DIGNITY AT HEART OF FAIR START SCOTLAND
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie has welcomed new analysis of Scotland’s first fully devolved employment support service, which has shown that service users overwhelmingly feel it has improved their quality of life.
Fair Start Scotland, launched in April 2018, helps people find work and supports those who have struggled to find a job that meets their needs.
Fair Start Scotland's services are delivered by different providers across the country. In South Lanarkshire, the service is provided by Remploy.
Nine in 10 people who used Scotland’s new employment support service in its first year felt they were treated with dignity and respect.
Christina McKelvie, MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, said:
“The positive response to Fair Start Scotland shows that the SNP’s approach is really resonating with Scots.
“The service is well suited to those who, for any reason, may be at a disadvantage. Health conditions, additional support needs and caring responsibilities, amongst other things, can present barriers to finding work.
“Fair Start Scotland was founded upon the principles of dignity and respect; these responses suggest that it is succeeding.”
Christina McKelvie MSP recently met representatives from Marie Curie to hear about the care they offer locally to people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones.
In South Lanarkshire, around 2,700 people each year need palliative care to relieve symptoms and improve their quality of life. Last year, 1,524 visits were made to patients across South Lanarkshire by the Marie Curie nursing team.
Thanking the Marie Curie Nurses who deliver hands-on care at homes across South Lanarkshire, Christina McKelvie also congratulated her constituents on their generous donations to the charity and encouraged continued support.
Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse said: “It was a pleasure to hear first-hand from the team at Marie Curie about the work they are carrying out across the Constituency.
“The support they offer to those with terminal illnesses and their families at one of the most difficult times for anyone is absolutely invaluable. So many families’ lives have been improved by the work of the Marie Curie team.
“You can help make sure that this support continues into the future by donating to Marie Curie or getting involved yourself.”
Marie Curie Nurses helped 93 percent of people last year to die in their place of choice, which is often at home. While most people cared for had cancer (79.2 percent), the charity supports people with all terminal conditions including neurological conditions, Motor Neurone Disease and frailty.
Ellie Wagstaff, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for Marie Curie Scotland said: “Thank you to Christina for highlighting the vital care and support terminally ill people need.
“We want everyone to have physical and emotional care to help them live as well as they can with terminal illness. At the end of life, that should also mean people have as much choice as possible and with Marie Curie support the difference might be that they can stay at home and spend precious time with loved ones.”
Anyone can receive free support through the Marie Curie Information and Support Line on 0800 090 2309 or visit mariecurie.org.uk/help.
Christina McKelvie MSP has welcomed the news that the reported number of permanent teacher vacancies has dropped in the last year.
In South Lanarkshire, there are 21 fewer permanent vacancies than last year. This included a drop of 4 primary school vacancies and a whopping 17 secondary school vacancies.
Each year, the number of teacher vacancies in primary and secondary posts is reported by local authorities as part of the range of information which informs teacher workforce planning.
Across Scotland, local councils have advertised 224 fewer permanent teacher vacancies for primary and secondary schools combined compared to the same time last year.
“This is encouraging news. Not just for my the people living in Hamilton, but across Scotland Primary teacher vacancies have more than halved compared to last year and Secondary vacancies are at their lowest level since 2016.
“The Scottish Government has worked tirelessly to promote the benefits of a career in teaching. These figures suggest that this approach is working.
“Under the SNP, teachers were given the best pay deal of any of the United Kingdom countries – with additional measures that are aimed at addressing workload and wellbeing. We are ensuring that our teachers have the support they need to deliver for their pupils.
“Despite a decade of Tory austerity, this SNP Government continues to invest in our education system and invest in our teachers.
“They are the custodians of our education system and it is vital that we continue to value them.”
Hello and welcome to all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.
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Back to School, back to costs!
Pupils from across all of South Lanarkshire have been helped out with the price of school uniforms. COSLA confirmed that all 32 local authorities have implemented an increase for school clothing grant.
The £100 minimum grant to all eligible families was put in place for the start of the academic year, relieving the financial pressure for South Lanarkshire families and pupils as they return to school.
Motor Neurone Disease
Some of you already know that I take a close interest in living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), as my own father did for many years before he died.
In June, just before we went off for the summer holidays, we marked MND Awareness Week.
The Scottish Government has invested £2.5 million annually in the Specialist Nursing and Care Fund since 2015, more than doubling the number of MND specialist nurses across Scotland.
The new Health and Social Care Standards, introduced in April, seek to provide better personal outcomes for everyone and to ensure that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.
Everyone is entitled to care that meets their needs and upholds their rights.
The Euan MacDonald Centre, at Edinburgh University, https://www.euanmacdonaldcentre.org was started up with funds from Euan - just 29 when he was diagnosed - and his father, Donald. It's a fantastic resource, and I was directly involved with Euan on the building of a voicebank for patients to access, allowing them to pick out a voice sound that is closest to their own natural voice.
The Scottish Government recognise that research is essential for the development of new and effective approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Motor Neurone Disease – investing in both research capacity and in bringing MND studies to Scotland.
Are you being scammed?
Watch out! What do you know about skimming or fake ATMs? The cleverer technology gets, the cleverer online scammers get to keep up. Phishing, harvesting, identity theft, hacked information such as BA's embarrassment last week. British Airways is facing a possible fine of around £500 million over a data breach that compromised 380,000 card payments after regulators said they were "making inquiries" into the incident.
So I took up the cause at Larkhall Trinity Church last week and invited in experts to explain more.
The ‘Scam Awareness Surgery’ was designed to make sure the citizens of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse are made more aware of the latest scams and frauds.
Research from Citizens Advice Scotland had shown that over 61% of over 65s have been approached by a scammer. Other schemes include computer repair/ phishing scams and home and identity fraud
Scammers can target anyone, but especially older people and anyone who has a vulnerability that makes them an easier target.
I thought it was important to give you the opportunity to ask questions and find out how best to protect yourselves against this ever more sophisticated form of theft.
Thanks especially to Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau, Trading Standards and Police Scotland for coming along to give east to understand help and guidance that will make sure people here are more protected and secure whether that's at an ATM or purchasing something online.
I'll be back in a couple of weeks with more news.