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Hopes distinctive design for life belt throw ropes will thwart thieves and vandals

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A new distinctive design for throw ropes attached to River Clyde life belts has been introduced with the aim of thwarting thieves and vandals.

Unique to Glasgow following consultation with rope makers, the yellow, orange and purple ropes are being added to city centre life belts following a successful campaign by Duncan and Margaret Spiers. The Glasgow couple have been pushing for enhanced river safety measures after their son Christopher accidently drowned in the Clyde in January 2016.

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Adding ropes to lifebelts makes the belts easier to use in emergency situations and increases their life saving potential, but the throw ropes are regularly stolen while lifebelts are also routinely vandalised.

In April this year the council trialled the addition of standard throw ropes to 22 city centre life belts, but following a spate of thefts in July only seven remained in place. Since July a further 30 standard ropes have been attached to city centre lifebelts but at the most recent count, 23 had been stolen.

By adopting a unique and distinctive design for throw ropes, it is hoped that thieves will be deterred from taking a readily identifiable piece of life saving equipment from the banks of the Clyde. In total 70 ropes have been installed on to lifebelts between Albert Bridge at the east of the city centre and Bell’s Bridge in the west.

Andy Waddell, chair of the multi-agency Glasgow Water Safety Group, which has helped to steer the introduction of the ropes, expressed his disbelief that anyone could compromise the rescue of someone in distress in the water.

He said: “It is truly staggering that anyone could steal a life belt throw rope, knowing that it could put someone’s life at risk. Sadly this is an issue that has historically dogged Glasgow and shame should be heaped upon those who undermine the city’s river safety.

“But by creating a distinct and recognisable throw rope, is intended that anyone who takes one of these ropes is identifying themselves as a thief. We hope the design of the throw rope deters the thieves. Otherwise anyone spotted with one of these ropes fully deserves the scorn that comes their way. If anyone sees someone with one of these ropes they should contact the police as it’s been stolen.”

Following the campaign by Duncan and Margaret Spiers, purple thread was added to the rope in memory of their son Christopher, who was only 28-years-old when he died. Duncan and Margaret both joined Andy to install the first of the new throw ropes at a lifebelt station on the walkway next to Clyde Street. In total 70 ropes have been installed on to lifebelts between Albert Bridge at the east of the city centre and Bell’s Bridge in the west.

Duncan said: “The death of Christopher is something that we have to live with every day. But we have wanted to turn our loss into something positive and we are doing everything we can to make our rivers as safe as possible.

“Christopher was only in the water for a matter of minutes and emergency services were right there at the time. So every second counts and adding the throw ropes to the lifebelts can make all the difference. Even if the life belt doesn’t reach the person in the water on the first throw, the rope means they can try again until the person hopefully makes it to safety.

“But if a rope is missing and you then have try another lifebelt, it is very easy to lose sight of someone in the water and in that short time that person could easily lose their life. A throw rope is cheap, but a life is precious. Taking ropes or lifebelts is costing lives and people need to think twice before doing this.”

“We are really grateful to the Water Safety Group for the backing they have given our campaign. If the ropes are successful in Glasgow then we hope they can be used by other local authorities too.”

As part of the throw rope initiative, enhanced CCTV support is also being put in place in an effort to identify the culprits who steal the ropes.

New buoyancy throwbags are also being introduced along the river, which are lighter and easier to throw to someone in the water.

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Public to vote for favourite Best Bar None Venue

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Glasgow residents and visitors to the city are being urged to vote for their favourite Best Bar None venue.

Best Bar None Glasgow (BBNG) – the annual awards initiative which works with the licensed trade to make premises in the city safer and more enjoyable – is seeking nominations from the public for its People’s Choice award.

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Best Bar None Glasgow gives venues throughout the city the opportunity to demonstrate that they operate to high standards.

The ‘People’s Choice’ award will celebrate the best venue in the city to consistently strive to reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour by providing the safest and most comfortable environment for its customers and staff, based on the principles of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.

Those who submit a nomination will also be automatically entered into competition to win tea for two at Champagne Central in Grand Central Hotel.

Nominations can be made via www.bbnglasgow.com until Sunday 17 November.  Only 2019’s participating BBNG venues will be on the list.

