Rona Mackay welcomes funding boost to East Dunbartonshire child domestic abuse service

Rona Mackay welcomes funding boost to East Dunbartonshire child domestic abuse service

A MENTAL health group has been praised by Strathkelvin and Bearsden’s MSP after a gigantic funding windfall.

East Dunbartonshire Association for Mental Health has been awarded a £285,324 grant to help children recovering from domestic abuse, it was announced on Tuesday July 20.

The cash injection comes from The Big Lottery Fund and will help continue CEDAR (children experiencing domestic abuse recovery) project for another three years.

The CEDAR approach is a unique way of working with mothers and children, helping them to recover from domestic abuse by finding a safe place while they deal with their experiences and begin to rebuild their lives.

Rona Mackay MSP welcomed the funding and congratulated the group for their successful application.

“It is brilliant news that East Dunbartonshire Association for Mental Health is able to continue its CEDAR programme for another three years.

“It’s integral the work the association has been doing to help children recovering from domestic abuse in my constituency goes on.

“The heartbreaking reality is local children have been at the end of abuse, and truly need the help the association provides. I wish them all the best for the future and would welcome hearing about any progress the group makes.”

Manager Dianne Devil welcomed the funding.

She said: “We are absolutely delighted at the news of three years further funding.

“We will now be able to continue to provide a family-led, peer-based and therapeutic journey of recovery for children and their mothers recovering from the effects of domestic abuse in East Dunbartonshire.

“Local families will receive a holistic, multi-levelled service which will improve the child, and their mother’s, mental health and offer access and engagement in education and employment opportunities alongside recovering from the trauma of domestic abuses.

“This will no doubt provide transformational, meaningful and long lasting change for children and their mothers in our area. We are all so thankful to the Big Lottery fund for their continued and incredible support.”

Letter to Milngavie Herald: Bring forward Allander Rail Halt

Letter to Milngavie Herald: Bring forward Allander Rail Halt

Sir,

I wholeheartedly agree with your correspondent Gavin Templeton about the need to bring forward the proposed Allander Rail Halt.

It is time for all the agencies involved – Network Rail, Abellio, Strathclyde Passenger Transport and East Dunbartonshire Council – to get together to make this happen.

Several years ago my colleague, Gil Paterson MSP, carried out a survey showing overwhelming support for this initiative from residents.

In other parts of my constituency, such as Westerhill in Bishopbriggs, there is a similar urgent need for this matter to be addressed.

Increased housing means more commuters and rail halts must be seen as a necessary part of our infrastructure if our communities are to thrive.

Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and I urge all parties involved to put this at the top of their agenda.

Yours,
Rona Mackay MSP
Strathkelvin and Bearsden

And the story I am replying to:

MH1

Rona Mackay MSP: ‘Nuclear weapons must be taken out of Scotland’

Rona Mackay MSP: ‘Nuclear weapons must be taken out of Scotland’

STRATHKELVIN and Bearsden’s MSP has backed calls for Trident to be removed from Scotland.

Rona Mackay condemned the Westminster vote to renew the nuclear weapons system yesterday (Monday July 19).

The SNP MSP backed calls from the SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson that Trident should now be removed from Scotland.

It comes as 58 of Scotland’s 59 MPs voted against the renewal of the weapons of mass destruction.

Rona Mackay MSP said: “This is a shameful moment for the UK Government – to commit to writing a blank cheque for a weapons of mass destruction system we’ll never use.

“Scotland’s parliament, government and MPs have shown the country is wholly against renewing these monstrosities and I back what Angus Robertson has said, to get Trident out of Scotland.

“The SNP made no secret of its opposition to Trident when I was elected in May, and I will stand by my commitment to oppose these immoral weapons.”

Letter to EU nationals in Strathkelvin and Bearsden after Brexit vote

Letter to EU nationals in Strathkelvin and Bearsden after Brexit vote

This week I have sent out a letter to EU nationals living in Strathkelvin and Bearsden to reassure them that they are welcome in Scotland after the UK’s Brexit vote. Here’s the full text:

Dear Resident

RE: European Union referendum, I am writing to you to reassure you that you and your family remain welcome in Scotland and Strathkelvin and Bearsden in particular.

I appreciate that this is a worrying and uncertain time, but would like to take this opportunity to make it clear just how much we value the contribution of people from around Europe, who have put down roots in Strathkelvin and Bearsden and who have made this area a home for their families. This is your home and the social, cultural and economic contribution your presence brings to Strathkelvin and Bearsden remains deeply valued.

This is my view and it is also the overwhelming view of the Scottish Parliament. I voted for a motion mandating negotiations to take place between the Scottish Government and international partners. The motion also stated that the Scottish Parliament “affirms to citizens of other EU countries living here that they remain welcome and that their contribution is valued”.

