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Glasgow to host UN conference on City Living next week

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Glasgow will host a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) conference on City Living between 11-13 September.  This is significant as the UNECE – as one of five  global economic and social commissions within the United Nations – is very influential in terms of contributing to major UN policy documents such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, Transforming Our World – Agenda 2030, and the 2013 Charter on Sustainable Housing.

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UNECE has 56 member states – ranging from North American to Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, and Balkan and Central Asian countries – with 263 cities of Glasgow’s size in this part of the world.

 

The conference will largely be attended by people interested in ‘making liveable places’ – community representatives, planners, architects and urbanist – who will meet visitors from the UN and expert leaders in the field.  Internationally renowned keynote speakers include James Stockard (Harvard University Graduate School of Design), who will look at differences in ‘liveability’ between Massachusetts and Scotland, and Pam Warhurst, the inspiration behind the Incredible Edible initiative in Yorkshire, who will talk about the importance and opportunity of community growing.  Other prominent speakers include the City Architect for Aarhus in Denmark.

 

Over the past four years, Glasgow has played a very specific role in supporting the UNECE through the work of the Glasgow Urban Laboratory (at the Glasgow School of Art), notably in the 2017 UN-Habitat report, Towards a city-focused, people-centred and integrated approach to the New Urban Agenda.

 

The UNECE has championed affordable and social housing, and its’ Committee for Housing and Land Management is interested in Glasgow’s (and Scotland’s) commitment to community-owned social housing as a model to sit alongside social housing provided by local authorities and the private sector.

 

Glasgow is of particular interest as it – as much as any city in Europe – it experienced the highs and lows of providing housing for its people, with the high-quality stone tenements, terraces and villas of its 19th Century expansion contrasting with the challenges (reconstruction, de-industrialisation, economic changes, the New Towns) the city faced in the post Second World War period, followed by a renaissance in the last 40 years with the regeneration of Glasgow’s tenements and more recently, a greater focus on a community-led housing strategy.

 

There will be two important launches during the conference, which will take place at New Gorbals Housing Association and Glasgow Caledonian University:

  • The launch of the Glasgow Place Commission – led by Professor Brian Evans, Glasgow’s first City Urbanist, and supported by a number of leading independent commissioners.
  • The launch of a partnership between the Academy of Urbanism and the Glasgow Urban Laboratory to support, develop and grow support for urbanism and urbanists in Scotland.

 

A draft Glasgow Declaration on City Living will be discussed by delegates at the conference before it is sent to the UNECE Committee for Housing and Land Management in October.

 

During the time at New Gorbals Housing Association, delegates will see social housing in the area before going to other parts of the city to see homes built by other community-led housing associations.

 

Professor Brian Evans, Glasgow’s City Urbanist, said: Professor Brian Evans, Glasgow’s City Urbanist, said: “As a UN Commission, the UNECE is very interested to see and understand the realities of what happens in the cities of its 56 member states. This conference follows on from a similar event in Vienna last year. It is a means whereby the city can explore the links between United Nations action on the global scale though UK and Scottish levels  and action at the city and city-region level in pursuit of the 17 sustainable development goals.”

 

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The UN wants to see a real city going through real changes. They view Glasgow as a beacon for how to provide access to decent, affordable and healthy housing for all.  We are the UN’s international example of how to create a housing model which others can follow.  So I’m delighted that we will host the UNECE conference, allowing organisations like New Gorbals Housing Association to put the success of community ownership onto a global stage.  It is also the ideal launch pad for the Glasgow Place Commission, which will see experts – led by our City Urbanist, Professor Brian Evans – explore how place and design can make Glasgow a better city for all of our people to live.”

 

More information on the conference is available at: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=52217.

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Glasgow marks eco-first with Passivhaus homes for older people in Shettleston

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The completion of Glasgow’s first Passivhaus development for social rent has been celebrated with an opening ceremony hosted by Shettleston Housing Association.

 

The new development at Cunningham House was formally opened today (30 August) by Councillor Chris Cunningham, former Director of Shettleston Housing Association, who pioneered the project prior to his retirement in 2017.

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19 new homes for older people have been provided in this innovative project that combines the construction of a modern five storey Passivhaus tower with the sensitive restoration and conversion of the 19th century Carntyne Old Parish Church on Shettleston Road.