Lise Fisher, Operations Manager at Glasgow City Council which runs the Best Bar None Glasgow initiative, said: “We’re always looking for new ways in which we can ensure the Best Bar None initiative works to its maximum potential for Glasgow to make the city a safer place at night.

“The People’s Choice award is a great example of that, and we’re very much looking forward to directly involving the public in the awards.”

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Processions consultation launched

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GLASWEGIANS are being asked their views on parades and public processions.

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The city council today [Friday, 1 November] launched an online questionnaire for city residents, groups and businesses as part of a wider consultation on processions.

Those taking part are asked a variety of questions regarding such events – including whether they have a positive or negative impact on their local community.

The online questionnaire is open to everyone in the city and will run until December 23.

The council is also working with experts Ipsos Mori to carry out further work, including focus-groups and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders – including organisations that regularly hold public processions.

Data from every part of the consultation process will be fed back into the review of parades and processions announced by the council in September, with a report likely to go before members in the New Year.

Participants are NOT asked whether they believe parades should or should not be permitted, as this lies beyond the council’s legal powers.

The questionnaire can be accessed via the council’s online consultation hub from today.

https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/consultations

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Council approves Glasgow’s £500million housing investment plan for next five years

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Glasgow City Council has approved the Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for the city for the 2020-25 period, and will now submit this plan to the Scottish Government as the council aims to potentially bring around £500million of investment into the building of new affordable homes and improving the quality and condition of existing housing in the city.

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The SHIP for Glasgow outlines the city’s priorities and resources available for investing in housing, and does so to achieve the ambitions and housing supply targets of the Glasgow Housing Strategy (GHS).

 

The GHS has two main themes: increasing the supply and improving the quality of housing available to the people of Glasgow, and improving access to appropriate housing.  The strategy also has six strategic priorities: new-build housing and area regeneration; the management, maintenance and improvement of existing housing; raising private rented sector standards; the tackling of fuel poverty, energy inefficiency and climate change; improved access to housing across all tenures; and the promotion of health and wellbeing.

 

Glasgow’s SHIP has its own priorities, informed by the GHS, including: quality in design; community benefits; ensuring best value for money; and meeting diverse needs.  Some of these needs mean that specific targets are set in the building of new affordable homes – such as 10% of all new homes are required to be wheelchair readily adaptable, and 60 new family sized homes with four or more bedrooms have to be delivered each year (to help address the needs for larger family houses for homeless people).

 

The SHIP for the 2020/21 – 2024/25 period in Glasgow was developed through consultation with the council’s housing partners, including housing associations, private developers, the voluntary sector, and other organisations with an interest in housing policy and delivery.  The council will work with these partners to deliver the SHIP.

 

Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm at Glasgow City Council, said: “The building of new high-quality, sustainable and affordable homes – and improving existing ones – is key not only to improving the quality of life for many Glaswegians, and helping to ensure everyone has housing appropriate to their needs, but also creates the sustainable and inclusive mixed-tenure communities that will allow Glasgow to thrive in the future.  The approval of the Strategic Housing Investment Plan means we can move to the next stage of delivering thousands of these homes to Glasgow over the next five years, with all the inclusive growth, economic, social and environmental benefits that this will bring.”

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Glasgow’s new Investment Strategy to bring in more and better-quality jobs

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Glasgow City Council today (31 October) approved the new Investment Strategy and Action Plan for the city, a ‘road map’ for Glasgow’s investment activities.

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The strategy – for the period up until 2023 – sets out how Invest Glasgow and partners will work together to ensure that Glasgow is promoted as a sustainable location of choice for investors in order to bring more and better quality jobs, and to boost fair work and productivity.

 

A key feature of the new and more comprehensive strategy and action plan is the change from the former title of Inward Investment to Investment Strategy, in order to reflect the duel requirement to bring FDI (foreign direct investment) for jobs as well as capital for sustainable infrastructure and development to the city.  Both are essential to support our key sectors and create the conditions for inclusive growth, as exemplified by the Barclays investment at Buchanan Wharf in Tradeston.

 

The new strategy has enabled Invest Glasgow to revisit and reset targets, with a good example being the revision of the jobs target in the strategy increasing from 10,000 to 15,000 – on the basis that between 2016 and 2019 more than 8,000 jobs have been created in Glasgow from inward investment, with this figure not including the bulk of the new Barclays jobs at Buchanan Wharf.  This new target, despite the possible impact of Brexit, is nevertheless deemed achievable.

