Hundreds of litres of free hand sanitiser have been delivered to Glasgow care homes thanks to Scotch whisky producers, Chivas Brothers.

The Coronavirus pandemic has prompted the Dumbarton distiller to produce supplies of hand sanitiser for charities and frontline health and social care staff.

In just one week, the company has distributed more than 7,500 litres of hand sanitiser to 166 organisations in Glasgow, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Supplies are being manufactured at the firm’s parent company, Pernod Ricard’s gin distillery in England before being packaged and distributed by staff at the Chivas Brothers site at Kilmalid, Dumbarton.

Contact-free deliveries were made to Glasgow Health & Social Care Partnership for use in its care homes across the city.

Liam Donegan, Manufacturing Director at Chivas Brothers, said: “It has never been more import to come together as a community, especially to help the most vulnerable and at risk amongst us. I’m proud to see our teams working so hard to package and distribute essential hand sanitiser to those who need it most. We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we can keep providing for our communities during this difficult time.”

Councillor Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow’s Convener for Health and Social Care, thanked the company for its support.

She said: “It’s great to see businesses like Chivas Brothers rallying round frontline social care staff who are working hard to protect people in care homes and in the community who are most at risk of this appalling virus. Their donation is very much appreciated – not only because it will help tackle the virus and safeguard staff and care home residents – but also because the gesture is recognition of the tremendous work being done by our dedicated teams.”

Piper Hawthorn House

Huge congratulations to Catherine Craigie who celebrated her 100th birthday in style yesterday (Wed 15th) despite the Corona Virus lockdown.

Staff at Glasgow’s Hawthorn House Care Home in Possilpark arranged a special celebration for the great grandmother – whilst obeyed the rules around Shielding.

Piper Hawthorn House

Catherine was serenaded by a piper who played outside a lounge window in the home’s courtyard. The piper is a friend of a staff member and when he heard about Catherine’s landmark birthday, he volunteered to go along to help her celebrate – without entering the building.

Other residents with rooms overlooking the outdoor space were also able to enjoy the music safely from their windows. The tunes included a range of Scottish songs and, of course, Happy Birthday!

Visitors are currently unable to enter all UK care homes, due to the Corona Virus pandemic, but Catherine’s family were able to share in the fun using technology, as staff Facetimed them throughout the party.

Catherine’s daughter, Rena McDonald (aged 70 years) from Largs said: “It was absolutely fabulous. The staff could not have done any more to make it special for my family.

100th bday

“Before lockdown, we were all planning to go and celebrate with mum on her birthday. I was really upset when I realised we wouldn’t be able to go.

“I thought I’d have a miserable day, but the staff went above and beyond to make it really special for her and the party really lifted my spirits. My mum looked great, her carers had done her hair specially, as the hairdresser isn’t allowed to visit at the moment. They’d got her birthday cake, balloons, nibbles and a wee glass of fizz. I was able to watch her blowing out her candles and opening the cards we’d sent in. She also had her telegram from the Queen.

“I’d like to say how wonderful the staff have been. I can’t thank them enough – our family are so grateful to them.”

Catherine, who has dementia, was a keen dancer in her younger years and was fit and active until the age of 94. She lost her husband Danny around 18 years ago and has lived at the home, which is run by Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership, since May 2018.

Rena said: “Mum is happy and content at Hawthorn House. She usually has her hair done every Friday at the home’s salon and I go and visit her every week. I can’t wait until the lockdown is lifted and I can give her a huge birthday hug!”

Councillor Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow’s Convener for Health and Social Care, congratulated Catherine on her landmark birthday and thanked staff at the home for their hard work and thoughtfulness.

She said: “It is really lovely to hear about Catherine’s special birthday party and I send her my very best wishes on this milestone occasion. Her experience and that of her family, are a real tribute to our residential care home staff who are working hard, in to make life as safe, rich and full as possible for residents and their families at this challenging time.”

Hundreds of people are being helped via a new Glasgow phoneline launched for city residents who are struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 300 calls were made to the Glasgow Helps phoneline from people offering to volunteer or asking for help in its first week. Assistance with the collection and delivery of essential medicines and access to and delivery of food were the most common requests.

