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New Birth Registration Scheme Makes it Easier for Glasgow Babies to Have the Best Start

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Bringing a baby into the world is wonderful but can also put a strain on your finances. Now, a new scheme that links the council’s birth registration process to benefit entitlement ensures that no new parent, that meets the eligibility criteria, leaves council offices, without being given the opportunity to make an application.

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So far more than 200 families in the city have been helped to apply for the Best Start Grant (BSG) and staff expect to be assisting around 30 families per week, some of whom were unaware of the grant, to apply for the payment they are entitled to.

The changes mean the council can support new parents, sometimes with a host of other things on their mind, to apply for BSG. They also provide digital support, where needed, with the online application process.

Best Start Grants provide lower-income families with financial support during the key early years of a child’s life. They replace and expand on the UK Government’s Sure Start Maternity Grant by providing entitled families with £600 on the birth of their first child and £300 on the birth of any subsequent children.

The council’s new system is held up as an example of best practice in a local authority by Social Security Scotland. It includes a number of questions being asked when people make an appointment to register the birth of their child, which must be done within 21 days in Scotland.

These answers allow staff to determine at the appointment stage if the parents meet the qualifying criteria for the first stage of the BSG, the pregnancy and baby payment, or if they have already applied.

Confirmation messages then tell them what they need to bring to their appointment for the registration and additional information for the online BSG application.

On the day, once seen by the registrars, customer service agents can help to complete the online application form.

Applicants need to be receiving one or more benefits including Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit, Income Support, Pension Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) to qualify.

City Treasurer, Councillor Allan Gow, said: “By changing the way we work and linking our internal processes we are able to identify parents that are eligible for this payment, but may have been unaware of it.

“When you have a new baby finding out about benefit entitlement, filling in forms and applications and remembering documentation is probably at the bottom of the ‘To Do’ list! For some, completing an online form can also be a daunting prospect. Our staff help simplify things and overcome the barriers to making an application, making sure parents get what they are entitled to and that can help get things off to a good start.”

Council officers are now also looking at how they can increase the uptake of other BSG payments as this summer the Scottish Government are looking to introduce two additional payments of £250, per child, to help with the costs of early learning and when they start school.

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Woman’s Hour Craft Prize comes to The Lighthouse in Glasgow

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A new exhibition at The Lighthouse in Glasgow – Woman’s Hour Craft Prize – showcases the work of the 12 finalist of the inaugural prize, a collaboration between BBC Radio 4, the Crafts Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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The exhibition opens on 30 March.

 

The prize was established to find and celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft practitioner or designer-maker in the UK, and seeks to reward originality and excellence in concept, design and process.

 

The work on display includes handwoven willow structures, futuristic glass figures and carefully darned clothing to bespoke bicycles and unfired clay installations.  The pieces exhibited explore issues as varied as consumer culture, identity and heritage.

 

The winner of the inaugural prize was ceramicist Phoebe Cummings.

 

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome this exhibition to The Lighthouse, one not to miss for the many people who are interested in craft and designer-making.  The work on display comes from some of the finest practitioners in the UK.”

 

More information on the exhibition, which runs from 30 March – 26 May, is available at: http://www.thelighthouse.co.uk/visit/exhibition/womans-hour-craft-prize.

 

The exhibition tour was organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize is in association with BBC Radio 4 and the Craft Council

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Glasgow’s care services staff pledge to make a difference to dementia sufferers and their carers

Glasgows Health and Social Care Partnership

Care Services staff within Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership will, this week, take part in specific engagement sessions to help them understand and acknowledge the contribution they make to people affected by dementia.

The series of talks, given by Tommy Whitelaw from the Health and Social Care Alliance, will be delivered to staff who care for and provide services to more than 10,000 service users across the city, many of whom have the condition.

Research suggests that there is around 8,000 people with varying stages of dementia in Glasgow and each year around 800 people receive a diagnosis.

Glasgows Health and Social Care Partnership

Tommy travels the length and breadth of the country as part of the You Can Make a Difference campaign, working to raise promote the importance of kindness, empathy and patience when supporting people living with dementia and their carers.

He encourages health and social care professionals to reflect on the importance of their role in caring for people with dementia and urges them to think about how, having time to reflect on their own past experiences and interactions, they can make a difference to the lives of those affected by the condition.