 

Each of the 13 flats constructed within the old Church building has an individual, bespoke design that reflects its relationship with the existing stone structure.  Every home has a very individual aspect, whether through the restored lancet windows or through the new high-performance glazing into the residents’ courtyard.  All homes benefit from high levels of thermal insulation to augment the cosy ‘sandstone coat’ provided by the existing church structure.

 

The former vestry building attached to the church has been converted into a self-contained three bedroom house and has been constructed to meet the same exacting energy efficiency requirements.

 

A light, fully-glazed link corridor connects the existing church to the new, five-storey Passivhaus tower that has been constructed on the site of the former church hall.  The simple palette of materials used for the new building respects those in the older structure and a modest cross in relief on the front façade reflects the former use of the site.

 

Five two-bedroom homes are provided in the new tower.  All five flats have been designed and constructed to Passivhaus standard and benefit from high levels of thermal insulation, triple glazing and Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery.  It is expected that tenants will see a significant reduction in fuel costs in their new homes and the Association will monitor the building’s performance over the coming years.

 

Gillian Johnston, Chair of Shettleston Housing Association said: “Carntyne Church has been a prominent landmark in the East End for more than a century and the Association has been delighted to breathe new life into the building with this fantastic development. All of the new homes are built to an extremely high standard of energy efficiency and the Association is proud to deliver the first Passivhaus standard social rent homes in the city. Our tenants will reap the rewards of this through lower heating bills and improved comfort and we wish them all the very best in their new homes.”

 

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Cunningham House is without doubt a landmark in how we build homes in Glasgow. These are the first properties in the city to use the Passivhaus design – a pioneering standard of house building used in parts of Europe and North America which require very little energy for heating and cooling.  The extremely high construction standards will bring a host of benefits to residents, including lower fuel bills, improved air quality, a more comfortable living environment and reduced CO2 emissions. I have always said that climate and social justice should go hand in hand and by tackling climate change and fuel poverty, Passivhaus does just that.  I’m delighted this Shettleston Housing Association development could be supported through our Affordable Housing Supply programme and we will see many more housing developments in Glasgow using Passivhaus in the years ahead.”

 

The location of Cunningham House in the centre of the Shettleston community, combined with its energy efficiency credentials make it an ideal development for older people. Residents will have easy access to local facilities and community activities and will benefit from the enhanced housing management support provided by the Association’s Retirement Housing Service.

 

New residents were formally welcomed to their homes at the completion ceremony. Mr and Mrs Dunlop, who moved from a privately-rented home, are delighted with their new home and Mr Dunlop said: “My wife and I have moved about a lot due to work commitments and when we retired we wished to move back to and settle in the east end due to falling in love with both the area and its people.  We feel both blessed and delighted with our new home at Cunningham House.”

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Brain Tumour Research – Walk of Hope – The Cobbler

I  work Brain Tumour Research and on the 28th September we organising a series of walks around the UK to raise money and awareness of our cause.

In Scotland we’re going up the Cobbler in Argyll. It would be great if you’re able to post/promote or even join us.

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We’re meeting at the Slanj pub in Tarbet at 10:00am on the 28th September.  You can find more information via the link below:

https://www.braintumourresearch.org/fundraise/take-on-a-challenge/event/2019/09/29/take-on-the-challenge/the-cobbler-walk-of-hope-ben-arthur-scotland

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Council to spend £3million on town centres in Glasgow

Glasgow City Council today (29 August) approved just over £3million funding for a number of projects which promise to regenerate a number of town centres in the city. These projects see a new community model of tackling food inequality, the renewal of historic buildings, and locally-led regeneration amongst the social and economic benefits that this funding will deliver.

This funding comes from the £50million Scottish Government Town Centre Fund, which aims to regenerate town centres across Scotland through capital expenditure projects designed to drive economic activity and create successful, inclusive and vibrant local town centres.

 

Glasgow has a diversity of town centres, with five major town centres and 30 local town centres, ranging from nationally significant shopping and leisure destinations to smaller centres serving local communities.  They are often characterised as having a strong retail and office presence, with other services in the financial, professional, leisure/entertainment, and community sectors.

 

Glasgow’s share of this funding must be allocated during this financial year, and projects have been selected for the social and economic impact they will make on these town centres, making them more sustainable, and their capacity to be delivered within the timescales set down within the grant funding.