And a new website has just been launched outlining the range of support on offer via the Glasgow Helps hub which is a partnership between Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS), Volunteer Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership. The hub was established by GCVS in response to the lockdown and growing number of people having to self-isolate during the crisis.

Calls are answered by staff from partner organisations and volunteers from the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service. Callers are signposted to a range of charities and voluntary groups across the city who have sprung into action to offer help.

Thousands of Glasgow residents have already volunteered to help following earlier appeals and the plan is to co-ordinate this effort via the hub and Volunteer Glasgow, the city’s lead organisation for volunteering. People who volunteer may be asked to help with tasks such as shopping or food delivery or simply having a daily phone call with someone who needs to self-isolate.

Ian Bruce , Chief Executive with GCVS said: “GCVS and the voluntary sector have been working tirelessly with Volunteer Glasgow and Glasgow’s public services to ensure we act collectively to help people across our City – people who may have lost their jobs, who may be dealing with COVID-19, who are struggling financially and emotionally and who just feel that they are not coping with the situation.

“Through the helpline, we are working to connect callers to the support that is out there. Volunteer Glasgow and others are ensuring that people can volunteer safely and the information we have gathered on the Glasgow Helps website shares details on new and emerging services for those looking for support during this difficult time.”

Glasgow residents who need support while self-isolating or in lockdown can phone 0141 345 9543 for help or email

The helpline is currently open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

People can also visit the website at

International spirits firm Edrington has donated high strength alcohol to Glasgow City Council to allow it to produce hand sanitiser for front line workers during the current Covid-19 crisis.

Graham Hutcheon, Edrington’s Managing Director, Group Operations and Chairman of North British Distillery said: “We’re really pleased to donate high strength spirit from North British Distillery to Glasgow City Council to make hand sanitiser that will help front line workers to operate safely in our communities. We’re also delighted to be gifting hand sanitiser to the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, given the Lord Provost’s position as President of the Beatson Cancer Charity.”

Edrington, headquartered in Glasgow, offered to assist the council in its production of sanitiser. Their initial donation will allow around more than 1000 litres of sanitiser to be developed, with more to be supplied in the future to keep up with demand. The Scotch Whisky firm produces some of the best-known single malt Scotch Whiskies, including The Macallan, Highland Park, The Glenrothes and The Famous Grouse blended Scotch.

International footballer Joanne Love, who has been capped for Scotland more than 190 times, and has a day job as a chemical analyst with Glasgow City Council’s Scientific Services, is part of the scientific team who took delivery of the donation of the first batch of alcohol today (Thursday 16 April).

They are busy creating sanitiser for council workers like care home staff and refuse collectors, as they deliver essential services across the city.

Jo said: “I’m glad to be able to do my bit for staff, we all want to get through this pandemic safely. Football fans will know that I was meant to be playing in the qualifying matches for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021. In these difficult times I’m proud to be helping our front-line workers and those they serve.”

Glasgow’s Lord Provost Philip Braat, who has been leading the council’s appeal for donations of PPE supplies, said: “This very public spirited and generous gesture by Edrington will make a real difference to staff on the ground. I want to thank everyone involved in this effort.  As President of the Beatson Cancer Charity, I know this gesture will greatly benefit the staff at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, so I am also extremely grateful, on their behalf, for this donation. I also wish to emphasise that the council is still in need of any PPE supplies that firms and individuals are able to donate.”

Duncan Scott, a chartered chemist and Scientific Services Group Chemical Analyst explained the production process and its challenges. He said: “We’re working shifts some at home, some on the premises, to mitigate against possible illness – so there are always staff available.

“This donation means we’re working flat out to prepare and label 1000 bottles of hand sanitiser. They come in around five different sizes from handbag size to a large industrial size, depending on the setting it is used in.

“The alcohol has to be denatured and mixed with other reagents to meet World Health Organisation (WHO) alcohol rub specifications. There are two basic types that are acceptable one alcohol-based and the other ethanol based. Both the manufacture and labelling of the sanitiser follow stringent guidelines.”

Anyone able to donate PPE supplies to Glasgow City Council to help front line workers should contact

Councillor Susan Aitken on the decision to postpone the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, which was due to take place in Glasgow in November, due to the Corona Virus pandemic.