 

This new strategy – which was developed by the council and its partners – will support the fair work programme with a pledge to ensure that Glasgow encourages only those investors who are aligned with the city’s fair work principles including, but not limited to: no zero hours contracts; paying the Glasgow Living Wage as a minimum; and the pursuit of equality and job quality.

 

The Investment Strategy is an update of the inward investment strategy for the city that was launched in November 2016 as part of the Glasgow Economic Strategy, which saw the council’s Invest Glasgow team work with Scottish Development International (SDI) to attract FDI from key markets in Europe, North America and the Far East.

 

The new strategy sets out how Invest Glasgow and partners will work together to ensure that Glasgow is promoted as a sustainable location of choice for investors in order to bring more and better quality jobs, and to boost fair work and productivity.

 

Invest Glasgow and partners will also work closely with developers and investors to promote Glasgow as a city which invites only the highest standards of design quality and development which preserves and protects our built and natural heritage.

 

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and City Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth, said: “This is our new road map to ensuring we can bring even more high-quality, sustainable jobs to the city and benefit the wider economy of Glasgow.  We are confident that the new strategy will help attract 15,000 new jobs by 2023, a 50% increase on the original target.  In addition, updating our investment aims will help to create an environment where Fair Work principles are adopted by employers as standard. We have always said we need to create prosperity which all our citizens can share in and this is a step towards that.”

 

The Invest Glasgow team will help deliver the ambitious goals – raising the city’s investment and business profile; move Glasgow up existing rankings and establish a foothold in other relevant rankings and indices; and identify specific audiences, reports and markets to target in order to improve the visibility Glasgow’s business strengths and industry specialisms – of the new strategy and action plan.

 

Invest Glasgow will also use the www.investglasgow.com website to promote Glasgow as a Fair Work City.

 

Today’s approval of the new Glasgow Investment Strategy will be followed by the refresh of the Glasgow Economic Strategy, to be presented by the Leader of Glasgow City Council at the State of the City Conference on 22 November.

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Glasgow housing transfer scheme to give homes appropriate for people’s needs

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The promotion of a Glasgow Housing Transfer Incentive Scheme was approved by Glasgow City Council today to both make best use of the city’s existing housing supply and meet the needs of the increasing number of large homeless families in temporary accommodation.

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The scheme will allow the council to work with housing associations in the city to help existing tenants to move into the right size of property for their housing needs and release larger properties within the social rented sector for homeless families to access.

 

A key priority in the council’s Glasgow Housing Strategy is the identification of the needs for a large family home – four bedrooms or more, for a family of six people or more – as the demand for larger family houses is increasing due to the number of larger homeless families living in temporary accommodation, living in the private rented sector and affected by welfare reforms and overcrowding.

 

The Housing Transfer Incentive Scheme can help release large housing association homes by encouraging people in ‘under-occupied’ (by two rooms or more) housing to downsize to appropriately-sized homes, with households supported – if this is their choice – through this potential process.

 

The council’s decision today will now see discussions taking place between the council and housing associations in Glasgow on the promotion and implementation of the ‘test for change’ city-wide incentive scheme that promotes the following:

•           identifies large housing association properties (four bedrooms or greater) that are currently under-occupied;

•           encourages and helps people to move to a home that meets their needs in terms of size whilst ensuring that such moves are an independent choice;

•           identifies a suitable support provider to provide information and advice to tenants to make the right decision and sign post residents to get the practical help and support they need when moving to a property more suitable to their housing needs; and

•           provides a cash incentive to tenants by assisting tenants with the housing removal costs, decoration and floor covering costs of the new property

 

Research shows that there are a number of health and wellbeing benefits for people moving to a property more suitable to their housing needs.  These include positive health benefits and making it easier for the residents to maintain independent living; reduced housing costs if moving to a smaller home i.e. lower rental charge, council tax and less expensive energy costs; and potentially tackling loneliness and isolation issues as moving home can feel like a new start (particularly if friends or family are nearby).

 

It is thought that savings of up to £59,000 for each larger household could be made by implementing the scheme, as this will be achieved through the significant reduction in the length of stay for larger families residing in temporary homeless accommodation and will also prevent larger families from overcrowding in temporary accommodation.