 

The Glasgow projects selected for funding come in three categories: Pantry; Built Heritage; and Small Grants Scheme.

 

The town centre funding (£710,000) for pantries in Castlemilk, Govanhill, Parkhead and Ruchazie – at Braes Shopping Centre, Govanhill Baths, Parkhead Public School, and a shop unit on Gartloch Road – will help tackle food insecurity.  The pantries model – an alternative to foodbanks – targets local people on low incomes / recovering from a crisis to invite them onto a subscription/membership model (typically £2.50 per week) which makes good-quality, healthy and nutritious fresh, chilled or frozen food available to them at substantially cheaper rates than elsewhere.  The pantries in these four areas will be delivered in a partnership between the council and local agencies, and this will help to bring local inclusive economic growth.  It is expected that these pantries will drive higher footfall in their town centres.

 

Funding is also being made available for historic buildings in three local town centres: Elderpark Library (£550,000), Parkhead Library (£450,000) and the B Listed Tollcross Winter Gardens (£1,000,000).  This funding will help these meetings reach their full potential in terms of benefiting their communities – the libraries are currently being looked at with a view to repurposing them to act both as libraries and an enhanced community function.  Tollcross Winter Gardens is currently derelict, and with the adjacent ‘Millennium Building’ scheduled for demolition to allow the building of a new Early Years facility, this presents the opportunity to bring the Winter Gardens into active use as a building that could offer both co-location options for a range of organisations and a link between the local town centre, the new nursery, Tollcross Park, and Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

 

The remaining £300,000 funding goes towards a small grants scheme which will support locally-led initiatives aiming to renew town centres, with a focus on Business Improvement Districts – the Saracen Street BID in particular – and traders’ associations. Priority will be given to high SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) areas.

 

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and City Convener for Economic Inclusive Growth, said: “The funding for these town centres – recognised as a key part of the city’s social and economic life – will go to a range of projects that will make a real difference to communities and organisations across the city.  From tackling issues around food insecurity and health to renewing local heritage and supporting local organisations in neighbourhoods facing the greatest challenges, we can look forward to these projects helping to regenerate Glasgow’s town centres.”

 

Over the last five years, the council has drawn on a number of funding sources such as the Glasgow City Region City Deal, developer contribution agreements and the Heritage Lottery Fund to assist with the regeneration of town centres, notably in the Barras / Calton; Easterhouse; Govan; and Shawlands.

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Glasgow continues trend of regenerating vacant and derelict land sites

A Glasgow City Council report outlined the continuing progress that is being made in the city in bringing vacant and derelict land back to productive use, with the equivalent of 90 full-sized football pitches coming back to use over one year in the latest (2018) figures.  The council will spend a £3.5million Scottish Government funding allocation on tackling the issue in this financial year.

Between 2017 and 2018, Glasgow saw a reduction in vacant and derelict land of 64 hectares, a 6.4% fall from 1069 to 1005 hectares.  There was also a reduction in the number of vacant and derelict sites, from 761 to 721.  The reduction between 2016 and 2017 was 3.9% / 42 hectares.

 

Most of the land brought back to use was developed for residential purposes (66.4%), with other uses including transport, recreation and leisure.

 

Glasgow has consistently had the highest concentration of vacant and derelict land of any Scottish city, and it is recognised that this has arisen as a result of fragmented ownership, poor ground conditions, and inadequate infrastructure on many sites.  These factors come together to act as a brake on the economic potential of Glasgow, and very often these sites are found in the areas affected most by multiple deprivation.

 

Of the remaining vacant and derelict land, most of this can be found in the north and east of the city, and 349 of the sites are owned by the council.  Earlier this year, the council presented its draft Vacant and Derelict Land Assets Plan as it prepares to make use of these sites in the coming years.

 

The Scottish Government has allocated just over £3.5million to tackle long-term vacant and derelict land in Glasgow, and in doing so, stimulate economic growth and employment, develop a diverse and sustainable environment, and help communities flourish and reduce inequalities.  This funding will go towards the potential treatment and/or investigation of over 37 hectares of vacant and derelict land.

 

The council’s focus in tackling this issue will include remediating former brownfield/industrial sites, assist the delivery of sites and infrastructure to support job creation, and put greenspace on sites where there is no potential for development in the short to medium term.

