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The Working Life of Christina McKelvie MSP
4th January 2008

Getting on with work

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 legislation.

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 year.

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.

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