Readers’ letters

What our readers have been writing about this week.

Sir, – Is North Lanarkshire Council trying to keep the community out of community centres?

I am a member of a small group of senior citizens who meet twice a week in the Link Centre to play the guitar and have an informal jam session. This club has been going for about 40 years but because of the changes in the council’s letting policy from membership group to charging by the hour we now find we are unable to afford the “highly subsidised rates” announced by the council. It now means we would have to pay per month more than we previously paid for our yearly membership fee!

Our group now find that, because of these changes, we have no alternative but to cancel our let totally as of September 1, 2011. Why, in these times of austerity, do senior citizens have to cancel any nights or days, for that matter, in the community centres because we cannot afford the vast increase in costs?

Senior citizens on a limited income have now been priced out of small clubs as only the more affluent in our society can now afford to attend a community centre club. – Yours etc.,

BILL PENN

On behalf of Over-60’s Guitar Group

Recycling at NLC?

Sir, – I regularly play five and seven-a-side football at various council run pitches within Cumbernauld. Last weekend I played at Broadwood’s seven-a-side pitches and couldn’t help but notice the huge banner displaying ‘North Lanarkshire Council - Recycle for Good’ on the fence, which is a valid message to promote.

However, this is where the irony comes in. I noticed a council employee at Broadwood with a black bin bag picking up the rubbish after a busy weekend at the pitches, the majority of the rubbish contained empty plastic sports drink bottles.

I watched him pick up easily 50 or more discarded bottles from the pitch sides. Did he take this bin bag and sort out the plastics into a recycling bin at the stadium? No, the bag went straight in to the bin.

If this is common practice throughout all North Lanarkshire’s pitches then that is a huge amount of plastic going straight to landfill, which remember our council tax pays the landfill tax for.

I happily recycle plastic into my blue bin but it seems that this council haven’t communicated this message to its staff and throws tons of plastics out every year. Perhaps NLC should come out and tell us what recycling it does within its office buildings, sports centres etc. This could be very revealing?

After this letter I expect the banner to be removed rather than the staff recycling the plastics! – Yours etc.,

CRAIG McLAUGHLIN

Carbrain

A lifeline for school leavers

Sir, – Project Trust, the UK’s longest running Gap Year charity, offers lifeline to 2011 school leavers who are unable to find a place at university. Project Trust understands that places for university this autumn are going to be highly contested with very little in the offing during clearing. It has been predicted that many will be unable to take up their desired course at university or college due to the huge increase in applicants this year who are trying to avoid the jump in tuition fees.

Project Trust invites those who may find themselves taking an involuntary gap year to consider volunteering in Africa, Asia or the Americas. Project Trust are offering structured teaching, social care or outward-bound placements on particip8, their eight month programme. Particip8 was initially created for those candidates who wanted to embrace the benefits of the gap year experience but were unable to leave in August due to university entrance exams or auditions. However, this year Project Trust has opened up the programme to those university applicants unable to find a suitable course and looking for a meaningful way to spend their time while enhancing their CV and future prospects.

Project Trust, an educational charity, which is based on the Isle of Coll in the Hebrides, sends around 260 17 to 19-year-olds overseas each year and aims to have sent over 8000 volunteers by the time it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017.

Candidates wishing to get involved in particip8 should apply no later than September 19, 2011. Successful applicants will be invited to attend a five-day residential selection course on the Isle of Coll from September 26-30, 2011, and a five-day residential training course in November with departure overseas scheduled for January 2012. All volunteers are expected to fundraise £4350 for their trip. This covers accommodation, flights, insurance, pocket money and support from Project Trust staff in the UK and overseas. For further information about particip8, please visit www.projecttrust.org.uk/particip8 or call a member of the team on 01879 230 444. – Yours etc.,

JEN BYRAM

Head of Volunteer Recruitment and Desk Officer for Honduras Project Trust

Great Edinburgh Run

Sir, – It isn’t long until the streets of Edinburgh become alive with runners, as the Great Edinburgh Run is nearly upon us in October.

We are asking for those people already lucky enough to have their own place and those who are yet to sign up, to join our team and run for us, in either the 10k or 5k race!

We are the only organisation in the UK that is focused on supporting people after meningitis, and with over 40,000 people in Scotland who have had meningitis and nearly 750 cases each year, we really do need your help.

We support thousands of people each year who have had to go through the trauma of meningitis. As we don’t receive any Government funding, we can only support those people through donations, so you will make a huge difference to the thousands of people that need us the most.

The atmosphere around the course is amazing and all of our runners can look forward to encouragement from the Meningitis Trust cheering team. If you would like more information, or to sign up, please contact me on 0845 120 4885, I am looking forward to hearing from you. – Yours etc.,

JOANNA STEVENSON

Community Development Officer Scotland

Meningitis Trust

0845 1204885

joannas@meningitis-trust.org

Collectors wanted

Sir, – May I make your readers aware that an enormous opportunity to raise cash for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is being offered by Tesco stores on October 7 and 8.

Every Tesco store in the UK is allowing us to collect over two days but we have an acute problem here in Scotland in rising to the challenge as we have so few supporters on the ground here, and we have 104 major stores to cover.

I would appeal to your readers, whether or not they are ex-service, to sign up and lend a hand in collecting at their nearest Tesco store for some time during the period.

Collections are to be done between the hours of 9.30am and 6pm on each day and I would be looking for people to agree to do just a few hours on either day.

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the most important charity for soldiers providing assistance to soldiers, ex-soldiers and the families in time of need and in Scotland last year we spent just under £1million in our work.

Please get in touch with me if you are interested by either ringing 0131 310 5132 / 5116 or directly by email at Scotland@soldierscharity.org

A few hours spent collecting will make a real difference for a soldier or a family somewhere in Scotland so please give generously of your time to help.

Faugh A Ballagh – Yours etc.,

MAJOR ROY ROBERTSON

Director ABF Scotland

The Castle

Edinburgh

EH1 2YT

Proud of the kids

Sir, – After the depressing world wide publicity shown on our televisions and press on recent riots in England, how gratifying it was to work with the local children and younger generation on the Dullatur Project.

All too often these young people do not get the credit due to them, they are a credit to us all and we should tell them how proud and privileged we are to have them in our community.

I would like to thank the following: Margaret Smillie of Dullatur Community Council and the teams from Southern Energy, the young Rotaract Club from Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Water, all the seniors residents and all those involved for making a vast difference to their environment and a big thank you to the Cumbernauld News for their cover of this story. Keep an eye on the Cumbernauld News for future projects. Local volunteers will always be welcome.

BOBBY JOHNSTONE

Chairman of Cumbernauld Environmental Society