Justice and Safety

Warm Hearts in Possilpark

February 4, 2016 by No Comments | Category Communities

On 15 January, I attended my first Community Networking Breakfast in Possilpark run by NG Homes.  These networking events take place monthly and are a fantastic opportunity for people who work and live in the community to come together to share information about the excellent work taking place locally to strengthen the community and build networks to help make Possilpark the best possible place to live.

At this month’s event, we heard about some of the challenges which face the community, including issues with the physical environment.  For example, where are the safe places for children to play?  What facilities exist for holding community events?  A clear aspiration of those within the community is to make Possilpark an appealing place to live and somewhere that others want to visit.

Presentations included an inspirational input about ‘Open Gates’, a charity which works to restore the lives of those in the community who are disadvantaged, prisoners and ex-offenders through education, vocational training and work experience.  This particularly highlighted that community development isn’t all about money and that, in fact, it’s possible to make meaningful change through drawing on the skills and experience of the people who make up the community.

I also had a very interesting conversation with Evelyn Gibson, Head Teacher at Saracen Primary about her ambition for all kids at the school to be able to swim and ride a bike before finishing their primary education.

A number of events will be taking place over the next few weeks to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  My colleagues and I were delighted to receive invitations.  On 28 January, The Confederation of Fujian Association in Scotland UK and Kut-O Chinese Association of Europe will welcome about 300 elderly residents from across the area to a celebratory meal at the See Woo restaurant.  One of my colleagues will be going along to join in the celebrations. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and am very much looking forward to much more engagement with this welcoming and inspiring community.

Gillian Russell, Director of Safer Communities, Scottish Government

The further comments were received in connection with this event:

NG Homes

It was great to welcome Gillian and colleagues along to the monthly community networking breakfast held at Saracen House in Possilpark.  NG Homes started the breakfast programme around 3 years ago and its popularity has grown and there are constantly new people coming along. The formula works really well with ‘Speakers Corner’ being a popular element and this time we were delighted also to include EPIC 360, a lottery funded financial capability project working across Glasgow.

As ever, it was a very vibrant and diverse event with around 65 people attending including community organisations, local residents, head teachers and social enterprises.

Gillian was able to see for herself the welcoming space created and a real ‘buzz of conversations and connections being made throughout the morning’.   Gillian also got to meet with some other partners such as Scottish Fire Rescue Services, Police Scotland and NG Homes Director of Regeneration, John Devine, who shared their vision for the area and some of the practical ways that they are working jointly to deliver on Building Safer Communities in the Possilpark area.  We are looking forward to following this up in the near future with a walk around the Possilpark and a chance to chat to local residents and partners.

Margaret Layden, Regeneration Manager, said:  “It was good of Gillian to speak at the event and give an overview of her role in Building Safer Communities which added another dimension. She was very approachable and took time to mingle with those attending the event.  You are welcome back any time Gillian.”

Betty Elliott from The Spark said:

‘I have been attending the NG Homes Community Network monthly for a few years now and it has given me the opportunity to really connect with the people who work to support the local community. The format works because it is being run by a community based organisation and those who attend are generally operational, it has a grass roots feel about it. Attendees are mainly interested in helping their clients and not too caught up in the politics of impressing.  It’s a great development opportunity for people to represent their organisation and speak out on their behalf in a non-hostile environment.

I’m delighted to have been able to promote many of The Spark’s services at the Community Network, especially the Scottish Government funded free national Relationship Helpline service and our free Family Counselling service.  Supporting relationships across communities and within families, for children, young people, individuals and couples is core to our work, and the Network enables us to collectively do so much more effectively.  It’s a real assets based approach that works.

Gillian’s friendly and approachable manner fitted perfectly with the Network’s informal environment.’  


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