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Keeping up with you

Hello and welcome to all of you in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse.

Thank you for taking a moment to look at this email. I want to keep everyone in touch with what’s going on in the constituency and what it might mean for you.

My door is open to anyone who seeks advice and support, so you can  phone or email me at any time.

You also have the option of visiting constituency surgeries on Mondays. You don't need to make an appointment.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to receive your personalised copy of this newsletter, which we are sending out every two weeks, then please do  sign up here.

Retain the X1 Hamilton to Glasgow bus route

I have now had an initial meeting with the Managing Director and Commercial Director of First Bus last Monday regarding the plans to remove the X1/X1A service.

I explained to them the real damage this change would do to the people of Hamilton and the surrounding area who use the service to get in to Glasgow for work and study. Alongside this I highlighted my concerns about High Earnock losing out from the proposed replacement service, which would see many vulnerable locals having to walk much further to get the bus.

First has recognised they need to improve how they consult with local elected members and authorities, though they maintain that the route as it stands is currently extremely unprofitable outwith peak times.

I have also spoken with SPT to discuss how this decision was reached and what can be done to reverse it from their end. I will also be continuing my conversations with South Lanarkshire Council.

✏️ A petition has been started by local Rebecca Creechan to show the public support for keeping the X1 service. You can show your support by signing and sharing the petition at
It is unacceptable to remove a vital service without any proper consultation with passengers and other stakeholders.

As a society, we are trying to get more people to use public transport - First's decision to axe this service flies in the face of that ambition.
I’ll keep you up to date.

Walking Football
All you folk who know you need a bit more exercise but can’t figure out what to do, try Walking Football. Every Wednesday from 2-3pm at Larkhall Leisure Centre. There are no age restrictions and there is no cost. Give it a go!


Jubilee Club
I’ve often spoken and written about the wonderful work of the Jubilee Club members and volunteers. I’d just like to remind you of their regular meetings in Larkhall as well as in Stonehouse.

The club aims to provide support and entertainment for those with dementia and for their carers. Looking after a near relative with dementia is exhausting and lonely, so it’s vital to ensure some enjoyable social life along with people in similar situations.
So join the club on the 4th Tuesday of the month from 2pm until 3.30pm at the Raploch Bowling Club. You’ll find a great welcome and the chance to join in the fun and joy of the group.
Phone 01698 884537/07760283210 

Basic Bicycle Maintenance Workshop
For all of you who are either already keen cyclists or those who are beginning to take to two wheels, here is a great opportunity to learn more about looking after your bike.

The evening workshop is on 4 October from 6.30 until 9 at the Ferniegair Hall on the Carlisle Road in Hamilton. The cost is £30 and you can book here:
This is a workshop designed to provide the basic know how in maintaining a cycle. It will be relevant to all kinds of cycles which makes it ideal if you may be lucky enough to own a number of cycles.

It will be taught by a Cytech qualified mechanic and cycle coach who has many years of experience.

Larkhall Community Growers
Another fantastic charity that brings adults and children together. Larkhall Community Growers will soon hold their Harvest Celebration and scarecrow display at Hareleeshill Community Garden on Saturday 5 October from 11am until 1 pm.


A spokesperson said: “The entries from our School's Scarecrow Competition will be on display along with some of the produce from our Growers and Volunteers. Light refreshments will be on offer and some activities for the children. Come along and visit us and see the fruit of all our labours.

“The entries from our School's Scarecrow Competition will be on display along with some of the produce from our Growers and Volunteers. Light refreshments will be on offer and some activities for the children. Come along and visit us and see the fruit of all our labours.”

Trust Jack Foundation
We were all profoundly shocked and saddened to hear that another young man has taken his own life, leaving behind a devastated family.
We know that young men make up a particularly vulnerable group of people. Encouraging them to talk among themselves is important, but there remains a real stigma about men sharing their feelings, anxieties and loneliness.

Jack’s Lads is a community support group of men where people can express their feelings without fear of judgment. Instead, people can share their own experiences and build trust with others suffering from the same issues.
No one is going to force you to speak or share your story if you don’t want to. You will be met with a warm welcome and a friendly face.
Trust Jack Foundation, 36-38 New Street, Stonehouse ML9 3LT
Phone 01698 793980

Scotland to become a net-zero society
The Scottish Climate Change Bill was passed by 113 votes to zero, with the Scottish Greens abstaining after MSPs rejected the party’s bid to target an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.
The SNP, Scottish Tory and Scottish Lib Dem MSPs all supported an amendment from Scottish Labour MSP Claudia Beamish for a 75 per cent cut in emissions by 2030.
Scotland was the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency, and our groundbreaking Climate Change Bill – which was passed by the Scottish Parliament this week – was hailed by the UN as “an inspiring example of the level of ambition we need globally to achieve the Paris Agreement“.