Tommy, cared for his late mother with the condition and uses both his own experiences and recounts those of other people, from family carers to social care and health professionals, as part of the sessions. In his powerful talk, he describes in his own words about their daily struggles and how the compassion and understanding of a district nurse helped him and his mother through their darkest days.

Each talk will be adapted to fit each particular audience, whether they interact directly with service users and their families or carers, or indirectly. This includes home carers, overnight home carers, carers responding to community alarms, call handling staff, assessors, managers, technicians, coordinators and support staff.

The session asks different groups of staff to consider what matters to people, rather than what’s the matter with the people. Tommy then asks what, as an individual, will do now to make a difference and what support do you need in your workplace to make that difference.

Findings from the sessions will feed into an improvement plan and pledges will be recorded on the leaves of the ‘Dementia Tree’ to act as a visual reminder of our You Can Make a Difference campaign in care services.

Tommy said: “Good care is all about people and relationships. It’s about the compassion and understanding shown by the person who knocks on your door every day of the week.

“I want to remind staff of the value in supporting people to live in their own homes, in their communities, for as long as they can and that only happens with good care.

“Our talks are an ideal opportunity for health and social care staff to pause and reflect on what is really important to the people in their care. As our real life stories and case studies show, a small pledge can make a huge difference. I hope it can remind staff why they chose their profession and inspire them for the future.”

Following one of Tommy’s talks, Jackie Nixon, who’s worked in care services for 27 years, said; “Tommy’s presentation was a really moving and personal. He described stumbling through and feeling alone and isolated until they found the kindness and understanding, that they both needed. It’s such a hard subject to talk about caring for a loved one that can’t care for themselves.”

Ruben Wilson, a care services coordinator, echoed this saying; “I agree, I felt quite emotional listening to Tommy’s experience and the others he highlighted. Although we as individuals can take steps to listen to and support our clients and their carers, it is also about how we work with each other, as a team, to make a difference. Whether you are front line care givers in people’s homes or working in a supportive function we can all take something away from today.”

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Sighthill Circle stands again as symbol of the rebirth of a Glasgow community

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Today (20 March) was a landmark date in the £250million regeneration of Sighthill in Glasgow, with the Sighthill Circle restored exactly 40 years after the stones were first erected.

 

The Sighthill Circle was first completed at the Spring Equinox of 1979, through the then Glasgow Parks Department Astronomy Project, and guided by the Scottish author Duncan Lunan.  This was the first stone circle to be created in the UK in over 3,000 years.

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Glasgow City Council and contractors Morgan Sindall have been working very closely with Duncan on the re-erection of the Circle.

 

The standing stones of the Sighthill Circle were removed temporarily in April 2016 as part of the Sighthill Transformational Regeneration project for the area.  The stones and top layer of soil were removed as part of the remediation work to tackle land contamination there as a result of the area’s industrial past, and are now standing in their new resting place.

 

The Circle has been relocated within the new landscape, around 200 metres to the south-east of the former site and the original site that Duncan had chosen, however this location was not suitable back in 1979 due to the multi-storey flats then in the area obscuring the horizon sight lines.

 

The new location means that it is now correctly aligned astronomically – when first erected, this was the first stone circle to be created in the UK in over 3,000 years.

 

The Sighthill Circle’s location on a mound gives tremendous views of the city centre – underlining how close the area is to central Glasgow – and neighbouring communities as well as the Campsie Hills.

 

The regeneration of Sighthill is the biggest project of its kind in the UK outside of London, and in the coming years, the area, located immediately to the north-east of the city centre, will be transformed to create a community with:

 

  • almost 1000 new high-quality homes for sale and rent (141 GHA homes are already built and occupied) for the existing community and new residents;
  • a new community school campus with sports facilities, which will open in late 2019;
  • a new cyclist and pedestrian bridge across the M8, creating a ‘street in the sky’ to connect Sighthill with the nearby city centre;
  • a new road bridge across the railway line to link the communities of Sighthill and Port Dundas; and
  • improved parkland – the new park will create a landscape through Sighthill that includes open spaces, play areas, trim trails, recreation areas, paths and accessible water features – and allotments, commercial businesses and public spaces.  The new Sighthill Park will open in early 2020.

 

The Sighthill Circle is another symbol of the area’s regeneration, and can be viewed as a gateway to Sighthill on its south-east boundary.  It is expected that visitors should be able to come to the Circle from Summer 2020 onwards.

