Monday August 2nd.
Visit to Bethany Christian Trust. Bethany is a Christian Charity which works to prevent homelessness in Scotland. They have a number of shops around Scotland where families on low incomes can purchase essential household items donated by the public at low cost.
Ian was given a presentation of the work of the Trust by Chief Executive Ian Gordon and visited one of the shops. He came away a keen supporter, very impressed by how effective Bethany are at achieving their aims and with the value of the service they offer to the community.
Tuesday August 3rd.
Visit to the Marie Curie Hospice. The Marie Curie Hospice in the constituency opened in 1962 and serves people with cancer and other life-threatening conditions from all over Edinburgh. The Hospice has 27 beds and provides a range of day services including occupational therapy, physiotherapy, spiritual care and complementary therapies. Support for people in their own homes is a vital part of the service offered.
Hospice Manager Anne Willis showed Ian round the hospice, where he met patients and their relatives enjoying the tranquillity of the rooms overlooking the beautiful gardens.
After the tour Ian met members of the staff. A wide ranging discussion of the challenges facing the hospice took place. Of particular interest was the hospice approach to palliative care, in which Marie Curie is at the leading edge.
Marie Curie is partly funded by charitable donations and as such constantly needs to raise funding in order to continue and to expand upon the service they provide. Ian has promised to help in any way he can.
To find out more about Marie Curie, visit http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/ .
Wednesday August 4th.
Visit to Libertus, a community centre based in the south of the constituency and run by Wilma Nelson. They cater for groups of all ages who need support with independent living. Ian visited a group of elderly housebound residents of the neighbourhood who enjoy activities at the centre.
Thursday August 5th.
Visit to Goodtrees Community Centre to enjoy the last day of the out of school scheme they had been running for the summer holidays.
Tuesday August 10th.
Visit to the Open Door in Morningside. The Open Door, run by Sandra Dixon, provides an invaluable service to the elderly residents of Morningside. Ian met a group whose oldest member was in her late 90’s, but that didn’t stop her taking a full part in the discussion. The group was very amused by Ian’s description of some of the more arcane traditions of the House of Commons.
Wednesday August 11th.
The office had received a number of letters from staff at the Howdenhall Forensic Laboratory, the future of which is in doubt under a proposed scheme to rationalise the provision of forensic services across Scotland.
There was a fascinating visit round the facility which made clear the complexities of running a facility where it is imperative that the integrity of each minute piece of evidence has to be scrupulously preserved. The staffing implications were very clear.
Thereafter there was a meeting with the scientific staff who put forward their own very well argued case for retaining Howdenhall; they felt that their voices were not being heard although they had some very good ideas of their own about how to save money without compromising the service the lab offers in fighting crime in the Lothian and Borders region. It was a most thought-provoking visit on many levels.
Thursday August 12th
In the early afternoon there was a visit to the Eric Liddell Centre, at which Ian met a group of local elderly men and women with dementia and enjoyed a tour of the facility which offers office space for voluntary organisations, two halls and various rooms where activities for a variety of different groups are held. The centre is fascinating architecturally, being a new build within the shell of an old church in Morningside. It is named after the Olympic runner, Eric Liddell, and houses an exhibition of his life.
After the centre it was straight to Gilmerton Library in the south of the constituency. Changeworks were there launching their recycling campaign, Waste Free Edinburgh and Ian was happy to lend his support to this worthwhile local initiative.
Changeworks at Gilmerton Library.
Friday August 13th
The Family Fund offers practical help to families of disabled children who live on low incomes. They offer a wonderful service, providing simple necessities which can make all the difference to the families – these can be as simple as bedding, clothing and toys, to a washing machine, laptop or driving lessons. To the families involved the service is invaluable, and Ian thoroughly enjoyed lending his support and meeting constituents who had benefitted from the Family Fund. For further information about the Family Fund, go tohttp://www.familyfund.org.uk/
Family Fund visit 2010.
Tuesday August 17th.
With news of the Pakistan Floods dominating the headlines, the Rotary Club launched their Shelterbox appeal at the Eric Liddell Centre. Ian is a great supporter of the Rotarians and was pleased to offer his support. Shelterboxes were the idea of a rotary Club member in Cornwall, who saw a suitable box in his local hardware shop and realised that packed with the right survival aids, boxes could be delivered quickly to areas hit by disaster to provide shelter, warmth and the basics for survival. There is now a dedicated warehouse from which shelterboxes are sent out wherever they are needed. To find out more about Shelterboxes go to www.shelterbox.org.uk
The Shelterbox Appeal Launch.
Wednesday August 18th.
The Edinburgh Headway Group is an organisation which offers support for adults who have suffered acquired brain injury, either as a result of head trauma, stroke or infection eg encepahalitis or menengitis. Based in the grounds of the Astley Ainsley hospital, Headway House is open Monday – Thursday and offers a range of activities from cooking to gentle exercise, computing to tai-chi. The programmes are designed to support the brian injured person in ways tailored to their individual needs for therapeutic and rehabilitative activities . Ian’s visit was to see for himself the work of the Headway Group and to meet the dedicated team who run it.
The formation of the group was initially driven by one family which found that there was no suitable provision for their son, who had sustained a severe brian injury as a result of an accident. It started as a support group for families in a similar situation, but in 1987 Professor Douglas Miller persuaded the hospital authorities to provide permanent premises for the group. Now funding is provided partly by the NHS and many of those attending the centre do so as a result of NHS referral.
To find out more about the organisation, visit www.edinburghheadway.org.uk.
LEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN VISITS TO EDINBURGH SOUTH.
In the course of the Labour leadership campaign, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott dropped in to visit Ian at Minto Street.
Monday August 23rd.
A fascinating visit to Edinburgh University School of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at Little France.
The university is unique in working closely with the NHS. Their site at Little France, adjacent to the Royal Infirmary, means that the university and the hospital have the opportunity to work closely together. The Queens Medical Research Institute attracts research students from all over the world and offers world-class research opportunities. In the Chancellor’s Building the main teaching facility caters for undergraduate as well as post graduate students in a superb modern facility.
Ian was shown around the Queen’s Medical Research Institute which includes the Centre for Cardiovascular Science, the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, the Centre for Reproductive Biology and the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine. He visited the cutting edge scanning facility which uses a variety of imaging techniques which allow doctors and researchers to assess for example the progress of a condition and the effects of drug therapy on it. It was a very thought provoking visit which left Ian determined to do his utmost to ensure that the University can continue to develop and extend their vital work in the future.
To find out more about the University of Edinburgh Medical School , visit www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/medicine-vet-medicine/about/little-france.
Wednesday August 25th.
Ian spent the afternoon visiting 3 sites in the constituency administered by Viewpoint Housing in the Grange area of Edinburgh South. He visited a Viewpoint care home and saw some of their sheltered flats. With a population of approximately 17% over the age of retirement, Edinburgh South is fortunate that Viewpoint offers elderly residents of the constituency a range of housing appropriate to their needs.