The Leader of Glasgow City Council said: “It is absolutely the right decision to postpone COP26 as the world is in the midst of fighting the COVID19 pandemic.

“We will continue to work with partners to be ready to host a successful climate change conference and look forward to welcoming delegates to Glasgow next year.

“Whenever COP26 takes place, as host city Glasgow stands ready to not only deliver a superb event, but also secure a lasting legacy and low carbon future for our city and the planet.”

Link to postponement announcement:

A new Glasgow hub has been created to help people struggling amid the Coronavirus crisis – linking them to organisations and volunteers who are keen to help.

Glasgow City Council and the city’s Health & Social Care Partnership have teamed up with Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) and Volunteer Glasgow to create a hub which people can contact for help or to volunteer their services.

A new helpline has been set up to act as a single point of contact for anyone seeking or offering help. People who volunteer may be asked to help with tasks such as shopping or food delivery or simply having a daily phone call with someone who needs to self-isolate. Thousands of people have already volunteered via various different appeals and the plan is to co-ordinate this effort via the hub and Volunteer Glasgow.

A central directory of people and organisations offering support will be collated to enable those in need to be linked to the most appropriate source of help.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This global crisis is unprecedented and we must all pull together to look after the most vulnerable in our communities throughout this extremely difficult time. The pandemic is putting services under extreme pressure and, unfortunately, we are in this for the long haul.

“Staff at the council, health & social care partnership and NHS are all doing going above and beyond to ensure help gets to those in most critical need. But there is no denying that exceptionally tough decisions are having to be made and the pandemic is impacting on services. We are having to work with depleted staff numbers due to illness and self-isolation and having to support additional people who are being discharged from hospital as well as providing Home Care support to the most vulnerable.

“However, tough times like these really bring out the best in people and I know Glasgow citizens are keen to help in any way they can. We’ve already been inundated with offers and this hub offers an opportunity to link people with those in need in a co-ordinated way, as well as offering a lifeline to those in need.”

Ian Bruce, CEO of GCVS said: “The voluntary sector and public sector have come together to ensure that anyone facing difficulties in Glasgow as a result of COVID-19 has a single point of contact to get help.

“If you are in Glasgow and facing problems associated with social distancing and self-isolation then call the helpline and we will try to put you in touch with someone who can help.”

David Maxwell, Chief Executive of Volunteer Glasgow said: “Our priority is to make sure that organisations in the public sector and the voluntary sector know how to connect with the thousands of incredible offers of help from people who’ve come forward.”

Organisations and groups seeking volunteers can do so for free. It will give them access to an extensive range of volunteers offering an array of valuable skills and experience.

Groups and organisations new to Volunteer Glasgow should register at:

Following registration staff will be in touch by email. Registration is fast and easy. If you have any queries or please get in touch on or call the helpline number: 0141 345 0543.

More than 100 students and retired care workers have pledged to do their bit to ease the pressure on the city’s social care services following an appeal from Glasgow City Council and the city’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).

To date 97 students, currently completing their four-year Social Work degree or postgraduate degree at university, have expressed an interest in assisting delivering homecare services and working in one of five elderly residential homes around the city.

The response comes after staffing levels in both service areas have been depleted due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with staff members off ill, self-isolating and having their own, family care duties.

This ongoing situation has put an extraordinary strain on the ability of the service to continue to deliver essential frontline homecare visits to some of our city’s most vulnerable residents and appropriately staff residential homes.

Following an intensive three day induction, the students will join a register of staff that can be used to supplement existing resources providing critical care to a limited number of service users.

The induction includes training on delivering personal care for a service user, moving and handling, undertaking risk assessments, adult support and protection, awareness of specialist requirements such as diet and fire awareness.

To comply with government guidelines on essential working and social distancing, the training is being undertaken in small groups of 12. It is anticipated that 24 students will have gone through induction this week and the rest over the next four weeks.

Due to their social work degree course, the students are already registered with the Scottish Social Care Council, the regulator for social service workforce in Scotland, and the council checks that they have a Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) disclosure record to allow working with vulnerable people.