 

The funding allocation from the Scottish Government is proposed to be spend across the city at sites in the Broomielaw, Cadder, the canal corridor, Dalmarnock, Dawsholm, Govan, Laurieston, Shettleston and Toryglen.

 

Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm at Glasgow City Council, said: “For far too long, the scale of vacant and derelict land in Glasgow has blighted communities and held back our economic growth.  While we are now seeing the acceleration of a trend to bring back this land for a variety of uses that will benefit the city, much remains to be done, and we look forward to working with our partners in the public and private sectors to reclaim these sites and allow their development.”

 

The figures on vacant and derelict land in Glasgow come from the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey (SVDLS).

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Pupil iPad roll out begins – thousands of Glasgow pupils to benefit from digital learning strategy

10.30am, Tuesday 27 August 2019 – St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, 112 Mitre Road, Glasgow G14 9PP

A multi-million pound IT contract that will benefit almost 70,000 children and young people in Glasgow schools and nurseries has begun the roll out of pupil iPads that will empower our pupils to embrace the digital age, improve learning and teaching and help close the attainment gap.

This innovative project – in conjunction with CGI – and the biggest Apple education project in Europe, will see all pupils from P6 – S6 receive their own iPad as part of the council’s connected learning and digital strategy and a shared iPad between five children in our nurseries and pupils in P1 to P5.

By 2021 every Glasgow primary and secondary teacher and their pupils will have access to their equipment, which includes a provision of a core suite of best-in-class education apps. This will transform learning in the classroom and help raise attainment and achievement across the city.

CGI is also working to bring in stronger networks into schools, including faster broadband speeds, a home wireless network TV and WiFi in every classroom.

So far, eight school learning communities have seen their teachers – more than 2,000 – benefit and the first pupils (S2/3) at St Thomas Aquinas Secondary have been getting to grips with their devices since before the summer and now back after the summer holidays, the roll out across all year groups will begin and the full impact of the digital strategy can filter through the school.

Then a planned roll out schedule will begin in earnest across the remaining 29 Glasgow learning communities.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener for Education, Skills and Early Years said: “This is a really exciting time for our schools and an amazing opportunity to digitally enhance the learning and teaching opportunities in our classrooms.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from the teachers who already have their devices with some brilliant examples of good practice and shared learning across the city.

“We want our children and young people to be equipped with the skills that will make them shine as digital citizens both now and later in their working lives.

“We are aware that 90% of jobs in Scotland involve digital work and so our pupils will be well equipped for the workplace.

“I know that this project will result in raising attainment and achievement in every one of our schools and nurseries.

“This is the biggest Apple education initiative in Europe and I’m delighted that Glasgow is once again leading the way in innovative practices.”

Justene Ewing, Vice-President Consulting Services at CGI, said: “CGI is passionate about placing youngsters at the heart of education and raising levels of attainment and learning outcomes as well as supporting equality and inclusion for all.

“We believe our partnership with Glasgow City Council, which involves the rollout of 52,000 iPads in Glasgow’s schools from today, will help achieve that goal.

“The rollout includes 47,100 student iPads and an additional 4,900 teacher iPads, which will help free up teachers and boost their control of the learning process, while also improving inclusivity for students in the educational process.

“It’s a brave new world for pupils, teachers and parents and one that CGI hopes will help make schools in Glasgow an even greater place to learn.”

All parents and carers will be invited to attend information and engagement sessions at their child’s schools prior to roll out – and a chance to find out more about the many benefits of the scheme, but also to be made aware of the home school agreement.

This is a set of guidelines to help keep young people safe online and about the need to look after the new equipment.

To show off their digital skills and to help St Thomas Aquinas parents understand the new iPads, the pupils created their own film and can be sent on request.

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Climate Emergency Group Recommends Pathway for Carbon Neutral Glasgow

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Glasgow’s Climate Emergency Working Group has delivered a report with over sixty recommendations that provides a pathway to a carbon neutral city.

The working group, which included representation from all four political groups at the council, citizen activist groups and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, has set Glasgow a target of carbon neutrality by the year 2030 – seven years ahead of the previous 2037 target.

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Established in February, the group was given just six months in which to draw its conclusions and report back to the council in recognition of the need to respond to the growing concerns of the impending climate crisis. The council formally declared there was a climate emergency at a meeting of all 83 city councillors in May this year.

