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Dear First Minister...Another Bill?Government

Posted by Rick Tue, July 18, 2017 10:32:34

I have this fascination with small birds at the moment in our back garden. The finches, sparrows and various other small birds have been feasting on the nuts I put in the bird house, often sharing with their new young who are following and imitating their every move. ...So I thought nothing of putting out some old bread with the seed this morning.

I watched in disbelief as the bread I had put out in good faith was gobbled up in seconds by some pretty hefty seagulls. The smaller and much lesser birds scattered. It was chaotic, not least for my wife who had not long put the washing out (yes, in 2017 she still does that more than me!).

It spoke volumes to me about the inequality we have across
Britain. Even as the fifth largest economy in the world, we still have situations where money is available (i.e. Grenfell Disaster fund) and yet the disposed "lesser people" are scattered while the corporate wheels turn in their own favour holding onto the millions of pounds, no doubt earning interest for the unworthy.

I cannot tell you how annoyed I was with the seagulls. But, to be honest they were just doing what they do. Over the years they have been conditioned to empty overflowing bins, pinch ice creams from unsuspecting children on the beach front, and survey the gardens for easy pickings. They know no different...they have been born into that society.

If I construct my analogy further, I will conclude that there is something wrong economically and socially in Britain. We are all doing what we have been conditioned to do - but it doesn't make it right. Here in Scotland we have the Child Poverty Bill. A great effort that is at risk of being totally swamped by paper and starved of resource at grass roots level by the money spent in government offices getting it off paper into action.

For instance, "The Bill includes a duty on local authorities and health boards to report annually on action that they are undertaking to reduce child poverty."...that costs money!
"and the Scottish government will work with these bodies"...more money... "and with other interested parties" to get the work done?? No, "to develop guidance on how this might best be achieved." Aaarrrggghhh!!

What do I see when I read this? Seagulls circling above the bird table ready to take the lot!!

There's something wrong with all this and it will take a new politic to sort it out. A brave politic that states that the many people involved with Child Poverty know what is needed; And they are not stupid people! They can work a "proposal" create a working strategy to address the situation. Then, when they need their bigger and stronger sibling to back them up in the playground of legislation and political correctness, the government can correct, and no doubt, re-correct, encourage and rubber stamp the process to get the job done!! And the bread on the bird table will be eaten by those it was set out for in the first place.

Please Madams and Sirs, Can we please have a politic where we don't have to come begging....please start at grass roots. Fund grass roots FIRST and help us create a nation where the community in question is trusted to "have a go" rather than years of politicians, lawyers and civil servants "having a go"....Why? Because recent history has shown us that after hundreds of thousands of pounds eaten by the Seagulls, the UK government simply pulled the plug on the Child Poverty Act (2010) before the sparrows got a crumb. That Act today doesn't even have "Poverty" or "Child" in the title (now the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016) and after years and years of waiting, I see the Seagulls flocking once again around the Scottish bird table.

Your intentions are for good, Ive no doubt. But it is a fool that does the same thing time and again expecting to get different results.

At grass roots, we have well educated and life-experienced individuals who can help you achieve your goals. Why not be brave and let us, "have a go" - it will certainly be more cost effective and reap, at worst the same results, and at best a complete transformation so desired by the people for the people, the very people you are trying to help.






ACVO - Voluntary Adult Recognition WorkshopCommunity

Posted by Rick Sat, June 24, 2017 14:05:15

On Thursday the 22nd June 2017 I had the pleasure of sitting in a room with many community and voluntary service leaders discussing how we bring recognition to our volunteers.

One leader reminded us that Scotland has over 1 million volunteers and how cumbersome and broad a national recognition scheme may be (suggesting that the Saltire Awards for young adults has lost its integrity with so many being printed out and handed out without any recognised traceability). I'm not sure I agree with all that was said but what is needed for sure is a professional looking way of measuring, reviewing and recognising the efforts of our volunteers.

It may be lost in translation, but my points were that there should - just like in the professional world - be a way of measuring a volunteers continual development (CPD in the business world) and assess those who have achieved an outstanding contribution to the 3rd sector by making them a "chartered volunteer" recognised by having the words C.Vol after there name (in the same way I have been a C.Eng and a C.Phys in the professional world).

If the government are truly going look at a way of recognising the huge and valuable contribution of our volunteers then they could help fund this move.....a move that is sustainable. Some points, if I may:

- Need a system of measuring : whether its duration of service, or/and training received along the way
- Need to make sure that if a volunteer becomes a paid employee of the 3rd sector that his/her recognition is not lost, but is adjusted (i.e. recognition of past Chartered Volunteer). Maybe PC.Vol. after their name.

This type of recognition need a HQ and a small number of employees to make this work. In other wards it would require government funding!

So what would the government achieve?