Full text of the motion:

Scottish Parliament motion S5M-00601, 28th June 2016

That the Parliament welcomes the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in the European Union; affirms to citizens of other EU countries living here that they remain welcome and that their contribution is valued; mandates the Scottish Government to have discussions with the UK Government, other devolved administrations, the EU institutions and member states to explore options for protecting Scotland’s relationship with the EU, Scotland’s place in the single market and the social, employment and economic benefits that come from that, and instructs the Scottish Government to report back regularly to parliamentarians, to the European and External Relations Committee and the Parliament on the progress of those discussions and to seek Parliament’s approval of the outcome of that process.

While there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances I appreciate there remains great uncertainty over how events will unfold. If you have any issues or concerns you would like to discuss with us please do not hesitate to get in touch, either by emailing me at rona.mackay.msp@parliament.scot or by phoning my constituency office on 0141 776 1561 to arrange a meeting.

Yours sincerely

Rona Mackay MSP MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (SNP)
Rona Mackay: ‘In this era of Tory austerity it is madness to waste billions on WMD’

Rona Mackay: ‘In this era of Tory austerity it is madness to waste billions on WMD’

RONA Mackay has spoken out against Trident as MPs prepare to vote for its renewal.

Ms Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden has condemned the UK Government for its plans to spend billions on nuclear weapons as it cuts vital public services.

Rona Mackay MSP said: “I call on my constituents to speak out against Trident as the vote for its renewal approaches at Westminster.

“In this era of Tory austerity, it is absolute madness to waste billions of pounds on new weapons of mass destruction at the same time as cutting services for our most vulnerable.

“The Scottish Parliament has voted against supporting this renewal by a staggering majority in 2015, showing the clear-cut differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“As the vote is likely to go through in Westminster on Monday, the people of Scotland will yet again have another damaging policy imposed upon them against their will – less than a month after the Brexit vote.”

The vote to renew the UK Government’s nuclear weapons programme goes to the House of Commons on Monday July 18.

Kirkintilloch aftercare stalwart welcomed to reopening of Scottish Parliament

Kirkintilloch aftercare stalwart welcomed to reopening of Scottish Parliament

Robert Smith and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Robert Smith and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

A HILLHEAD aftercare stalwart posed for a selfie with the First Minister at the reopening of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday.

Robert Smith was selected by Rona Mackay, the MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, for his devotion in helping people through trauma.

The 51-year-old runs Kirkintilloch charity GRACE – Group Recovery Aftercare Community Enterprise – based in Hillhead Community Centre.

Along with dozens of other stand out citizens from across Scotland, Mr Smith attended the restart of the new session of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Saturday, July 2.

Robert said: “I was absolutely delighted to attend the reopening of the Scottish Parliament.

“I’d like to thank our MSP, Rona Mackay, for nominating me to be the Local Hero for Strathkelvin and Bearsden. It’s brilliant for GRACE to get that sort of recognition.

“I still don’t feel like a hero but I accepted the nomination on behalf of the whole of GRACE.”

Ms Mackay said: “It was fantastic to welcome Robert and his wife to the Scottish Parliament’s official restart on Saturday.

“He had a brilliant time meeting First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, being in the presence of the Queen and all of the other festivities of the day.

“People like Robert need to be recognized for the benefits they bring to the communities they serve.

“I was very glad to play my part in ensuring Robert understands how much he is appreciated for his work at GRACE.”

Rona Mackay asks question in Holyrood in solidarity with international LGBTI+ community

Rona Mackay asks question in Holyrood in solidarity with international LGBTI+ community

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Rona asking the question in parliament

RONA Mackay MSP has spoken out in solidarity with the international LGBTI+ community in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament.

During topical questions at 2pm on Tuesday, June 14, the Strathkelvin and Bearsden member asked the Scottish Government about its readiness to protect LGBTI events in Scotland.

It was in the aftermath of the mass shooting inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida in the United States on Sunday, June 12, where 49 people shot dead.

Ms Mackay said in the chamber: “To ask the Scottish Government what preparedness it has engaged in, in light of the outrage in Orlando for pride marches and other LGBTI events in Scotland?”

The First Minister replied: “Obviously, police will continue to make their own assessment and own preparations to ensure that pride marches can happen, and happen safely, and happen in a way so that all those attending them can do so and enjoy the occasions, uplifting and joyous as they are intended to be. The Scottish Government will continue to be in close liaison with the police in all of these matters.

“We will see a number of people taking part in pride marches in Scotland and indeed elsewhere in coming weeks. Perhaps something all of us can do to remember and pay respect to those who died in Orlando, but also to show in very real terms the solidarity with the LGBTI community, is to turn up and take part in a pride march somewhere in Scotland. And if all of us do that it will be a very visible representation of all in this parliament standing shoulder by shoulder.”

Ms Mackay added: “I was very pleased to ask the question in the Scottish Parliament at Topical Questions. Like the rest of the world, I am utterly disgusted and shocked at this act of terrorism and hatred where so many innocent people were killed in what was meant to be a sanctuary.

“On behalf of my constituency, and the people of Scotland, and indeed the international LGBTI+ community I hope our own pride marches will be both safe and well-attended this year.”