As well as the obvious assistance to the service and paid employment, students will benefit from getting a broader understanding of the range of service users’ needs in social care and gaining first-hand practical experience normally only completed as part of a short-term placement.

In addition 13 recently retired homecarers and five residential care home staff have also re-joined the service and are being offered refresher training.

Frances McMeeking, Assistant Chief Officer for Operational Care Services, Glasgow City HSCP, said: “Unfortunately, in these most challenging and exceptional circumstances, we are being forced to make some very difficult decisions prioritising limited resources with those most in need.

“Our remarkable staff, both on the frontline and supporting in our operations centre, are under immense pressure to continue to deliver care services to some of the most vulnerable citizens. These students and retired staff members, although not solving the growing problem, will provide some support in the short-term.”

Connor Mullen, studying for his Master’s degree in Social Work at Glasgow Caledonian University, said; “When I received a request from the HSCP to help social care services, I put home support as my first choice as it was needed most.

“Also a big factor in my decision was my wee gran, who is entirely dependent on the support she receives at home, so I know how important it is.

“The training I’ve received over the past three days has taught me so much. Every member of the training staff were professional and supportive in challenging circumstances.

“I have a newfound respect for the homecare staff – the frontline workers, caring for the vulnerable in our communities and I feel privileged as a social work student to be given this opportunity to help.”

Faye Fowler also studying for a Master’s degree in Social Work, at University of Strathclyde, echoed this sentiment, she said: “Being a Homecarer is a very practical and hands on role assisting people in their own homes and sometimes with personal care tasks that need understanding and sensitivity.

“The trainers were brilliant in adapting the training course material to manage the social distancing guidance and were also creative in making sure that all the content like practical demonstrations were covered.

“We were also talked through the different physical ailments that service users may have and how to adapt your approach to take account of this, as well as for service users living with various stages of Dementia or Alzheimer’s and how you can help them feel as comfortable as possible.

“This has made me feel more confident about what I’m about to start.”


A public consultation on the future use of the Dalmarnock Legacy Hub – located on Springfield Road – begins today (13 March) with an online survey.


The survey – lasting for six weeks – will run alongside public engagement events, including drop-in sessions on Tuesday 17 March (noon-2pm); Wednesday 25 March (6-8pm) and Saturday 28 March (1-3pm).


During this engagement process, we would like to find out what the changing community of Dalmarnock want and need from this building, which could bring the right local services together into one accessible space for the benefit of everyone in the community.  To get the most accurate version of what local people and organisations really want, it is important that as many people as possible take part.


The engagement will help to decide who operates and manages the hub – it does not have to be Glasgow City Council.  The process will result in a co-created vision of how the hub is run, and what services are provided there.


Councillor Greg Hepburn, Chair of the Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm Committee at Glasgow City Council, said: “I am delighted that we are announcing the beginning of this six week public engagement exercise. The people of Dalmarnock have been waiting patiently for the reopening of the Legacy Hub, and we would like everyone with an interest to take part in this consultation so that we can confirm what services the community wants to see based there. All options are on the table, from bringing back nursery provision to keeping a space for local events and social gatherings.  If you have thoughts on the building’s future, please take part in the online survey or drop-in events.  If you do, we can make sure the Hub delivers the services that the people of Dalmarnock want and need in this fantastic local space.”


Those interested in taking part in the online survey should visit:


Once this stage of the consultation in complete, a short report summarising its findings will be given to stakeholders, and an open meeting will be held to discuss this with residents.


The proposals for the community hubs have been informed by Glasgow City Council’s Property and Land Strategy, and more detail about this strategy can be found here:


A woman who gave her mother a second chance at life by donating her kidney has spoken of the importance of people within black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities discussing organ donation ahead of World Kidney Day (12 March 2020).


Syma Shahzad, 40, who donated to mum Anees Haq in 2008, shared how she was challenged about her decision due to conflicting beliefs and knowledge within her community, and encouraged people to think about what they would want to happen and discuss it with family.

Syma, who works as a pharmacist in Glasgow, added her support to the awareness drive ahead of World Kidney Day (12 March 2020), as statistics show the proportion of patients from minority ethnic communities in Scotland on transplant waiting lists has gradually increased over the past two years.