The recommendations in the report have the potential to affect all council departments and cover broad ranging issues such energy use, roads and transport, development, infrastructure and planning, waste management, food and pensions.

Examples of specific recommendations in the report include a push for:

– district heating systems where feasible,

–  the low energy efficiency of the city’s older housing stock to be addressed,

– an end to single-use plastic and a plastic free shopping zone,

–  a major tree planting programme,

– a wider roll-out of car free zones at schools and other locations.

– green economy apprenticeships,

– climate impact assessments for all council budgets,

–  the council to become a beacon for other city organisations on carbon reduction.

Full details of all recommendations and the wider report can be found in the committee papers for the forthcoming meeting of the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Development Committee.   

Councillor Martha Wardrop, who chaired the Climate Emergency Working Group, indicated there could no delay in the work to act upon the report’s recommendations.

Councillor Wardrop said: “As chair of the working group, I welcome the increased ambition for Glasgow to be carbon neutral by 2030, having driven this vital climate emergency work in the city.  Delivering that vision will require working with the business community, third sector, communities and citizens to achieve a just transition.

“With only ten years to make radical changes we need action to start right away. For instance, there are already plans for a city-wide network of segregated cycle ways and so there are areas where we can move quickly.  The climate emergency must also be placed front and centre of Glasgow’s economy and so a revised economic strategy for the city is essential. But we also need the Scottish and UK Governments to do their bit, particularly on decarbonising how we heat our homes.

“There was also a clear message from the group that the council works with other authorities to shift its pension funds away from fossil fuels.  With Glasgow looking likely to host next year’s UN Climate Summit, that’s the sort of radical action we need if we’re going to back up ambitious targets with real change in the wider economy.”

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said Glasgow was already heading in the right direction, but it was now clear the pace of carbon reduction in the city has to accelerate.

Councillor Richardson said: “There is no question the stand out recommendation from the report is that Glasgow is carbon neutral by 2030. The previous target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2037 was itself ambitious but it is obvious that we must now go further and faster than we’ve done before.

“As a council we will seek to bring forward an implementation plan that responds to the climate emergency recommendations as soon as possible. Work will start immediately to ensure that the climate emergency becomes embedded in every policy and strategy that the council is currently developing.

“Cities have an opportunity to lead the response to the global climate emergency, and the work of the Climate Emergency Working Group means that Glasgow is now well placed to show that leadership.  If COP26, the UN conference on climate change, does come to Glasgow in 2020 we will be perfectly placed to show the world how a net zero carbon city can be achieved.”

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Council Worker Saves Life After Suicide Prevention Training

Frontline workers across Glasgow are being trained to look out for people who may have thoughts of suicide amongst friends, family, colleagues and the public.

An army of 40 suicideTALK session leaders are visiting offices, banks and depots to encourage employees to talk about suicide and recognise the signs that someone could be at risk.

Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) has trained staff and charity volunteers to teach others how to broach the subject sensitively and tactfully with anyone they are worried about.

Staff at Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are among those who have received the talks as well as supermarket and bank staff, benefits advisors, faith groups and bereavement charities.

Larry Callary, Session Leader for suicideTALK, said: “Life can be very stressful, yet there is still stigma around admitting to thoughts of suicide. Talking about your problems is imperative – it could save your own or someone else’s life.

“People contemplating suicide may use what we call ‘invitations’ as a way to invite help. It’s important to recognise these, talk to them about it and not be afraid of using the word ‘suicide’ in those conversations.”

The suicideTALKs highlight key ‘invitations’ to look out for – especially if they coincide with financial difficulties or a major life event for that person such as a bereavement or relationship breakdown. These can include someone suddenly becoming withdrawn, a distressed person stating “I’ve had enough”; “I have a solution”; or “I want to escape”.

If you are worried about someone – don’t be afraid to broach the subject of suicide. Specifically use that term – avoid asking “are you thinking of doing something silly?”. This wrongly implies they are silly for thinking about it and they may not want to confide in you.

A good approach is asking – “Are you OK? I’ve noticed that you seem stressed / depressed – sometimes when people feel like that, they think about suicide. Is that something you’re thought about?”