 

The scheme will be funded through the Glasgow City Council Second Homes Council Tax budget, with this funding being made available to the city’s housing associations, who will meet all removal, decoration and floor covering costs for residents through this support.

 

Councillor Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm at Glasgow City Council, said: “The Glasgow Housing Transfer Incentive Scheme could not only help larger families find homes that meet their needs, reducing homelessness and bringing savings, but also allow older people and others who wish to downsize to a more appropriate home to gain socially and financially.”

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Book Week Scotland, Monday 18 November – Sunday 24 November

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Scottish Book Trust today launched Book Week Scotland’s 2019 programme with comic book artist Frank Quitely of DC Comics All Star Superman and Batman and Robin fame. Book Week Scotland, the country’s biggest celebration of reading and writing, returns for its eight year with hundreds of events taking place all over Scotland from intimate community gatherings to flagship events with well-loved authors. A special book, Blether, created from real-life stories submitted by members of the public was also unveiled.

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Working with a wide range of partners, Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, will deliver a diverse range of events and activities, many tying in with the Year of Conversation, including the Digital Festival with free events that can be accessed online by all.

100,000 free copies of the Blether book, celebrating the theme of conversation, will be available from libraries and other community venues during Book Week Scotland. The free book can also be ordered via Scottish Book Trust’s website, which features each and every personal story submitted by the people of Scotland. A selection of 30 stories are featured in the book, which also includes work from Still Game actor Jane McCarry; Hings author Chris McQueer, The Boxer author Nikesh Shukla and Bird Summons author Leila Aboulela.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “Book Week Scotland brings people of all ages and walks of life together to share and enjoy books; it is a week of books and reading for everyone. We have an exciting range of inspiring, unusual and accessible events with a diverse mix of authors, writers and illustrators. This year we are celebrating the theme of conversation in all its forms, from a wee blether to the life changing heart-to-heart. We hope you can join us at a local Book Week Scotland event, or online through our Digital Festival.”

During Book Week Scotland there are hundreds of free events taking place across many different local authorities, funded by Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC). In Glasgow, there is a selection of interesting events for Book Week Scotland, including:

Jim Carruth and Niall O’Gallagher – Poetry Blether at GoMA

Tuesday 19 November, 12.45pm  – 1.45pm

Library at GoMa, Royal Exchange Square

Free – Unticketed

Join Jim Carruth and Niall O’Gallagher for a poetry blether in English and Gaelic. A fantastic opportunity to hear these two Glasgow makars together in conversation and read their work at the Gallery of Modern Art. Jim Carruth is well known as Glasgow’s Makar and Niall is the first Bàrd Baile Ghlaschu, Glasgow’s Gaelic poet laureate.

Blether (Women only)

Thursday 21 November, 12.30pm – 2.30pm

Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy Street, Glasgow

Paid/Free – Ticketed

Everyone knows we love nothing more than a good blether at Story Café! Comedian Lubna Kerr will share funny stories of being a Scottish Asian Women including her transition from “working as a pharmacist – one of the top professions according to South Asian mums – to a career in comedy and acting”. Pull up a chair and join us for an afternoon of laughter!

Tomorrow’s Kitchen – A Community Meal

Thursday 21 November, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Windsor Community, 1 Windsor Street

Paid – Ticketed

Organised by one of Scottish Book Trust’s Emerging Programmers, Tomorrow’s Kitchen is a sharing and exploration of recipes, ingredients and the multiculturalism present within Glasgow. The community meal will test out for the very first time a series of new (creative) recipes for you and the community to try as well as sharing food-related stories that might be folkloric, poetic, political and more. We welcome you to eat with us, listen with us and share some of your own food thoughts with us! The community meal is part of a larger Tomorrow’s Kitchen project creating a cookbook graphic novel authored by the community. For more information on the wider project look here: www.kueche.co.uk.

 

Peter Mortimer – A Glasgow Blether

Thursday 21 November, 6pm – 7pm

Bridgeton Library, 2-16 Orr Street

Free – Unticketed

Do you remember dancing at the Dennistoun Palais or prancin’ at the Plaza? Did you go to the Empire theatre or the Olympia cinema? Is your old school still standing or has it disappeared into the mists of time? Why not come along for a stroll down memory lane? Local historian Peter Mortimer will give an illustrated talk on the disappearing buildings of old Glasgow with a chance for you to join in the blether.