 

The regeneration of Sighthill had not been scheduled until the late 2020s, but as a result of the bid for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which would have supported the redevelopment of the area for the 2018 Athletes’ Village, the commitment to accelerate the regeneration was given by Glasgow City Council, GHA and the Scottish Government.  Although the 2018 bid was ultimately unsuccessful, its legacy is the regeneration of Sighthill is happening much more quickly than it would have otherwise done.

 

The regeneration of Sighthill – the Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Area (TRA) – is being delivered by Transforming Communities: Glasgow, a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association, the Scottish Government; and is part-funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

 

Bailie Jacquie McLaren, Chair of the Sighthill Local Delivery Group, said: “It is fantastic to see the stones of the Sighthill Circle standing once again, and they really are a symbol of a Glasgow neighbourhood undergoing tremendous change.  The Circle represents a connection between the area’s past and present, and will be a great attraction for locals and visitors as Sighthill continues its regeneration.  Beyond the circle, just some of the things we can look forward to at Sighthill over the next couple of years include a new park, a new community schools campus, and a landmark bridge over the M8.”

 

Duncan Lunan, science writer and Manager of the original Glasgow Parks Department Astronomy Project, said: “It has been quite moving to learn how much the circle has meant to so many people since we built it in 1979, and I hope they’ll come to it again at its new location, where it will be more visible and accessible.  On its specially created platform, this time the stones will stand at their true height, and several additional features have been added that were planned back in ’79.  Using the observations compiled over the last 40 years, and computing methods which weren’t available back then, the alignment of the stones will be still more accurate than before.  The contractors and the council have gone to great lengths to do that, so it’s exciting to see it all come together after so long.”

 

More information on the Sighthill TRA project, unusual in that very rarely is there regeneration on this scale so close to a city centre, is available at: www.glasgow.gov.uk/sighthill.

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TEENAGER TWINS CHOSEN TO LAUNCH THE 25TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS OF RACE FOR LIFE IN SCOTLAND

Cancer survivor Erin McCafferty with David Walliams at Britains' Got Talent auditions

COURAGEOUS teenager Erin McCafferty who beat cancer has been chosen with her twin sister Nicole to launch the 25th birthday celebrations of Race for Life in Scotland.

The twins shared almost everything together growing up but never the same birthday. Despite entering the world just 25 minutes apart, they were born on separate days with Erin arriving at 11.50pm on November 1 while Nicole was born in the early hours of November 2, 2000. But after Erin was diagnosed with leukaemia only three days before her 15thbirthday, Nicole vowed to do everything she could to share that heartache, standing by her every step of the way through treatment.

Cancer survivor Erin McCafferty with David Walliams at Britains' Got Talent auditions

Now Erin has been given the all clear, the twins are marking another milestone – the 25th birthday of Cancer Research UK Race for Life in Scotland. Scotland’s first Race for Life event was held in Glasgow in spring 1995. Since then, millions of pounds have been raised to fund vital research in to gentler and more effective treatments for cancer. Thousands are set to take to the streets again to take part in Scotland’s biggest Race for Life at Glasgow Green on May 19. Money raised will help scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease, helping save more lives.

And there’s a chance to join the Race for Life 25th birthday celebrations at a special event on Argyle Street, Glasgow on Saturday March 30 between 10am and 5.30pm. Shoppers can decorate a sign to say who they’ll join the Race for Life for this year as well as submit their entry for this year’s event and take part in some fun glitter face painting.

Erin, now 18, said: “I’ve just celebrated the first year of being cancer free and it’s been the best year of my life.

“Nicole may be my little sister by 25 minutes but she’s also been like a best friend.  I’m lucky to have a twin sister who I’m so close to. When I had my hair shaved off after I was losing it due to the side effects from chemotherapy it was Nicole who held me for ten minutes as we cried in the toilets. But I didn’t actually cry the first day I was told I had cancer. I think I was just in shock. When you’re a teenager you feel that you’re invincible. Cancer was something that happened to other people. It didn’t even enter my head that I might get the disease.

“Cancer made Nicole and I grow up very quickly. We got through it and now if we can help other people get through it then we’ll do everything we can.”

