On yer bike Invercyde!
One of my cherished memories from my childhood is going to Millport with my brother, sister and assorted cousins. We would hire bikes and cycle round and round Cumbrae just as many people had before us and many, like me, continue to do so to this day. Cycling round the island was a carefree and enjoyable way to spend summer days. As a child it was just fun and it gave me a sense of freedom and independence. As an adult I am maybe more aware of the benefits to my health and the financial savings compared to a private car or even public transport. Obviously depending on the distance of the journey and in the West of Scotland the weather and topography, it may not always be suitable to cycle but then again 60% of all journeys undertaken in Inverclyde are less than 5 kilometres (that’s 3.1 miles in old money) so maybe it’s not as unrealistic to cycle as you think. And those hills don’t need to be as daunting if you have an E bike. Electric battery assisted bikes are becoming increasingly common and they take the edge off the extra effort required to manoeuvre the hills that adorn Inverclyde. And if it’s just the weather that’s putting you off then specialist shops are full of suitable clothing but to be honest jeans, jumper, high visibility jacket and a helmet are enough. If you are wary of cycling after a long layoff then courses are available via the Bothy, located at Gourock Railway Station, and the expert supervision provided will ensure you are confident and safe. While the main roads may not be your idea of a safe, relaxing cycle there are many alternatives in Inverclyde. From the waterfront paths in Greenock town centre and Port Glasgow and the more rural routes around the Cut and Loch Thom. The Scottish Government has committed £51 million to Active Travel and locally the cycling Bothy, run by Josh Wood and Shona Morris along with Community Tracks fronted by Stewart Phillips are looking to utilise some of that funding by working with Sustrans to develop the cycling route 75 which runs through Inverclyde. The route needs some tender loving care and, in some parts rerouting, to make it more accessible. When we look to the future and the possibilities for cycling in Scotland we don’t need to look abroad and in particular the Netherlands, we need to look to the past and the Island of Cumbrae to understand that a cycling culture carefully nurtured and supported is perfectly feasible and indeed desirable in the West of Scotland.
Careers advice and support;
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is the national skills body and it delivers Scotland’s careers service. SDS professionally qualified careers advisers are available on the phone, online and in person year-round offering career information, advice and guidance.
SDS careers advisers are available across Scotland. SDS careers advisers work in every state secondary school in Scotland. Pupils will be able to access their support in classes, one-on-one or at school events. There’s advice for parents and carers too.
You can drop in to an SDS careers centre to get help at any stage in your career.
Scotland’s careers website My World of Work is packed with career information and advice.
Subject choices? Career planning? Supporting someone else’s career choices? My World of Work has it all covered.
You can build a personal profile and sign up for helpful updates and reminders.
Go to www.myworldofwork.co.uk
Over the phone;
SDS careers advisers are also available on the phone.
Our helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0800 917 8000.
Advisers work closely with colleagues in our network of local careers centres, to make sure you get the help you need.
Help for parents and carers;
Find out about the jobs in greatest demand in Scotland, the routes in, and handling career conversations with your child at the times that matter most at www.mykidscareer.com.
Understandably there have been a lot of column inches given up to talking about the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. And no doubt as he blusters his way through interviews and negotiations there will be a lot more. But the problem isn’t just the Prime Minister, it extends to the company he keeps. His cabinet appointments say a great deal about him. The new Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has launched straight in to duplicitous rhetoric, claiming during a Channel 4 interview that he made it clear to voters during the Brexit campaign that they ran the risk of the UK leaving without a deal. There is no evidence in any archived media of Mr Raab warning explicitly about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit during the referendum campaign. The new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, previously held the position as international development secretary, a role she had said should be scrapped prior to her own appointment. She was forced to resign from the role of international development secretary because she held secret meetings with senior Israeli figures. She is firmly on the right of the Conservative and Unionist Party having voted against equal marriage and advocated to bring back the death penalty. Maybe most disturbing are her views on immigration. Ms Patel has stated “Free from the shackles of the EU – and an automatic right of entry for their citizens, with or without work – we will be able to give the type of preference to brilliant scientists, academics and highly skilled workers that we want to see more of.” Ironic since she was herself was an immigrant from Uganda fleeing persecution and finding a safe harbour in the UK. The heads of major government departments should be principled and trustworthy. Their behaviour and attitudes will be mirrored in their staff. I fear an already isolated UK government will become even more intransient and inward looking. Mr Johnson is not the only problem, he is just the guy on top of a bonfire of vanities.
The Scottish Welfare Fund made 3,760 payments to people in Inverclyde in the last financial year, new figures show.
A total of 1,015 Community Care Grants and 2,745 Crisis Grants were awarded in Inverclyde over the year. The money helped people with essentials such as food, heating costs and household items.
The SNP introduced the Scottish Welfare Fund in 2013. The Fund is part of a £125 million annual package to mitigate the impact of UK government austerity.
Since its launch, the Fund has paid out more than £200 million to support over 336,000 households across Scotland, with a third of recipients being families with children.