I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my constituents, and people across Scotland, a very Happy New Year. With recess over my staff and I are back at work and excited to see what 2018 will bring. Before the break we were completely overwhelmed with the generosity shown towards our collection of toys for local children, a collection of which we were able to extend to other essential items, items needed to support families throughout the community. This was utterly fantastic but while delivering the many gifts to different organisations they beseeched us to remember that after Christmas, and into some of the coldest and most difficult financial months of the year, they would require support and donations of food and other essentials as much as ever.
Many families, as I chatted about in previous blogs, will do everything they can to ensure that they, and more so their dependants, will have a wonderful Christmas. These families will stretch themselves to their financial limits because as we all know Christmas is a time where parents feel great pressures to make sure that their child isn’t the ‘odd one out’. Add that to the fact children are off school so there are no free school meals, along with plummeting temperatures and rising heating costs; January can be a very difficult month. Having chatted with Debt Change Scotland just before the holiday period, they told me that as early as boxing day they would see calls come in to their charity, calls from people of all socio-economic backgrounds, panic stricken about what they had spent over Christmas. I’m just really glad organisations like Debt Change exist and I’ll attach details for them below. Debt, just another reason why we must be mindful to look out for vulnerable members of our community post-festive season.
I had a fantastic time, I got lots of great gifts and I spent time with family which was welcome when we all find ourselves living such busy lives. However, during the break I had time to reflect on what I can be doing not just at Christmas, but the throughout the year within my little corner of Glasgow. Yes, my job is to fight poverty from Parliament, to assist the Scottish Government in mitigating austerity; but I believe as my office has talent and resources, if we can do something practically then we really should. To that end, our office will be accepting donations of tinned and dried food throughout the months of January and February, we will act as an informal drop off point for anyone who would like to donate. If you’re not sure what to buy, or even what you could give from your own pantry, here is a short list of some of the basics: baked beans, pasta sauce, powdered milk, cereal, soup. These are just some of the items which would make a huge difference.
January is a tough month for everyone, the days seem long and money is tight; but it is a chance to start something new and fresh. Many people are knee deep in lists of resolutions and I myself have been challenged to take better care of my physical and mental health; but I’m also excited to be starting new projects and developing existing ones. My work resolutions are the same as they are every year, to work with and develop community organisations, to represent constituents and to stand up for the people of Scotland. I can see this being a tough year for the UK, the government seem to be intent on pursuing a hard Brexit regardless of the economic or social effects it will have on communities across the United Kingdom; and of course completely disregarding the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland. I, along with my SNP colleagues at Holyrood, will continue to fight this; and I will continue to fight for a fairer deal for my constituency of Glasgow Cathcart.
If you are seeking help or assistance we operate an open door policy for our surgeries and our office; however, if you have quite a complex issue then maybe you would feel it best to make an appointment in order to secure the time needed to discuss it. All of my details can be found on this web site and I very much look forward to working with each and every one of you in 2018.