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I will be holding constituency surgeries on the last Monday of each month in my office. Just telephone the office to arrange an appointment.
Enable Scotland’s new campaign part of their 60th year celebrations will take this from the streets to the classroom.
“I’m happy to take up this challenge from Enable Scotland and hope that the local community will get behind this in a bid to lose one of the last remaining social taboos. Today I have written to North Ayrshire council to encourage them to take forward the lesson plans available from Enable Scotland to ensure the young people of North Ayrshire are educated and aware of the repercussions and lasting effects of using such abusive words.
I hope that Schools across North Ayrshire and Scotland will join with Enable and ensure that this language will no longer be tolerated in a Scotland that values equality and can engage in honest discussion about how to remove such words from our vocabulary.
I would encourage others to join me in the challenge – don’t put up with it, don’t use it, lets lose it!.”
Great to see Lemon Aid and CHA pick up the Social Enterprise Award for Social Impact in Scottish Parliament. Congratulations to all.
Workers in North Ayrshire need a pay rise.
That’s the message from Margaret McDougall MSP as new research shows an estimated 10,000 thousand workers in North Ayrshire are paid less than the living wage.
Margaret McDougall said that the figures from accountancy firm KPMG should act as a wakeup call for politicians that the fight for fair pay is far from over.
The West Region MSP is a passionate campaigner for the living wage, and supported extending it to staff on public contracts earlier this year, only to see the SNP vote with the Tories to block the move.
Margaret McDougall believes that for the living wage to make a difference to people in North Ayrshire it must be promoted in low paid professions such as cleaning, hospitality and retail.
Margaret McDougall MSP is backing plans to establish a Living Wage Unit and a National Living Wage Strategy which will be accountable to the Scottish Parliament. The strategy will target specific job markets and areas to deliver a pay rise in jobs where it will make a real difference so that the living wage is the expectation, not the exception.
Margaret McDougall MSP said:
“It is time to get serious about better pay for workers in North Ayrshire, and across Scotland.
“Hundreds of thousands of Scots are living in working poverty. An estimated 10,000 thousand workers in North Ayrshire are earning less than the living wage.
“The hospitality and retail industries employ thousands of people in dire need of a pay rise. A National Living Wage Strategy would be able to target and work with these industries to deliver a pay rise to workers who need it the most.
“The SNP were wrong to vote against the living wage, but I hope they see sense and work with Scottish Labour to help deliver better pay for workers across Scotland.
“Campaigners across Scotland got plenty of experience this summer arguing for what they believe in. I believe in better pay and conditions for working people in West Region and across Scotland. Promoting the living wage where it will make a difference is a step towards a better nation. It is time to make work pay.”
The National Body for Volunteering, Volunteer Scotland, is celebrating the diversity of volunteers during its 30th Anniversary Year by joining with Members of the Scottish Parliament to promote the value of volunteers during Trustees’ Week in Scotland, which takes place 10th till the 16th November.
Trustees’ Week is an annual event each November recognising the difference thousands of volunteer trustees make across Scotland. And this year marks three decades of promoting the value and worth of volunteers as Volunteer Scotland celebrates its 30th anniversary as the national body for volunteering.
2014 continues to be a significant year for volunteering in Scotland and a great time to be highlighting the contribution volunteers make to the communities of Scotland, including through managing and running Scotland’s Charitable Trusts. Volunteer trustees as leaders are central in supporting individuals, communities and the country and volunteers everywhere are at the heart of Scotland’s communities and making them better places.
The Scottish Parliament took the opportunity to join the Trustees Week celebrations by endorsing the wide range of work that volunteer trustees undertake.
George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland, says: “At Volunteer Scotland we recognise the vast wealth of experience that volunteer trustees bring to our communities, we are also keenly aware of the immense pressures they are under in running the diverse range of Scotland’s Charitable Trusts. We are also aware of the many challenges volunteer trustees face in, with increasing workloads, increased demands on services and promoting a more equal Scotland. Trustees’ Week is an opportunity for us as a community to thank volunteer trustees in undertaking their invaluable volunteering role.
“In Scotland each year 30% of adults give over 160 million hours of precious time in a vast range of community settings. This makes a huge difference to people, to the economy, to services, and the environment and all done freely. Trustees’ Week celebrates the good in volunteering and as we look ahead to the changes of the next 30 years one thing I’m sure is that volunteering will continue to be friendly, uplifting and rewarding.”