Every day, 88 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland and the number of people being diagnosed with cancer has now reached around 32,000 people every year.*

Erin of Carluke, South Lanarkshire, knows exactly how vital the power of research is. Erin was in her fourth year at Carluke High School when she first started feeling unwell, developing unexplained bruises and fainting on the way to school. She recalls vividly the moment her life was turned upside down on October 29, 2015, at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow after tests revealed she had acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Erin endured two and a half years of treatment including eight cycles of chemotherapy in total. Her lowest point was in May 2016 when a chest infection led to pneumonia and Erin was in the intensive care ward, watched over anxiously by her parents, Yvonne McCafferty and Vincent Mooney, both 47.

Erin in Race for Life tshirt

Erin said: “I thought I was going to die.

“I felt so terrible. I remember even saying to my mum that if this was really it then she should just let me go. I felt so unwell then but my consultant Dr Brenda Gibson was amazing, very calm and explained what we were going to do to get me well again.”

As Erin slowly recovered there were good days too. Her twin Nicole rallied family and friends to raise more than £31,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was fixed up for the twins to meet the Britain’s Got Talent stars including Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and comedian David Walliams and they also jetted to London to a gig where they met singer Olly Murs. But the greatest highpoint was on February 27 last year after Erin took her final chemotherapy pill and was able to ring the ‘End of Treatment bell’ at hospital. Now Erin is keen to train as a nurse to help others.

Erin said: “I was very scared in the early days when I got cancer and there were some really special, highly skilled nurses who stepped in to help me saying just the right thing at exactly the time I needed them to.

“I’d love to be that special person for someone else in the future and to give something back.”

Cancer Research UK has funded pioneering research in to understanding different types of childhood leukaemia, which has improved the way children are treated today, meaning more survive.

Organisers are appealing for Scots of all ages and abilities to stride out to help beat cancer with Scotland’s first Race for Life 5K and 10K events of the year kicking off in Stirling and South Queensferry on May 12, closely followed this spring by events across the country, everywhere from Edinburgh to Irvine, Falkirk to Fife. Scotland’s biggest Race for Life event is on Sunday May 19 at Glasgow Green.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK’s spokeswoman in Scotland, said: “We’d like to thank Erin and Nicole for helping us celebrate Race for Life Glasgow’s 25th birthday this spring.

“Our Race for Life events are fun, colourful, emotional and uplifting. They help people with cancer by raising money for research, including clinical trials which give patients across Scotland access to the latest treatments. You don’t have to be sporty to take part. You don’t need to train or compete against anyone else.  All you need to do is go to the Race for Life website, pick an event, sign up and then have fun raising money in whatever way you like.

“Taking part in our Race for Life events enables like-minded people to get together and remember loved ones lost to cancer or celebrate the lives of those who have survived.  At the same time, they are helping to make a difference to people with cancer, right now.  Our Race for Life events were women-only when they started, over 25 years ago.  But we now feel the time is right to open them up so that everyone – women, men and children – has the chance to participate together.

“One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer, at some point during their lifetime.  Sadly, this means nearly everyone is touched by the disease, either directly or through a loved one or friend.  To make a significant difference in the fight against cancer we need to harness as much energy and commitment as possible – so what better way than involving everyone in the community in our events.

“This spring, we’re urging mums, dads, nans, grandpas, brothers, sisters, friends and workmates to show their support by joining the Race for Life.  It’s a perfect example of everyday people doing an extraordinary thing – uniting in a common cause to beat cancer.”

Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the charity was able to spend around £38 million last year in Scotland on some of the UK’s leading scientific and clinical research. Glasgow is home to the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute where a thriving community of cancer scientists and doctors are working to reduce the impact of this disease around the world. An exciting programme of work has been established to look for ways to tailor treatment for pancreatic cancer. Our scientists in Glasgow first manufactured the brain cancer drug, temozolomide. Thousands of people now benefit from treatment with this drug worldwide.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Pretty Muddy Kids events which raise millions of pounds every year to help beat cancer by funding crucial research.

To enter Race for Life today visit raceforlife.org or call 0300 123 0770.

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Roll out of Chatty Cafe Scheme in Glasgow venues helps tackle loneliness

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Simply passing the time of day with a stranger could bring some longed-for human contact to someone’s day.

That’s the premise of the Chatter & Natter table, within the café at St Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art.

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The museum’s café, run by Encore Hospitality Services, has joined The Chatty Café Scheme that is looking to include chatter and natter tables in establishments, as part of our everyday café culture.

The table, in the café, is marked with distinctive signage indicating that customers who sit at it are happy to talk to other customers, while they enjoy their refreshments.