Zine the Archive!

Friday 22 November, 1pm – 2.30pm

Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy Street

Free – Ticketed

Learn to write and bind your own zine! In this workshop, we’ll transform copies of archival material from the Women’s Aid Archive into hand-bound zines. During the first half of the workshop, we’ll use archival material to tell our own stories, crafting poetry or prose through the inspirational material housed at the library. You’ll then learn how to hand-bind your stories into miniature books using traditional bookbinding techniques. This event is open to all.

Oor Wullie and Friends

Saturday 23 November, 11am – 12pm

The Mitchell Library, 201 North Street

Free – Unticketed

Join Cuilean Craicte and illustrator Tom Morgan-Jones for fun and games with Uilleam Againne (Oor Wullie) and friends – in Gaelic! Draw along with Tom, try some of Uilleam’s favourite games and listen carefully so you can answer the quiz questions at the end for a chance to win a soor ploom or two! This event is suitable for ages 6–10 years.

The Novels That Shaped Our World

Saturday 23 November, 12pm – 1pm

The Mitchell Library, North Street

Ticket information

To mark the 300th anniversary of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, a new BBC television series to be broadcast this autumn will explore the novels that have shaped our world. The BBC will host a Novels That Shaped Our World event, complementing the new three-part BBC Two TV series. BBC Arts will be asking guests to discuss the novels that have shaped their worlds, from the established classics to the popular contemporary hits, and possibly some interesting surprises. Featuring award-winning crime writer Denise Mina.

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland said:

“From the Gruffalo to gardening and crime to cookery, there’s something for everyone in Book Week Scotland. There are so many ways to get involved – online or in venues across the country, from telephone boxes to local libraries, where you’ll find books in English, Gaelic, Scots and other languages as well as audio books, e-books, braille books and more. With a huge range of partners across the length and breadth of Scotland hosting an incredible programme of events, we hope the whole country has a blast blethering about books and stories.”

 

Pamela Tulloch, Chief Executive of The Scottish Library & Information Council (SLIC) said:

“Libraries across Scotland will be joining in the Book Week Scotland celebrations, meaning everyone has the opportunity to get involved. Libraries offer the perfect place to celebrate the joy of reading and, with a range of digital resources available, people can use their local library to get involved in the Digital Festival. In keeping with the Year of Conversation, libraries are trusted spaces where people can connect with others and engage in new experiences. Get along to your local library and get involved.”

Book Week Scotland also features a fundraising initiative, Big Book Swap, to support Scottish Book Trust.  Join hundreds of schools, workplaces and community groups on Friday 22 November to swap books and raise money to help Scottish Book Trust to continue to support people in Scotland to reach their potential through reading and writing. To sign up and receive your free fundraising guide, visit Big Book Swap.

The Book Week Scotland 2019 programme is available to view in full here.

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City’s Universal credit support hubs bring £15million in financial gains

Around 5000 of Glasgow’s most financially insecure citizens have boosted their incomes through the support they’ve received from Glasgow’s Universal Credit Support Hubs.

 

This has meant more than £15.2million in financial gains to the city for people, both in and out of work, who are entitled to welfare benefits.

 

Located in 19 libraries and community centres across the city, the hubs, staffed by UC advisors, have assisted 4966 people since September 2018 and the service currently sees an average of 320 appointments every month.

 

With claims having to be made and maintained mostly online, many claimants also used the services on more than one occasion to assist further with their claims enquiries. So far approximately 12,000 appointments have been made by people looking for help and advice.

 

The figures were revealed as Councillor Allan Gow, city treasurer, visited one of the UC hubs in Elderpark Library, in Govan, to hear first-hand from staff about the range of help and support they are providing to people on the receiving end of the UC migration and what sort of issues they are being presented with on a daily basis.

 

During his visit he met Jen Calley Universal Credit advisor, from Glasgow Life, who has been working in the hubs for more than a year.

 

Councillor Gow also met Robbie Bryan. Citizens Advice Bureau Advisor and Sharon Cardno. client support assistant from Jobs & Business Glasgow, just a couple of the other partners co-located in the libraries, who receive onward referrals from the UC advisors.