Pledging their support for Trustees Week and Volunteer Scotland, MSPs stressed the value to local communities of greater recognition of the immense task many volunteer trustees face and pledged to help raise awareness of their volunteering throughout Scotland.
Martin Docherty, Policy Advisor at Volunteer Scotland, says: “We’re delighted with the tremendous cross party support and leadership for volunteering shown by our MSPs this year especially as we celebrate the contribution of Scotland’s Volunteer Trustees; it’s definitely a hands up from Parliament for all they do.”
MSP Margaret McDougall was among the first to support the campaign.
“As Convenor of the CPG on Volunteering and the Voluntary Sector I am delighted to join Volunteer Scotland in celebrating their 30th Anniversary. This has also been a great year in Scotland for volunteering with almost 18,000 volunteers taking part in the commonwealth games and I hope that we can build on this moving forward and put the games legacy to good use.”
“We have a rich tapestry of Volunteer Trusteeship in Scotland and they should be recognised for their efforts and the huge benefits they contribute to North Ayrshire.”
If you want to join the celebrations this year by volunteering or want to find out more, visit: www.volunteerscotland.org.uk
Following questions raised by Margaret McDougall MSP at an Energy, Economy and Tourism Committee Meeting we are still lacking answers related to the problem of Fuel Poverty.
Margaret McDougall MSP stated, “I find it a disgrace that Fuel Poverty remains a major issue in modern Scotland. Levels of fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty are impacting many families and households in North Ayrshire and surrounding areas. It is unfortunate that a recent opportunity to include regulatory standards for retrofitting of privately rented housing was missed in the recent Housing Act earlier this year. We need to see clear action to address fuel poverty by this government.”
Margaret McDougall is helping to spread vital information and advice to older people in North Ayrshire this winter in partnership with Age Scotland, the national older people’s charity.
Over the coming weeks Margaret McDougall will be working with the Charity to distribute copies of its ‘Hot Tips’ Calendar. As part of the charity’s annual ‘Spread the Warmth’ campaign, the calendar provides information to help older people get prepared for winter. Each month focuses on a special theme or includes content from a partner charity, with more than 80,000 copies available.
Margaret McDougall MSP for the West Region, said “Age Scotland’s ‘Hot Tips’ calendar is an excellent resource for older people and I would encourage my constituents to pop in and pick up their free copy. With winters becoming increasingly severe in Scotland, it’s important that people prepare for what can happen, and Age Scotland’s ‘Hot Tips’ contain everything you need to know”
Greg McCracken, Age Scotland Policy Officer, said: “Every year, ‘Hot Tips’ includes suggestions on making your home comfortable, safe and warm, as well as the latest information on welfare benefits and hints on keeping fit and healthy. It’s vital that older people are enabled to continue living independently, but ‘Hot Tips’ is also about improving quality of life by looking at what people can do to get out and about or involved in volunteering.”
This year, Age Scotland teamed up with a range of partners including Poppyscotland and Care & Repair Scotland.
• Gill Martin, Deputy Head of Welfare Services, said, “Poppyscotland is thrilled to be included in the 2015 Hot Tips calendar and see this as a great way to inform older people about our services. Veterans and their families have so much to offer, whatever their age, and that is why we provide employment support to help them stay in work and funding to help them re-enter the workplace. We also aim to help limit isolation and ensure everyone enjoys a fulfilling and active life. I would encourage any older members of the Armed Forces community in need of support to get in touch to see how we can assist them.”
• Robert Thomson, Head of Care & Repair Scotland said “Care and Repair Scotland is delighted to be involved in the publication of this year’s Hot Tips calendar. Our clients really appreciate having high quality advice made available to them in this easy to read format. Care and Repair services provide support to homeowners, tenants of private landlords and crofters to enable them to repair, adapt or improve their house so that they can stay in their own homes and communities for as long as they choose.”
The calendar, funded by the Scottish Government, features content from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss and the Carers Trust with the content guided by what ‘Hot Tips’ readers say they want.
Copies of the calendar are free and are available at Margaret McDougall’s Constituency Office, 29a Eglinton Street, Irvine. They can also be found in your local Age Scotland retail shop, where available, as well as from your local library while stocks last.