Part of the city’s support for The Campaign to End Loneliness, a Chatter & Natter café creates a space for people to talk; whether it’s for five minutes while you have a quick cuppa, or half an hour of good conversation.

Since its inception, around six months ago, café staff noticed that the table was particularly busy during peak tourist season when tour guides and Glasgow Cathedral staff take to sitting at the table talking to visitors and residents alike.

Ann Cameron, Encore Catering Manager at St. Mungo’s, said “When we introduced the Chatter & Natter table we didn’t quite know how it would be received.

“Some days are busier than others at the table, but if it’s quiet and staff see someone sitting at it, we always make a point of going over to have a conversation with the person.

“We know that our five minute chat might just have a big impact on someone’s day.

“Recently, I also spoke to a mother visiting with her daughter, whom she cares for, who had come specifically to the cafe to sit at the table and were looking for other venues to visit.”

The scheme is now being rolled out to other Encore cafes in Bellahouston Leisure Centre, Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Kelvin Hall and Tramway in Glasgow.

The move to include other venues comes as last year The Campaign to End Loneliness revealed that more than two-thirds of Glaswegians had experienced loneliness at some point in their lives. With nine in 10 people in Glasgow believing loneliness in older age is now “more likely than ever.”

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£155m Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre Fully Operational

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Glasgow’s unique energy-from-waste plant has become fully operational.

The £155m Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) is now diverting 200,000 tonnes of the city’s waste from landfill and generating enough electricity to power 22,000 homes.

Delivered through a 25-year partnership between Glasgow City Council and recycling and low-carbon energy company, Viridor, the GRREC has the ability to extract recyclable material from general waste and boost Glasgow’s overall recycling rates, diverting 90% of council-collected waste from landfill and  saving 90,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

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With national restrictions on sending biodegradable waste to landfill due to come into effect on January 1, 2021, the GRREC is pivotal to Glasgow’s efforts to meet the forthcoming landfill ban.

Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, is convinced the GRREC will turn around Glasgow’s environmental performance following years of disposing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste at landfill.

Councillor Richardson said: “The GRREC is a unique piece of technology that will transform how we think about and deal with waste in Glasgow. With the GRREC becoming fully operational we can take a giant stride towards our objective of Glasgow becoming the most sustainable city in Europe.

“This new plant is an environmental success story in a number of compelling ways. The GRREC will help to ensure the days of simply dumping our waste in the ground will quickly come to an end. This provides a massive carbon reduction bonus for the city as we play our part in tackling climate change. Generating enough clean energy to power 22,000 homes also shows that sustainable solutions are within reach if we look for them.

“Our commitment to the GRREC reflects a bold but necessary move away from landfill as the primary method of waste disposal in Glasgow. Our partners Viridor deserve great praise for delivering this highly impressive facility.”

Viridor Managing Director Phil Piddington said: “The GRREC epitomises Viridor’s vision of attaching a purpose to all waste – separating valuable recyclable material, food and organic waste and giving residual waste, which cannot be recycled, a crucial role in generating low carbon electricity. In this way, we contribute to Glasgow and Scotland’s goals in terms of both resource and energy efficiency.”

The GRREC comprises three main technologies and is unique in bringing all of these under one roof:

  • a smart recycling facility that extracts recyclable material from general waste to create a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) which can be further processed to release energy.
  • An anaerobic digestion facility which uses bacteria to break down organic waste and release methane which is used as a fuel to generate renewable electricity.
  • Finally,  an Advanced Conversion Facility (ACF) heats the RDF in very low oxygen concentrations to synthesise a gas which is then captured and fully combusted within a secondary chamber. The high pressure steam generated by this process in turn drives a turbine to produce renewable electricity which is then exported to the national grid.

Further information on the GRREC can be found in the committee paper due to be presented at the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy Committee on March 19.

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VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY GROUPS CALLED UPON TO SHAPE COUNCIL’S NEW FUND

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Glasgow City Council is seeking views from local groups and voluntary and third sector organisations around the city, on a new grants fund.

The new fund, being introduced in April 2020, will be used to tackle specific city priorities, allowing resources to be directed where they are needed most and can make the biggest impact on the lives of our citizens.

The council have committed to look at how it will fund third sector and community groups to deliver these priorities, as set out in the Council’s Strategic Plan and this is underpinned by the Concordat developed with Third Sector Interface Network in 2018.

As partnership structures within the city have changed including the founding of the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), the establishment of the Community Empowerment Act and the development of the council’s community plan, the establishment of the new fund come at a timely juncture.