 

He also met a couple who had come in to seek help with their UC claim and needed further assistance with housing as they were likely to be made homeless in a month, if they couldn’t find an alternative.

 

Councillor Gow, said: “This visit was really informative for me. This model was innovative and a bit of a gamble for us, but it is working. Without the hubs I’ve no doubt, and this has been backed up with what I’ve heard today, that many, many, of our citizens would be lost and would be struggling, without this help.

 

“The figures speak for themselves. People are using the services and are receiving the support they need, from a range of different partners. However, this is not simply about UC but about holistic support; referring and signposting people to other sources of help as living on low income is often caused by and causes a myriad of interlinked problems.

 

“From speaking to frontline staff I’ve come away with some thoughts on how we might add value to what we currently offer and how we could improve things, especially around language barriers, and the need for translation service and interpreters. Also what other services might we want to partner up with or see co-locate with in the hubs.

 

The environment is constantly moving and we need to move with it. Of course there are are statutory, financial and operational limits with what we can do, but this kind of partnership working really maximises and multiplies the benefit of what we are doing.”

 

 

The council’s Universal Credit Support project was put in place to help some of our most vulnerable citizen’s cope with the change from legacy benefits to the new Universal Credit system.

 

Through carrying out individual needs assessments UC advisors have referred many clients on to basic digital skills classes, to ensure that they can maintain their claim online as well other co-located partner support including Citizens Advice, Jobs & Business Glasgow and Housing Benefits and wider support from GHeat, One Parent Families Scotland, local foodbanks, Glasgow Disability Alliance and Money Matters.

 

The visit was part of the council’s involvement in Challenge Poverty Week. A national week, led by the Poverty Alliance, where organisations large and small, public and private support activities around showing the reality of poverty, challenging stereotypes, highlighting solutions and increasing public support to solve poverty.

Universal Credit brings together a range of working-age benefits into a single streamlined payment. Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.

Anyone that needs to claim Housing Benefit, Employment Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Income Support needs to make an online claim for Universal Credit.

 

It is likely to take until 2023 to migrate all existing claimants to the new benefit.

 

Last February the council agreed a £2m budget to support a range of agencies in the city to deliver expanded financial and digital inclusion services focusing on implications that might emerge from Universal Credit full service roll-out in Glasgow

 

The libraries, run by Glasgow Life, use their network to provide information, digital skills and support – with intensive training to ensure staff are ready to help UC claimants. This includes making all library PCs available for online applications and creating space within libraries to allow partner organisations to co-locate within communities.

 

The Universal Credit Hubs are in Anniesland, Bridgeton, Castlemilk, Cranhill Community Centre, Drumchapel, Darnley Community Centre, Easterhouse, Elderpark, Gorbals, Govanhill, Ibrox, Knightswood, Maryhill, Partick, Pollok, Pollokshaws, Royston, Shettleston and Springburn Libraries.

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New Settled Homes for Former Hostel Residents

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Thirty-four formerly homeless people are settling into new homes following the closure of Glasgow hostels.

Paul Gallacher is among people who have been found settled mainstream tenancies under Glasgow’s Housing First initiative.

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The 47-year-old has moved into a one bedroom tenement flat in Tollcross, the area he grew up in, and is now in the process of decorating and furnishing his new home with support from his case worker.

Paul became homeless after a chain of events sparked by the end of his eight year marriage in 2007.

The former painter and decorator, who suffers from anxiety and depression, said: “I had it all – a house, a family, a caravan in the drive and foreign holidays. But my life was destroyed in the blink of an eye.”

After the split, the father-of-one sought solace in alcohol and later returned to Glasgow to live with his mum and dad in the East End.

A hand injury halted his decorating career and tensions caused by his drinking, meant he could no longer stay with his parents following an argument in April 2018.

Paul got in touch with Glasgow’s homelessness services and was found temporary accommodation – latterly moving to a hostel in Tollcross where he spent nine months.

The closure of the hostel in Carmyle Avenue is part of Glasgow’s Housing First strategy which involves moving away from hostel accommodation to quickly providing settled mainstream accommodation for people with complex needs such as drug and alcohol addictions.

