I hope everyone had a lovely festive season. Weíre
back to Parliament this week and straight into work. On the
Education Committee weíll be looking at Stage 2 of the Graduate
Endowment Bill, thatís when we go through it line by line and make
any amendments necessary as we go.
This is my first Bill in committee Ė we did the
pre-legislative report for Stage 1 Ė and Iím told that it will be
hard work but very interesting. I look forward to seeing how the
system works and how much the other parties will try to change the
Being a minority Government, the SNP cannot force
legislation through; we have to negotiate to get support from other
parties, as we did for the abolition of tolls on the Forth and Tay
bridges, and as weíve had to do for every vote in Parliament. We
have to find consensus for each and every policy we try to get
through, so that will be an interesting four years ahead then!
In the constituency, the Forestry Commission offered
us each a Christmas tree for a charity of our choice, and I was
pleased to be able to take them up on that and send a tree to the
Haven in Blantyre which Linda Fabiani and I visited earlier in the
Photo of Ladies Lunch at MacDonald
Crutherland House, East Kilbride
L to R Christina McKelvie MSP for Central Scotland, Janet Pinion
Deputy Chairperson The Haven, Olivia Giles guest speaker, Dr Rosalie
Dunn founder The Haven, Linda Fabiani MSP Central Scotland
The Haven, Lanarkshire held a Charity Ladies Lunch in Crutherland
House recently to celebrate 5 years of supporting families living
with life limiting illness in the community.. Over 200 ladies heard
The founder of The Haven Dr Rosalie Dunn talk about how The Haven
started and the continued demand for the service in the Lanarkshire
area. At the end of the lunch Olivia Giles gave an inspirational
talk about "Living in the Moment" based on her personal experience
on her recovery from Meningitis. We were delighted to welcome 10
pupils from Strathaven Academy and Calderside Academy who were
sponsored by First Direct.
The Haven is a charity supporting people who are living with a life
limiting illness such as Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone
Disease, Parkinson's and Huntington's Disease. Based in the Blantyre
Health Centre, many of our clients come from Lanarkshire and
surrounding areas to use our services. The Haven offers everything
from free complementary therapies and counselling sessions to
informal support for clients and their families and carers. Since it
started 5 years ago, The Haven has maintained its reputation for
providing a high quality of service in the community and in addition
there is no need for a medical referral. This year The Haven
welcomed its 1000th client and continues to provide a high quality
of service in the community. As a charity we rely on donations from
the community to fund our services.
If you would like more information about The Haven or are interested
in supporting our work visit our website
or phone 01698 727884
The Haven does incredible work in easing the
suffering of people with life-shortening illnesses, and itís a
pleasure to be able to help them just a bit.
I attended the funeral of South Lanarkshire
councillor John Higgins on Saturday. It was, as any funeral is, a
sombre occasion, and my thoughts are with his wife and two sons.
John was elected for the first time in May and threw himself into
working for the people in his ward, and itís up to the local party
now to keep the seat that he won.
Itís always sad to lose nationalists, but we have to
keep going and keep fighting Scotlandís corner.
Just one thing before I go for now Ė I hope that in
this year ahead Scottish politics will get back to debating policy
and making Scotland a better place. The distractions we saw in the
last months of last year werenít good for any of us, politician or
not, and I hope they will be resolved quickly to allow us to get
back to making Scotland a better place.