Stakeholder engagement events are being organised at the end of March to consider the priorities for the new fund while looking at increasing access, improving evaluation and measuring the outcomes and sharing of best practice.

Part of the discussion will also focus on how the fund can be used more flexibly to take account of or be redirected towards addressing emerging issues in the city. It will also look at how the council can support projects for longer than a year, which is the current funding period.

Councillor Jennifer Layden, city convener for equalities and human rights, said: “The development of a new fund gives us an opportunity to take a fresh look at what matters to people in their local areas and where we need to target our support to really make a difference.

“We already have strong relationships with a number of third sector and community groups around the city but we are aware that since the IGF was introduced in 2010 there are maybe new groups that want to have their say and assist us in jointly developing ambitious new plans.

“This is their chance to become involved and have a say in what we should be funding and importantly how we can widen access to the fund.

“We are greatly encouraged by the many organisations that have already expressed their willingness to be involved.”

Places at the events were all booked up by local groups and voluntary and third sector organisations within a very short period of time but work is being done to look at holding a third event to make sure that a wide range of views are gathered.

Anyone who is still interested in attending should register their details on the wait list at https://grants2020.eventbrite.co.uk

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The story begins for two teen Glasgow writers

Scottish Book Trust announces new participants for What’s Your Story?

Scottish Book Trust, the national charity transforming lives through reading and writing, has today announced the seven teenage writers and illustrators who will join the What’s Your Story? programme. Now in its fourth year, the scheme has so far assisted over 20 young people from across Scotland to develop writing, illustration and performance projects.

Two young writers from Glasgow have been selected for the What’s Your Story? programme. Ailbhe Murphy and Skye Ailun Peng, both 15 years old, were selected by a judging team, which included one of the previous What’s Your Story? participants, and representatives from Creative Scotland, The National Library of Scotland, The Gaelic Books Council and Scottish Book Trust. Participants were selected on the enthusiasm and dedication they expressed for teenage participation in creative and literary culture.

Ailbhe Murphy, a writer of Gaelic short stories, applied for the What’s Your Story? programme because she often finds it hard to express her love of writing with other people her own age. Ailbhe also wants to demonstrate that Gaelic is not an ‘ancient’ language but one that can still be used to express modern thoughts and ideas. Maureen Macleod, author of Banais na Bliadhna (The Wedding of the Year, Sandstone Press) will mentor Ailbhe on her Gaelic short stories throughout the programme.

Skye Ailun Peng, a novel writer, is particularly interested in the Young Adult contemporary and fantasy genres. She applied for the programme as she would like to develop her writing skills and style. Alex Nye, author of Darker Ends and For My Sins will mentor Skye, assisting her with plot and novel planning.

The young people received an induction programme with The National Library of Scotland, where they had the opportunity to research their chosen subject and gain inspiration for their personal creative works. They have also recently taken part in a week-long retreat at Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s creative writing centre, where they had dedicated time with their mentors.

As part of the What’s Your Story?, the participants will plan and host StoryCon 2019, Scotland’s biggest creative writing and illustration conference for young people. Last year, this took place in Glasgow and was attended by over 100 young people.

The young people will have the opportunity to preview their creative projects at a showcase event, wrapping up the work they have completed during the What’s Your Story? programme. Industry experts will train the young people to express their work in front of a live audience, with the use of music and images.

Organised and run by Scottish Book Trust, What’s Your Story? was originally funded by Time to Shine, Creative Scotland’s national youth arts strategy and is the first nationwide programme of its kind in Scotland.This year it is funded by Badenoch Trust, Kiran’s Trust and The Hugh Fraser Foundation, as well as other trusts and private donors. What’s Your Story? is free to take part in and travel expenses will be covered for all participants. The Gaelic Books Council also funds a Gaelic-language place.

Ailbhe Murphy said:

 

“I’ve often found it hard to express my love of writing with other people my own age, and What’s Your Story? is truly creating a network for me and all the other young people to do exactly that. It enables us to make connections that really will benefit us in the future.”

 

Skye Ailun Peng said:

 

“I applied for What’s Your Story? because I want to be able to develop my own ideas and writing style, but also to share my ideas with other likeminded people, and be able to talk with them about something I am very passionate about. I think this is a great opportunity for me to explore my creative side and to interact with people who love writing as much as I do.”

