Avenues’ programme and other city centre projects incorporating green and active travel infrastructure, as well as smart and electric vehicle infrastructure.

 

A draft action plan has been produced to deliver these objectives, some of which focus on specific city centre districts, others on social infrastructure, resilience and environmental improvements.

 

To find out more about the draft City Centre Living Strategy, please visit: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=47302.

 

The CCLS will inform planning guidance for future city centre development and strategy.

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Council’s Empty Homes Strategy for Glasgow approved

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A Glasgow City Council committee has approved its Empty Homes Strategy for the city.  The three-year strategy will bring hundreds of long-term empty homes back into use every year during this period, as part of the council’s commitment to increasing Glasgow’s housing supply.

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The city currently has 2,687 homes listed as being empty for six months or more, with second homes not included in this figure.

 

The most common reasons for these homes becoming empty for a long time include mortgage default and repossessions; deceased or untraceable owners; property title issues; and properties which have fallen into a state of disrepair.

 

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2010, local authorities can now use Council Tax records to identify vacant homes and bring them back into use, and from 2018, a surcharge of up to 100% of Council Tax can be charged to owners of empty homes which are not being marketed for sale or rent.  Glasgow is the only Scottish local authority which alerts home owners prior to this application of the premium charge.

 

The Glasgow Housing Strategy – now halfway through its five-year life, and part of the wider Glasgow Housing Strategy – had set a target of 475-570 long-term empty homes being returned to use by end of that period, but this programme is already ahead of schedule, with 380 homes now back in use, most of which are now in the social rent sector.

 

The Empty Homes Strategy will:

  • Increase the availability of housing stock to meet demand, providing good-quality accommodation for those who need it;
  • Offer home owners information and advice to help bring properties back into use;
  • Identify opportunities for suitable housing for particular groups, such as larger families, homeless people, and those with a variety of support needs;
  • Tackle environmental and neighbourhood blight; and
  • Safeguard the interest of tenement flat owners to facilitate common repairs work..

 

The strategy has a target of between 200-250 empty homes being brought back into use annually over three years.  In addition, they will promote the reporting of empty homes in local areas to develop a city-wide database of such properties.  Compulsory purchase powers will be used, and the council will work with registered social landlords to provide assistance to buy empty homes through its acquisition strategy.

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Glasgow Prepares For 16 Days of Action

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Glasgow residents are being urged to help end violence towards women as the city prepares to support the annual, world-wide 16 Days of Action campaign.

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Glasgow’s Violence Against Women Partnership (GVAWP) is supporting the campaign by co-ordinating local activities to challenge unacceptable behaviour and let women know they need not suffer in isolation– help is available.

A number of events are planned across the city during the 16 Days campaign which runs from 25 November to 10 December.

Ann Fehily, Group Manager for Violence Against Women Services, said: “Sixteen Days of Action is a global campaign set up to show the world that violence against women is everyone’s issue and we all have a role in ending it. Violence against women is not just about domestic abuse – it includes rape, sexual violence, harmful cultural practices such as forced and child marriage, commercial sexual exploitation including prostitution and pornography, stalking and harassment.

“Violence against women harms society and impacts on the lives of women, children and young people. Communities suffer and families are destroyed. We know most men don’t commit such violence but those that do cause great emotional and physical damage which affects families and scars future generations.

“The 16 Days campaign is a great opportunity to raise awareness of this unacceptable behaviour. We hope the public get behind the campaign and support the events taking place across the city.”

The first day of the campaign (25 November) is the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and culminates on International Human Rights Day (10 December).

It also encompasses World Aids Day (1 December) and remembers the date (6 December 1989) when 14 female students were shot and killed by a man who objected to them studying to be engineers because they were women. So appalled by the actions of the gunman that a group of men came together to make their support for women’s equality visible. This led to the birth of the White Ribbon movement. Wearing a White Ribbon is now the symbol of support for 16 Days which Glasgow has adopted. Throughout the campaign, everyone including men and boys are encouraged to wear a White Ribbon to show their commitment to ending violence against women.

An installation which shines a light a on violence against women will be on display from Monday, 2 December until Friday, 6 December in the City Chambers. Researcher Dr Emma Forbes, artist Brian Waugh, art tutor Charles Provan and the Daisy Project have worked together to create a dynamic-stained glass art installation The Glass Walls art installation is a collaborative community art project raising awareness of domestic abuse and the ongoing challenges in seeking justice.

Visit www.glasgow.gov.uk/vaw for further information.

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Glasgow Set Target Of Becoming Free Of Unnecessary Plastics By 2030

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Glasgow should be free of unnecessary plastic by the year 2030 and phase out all single-use plastics by 2022, a new council strategy has proposed.

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Driven by concerns over the harmful impact plastic is having on the natural world, the Plastics Reduction Strategy has set out a 24-point action plan for preventing and reducing the amount of plastic used and then disposed of in Glasgow. This follows a public consultation on plastic reduction earlier this year that received over 1500 individual responses and provided overwhelming support for work to reduce single-use plastic consumption, in particular.

The long term objective of the strategy is to end the use of plastic where that can be avoided or an alternative reusable version of the plastic item exists.