Listen sympathetically to what is going on in their life and make it clear that help is available. Keep them safe by encouraging them to seek help either from their GP, the Samaritans or Breathing Space.

Father-of-five, Larry, said: “Having thoughts of suicide is a normal human reaction when life gets painful and it’s important that people talk about how they feel. Suicide prevention is not the job of one person or service. Anyone can prevent suicide.

“We would encourage anyone with thoughts of suicide to talk to more than one person and get the support they need. And we would encourage people to intervene if they are worried about someone. Suicide Prevention is everybody’s business and there are a lot of resources out there that can help.

“The positive thing is when people have admitted to having thoughts of suicide during the training, their colleagues have been hugely supportive. The suicideTALKs spark debate and discussion and people often feel able to discuss their own experiences.”

If you or anyone close to you is struggling with issues of suicide, please seek help, either from your GP, the Samaritans (call free on 116 123 or by email at jo@samaritans.org) or from Breathing Space (call free on 0800 83 85 87).

Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership also runs an out-of-hours Mental Health crisis service. It can provide short-term intensive community based care and is targeted at people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. It operates seven days a week and is available by phone on 0845 650 1730, Monday to Friday 8pm – 9am, weekends and public holidays 5pm – 9am.

Find out more about Suicide Prevention Training and sources of help for anyone struggling at https://www.yoursupportglasgow.org/chooselife.aspx

If you are having serious thoughts about suicide, and have a plan and the means to carry it out: call 999 immediately.

CASE STUDIES

Glasgow City Council Roads Supervisor, George Duff, saved a stranger’s life weeks after receiving Suicide Prevention training.

While working outdoors with a colleague, he was approached by a woman who said someone was attempting suicide nearby.

They rushed to investigate, and found a man in his early 30s teetering on a bridge parapet.

Father-of-three, George, spent 25 minutes calmly talking the man down – using tactics learned in his training.

He said: “Everyone was just walking past the guy, like they didn’t want to get involved. No-one stopped. I think they thought, because we were wearing hi-vis vests they could leave us to sort it out!

“We phoned the police and I walked over to the guy, not getting too close, and started talking to him, asking his name. I asked why he was doing this. I kept telling him it would be OK, and he should climb back over towards me, but he kept saying he didn’t want to be here anymore.

“You’re trained not to try to grab anyone, as they might fall. I made general conversation with him to try to take his mind off what he might do. I tried to use humour to try to lighten the situation and he gradually started to calm down a bit.

“I asked him what football team he supported, and if there was anything I could get him. He said he wanted a cup of tea, so I offered to take him for a cuppa at a wee café round the corner. I said, I was parched too, so we could go together.”

The man eventually agreed to go to the café. He brought one leg back over the parapet, but panicked when the police arrived and again threatened to jump. George asked the police for some space, as he’d struck up a rapport with the man and had almost convincing him to climb to safety.

After several more minutes of reassurance from George, the man eventually climbed to safety. True to his word, George went and bought him a cup of tea which he drank, before the police took him to hospital.

George said: “The training was very good. I think it gave me the confidence to try to help the guy. You never want to see anyone hurt themselves.”

CASE STUDY TWO

The end of his first marriage and a long-standing battle with mental health problems drove Derek Chalmers to attempt suicide.

Derek of Glasgow’s Southside said: “I’d struggled with my mental health since my teens and the end of my marriage sent me over the edge. I was drinking and started using drugs and as time wore on I didn’t like the person I could see myself becoming. I’d had suicidal thoughts in the past, but this was the first time I planned what I was going to do in any detail. I rehearsed it and rationalised it in my mind.”

Luckily, the father-of-three survived, and the shock of what he’d done later made him realise he wanted to live and desperately needed help.

Eight years on, Derek is in a much happier place after receiving treatment, changing careers and meeting his second wife. The 40-year-old now uses his personal experience to help others – working as a peer support worker with mental health charity SAMH in North Lanarkshire.

In his spare time, Derek also volunteers for MindTheMen – a voluntary group which meets weekly in Springburn and Partick.

He said: “There is still a stigma around suicide and mental health issues. I felt guilt and shame about what I’d done, because it would have hurt others, but I also had a sense of relief that it hadn’t worked. I still have my bad days, but I know my triggers and how to manage them. I get a lot from using my personal experiences to help other guys open up about their own mental ill-health and thoughts of suicide.”