Commenting on figures released during Challenge Poverty Week, which showed that North Ayrshire is in the eight local authorities in Scotland whom have the highest rate of Child Poverty Margaret McDougall MSP Said:
“These figures present the harsh reality of life for far too many children in North Ayrshire. But we shouldn’t shy away from such hard truths that the current Governments both in Westminster and Holyrood aren’t doing enough to tackle these issues and that Local Authorities must step up now to tackle this problem.”
“I was glad to see in the press last week that North Ayrshire’s Provost has pledged before she hangs up her chain that she will see every child gets a free breakfast at School. This is such a great pledge and I fully welcome anything which will see any child in North Ayrshire have a better start to the day, I hope that all at North Ayrshire council will also take forth this mantle to ensure our most vulnerable children are at the front of every policy decisions and that the Provost will be able to deliver this.”
“What the figures also highlight is the increasing need for affordable housing all across Scotland. Looking at North Ayrshire alone when housing costs are added we see the number of children in poverty increase by over 10% (27.23 from 17.12) whilst a meal to start the day is great jumping off point we must ensure all levels of Government are committed to tackling the increasing need for affordable housing.”
Breast Cancer Care Scotland and Margaret McDougall MSP highlight vital checklist to improve breast awareness
On Thursday 2nd October Breast Cancer Care Scotland met with Margaret McDougall MSP (Member for West Scotland) at The Scottish Parliament to highlight the importance of breast awareness with a three point checklist.
Forty three attended the event hosted and sponsored by Bob Doris MSP. Margaret McDougall MSP posed with the three point checklist, which shows what women need to be aware of when checking their breasts, and several key volunteers who are involved in the charity’s breast awareness campaign, B-Aware.
The charity is running the three year campaign to promote early detection of breast cancer in targeted communities in a bid to improve survival rates across the country.
B-Aware was developed in response to research showing that the breast cancer incidence rate in Scotland has increased by 14% in the past decade (1), while cancer survival rates in Scotland are one of the lowest in Europe (2). It is recognised that the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment can be.
Margaret McDougall MSP said: “I’m thrilled to be showing my support for B-Aware. It has been wonderful to meet such passionate volunteers and to highlight this very important checklist.
“Early detection is essential in ensuring a successful outcome for women and men with breast cancer. That is why it is so important we spread the breast awareness message and help people to spot the signs and symptoms – not only in themselves, but in others too.”
The three-year B-Aware campaign is being supported by Chris Weir, Breast Cancer Care Scotland’s first Breast Health Awareness Ambassador. She is donating £250,000 in each year of the campaign’s life.
She said: “Many people face enormous challenges when accessing and dealing with information that the rest of us take for granted. For example, in relation to breast cancer, people with learning difficulties face barriers such as trouble understanding breast awareness messages; written information is not always appropriate or accessible.
“But breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. It’s so important that Team B-Aware continue their vital work and materials like our three point checklist are widely accessible across Scotland.”
Team B-Aware Volunteer Janet Wallace attended the event. She said: “I was diagnosed when I was just 40. I was 39 weeks pregnant with my first baby and had just lost my mum to lung cancer, so found the diagnosis very frightening.
“I want to help people understand what breast cancer is and make it all less scary. To encourage people to check regularly so it can all be caught early.”
Team B-Aware are delivering 15 minute breast awareness talks across Scotland. For more information contact 0141 353 8330 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Local MSP Margaret McDougall has backed Macmillan Cancer Support’s coffee morning and urged people across North Ayrshire to visit a coffee morning in their local area over the next week.
Margaret McDougall MSP, said: “Macmillan’s coffee mornings are a great fun way to help raise much needed funds to support cancer care. I urge everyone to go along to their nearest event and join in for such a worthy cause, or if you’d prefer to host a coffee morning Macmillan Cancer Care offer a Coffee Morning Kit on their website.”
Saturday 27th September saw St Matthews Academy play host to the 100th Birthday celebration of Girlguiding, Margaret McDougall MSP who was in attendance said:
“It was great to be invited to such a fantastic event. With over 500 Brownies in attendance it was delightful to see the coming together of groups from all across Ayrshire.”
“All the girls I spoke to commented on how much they were enjoying the event. There was a huge amount of different activities for the girls to engage with from face painting to a planetarium.”
“I would like to congratulate everyone involved for what was a very successful event as well as for reaching this very special milestone and wish all brownies and their leaders every continued success. There is a waiting list of girls wishing to join the Brownies but more leaders are required for this to enable girls to participate, so if you can help the Brownies would be glad to hear from you.”