Letters to the editor

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From our postbag of June 6, 2012

In support of Enable

Sir, – I refer to the letter in last week’s edition, relating to Enable Scotland. As the parent of someone who has a learning disability, a passionate campaigner for people who have learning disabilities, and someone who has served as a board Member with the organisation for 11 years, I believe I am well qualified to comment.

Enable Scotland is an organisation that has campaigned for over 50 years to make the lives of people who have learning disabilities better. My family who live in Cumbernauld have received wonderful support from this organisation over a long period of time. The reality of our experience is that staff at all levels in the Cumbernauld area, including the managers, are characterised by their dedication, commitment, willingness to go the extra mile and professionalism. I find it difficult to reconcile this reality, therefore, with the extremely negative portrayal of the organisation in your newspaper over the last few weeks.

Furthermore, my many dealings with staff at the National Office have been very positive. Anyone who is familiar with the organisation knows that there is a strong commitment from the Board downwards to ensure that as many resources as possible are put towards ‘frontline’ services which support people who have a learning disability.

It is also clear that charities, like the rest of us, face tough financial times and must evolve to survive – this may mean bringing in staff who have the expertise to help them. Any suggestion therefore that posts are being created at national office at the expense of frontline care provision is, frankly, a major distortion of the organisation’s priorities. – Yours etc.,

HARRY ROBERTSON

Abronhill

Cumbernauld

Playpark was built by Regeneration Forum

Sir, – It has come to the notice of the Abronhill Regeneration Forum that one of the councillors campaigning in Abronhill has listed as one of his local achievements the provision of the playpark in Oak Road, citing it is an example of what his party can provide. It may be an example of what they can provide but the fact is that his party had no connection with its provision and he was not elected until four years after its opening. Such misleading claims undermine the enormous amount of work put in by local communities and are an example of the weasel words politicians are castigated for using. This contributes to the disdain felt by people and their disconnection with the electoral process.

The playpark was built by Abronhill Regeneration Forum who raised half a million pounds to provide it. The council leased the land to the forum and there is a maintenance agreement in place. The Forum recently paid for the replacement of one of the pieces of play equipment and continue to fundraise for this fantastic community amenity. The Gala on the morning of June 9 at Abronhill High School is run by Abronhill Regeneration Forum to raise funds for the playpark. The Forum is an apolitical organisation. Councillor Stephen Grant should not undermine and detract from the hard work of local people by implying that the Labour Party provided the park. It was provided by and is still the responsibility of Abronhill Regeneration Forum, a group of local volunteers. – Yours etc.,

MARGARET DEVLIN

Chairperson

Abronhill Regeneration Forum

Love and marriage in Britain

Sir, – We’re making a new BBC programme on the story of love and marriage in Britain from the 1980s up to the present day, based on the personal memories of those who have the strongest tales to tell.

Do you have an especially interesting or dramatic story that brought you closer together as a married couple? How has your love changed and matured while raising a family, coping with recessions, pursuing careers over 3, 4, 5 decades?

Did you reject marriage for cohabitation in the 1980s but have since married after all?

Have you experienced the pain of divorce yet married again for a second or even third time? Was your new partner also re-marrying? What is your experience of the extended family?

Is married life what you expected it to be? What were the highs and lows? How did you deal with the many challenges that face long term partners?

Did you marry in an “approved premises” after 1995 such as a stately home or grand hotel?

What does a successful marriage mean to you?

Have you signed a prenup or a postnup with your spouse?

If you have married several times, how has this affected each new relationship? Did you find the love you were searching for in the end?

Whatever your love story, whatever your age if you have a fascinating tale you want to tell we’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch with me Emily Sivyer at Testimony Films on 0117 925 8589, or email emily.sivyer@testimonyfilms.com – Yours etc.,

EMILY SIVYER

Researcher

Testimony Films

12 Great George St

Bristol BS1 5RH

Find a decent place for Blood Transfusion Service

Sir, – I am writing about my disgust at the events which happened in the Town Hall in Cumbernauld over the last two days (Wednesday and Thursday).

I am a keen supporter of Scottish Blood Transfusion Service over many years and always try to donate when I am able. They well publicise the events they are going to have in the area, and like most people, we work, so we cannot make it certain times of day.

I cannot fault the staff of the service who were still there after the 7.30pm closing time. I arrived at 6.30pm and finally left at 8.30pm with people who had to be turned away as they had been informed that someone was going to be in the hall at 8pm, but this changed for some reason.

I would like to say to organisers of this event (at NLC) if this is the way it will be run (within Cumbernauld) the blood supplies will be in even shorter supply.

This should not happen again. Find them a decent place within Cumbernauld, even if its the College, Muirfields hall, Cornerstone Church or any other large hall within the area. Hope I’m not the only person who is addressing this as I feel that something more could have been done. – Yours etc.,

GEORGE ROBERTSON

Cumbernauld

Kilimanjaro challenge

Sir, – I would like to challenge your readers to climb the awe-inspiring Mount Kilimanjaro to help save lives from meningitis.

Your readers have the chance to take on the highest mountain in Africa for this incredible adventure for Meningitis UK.

Both seasoned walkers and brave novices can sign up for this remarkable climb from January 2013.

The trip of a lifetime to Mount Kilimanjaro takes place from January 17 to 27 and covers a variety of diverse terrains, from jungle to volcanic craters, en route to the picturesque snow-capped Uhuru peak - the highest point in Africa at 5895m high.

The challenge, called The Big Trek, promises to push participants to the limit while helping to raise funds towards wiping out meningitis.

Thousands of people die from the disease each year and taking part in a charity challenge is one of the ways in which people can help raise money towards finding a vaccine.

With your help, Meningitis UK will be able to beat this disease and spare thousands of families the heartache of losing a loved one in the future.

To find out more about these exciting challenges, please contact Liz Gough on 0117 303 3343 or email lizgough@meningitisUK.org , or visit www.meningitisuk.org . – Yours etc.,

LIZ GOUGH

Events Fundraiser

Meningitis UK

Recognising the commitment of volunteers

Sir, – CHILDREN 1ST would like to mark Volunteers Week (June 1-7) by recognising and celebrating the magnificent contribution that all our volunteers make to our charity and communities across Scotland.

Whether providing direct support to children, young people and families in our services, organising events, taking part in fundraising activities or giving their time anywhere else in the organisation, their support makes a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable children, young people and families by ensuring we can provide our local and national services include Safeguarding in Sport and ParentLine Scotland, a free, confidential helpline and email service which provides a lifeline to parents, carers or anyone concerned about a child.

Over 100 specially-trained volunteers deal with around 3000 calls a year on a range of issues – no problem is too big or small. Anyone can call ParentLine on 08000 28 22 33 or email parentlinescotland@children1st.org.uk

The commitment of CHILDREN 1ST’s volunteers is humbling and inspirational - some of them have been with us for over 30 years! Regardless of how long they have been with us or how much time they give, CHILDREN 1ST thanks them all from the bottom of our hearts.

Working together we can keep putting Scotland’s vulnerable CHILDREN 1ST. – Yours etc.,

ANNE HOUSTON

Chief Executive