MindTheMen was set up by Gary Macdonald in memory of his cousin, Grant, who died by suicide. The group was set up as a legacy to Grant with flyers, t-shirts and wristbands bearing the club slogan, #supportgranted.

Men aged 18 to 80 years, from all walks of life attend. On the first night at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Peel Street, Partick, – 31 men walked through the door. A new branch in Springburn Community Hub in the shopping centre is also helping men in the North of the city. Both groups meet on Mondays from 7pm-9pm.

Father-of-three, Derek, said: “There is a lot of toxic masculinity in society today, which suggests big boys don’t cry or it’s weak to admit you need help. That’s utter rubbish and it’s costing lives. We have a phrase that’s been used more and more at MindTheMen, it’s very simple and very powerful  – It’s Not Weak to Speak.”

MindTheMen is a suicide prevention peer-to-peer support group where men can meet in a safe place, talk openly, be listened to and feel supported. It is not a crisis service. The volunteer facilitators have all received suicide prevention training and will signpost men to help. But anyone who needs urgent, immediate help should contact their GP, The Samaritans or Breathing Space.

MindTheMen is confidential and free. No one need give their real name and everyone is guaranteed a warm welcome. Free tea and coffee are also on offer. Find out more on Facebook or twitter @mindthemen or go along to a meeting.

Derek said: “Anyone new walking through the door will be welcomed warmly by our facilitators and members.”

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KG Café introduces Meat Free Monday menu to complement Linda McCartney exhibition

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Visitors to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum are in for a treat as the venue’s KG Café serves up a new vegetarian menu to honour Linda McCartney and complement her retrospective, currently making its UK debut at the museum.

In a nod to one of the country’s pioneers in making meat free eating more mainstream, the Café run by Encore, the council’s hospitality and events service, is serving up vegetarian and vegan hot meals, soups and salads every Monday, as part of the wider Meat Free Monday campaign.

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Dishes including beer-battered tofu ‘n’ chips; sweet potato, red pepper and butternut squash coconut curry; rosemary and garlic-marinated pan-fried tempeh, and a vegetarian haggis burger make this a mouth-watering menu. This is addition to a selection of fresh sandwiches and cakes.

Ross McKenzie, senior operations manager for Encore, said “The decision to dish up more planet-friendly meals was informed by the growing popularity of meat free and plant based meals and increasingly a number of visitors to the KG Cafe were choosing or asking about veggie dishes. With the arrival of the Linda McCartney Retrospective it seemed like an ideal opportunity to change the menu and perhaps encourage people to try something different when visiting the museum.”

The scheme may extend beyond its current six month run if it proves a success with Café patrons.

Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign that aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of animal agriculture and industrial fishing.

The campaign encourages people to help slow climate change, conserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one plant-based day each week.

Linda was an acclaimed and prolific photographer while simultaneously transforming the world of meat free eating with her popular recipe books frozen vegetarian meal range.

Curated by Paul, Mary and Stella, the Linda McCartney Retrospective has already wowed audiences in Vienna, Montpellier and Seoul, but this will be the first time it has been seen in the UK. As well as a huge collection of Linda’s photography – including a section dedicated to the family’s time on the Mull of Kintyre – there is archive material including her photographic equipment and a diary from the 1960s, during the heyday of the Beatles.

Paul said: “It is really good having this exhibition in such a cool gallery in Glasgow. Linda would have been so proud of it being held in Scotland. She loved Scotland because it gave us a lot of fond memories, a lot of freedom and a lot of happy times. It is nice to have all of that encapsulated in the Kelvingrove exhibition.”

Linda McCartney Retrospective runs at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum from 5 July 2019 until 12 January 2020. Tickets cost £7, concessions £5, under-16s free.

Adjacent to the exhibition fans of Linda’s work can also snap up books, clothing jewellery bags and prints inspired by Linda McCartney and the MFM movement.

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Beauty / Health & Wellbeing Space to Let – Killearn

Killearn

Beauty / Health & Wellbeing Space to Let – Killearn
(next door to the Pharmacy) – Available October 2019

Killearn

Three single well-presented individual consulting rooms to let (might be let separately or as a whole).

Great opportunity for Dentists, Opticians, Physio, Beauty Therapists complimenting the local Health Centre.

Call 0141 843 4211 to get more details!