But given the scale of the issue and the need to advance quickly, the 24-point plan is solely focused on delivering progress in 2020 with further actions to be updated and renewed on an annual basis over the course of the strategy.

Some of the key points of the initial action include a feasibility study on a city-wide ban of certain single-use plastic items, developing Glasgow’s first plastic-free shopping zone, extending the number of free top-up taps for refilling reusable water bottles, supporting projects that remove plastics from the city’s water ways and exploring the possibility of Glasgow’s first plastic free school.

But the plan also includes a call to tighten up legislation on single-use plastics, such as plastic bags and plastic packaging, and looks at how the council can lead by example on reducing the use of unnecessary plastics. A communication and education campaign on how to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic would be integral to achieving the 2030 target.

The strategy further highlights plastic-reduction possibilities in relation to school catering and council-family operated cafes, reforming the council’s procurement procedures to ensure they are fully engaged with the plastic-reduction agenda and continuing to roll-out the Glasgow Cup Movement, which recycles and reduces the use of single-use cups for hot drinks.

One of the first actions proposed by the strategy is that Glasgow becomes a signatory to the Eurocities commitment to curb plastic waste and littering, which was recently led by Oslo.

Andy Waddell, Director of Operations for the council’s Neighbourhoods and Sustainability Department, said the strategy was built upon the basic principles of the ‘waste hierarchy’, which places the emphasis on prevention, reuse, recycling and recovery with disposal always as a last resort.

But even with rapid technological advances taking place in relation to plastic, he indicated that the city would have to move quickly to achieve an end to the use of unnecessary plastic by 2030.

Andy Waddell said: “Plastic has become ever present feature of modern life and it has any number of vital applications. From medical equipment to car safety features, computers and wheelie bins, plastic shows it usefulness time and time again.

“But we do live in a throwaway society and we do take for granted the impact that flows from treating so many plastic products as instantly disposable. The Plastic Reduction Strategy is therefore about seeking alternatives to plastic but also an alternative approach to how we use plastic itself.

“Plastic clearly has its place, but aiming to end the unnecessary use of plastic will have a significant positive impact on the environment. There is already a huge amount of scope for our habits to change and technology is changing so quickly that our norms will be transformed in the years ahead.

“The action plan sets a course for rapid change in the initial stages and we intend to update our plans on a regular basis. This will help us gather momentum but also refine and strengthen the strategy over its lifespan.  The action proposed in the strategy can help Glasgow maintain its position in the UK and across Europe as a leading local authority on sustainability issues.”

Producing a plastic reduction plan was one of the recommendations made in the recent report by the Climate Emergency Working Group.

The strategy was presented at today’s meeting of the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Committee on November 26 and it was recommended by members of the committee that the strategy be referred to the council’s City Administration Committee for final approval.

Full details of the strategy can be found on the Committee Information pages of the council’s website.

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20mph Should Be Default Speed Limit for Glasgow, Says Council Committee

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A 20mph speed limit should be adopted for the vast majority of roads across Glasgow, a council committee has recommended.

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According to the recommendation by the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Development Committee, a 20mph speed limit would become the default speed limit for the city.  The 20mph speed limit would at least become the standard for all of the city’s residential streets, the city centre, other main shopping areas or where there are high levels of walking or cycling.

Other streets in the city would generally remain at 30mph, although final arrangements would be subject to careful assessment. Over 1400 km of the city’s 1900 km of roads are considered to be in residential areas.

With 288km of city streets already subject to a 20mph limit, it is intended that lowering vehicle speeds more widely will improve road safety but also reduce noise and congestion.  Recent national guidance indicates that a 20mph limit could be widely introduced without the need for expensive traffic calming measures.

A widespread 20 mph limit was also recommended by the Climate Emergency Working Group as part of Glasgow’s effort to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Andy Waddell, Director of Operations for the council’s Neighbourhoods and Sustainability Department, said a widespread 20mph limit would keep Glasgow in step with many other cities across the UK and help to promote active travel.

He said: “First and foremost a city wide 20mph speed limit is about improving road safety. It’s well known that lower speeds reduce the risk of accidents but also reduce the severity of any injuries suffered by those involved.

“Safer roads will make walking and cycling a much more attractive option for getting around the city. Building a greater reliance on more sustainable forms of transport is vital if we are to achieve our target of Glasgow becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

“Many cities across the country are introducing a widespread 20mph limit and the evidence that’s being gathered shows that the impact on journey times for cars and buses has been minimal.”

It is estimated that introducing a widespread 20mph limit with traditional traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps and raised tables, would cost around £25m.

But a recent relaxation of the rules on traffic calming means that a 20mph limit could be supported with the use of appropriate signage and road markings, which is estimated would cost around £4.35m. Physical traffic calming measures may still be required where traffic speed or incidents create specific concerns.

Proposals for a city wide 20mph limit would be subject to the statutory Traffic Regulation Order process, but, if approved, could implemented over the course of a four year programme.

The committee also recommended that the 20mph speed limit is referred to the City Administration Committee for approval as the formal policy of the council.

Full details of the proposed policy can be found in the papers for the meeting of the Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Development Committee on November 26, 2019.