The shooting resulted in 50 deaths, including the gunman who was killed by police after a three-hour standoff, with another 53 injured. The attack was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTI+ people in U.S. history, and also the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks.

Deafblind facility progress praised by Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP

Deafblind facility progress praised by Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP

Deadblind Scotland representatives met with Rona Mackay
Deadblind Scotland representatives met with Rona Mackay

AN EAST Dunbartonshire-based charity devoted to helping deafblind people is set to be recognised by the Scottish Parliament.

Deafblind Scotland met with Rona Mackay MSP last week to update the elected representative on progress on of building a 710 square metre centre in Lenzie, at its Field of Dreams site.

The Field of Dreams has been an ambition for nearly 10 years with fundraising now almost at the £1.5million target. The plan is to build a state of the art facility for deafblind people.

Ruth Dorman, Chief Executive, and Suzanne Abbate, Operations Manager of Deafblind Scotland met the MSP during Deafblind Awareness Week and confirmed that work was scheduled to start next month.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament to praise the work it has done.

Ms Mackay said: “Having to endure life with both blindness and deafness is unimaginable. It’s difficult for anyone to imagine the struggle individuals go through on a day-to-day basis.

“Many people lose their sight and hearing at different times, some have a loss of one from birth and acquire the other loss, there is a spectrum of deaf blindness and this can vary greatly.

“I am so humbled by the experiences and work Ruth and Suzanne have told me about. I fully endorse their work. Deafblind Scotland has done so well to get to this point and I wish them the best of luck for starting the construction of the new facility in Lenzie.

“During Deafblind Awareness Week I submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament commending the work they do and are set to continue on a larger scale.”

Ruth Dorman, Chief Executive of Deafblind Scotland, said: “It’s important as many people know about the struggles people living with degrees of deafblindness have to go through on a day-to-day basis. WE’d like to thank Ms Mackay for submitting a motion to the Scottish Parliament — this helps raise awareness of the challenges deafblind people face and the work we’re doing.”

For more information about Deafblind Scotland and what people can do to help visit www.deafblindscotland.org.uk.

Rona Mackay MSP: ‘EU citizens remain welcome in Scotland despite UK Brexit vote’

Rona Mackay MSP: ‘EU citizens remain welcome in Scotland despite UK Brexit vote’

Rona Mackay MSP
Rona Mackay MSP

SNP MSP Rona Mackay has told EU nationals in Strathkelvin and Bearsden that “you remain welcome here” after Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union.

East Dunbartonshire voted to Remain in the EU by 71.4 per cent – alongside every other local authority area in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made clear that it would be a “democratic outrage” for Scotland to now be dragged out of the EU against its will.

The Scottish Government is now exploring all options to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe.

Ms Mackay said: “East Dunbartonshire, like the rest of Scotland, voted to remain within the EU – a vote to protect our place in the world’s biggest single market and the jobs and investment that depend on it.

“It’s significant that the result in Scotland came after a campaign that was positive about the EU and the benefits of freedom of movement.

“As your MSP, I want to tell the citizens of other EU countries living in Strathkelvin and Bearsden that you remain welcome here, Scotland is your home and your contribution is valued.

“It’s deeply disappointing that the result in Scotland was not echoed across the whole of the UK – but Scotland has spoken decisively and we will make that voice heard.”

Rona Mackay welcomes above average East Dunbartonshire school leavers figures

Rona Mackay welcomes above average East Dunbartonshire school leavers figures

Rona Mackay MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden
Rona Mackay MSP

A TOTAL of 95 per cent of school leavers in East Dunbartonshire are heading to positive destinations.

Some 1,303 young people left school this year to go to university, college, training or employment.

The number going into positive destinations is above the national average of 92 per cent.

Of all leavers, 58.3 per cent went into higher education; 14 per cent further education; 1.6 per cent training and 20.7 per cent to employment.

Rona Mackay MSP said: “It’s excellent news that 95 per cent of young people in East Dunbartonshire are going onto a positive destination after leaving school, with most going into higher education.

“With record numbers of young people across Scotland in positive destinations, young people in my constituency have exceeded the national average.

“While these figures are hugely encouraging, there is more to do. The SNP has put improving attainment at schools at the heart of our plans for government and closing the attainment gap between young people from our most and least deprived areas is our priority over the next five years.”

Only 3.8 per cent of young people were seeking work and 0.4 per cent unemployed anD not seeking. A total of 0.8 per cent’s destinations were unknown.

Notes to reporter:

June’s publication ‘Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.6: 2016 Edition’ shows:

* The proportion of school leavers in sustained positive destinations in March 2016 i

ncreased to 92 per cent from 91.7 per cent in March 2015 – a record high.

* The percentage of school leavers attaining a qualification at SCQF 6 or 7 (Higher level or above) increased from 58.1 per cent for 2013/14 to 60.2 per cent for 2014/15.

* 81.7 per cent of P1-3 pupils took a free meal in 2016 – compared with 78.9 per cent the previous year.

* 98 per cent of schools are meeting the target level of PE provision – which remains unchanged.