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

 

“Scottish Book Trust is pleased to launch the fourth year of the What’s Your Story? programme, highlighting new and upcoming talent in the Scottish literary scene. We are grateful to our funders, for making this programme possible, and also to our mentors for providing life-changing support and advice to the young people. We look forward to seeing the work they produce throughout the year.”

Alison Lang, Director of The Gaelic Books Council, said:

 

“Comhairle nan Leabhraichean is delighted to be supporting another young Gaelic writer on this year’s What’s Your Story? programme, and it’s exciting to discover new voices among a generation of Gaelic-medium pupils who have grown up with Gaelic books and aspire to add their own stories to the contemporary canon. We are grateful to Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Creative Scotland for supporting our work in promoting Gaelic literature, and pleased to have this opportunity to collaborate once again with Scottish Book Trust.”

 

The full list of the What’s Your Story? participants is as follows:

Performance poet, Beccie White, from Edinburgh

Performance poet, Devin McRoberts from Paisley

Short story writer, Nicole Foreman, from Dornoch

Illustrator, Sara Oussaiden, from Isle of Skye

Author, Skye Ailun Peng, from Glasgow

Author, Andrew Pettigrew, from Hamilton

Gaelic writer, Ailbhe Murphy, from Glasgow

 

Notes to editors:

For all press queries, please contact PR and Marketing Manager, Keara Donnachie:

keara.donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com or 0131 524 0184

 

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

  • Gifting books to every child in Scotland to ensure families of all backgrounds can share the joy of books at home.
  • Working with teachers to inspire children to develop a love of reading, creating innovative classroom activities, book awards and author events.
  • Supporting Scotland’s diverse writing community with our training, awards and writing opportunities.
  • Funding a range of author events for the public to enjoy and promoting Scottish writing to people worldwide.

www.scottishbooktrust.com   @scottishbktrust   www.facebook.com/scottishbktrust

 

Creative Scotland

In addition to general fundraising, Scottish Book Trust receives Creative Scotland support through Regular Funding. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.  Follow us @creativescots and www.facebook.com/CreativeScotland

 

The Badenoch Trust

The Badenoch Trust has made grants to a wide-range of UK organisations since its inception.  It is a long-standing supporter of the arts, community, education and sports, and seeks to raise the aspirations and improve the life chances of young people.

badenoch.scot

 

Kiran’s Trust

Kiran’s Trust was founded in 2009, in memory of Kiran and celebrating the creative arts and sports, which she held dear. The Trust recognises this passion in other young people and provides support to help them advance in further education and participation in these areas.

Kiran’s Trust provides support to young people through schools and organisations to learn different types of art. Some of this support is in creative art, specifically to introduce ideas, techniques, skills and media which helps students to visually express themselves. Other support is in performance arts, providing opportunities for writing, music, drama and dance participation.

http://kiranstrust.org/

Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic Books in Scotland and internationally.

www.gaelicbooks.org

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture.

The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include digital material, rare books, manuscripts, maps, music, moving images, official publications, business information, science and technology, and the modern and foreign collections. The Library holds more than 26 million items dating back over 1000 years. This includes over fifteen million printed items, eight million manuscripts, two million maps and over 45,000 films and videos. Every week it collects around 4,000 new items. Around 80% of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation. Further information is available at www.nls.uk

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Council to consult on Notre Dame High School entry criteria

A consultation has been launched to seek opinions on the future entry criteria and catchment area for Notre Dame High School.

There was cross party support from elected members at today’s (Thursday 7 March) City Administration Committee for the consultation to start on Monday 18 March.

The consultation with parents, children, young people and all interested parties in the wider community will run for six weeks as per The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 and three options have been proposed by council officers following pre engagement with a range of stakeholders and school groups and to reflect their views:

  • Leave the Notre Dame High School entry criteria as is, that is, no change.
  • Retain the all-girl status, but change the associated primary school configuration; and thereby alter the catchment area.
  • Change to be a co-educational denominational secondary school and alter the catchment area

Four denominational learning communities in the city would be directly affected by any changes to the entry criteria at Notre Dame High – John Paul, Notre Dame, St Roch’s and St Thomas Aquinas.

Following the decision to consult today a council spokeswoman said: “The consultation is the ideal opportunity for all interested parties to make their views known as part of the consultation process.

“Public meetings are being held during April and May and we would urge people to come along and hear about the proposals and from the various campaign groups before submitting responses by the 26 May.”