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Changes to Notre Dame High School entry criteria agreed

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The entry criteria for Notre Dame High School will change from the beginning of the new school term in August 2021 and admit boys for the first time, but only to S1 that year.

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The decision – with unanimous support from all parties – was taken today at the City Administration Committee and follows a public consultation launched in February this year.

Three options were consulted on:

  1. the girls’ only ‘status quo’
  2. girls’ only status quo; with changes to the associated primary schools
  3. entry criteria to the secondary school to become co-educational.

The full consultation report can be accessed here.

The report by education officers recommended to proceed with option three and that the school becomes co-educational in August 2021.

The committee report includes a report by Education Scotland and is available here.

Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education, Glasgow City Council said today: “There has been much debate on the changes to the entry criteria for Notre Dame High School with strong arguments being put forward  – both during the pre-engagement and the consultation process.

“Now that the decision has been made by elected members, education officers will start to develop transition plans and will engage with school and parent representatives from all the associated primary schools and secondary schools affected by changes.

“There’s not only the physical aspects that need to be considered but we also need to be sensitive and recognise that this represents a significant change for the school and local community.

“I am confident that Notre Dame High School will continue to provide an excellent education to the young people of Glasgow and their families.”

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Scotland’s First Heroin Assisted Treatment Unveiled

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Scotland’s first addictions service treating patients with pharmaceutical grade heroin has been unveiled in Glasgow.

The pioneering Enhanced Drug Treatment Service (EDTS) will treat patients with the most severe, long-standing and complex addictions issues.

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The EDTS will focus on people whose addictions impact most severely on their own health, as well as on their communities, public services and the city centre.

It is aimed at people whose addiction persists, even after they have received conventional treatment and care services, which can include methadone, support from community addictions services and residential rehabilitation.

Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership’s (GCHSCP) new service aims to help save lives by reducing the risk of overdoses and the spread of blood borne viruses such as HIV. It will also help reduce public injecting by those receiving this treatment.

The new £1.2million facility is licensed by the Home Office and based in Glasgow’s city centre alongside existing homelessness health services. Patients will not only receive treatment for their physical health, including any infections, wounds or abscesses, there will also be a holistic assessment of their social, legal and psychological needs. They will then be helped to access other GCHSCP services to tackle any other problems highlighted.

The new service will operate between 9am and 5pm daily, and will be delivered by a specialist multi-disciplinary team, supported by other health and social care services.

Independent evaluation will be carried out on the pilot project which is expected to treat up to 20 patients in its first year and up to 40 patients in year two.

Patients must be totally committed to the treatment and will have to attend the centre twice a day, seven days a week. Injectable opiate (or heroin assisted) treatment will only be available to patients who are already involved with Glasgow’s Homeless Addiction Team. People’s suitability for the treatment will be assessed and those who meet the criteria will receive a prescription for pharmaceutical grade diamorphine injections.

The diamorphine must be injected in a secure clinical room under the strict supervision of, and observed by, trained nursing staff. Doses will never be dispensed for use elsewhere and patients will be continually monitored.

Evidence from similar services in Vancouver and Zurich, indicate that once stabilised, patients will gradually progress from diamorphine injections to oral treatments. This means more patients are able to be treated over time.

Susanne Millar, Chair of Glasgow’s Alcohol & Drug Partnership and Interim Chief Officer of GCHSCP, said: “Sadly, Glasgow suffered a record number of drug related deaths last year and there was also an increased number of non-fatal overdoses. This challenging social issue demands innovative treatments and this Gold Standard service is leading the way in Scotland.

“It is aimed at people with the most chaotic lifestyles and severe addictions who have not responded to existing treatments.

“People might question why health services are spending money providing heroin for people with addictions – the answer is ‘we can’t afford not to’. Not only are we are striving to save the lives of individuals themselves, we also aim to reduce the spread of HIV and to reduce the impact of addictions on Glasgow families and communities.

“Successfully treating a person’s addiction not only helps them, it reduces pressures on frontline health and criminal justice services while reducing antisocial behaviour and drug related crime in communities.”

Glasgow also plans to open a Safer Drug Consumption Facility to help prevent more loss of life. The facility would be a safe, clean place where people could use their own street drugs in the presence of trained medical staff who could react in the event of an overdose. Addictions experts also believe this type of facility would safeguard the wider public by reducing the number of publically discarded needles in the city.

A report by the Scottish Affairs Committee recently concluded that there was “a strong evidence base for a safe consumption facility in Glasgow which would be a practical step to reducing the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland.”

Dr Saket Priyadarshi, Associate Medical Director and Senior Medical Officer, Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Services welcomed the new Enhanced Drug Treatment Service.

He said: “This is a much needed and welcome addition to the comprehensive treatment and care services already existing in Glasgow. We have known for a number of years that there are people who continue to experience harm despite receiving conventional treatment. It is only appropriate that, as in other branches of medicine, we can offer addictions patients the next line in treatment.

“Heroin Assisted Treatment is a highly evidence based intervention and it will be delivered with intensive psycho-social support to address the wide range of harm and social care needs that this population experiences.”