Intensive support from case workers helps people maintain their tenancies – advocating on their behalf with utility companies, the DWP and other agencies about household bills etc. In a partnership approach, this help is co-ordinated with support for any health or medical conditions people have.

Paul, who suffers from seizures, said: “Being homeless was terrible. At the hostel I just had a wee room, which was about the third of the size of my new living room, a tiny kitchenette and a shared bathroom.

“Now I’ve got this flat and all this space. My flat’s in the area where I wanted to live and I don’t have to share a bathroom – mine even has a new suite fitted. In the hostel the ceilings were so low I could reach up and touch them. Here I have high ceilings.

“At first, I was worried when I heard the hostel was closing, but the other night I was sitting on my sofa watching TV and I suddenly realised, I don’t have to worry anymore. I’m happy with what they (homelessness services) have found me.”

£1500 from Social Bite has helped him furnish his flat, which is rented from Tollcross Housing Association, and his parents are helping him to fit his carpets and put up shelves and blinds.

Support from his Housing First case worker is helping Paul adjust to independent living –  living alone after being in a busy hostel surrounded by other people can be a major adjustment for people.

Paul said: “This is a big step for me, but also a responsibility. I’ve got to take care of myself. I can settle down and get a new partner. I can see more of my daughter who is 18 now and my mum and dad have been round every day to help me get organised.”

Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership recently closed several hostels with accommodation unfit for the 21st century as part of its service modernisation. Residents were found alternative accommodation including Housing First tenancies.

Councillor Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow’s Convenor for Health & Social Care, said: “I’m delighted that the city’s Housing First programme is enabling formerly homeless people with complex needs to move out of hostels which were unfit for the 21st century into their own settled tenancies. The intensive support provided under the scheme is also helping people re-adjust to independent living and maintain their tenancies – avoiding the cycle of repeat homelessness.

“The hostel closures are part of plans to improve and modernise the city’s homelessness services and get people into settled homes faster. Going forward, we will still need temporary accommodation for crisis situations, but our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan aims to ensure that is of a better quality. Organisations which previously provided hostel accommodation are still able to provide support, but to people living in their own homes.”

Caption: – Paul Gallacher is enjoying his new home following the closure of a hostel in Tollcross.

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Life-Saving Nasal Sprays to Help Prevent Fatal Overdoses

The new Naloxone nasal sprays will be easier to use than traditional injection kits

Special nasal spray are to be issued to staff in Glasgow’s homelessness services in a bid to prevent fatal drugs overdoses.

Frontline staff in the city’s homeless units will be trained to use Naloxone sprays which can help prevent deaths among drug users. Although staff are familiar with the use of Naloxone, the sprays are an alternative to existing injection kits.

The new Naloxone nasal sprays will be easier to use than traditional injection kits

Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) is introducing the sprays in response to the rising number of fatal overdoses.

In January, GCHSCP was so concerned, it took the unprecedented step of issuing a warning about the risks posed by poly drug use, particularly the rise in cheap Street Valium pills (Etizolam) – especially if mixed with heroin or alcohol.

Staff within GCHSCP services have been shocked and saddened by the unprecedented number of deaths among services users whom they work with closely. The Partnership is also introducing counselling, training and support for employees affected by such tragedies.

Councillor Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow’s Convener for Health & Social Care, said: “Glaswegians have been shocked by the unprecedented drugs deaths figures. Addictions and Homelessness services are doing all they can to help people whose addiction is so severe they are undeterred by the risk of HIV, anthrax, amputations and even death. The scale of the deaths is a human tragedy devastating friends and relatives of the victims, I am also acutely aware of the emotional toll on frontline staff, including those in Addictions and Homelessness services, who work closely with those most at risk.

“This is the first time the GHSCP has had access to Naloxone nasal sprays and the hope is that, by training staff to use them, they can act quickly to save lives in the event of an emergency. This new way of administering the drug, which can revive people, is less daunting than having to give someone an injection.”

Glasgow’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership is currently developing an action plan in a bid to reduce drugs deaths and a national taskforce involving several Glasgow specialists will also address this complex issue. The city continues to lobby Westminster for a change in the law which would enable the creation of a Safer Drug Consumption Facility which could help save lives and reduces the impact of drug use on communities.

Drug use is prohibited in homeless units.