MSP meets resilient award-winning Bisopbriggs businesswoman

MSP meets resilient award-winning Bisopbriggs businesswoman

An award-winning Bishopbriggs business has been praised following a visit from MSP Rona Mackay.

Pivotal Scotland won the Triumph Against Adversity Award at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Celebrating Small Businesses Awards. They have also been put forward for the UK-wide equivalent.

Owner Andrew Monaghan was tragically diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2015 so his wife Sandra took the helm of the business – and since it has prospered.

Andrew has fought against MND and retained a strong presence in the training business by mentoring from home and learning to use eye-gaze software technology, which allows him to run the company social media and write blog posts.

Ms Mackay met with the pair and heard about how the business has succeeded despite challenging personal circumstances.

She said: “I am so touched by the story of Andrew and Sandra Monaghan and how they are overcoming such difficult odds to succeed together in business.

“What is both humbling and heart-breaking is that this diagnosis has really brought them closer together – despite Andrew having this dreadful terminal illness.

“I left Pivotal Scotland incredibly inspired by their personal story and business success. I am very proud to represent them in the constituency and hope they win the UK-wide awards coming up.”

Sandra, who has taken on the directorship of the business, said:

“I am delighted Rona Mackay MSP could take the time to visit Pivotal Scotland and hear about why we won the Federation of Small Business Triumph Against Adversity Award.

“We spoke to Rona about the main challenges we have been through to still remain in business despite my husband Andrew’s diagnosis with MND.

“At Pivotal Scotland, we are really positive about the future, as business has grown steadily and every day we go to work with a renewed sense of vigour to make it even more successful, for Andrew.”



Picture Caption: Rona Mackay and Sandra.



Rona Mackay votes to criminalise psychological domestic abuse

Rona Mackay votes to criminalise psychological domestic abuse

MSP Rona Mackay speaks at the final stage of the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill which was passed by the Scottish Parliament, criminalising psychological domestic abuse.

I am very happy and proud to speak in the stage 3 debate on the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill. As deputy convener of the Justice Committee, I thank the clerks for all their hard work and, of course, the many witnesses who bravely came forward to give evidence and who made it possible to frame such an all-encompassing piece of legislation. I am particularly proud because the bill is a good bill that will give greater security to the thousands of women in Scotland who suffer mental or physical trauma at the hands of cowardly abusers. The bill is, quite simply, groundbreaking.

I am happy, too, that the bill is consensual and that Parliament is united in condemning violence against women and children. As has been said, the bill is historic: for the first time, psychological abuse and coercive behaviour are being included in the vile crime of domestic abuse. The bill creates a new offence of engaging in a course of abusive conduct against a partner or ex-partner, and it amends other procedural or evidential aspects of criminal law in relation to domestic abuse, addressing an important gap in the law. Crucially, the bill acknowledges the horrendous, everlasting damage that psychological abuse and coercive controlling can do. It allows for convictions for domestic abuse based on a course of conduct rather than individual incidents.

The amendments to the bill have strengthened it and I was happy to support them all. I am particularly pleased that the bill includes an aggravation that acknowledges the damage done to children caught up in these situations and ensures that that is taken into account during sentencing. In this, the year of young people, that is a powerful way to demonstrate to young people how important they are and that society is taking steps to acknowledge the trauma that they suffer in situations of domestic abuse. That has not been given enough attention before.

Members will be aware of the revolutionary evidential research from the ACEs—adverse childhood experiences—study. Domestic abuse scores highly in the ACEs trauma index. I hope that the fact that the bill acknowledges ACEs is another step along the way to society changing the way in which it deals with traumatised children and helps them to heal. I echo Children 1st’s call for investment in trauma-informed support across Scotland to help children and families to rebuild their lives.

The inclusion in the bill of the presumption in favour of non-harassment orders is also welcome and will give comfort to victims who feel extremely vulnerable after a court decision. The benefit of the amendments at stage 2 in the name of my colleague Mairi Gougeon will be that children who reside with the perpetrator of the domestic abuse or with the partner or ex-partner who has been abused will also be able to receive the protection of a non-harassment order.

Those measures protect children in a way that has not been possible until the introduction of the bill. I am absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government has listened to the Law Society of Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid, and to children’s organisations such as Children 1st and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, to name but a few organisations that protect our children every day. The introduction of a formal reporting process on the operation of the offence, the extension of the extraterritorial reach of the offence and Claire Baker’s amendments in relation to data collection to monitor the implementation of the bill are all very welcome, too.