A sustained volunteer workforce that feels honoured and recognised. These are the type of people who run our food banks, who provide befriending services to the socially isolated and vulnerable. These services - run in the main by volunteers - alleviates strain on various government systems (like welfare, benefits, etc), whilst dealing with the deprivation and isolation by creating community and sign-posting to other services to benefit the individuals (i.e. drug, alcohol, abuse services).

Would this work? I think so, but does anyone really want to listen?

Grenfell TowerCommunity

Posted by Rick Sat, June 17, 2017 18:33:41

This week's blog cannot conclude without mention of the horrific fire in the Grenfell Tower, West London. The press have dubbed this the "worst fire in modern British history" (Scottish Daily Express, 16.06.17). There is agony and anger in the aftershock as information comes to light to contributing factors. In times like this many will say, "Our thoughts and Prayers are with you" because there are few words that can possibly help. With many still missing and reports that those who perished could be as many as 100, I cannot add any words except the usual. My thoughts and prayers are with you - God help and bless you all!
Blog image (picture from the front page of the Scotsman 16.06.17)

Kaimhill Summer FayreCommunity

Posted by Rick Sat, June 17, 2017 18:15:06

So wonderful to have opportunity to be out in the community today at the Kaimhill Summer Fayre. Some really hard working people come together at the school to make this happen.

Blog imageToday, I pulled on my TLC T-shirt and got stuck in with the other volunteers working on the stalls, slides and the now infamous stocks. With temperatures soaring well over 20 degrees I was delighted to once again be working the stocks, where pupils have the opportunity to wet-sponge teachers & parents.

Blog imageHere we have Stephen and Thomas with one of the mums, Kelly, who has avoided the stocks for 3 years running.....but not this year!



16 TLC volunteers came for the day. An absolutely incredible effort by all to help make this event happen. I really appreciated being with you, and appreciate each one of you. Well done!

Broomhill End of Year show Primary Schools

Posted by Rick Thu, June 15, 2017 20:42:35

What a pleasure to see the hard work pupils and teachers put into their end of year show pay-off. I have to say, the live music (drums, piano and singing) really made it a special evening. There were tears of sadness as the P7 pupils said good bye to go to High School.

Great production. Well done Broomhill Primary! Please let us come again.



Kaimhill Learning CentreCommunity

Posted by Rick Thu, June 15, 2017 20:30:13

I was delighted to hear about the goings-on on the grounds of the fantastic and pretty modern Kaimhill School. Having helped out at a number of their Summer School Fayres, I often wondered if it was utilised in the evenings and weekends for other events (given the facilities also include a state of the art all weather football pitch).

Myself and my wife Amy joined Cllr Douglas Lumsden as the new faces around the table at the latest HALLA (Harlaw Area Lifelong Learning Association) committee meeting. As the various activities unfolded and the vision was imparted, we sat with an element of anticipation and excitement as to how this would unfold.

Garthdee appears to be on the edge of something quite extraordinary. Inchgarth Community Centre, just a couple of streets away is light years ahead of many community centres and were recently awarded - along with the Aberdeen's Seafarers centre and Dennis Law Sport - the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. They also have plans to expand and extend their facility in the near future.

The Kaimhill school facility has the potential to compliment what is happening in Inchgarth CC, and no doubt some future conversation will be had to see what can be done. Lets not forget that we also have the Ruthrieston Community Centre, the Ski Centre, and Robert Gordon's University as part of the Garthdee community.

The future looks bright. Watch this space!!
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After the Storm: WestminsterGovernment

Posted by Rick Tue, June 13, 2017 16:11:04

And whilst Ive been at a local primary school Sportsday it seems like the media attention has turned to our Scottish representatives first 48hrs as MPs. From top-left (clockwise), Scottish Labour's Magnificent 7 with Jeremy Corbin; SNPs Nicola Sturgeon with her team of 35; Scotland's 4 Liberal Democrats with Willie Rennie; and the 13 Scottish Conservatives. Our Scottish results were as follows:
PartySeats (change)2017 vote shareShare change2017 votesVote change
SNP35 (-21)36.9%-13.1977,569-476,867
Conservatives13 (+12)28.6%+13.7757,949+323,852
Labour7 (+6)27.1%+2.8717,007+9,860
Lib Dems4 (+3)7.5%-0.8179,061-40,614
(source BBC News : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-40246330)

Sports dayPrimary Schools

Posted by Rick Tue, June 13, 2017 15:37:17

Time for Sports day. A time where parents appear, some for the first time, to cheer on their children. I am delighted to be at the Broomhill Sports day to see this young lady run (a feature we never expected to see earlier on in the year).

She came last in her first race but we were so delighted to see her running that we all cheered as she crossed the finish line.

So imagine the look on her face when she came 1st in her only other race. #UncontainableJoy.

Just a few months ago she was on crutches, regularly at the hospital with specialists and physios. The consultants had predicted that her knee problems may preclude her from any sport for the foreseeable future. So - on this journey of ups and downs - today is a Very Good Day!

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