MSP Gil Paterson took a walk down memory lane when he visited the first ever Singer Stories Festival at Clydebank Townhall. As a young man the Clydebank and Milngavie MSP worked in the Singer repair workshop in York Street in Glasgow doing electrical repairs on sewing machines and a wide variety of Singer white goods.
The festival showcased West Dunbartonshire’s collection of Singer sewing machines, which is the largest of its kind in Europe, as well as celebrating the history of Singer in Clydebank with music, sewing competitions, film and debate.
A team of volunteers have been collecting personal stories and memories of Singer sewing machines and life in the Singer factory in Clydebank throughout the last year. They will use these recordings to create a social history archive.
Speaking at the event, Mr Paterson said:
“I remember working on machines like these when I was a young electrical repairman, I spent a lot of time supressing sewing machines so that they didn’t interfere with the TV!
“The collection of sewing machines here in Clydebank is one the finest in Europe so we should be showing it off and telling the stories of the people who remember Singer in its heyday. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jen Smith and Andrew Graham for showing me round and for all their hard work to get the first festival off the ground.
“Clydebank has a fascinating story to tell, not just about the Singer factory but also our shipbuilding, the horrific experiences of the blitz and our excellent examples of prehistoric rock art. Few towns can boast of such a rich heritage and it is one of which Bankies should be proud, so I’m delighted that this first Singer Stories Festival has been such a success and I’m sure it will go from strength to strength.”
Charity group Brothers In Arms staged an exhibition at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh last week.
The aim of the exhibition, which was sponsored by local MSP Gil Paterson along with East Dunbartonshire MSP Rona Mackay, was to raise awareness of suicide among men and to highlight the group’s work providing information and support to men who are struggling to cope with stress or anxiety or common mental health issues.
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, 75% of all suicide is male. Brothers In Arms use men’s peer groups, their voices and interests to reach them. They’ve launched a new App where you can find exclusive content and get details of support resources in Scotland. The App which is free to download and was developed in consultation with psychiatrists and psychologists, provides a clinically proven, confidential, wellbeing service The group have teamed up with BAFTA award winning documentary film maker Duncan Cowles to create their first film and they’re also collaborating with the Being Mankind organisation to donate 80 of their books, Being Mankind Volume 1, to schools and youth organisations throughout Scotland.
Welcoming the group to Holyrood Gil Paterson MSP said:
“Suicide is a huge issue in our society which has devastating consequences not just for the young men who takes their own lives but for their families and loved ones as well.
“Too many men grow up feeling that to admit that they are struggling or to ask for help is a sign of weakness. There is pressure on men to be strong and never show any vulnerability. But the level of suicide in young men as a result of this macho culture is shocking so we need to find different ways to tackle this, different ways to reach them in order to prevent young men from taking their lives in such tragic circumstances. The Brothers In Arms App, which has been developed with the help of psychologists and psychiatrists, is just the kind of thing which could make a real difference, as is their campaign to bring the issue to schools and youth organisation throughout the country. Let’s get young men talking about how they’re feeling.”
While researching further ways to assist households to insulate against air craft noise, Gil Paterson MSP came across a UK wide initiative for a scheme that offers owner occupiers help to insulate their house against heat loss.
Mr Paterson, who had previously been unaware of the existence of this scheme, has written to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the UK Government at Westminster requesting a meeting with the Secretary of State, the Rt Hon Greg Clark, to find out if this scheme could be adapted to accommodate households living under the flight path of Glasgow Airport.
Mr Paterson told the Milngavie & Bearsden Herald:
“In my view this scheme is an excellent initiative for owner occupiers and since it is already in operation, perhaps anyone who already qualifies for assistance and also happens to live under the flight path in Milngavie or Bearsden could benefit if the system were to be augmented.
“Materials could be used that protect against heat loss and sound penetration rather than the most commonly used heat loss products which do not have any resistance to sound.”
Mr Paterson continued:
“It seems sensible to me, that for just a small amount of further investment, those who are affected by both heat and sound problems could be offered a cost effective solution.”
Local MSP Gil Paterson has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament highlighting the news that the charity ‘Y sort it’ has been awarded funding from the SNP Government’s Climate Challenge Fund to establish and develop a StreetBikes initiative in West Dunbartonshire.
The aims of the project are to increase levels of active travel throughout the community by creating a hub where young people can learn about safe cycling and bicycle repair and maintenance as well as take part in peer-led cycling trips.The project will also decrease wastefulness by reusing and recycling unwanted bikes that would otherwise have been landfilled. Y sort it will integrate tackling climate change into their everyday activities and work to increase levels of understanding within the community. On top of all that the project will create employment as a full-time Street Bikes Development Coordinator will be appointed.
Commenting on the initiative Mr Paterson said:
“This is a fantastic project which ticks all the right boxes. It encourages people to get more active and so improve their health and well-being, it gets young people to exercise out in the fresh air while socialising with others, it teaches them how to maintain and repair their bicycle giving them new skills at the same time as well as being great for the environment. On top of all that it will provide employment for a Development Coordinator. It is a really exciting project and I would encourage everyone to support it.”