The landmark legislation commits Scotland to becoming a net-zero society by 2045 – five years before the rest of the UK and in line with the advice from the government’s independent expert advisors, the UK Committee on Climate Change.

The Scottish Government will also respond to the global climate emergency by adopting an ambitious new target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2030 – the toughest statutory target of any country in the world for this date going above and beyond what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said is required worldwide to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. 

To ensure we continue to take an evidence based approach the Scottish Government will commission new advice from the Committee on Climate Change on the UK wide pathway to 2030.

Accountability for meeting the targets will be strengthened, with Ministers now required to report on progress to tackle climate change in every sector, every year.

A Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change will be created to make recommendations to Ministers on how Scotland’s net-zero transition should be achieved.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP said: “Our new Climate Change Bill demonstrates what international leadership on climate action means. Not only are we setting legally binding targets to reduce emissions to net-zero in direct response to the Paris Agreement, we are also putting in place the most stringent framework of statutory targets of any country in the world.

“We have already almost halved emissions since 1990. The second half of Scotland’s journey to net-zero emissions will, undoubtedly, require different, and in many cases much more difficult, choices than has been the case to date but it is clear people across Scotland want to see action.

“No one should be in any doubt of the Scottish Government’s commitment to use every policy lever at our disposal to rise to this challenge.

“Our end target is firmly based on what we are told is the limit of what can currently be achieved.  It is the maximum possible ambition based upon the best available science and requires the UK to take action to meet their targets if Scotland is to meet ours. In the interim, while there is some uncertainty over the precise route that can be taken, we believe it is right to be as ambitious as possible to drive the action required to make the changes we need.”  

Childhood Abuse
I want to tell you about a Scottish Government fund designed to provide emotional and practical support to survivors of childhood abuse.
The fund has started to accept applications from eligible organisations.
The £10 million Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support Fund aims to help organisations improve access to services which can reduce the impact of inequalities and disadvantage experienced as a result of childhood abuse. The fund will run from 2020 to 2024.

The support can range from individual talking therapies and group work to peer support, physical and outdoor activities, arts and cultural activities, and is available over the next four years.

Scottish registered charities, community-based organisations and eligible social enterprises can apply from Monday 23 September 2019. Application forms will be available from the Inspiring Scotland website and the deadline for bids is Friday 1 November 2019.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said: “Childhood abuse devastates people’s lives in many ways, and we want to help ensure that they get the support that they need and deserve.

“Many third sector and community-based organisations are doing remarkable work with survivors of abuse, reducing inequalities, improving mental and physical wellbeing and reducing social isolation. 

“We know that individuals' needs vary considerably and so we expect to see a wide variety of creative and high quality applications, aiming to strengthen resilience and wellbeing, and connect our local communities.”

The application process is managed on behalf of the Scottish Government by Inspiring Scotland, whose Chief Executive Celia Tennant said: “It has been a privilege to work alongside Scottish Government’s Survivor support team for the past three years to help manage the Innovation and Development Fund.

“Comprising 25 charities across Scotland, this fund has helped survivors who have told us directly how they have benefitted from this work.

“This fund has enabled us to take significant steps towards the key Scottish Government commitment of reducing inequality for survivors and it is encouraging to see a new fund announced today, which will build on the successes so far, while striving to make further progress towards this ambition.

“We are delighted to continue providing support to Scottish Government through the new Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support Fund.”

Brexit is a threat for families struggling to afford food
The Scottish Government is to provide an additional £1 million to help families pay for increased food costs that Brexit is likely to bring.

A ‘no deal’ Brexit is likely to push more people into poverty and result in rising food costs.

The charity FareShare will use the additional funding to support organisations like community cafes, food parcel providers and holiday clubs that provide essential support for people struggling to afford healthy meals.

Recent figures show 9% of adults are worried they could run out of food due to a lack of money. This increases to a quarter of single parents and almost one in five adults living in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP said: “Increased living costs pose a significant threat to people who are already struggling to make ends meet and are experiencing food insecurity.

“This new funding of £1 million is in addition to the money we committed earlier this year to help organisations manage the impact of Brexit. It is also on top of the £3.5 million we are making available to tackle food insecurity this year.

“We are considering how best to support those most at risk because it is a prudent thing to do – even though the exact Brexit situation is not yet clear.

“It is outrageous that we are yet again having to fill gaps left by poor decisions from the UK Government, but we continue to tackle poverty head-on. Our support to low income households is estimated at £1.4 billion in 2018-19, and includes £100 million to mitigate UK Government welfare cuts.”

Head of FareShare in Scotland Gillian Kynoch said: “The Scottish Government has recognised the need to support vulnerable people in our communities and FareShare’s role in getting good food onto the plates of people who need it most.

“We welcome the funding, which will be used to supplement stocks of available surplus food with additional essential supplies.”