In March 2020, 10.5 per cent of those on the active waiting lists for a transplant from a deceased donor were recorded as being from a minority ethnic group, compared to 9.2 per cent in March 2018.

Statistics show that in the last five years, around half as many families of minority ethnic eligible donors supported organ donation after their loved one’s death, compared with the families of white eligible donors.

People from black and Asian communities are more likely to develop conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and certain forms of hepatitis than white people, which increases the likelihood of them needing a transplant1.

A kidney transplant is more successful if the donor and recipient share the same ethnicity.

Worried about the impact of dialysis on her mother’s life after she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2007, Syma raised the possibility of her donating her kidney.

A healthy person can lead a completely normal life with one kidney, and a kidney from a living donor generally offers the best outcomes for patients living with kidney failure who need a transplant.

Syma said:

“From the outset, our consultant at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary was fabulous. He helped us progress everything as quickly as possible so we could make sure the transplant went ahead before my mum had to start dialysis.  I had the first tests in March 2008, and successfully donated my kidney to her in the October of that year.”

Speaking about her faith Syma said:

“Being Muslim, there’s a lot of stigma attached to organ donation. I believe I wasn’t doing anything to put myself in danger, I was simply helping give my mother a better quality of life. For me that was the ultimate decider.

“My belief is that whatever your time is destined to be, your time will be; but whatever you can do to improve that quality of life is essential.

“Within our community, there are so many challenges around mindset and conflicting religious knowledge. I was very headstrong and wouldn’t let anyone dissuade me from doing this. With Asian people being at a higher risk of diabetes, and the associated kidney problems, I would love to see more people considering donation.

“I would encourage anyone who’s unsure about their stance on organ donation to sit down and consider what would happen if it was someone in your family who needed a transplant. Having been through it with my mother, if I could I’d do the same for anyone else in that situation.”

From Autumn 2020, the law around organ and tissue donation after death is set to change to an opt-out system.  This means that if people aged 16 and over have not recorded a decision about donation, they will be considered as a possible donor when they die, unless they are in one of the excluded groups.

Jen Lumsdaine, Lead Nurse for Living Donation Scotland said:

“Patients from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who need a kidney transplant tend to wait longer due to a shortage of donors.

“As Syma’s story illustrates, living donation can ensure a better outcome for the patient, and dramatically reduce the time a loved one has to spend on dialysis.

“Choosing to donate a kidney remains an exceptional gift, and living donation will continue to be vital part of continuing to improve transplant numbers when opt-out legislation is introduced, so more lives can be saved and transformed.”

To find out more about living donation visit

Glasgow City Council today (10 March) considered a new temporary street café policy for the city centre.


The draft policy comes from the City Centre Strategy, which has – as a core objective – the aim of attracting people to the city centre by optimising trading hours, improving the visitor experience and linking to other leisure activities.


In recent years, Glasgow city centre has seen growth in the number of restaurants, bars and cafes, adding value to the city centre experience and supporting the area’s retail and other sectors.  As a result of this growth, many more outdoor areas – in the form of temporary street cafes – have opened.


The new policy responds to the concerns of local communities and businesses – including the application process being too onerous, cleanliness issues, opening hours not being long enough, and occupation of pavements and other spaces – by proposing a two-year trial of a new process.


This process – whose overall objective is to encourage operators to act as good neighbours, improving the overall experience of street cafes for everyone – features:


  • Fewer steps required for applicants
  • Changed fee structure to a square metre rate, rather than a flat rate
  • Clarified operating standards
  • An improved enforcement process


Councillor Greg Hepburn, Chair of the Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm Committee at Glasgow City Council, said: “Our new street café policy is a huge positive for Glasgow City Centre, matching the city’s ambitions as a major European city and making the area more attractive for Glaswegians, visitors and investors.  The policy will also bring benefits to our retail outlets, leisure facilities and cultural scene, bringing even more life to our major streets and avenues.  Importantly, the proposals also ensure that the needs of city centre residents are taken into account, so that any particular concerns can be addressed and the street cafes can benefit everyone.”


The draft policy will now go to the council’s City Administration Committee later this month, when a decision will be made on whether to proceed to public consultation, before returning for a final decision on the adoption of the policy.