Domestic violence—physical and psychological—exists in all sections of our communities, across all levels of society. We may never rid our society of domestic violence completely, but this bill, which puts Scotland at the forefront of progressive legislation once again, should act as a warning that it will not be tolerated. For that reason, I am proud to recommend that the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill be passed.

MSP meets music man at helm of new social enterprise

MSP meets music man at helm of new social enterprise

A BISHOPBRIGGS social enterprise has been praised by MSP Rona Mackay as a “great example” of how Scottish Government funding is investing in communities.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP met with constituent Joe McGuire, who recently received start-up assistance from the Scottish Government (SG).

The funding came from Firstport, which runs the SG’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund.

Outcomes the Music will provide regular live music in care homes and other community events, starting in East Dunbartonshire then expanding to other areas.

Rona Mackay said: “It is wonderful to meet Joe McGuire and hear about the social enterprise he is starting up and how it has benefited from Scottish Government funding.

“I particularly like that it will be providing music to the elderly and community – this is a great example of what the SNP government’s Social Entrepreneur’s Fund is for.

“Outcomes the Music is a novel idea which I think will have a great impact on those elderly people, who maybe cannot make it out to social events elsewhere.”

Joe McGuire said: “I would like to thank Rona Mackay MSP for taking the time to meet with me and hear what Outcomes the Music is all about.

“We talked about my background, how the idea came about and plans for the future of the social enterprise.

“I agree with what Rona said, that Outcomes the Music is benefiting from a great Scottish Government initiative – the funding has really helped get the social enterprise started.”


MSP promotes new lottery funds for good causes in Strathkelvin and Bearsden

MSP promotes new lottery funds for good causes in Strathkelvin and Bearsden

MSP Rona Mackay is encouraging charities and community groups to make use of new lottery funds that will soon be made available.

In February, they have the opportunity to apply for between £500 and £20,000 raised by the People’s Postcode Lottery.

The next funding rounds for the People’s Postcode Trust, Postcode Local Trust and Postcode Community Trust will open for application on February 14.

The funding round closes to applications on February 28.

Rona Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said: “I have had the privilege of visiting many amazing charities and community groups across Strathkelvin and Bearsden, and I know many need and deserve extra funding.

“The People’s Postcode Lottery fund is an excellent way for these stand out citizens in the constituency to boost the finances of their organisations, especially if they’re working on a particular project.

“The application period is only two weeks long so I recommend interested groups show great urgency and get their applications in on time.

“I’d like to thank the People’s Postcode Lottery for making available these funds that will inevitably lead to the betterment of the many good causes operating from East Dunbartonshire.”


The different funds:

People’s Postcode Trust seeks applications for projects that focus on the prevention of poverty, promotion of human rights and equal rights.

Postcode Local Trust supports community gardens, play areas, wildlife and green energy

Postcode Community Trust focuses on grass-roots sports, arts, recreation and healthy living



Scotland’s change to delivery of Universal Credit will make a huge difference

Scotland’s change to delivery of Universal Credit will make a huge difference

STRATHKELVIN and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay has praised Scottish Government additional options to how Universal Credit (UC) is delivered to claimants.

The new UC Scottish choices, or The Scottish Flexibilities, will give people the choice of twice monthly payments of UC and the housing benefit paid directly to their landlord.

The SNP government is making use of the Scotland Act (2016) administrative powers to change payment arrangements for UC in relation to whom and the time when the benefit is paid.

UC is reserved to the UK Government and delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It is a single monthly payment which replaces six other benefits if a person is out of work on or on a low income.

East Dunbartonshire has had UC since November 2016 but the benefit is still being rolled out across Scotland, with full coverage expected by December this year.

Rona Mackay MSP has praised the actions and reiterated their opposition to Universal Credit.

Ms Mackay said: “Universal Credit is helping to create additional poverty and debt among constituents of mine, so I remain resolutely opposed to it.

“But I am glad the SNP government is managing to use what limited powers it has over social security to offer a different way of receiving the benefit.

“The one single payment at the start of the month is just not a workable system for some – and many would prefer we stick to the way landlords are paid directly by the government.

“Last year it was revealed by East Dunbartonshire Council that 92 per cent of council tenants on UC were in rent arrears, while crisis grants have risen sharply.

“Once again, the Scottish Government is using what limited powers we have to make up for the chaotic changes to social security pushed through by the UK Tory government.”


Rent arrears: