Monthly Archives: October 2013

Brochure for Connect2013 now available

The brochure wPhoto of Connect2013 programme brochuree have been working on for our client, Third Sector First, which will be used to promote the Connect2013 conference in Dumfries next week, is now available.

The brochure contains the Connect2013 programme as well as full details of all the workshops for the event and will be printed and handed out to delegates on the day. Highlights of the conference will include a keynote address from John Swinney MSP and guest speaker Calum Irving, Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Scotland. Information about the exhibitors taking part in the Funding Providers’ Village is also included in the brochure.

Connect2013 takes place on Friday 8 November at the Cairndale Hotel in Dumfries and over 200 people are expected to attend. It is being organised by our client Third Sector First, Dumfries and Galloway’s third sector interface.

A copy of the Connect2013 brochure can be downloaded from our publications page.


Survey shows surge in demand for third sector services in Dumfries and Galloway

Third Sector First logoOrganisations in Dumfries and Galloway that provide advice and support to the most vulnerable people in our communities have reported a significant increase in demand for their services as a result of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

A survey of third sector organisations in Dumfries and Galloway, carried out by Third Sector First, showed that, over the last twelve months, almost 94% of organisations that responded said they had seen an increase in demand for their services. All those organisations that responded said they expected demand for their services to increase in the coming year.

The results suggest that that more people are living in fear of change and people are increasingly worried about their employment prospects, whether they can afford to meet housing costs or simply make ends meet.

David Coulter, Chief Executive of Third Sector First, said: “Many of our members are the organisations that people turn to when they are in difficulties. Not only have many of these organisations experienced an increase in demand for their services over the past year, but they predict a further increase in demand in the next twelve months.

“Inevitably what this means is that some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are experiencing increased levels of stress and mental health problems.”

The results of Third Sector First’s survey will be revealed in full at Connect2013 – a conference being held in Dumfries on Friday 8 November that will bring the third and public sectors together to explore issues that affect the people and communities of Dumfries and Galloway. Visit for more information and to book a place.

Third Sector First is funded by the Scottish Government and Dumfries and Galloway Council to support and develop a strong third sector; develop social enterprise; develop volunteers and volunteering; and connect the third sector to community planning.

Connect2013 puts third sector first

Photo of John Swinney MSP

John Swinney MSP to speak at Connect2013

John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Communities, is to give the keynote speech at the first annual Connect2013 conference on Friday 8 November to promote and develop the third sector in Dumfries and Galloway.

Organised by Third Sector First in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Connect2013 will bring third sector organisations together with the public sector. The event will provide a forum for voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises to influence public policy.

David Coulter, Chief Executive of Third Sector First, said: “Across Dumfries and Galloway there are literally thousands of community organisations. Until now these organisations haven’t had as strong a voice as they should have and Connect2013 is all about changing that.

“Connect2013 will provide the community sector in Dumfries and Galloway with a valuable opportunity to meet with and influence decision makers from across the public sector.”

Connect2013 is aimed at all third sector organisations operating in Dumfries and Galloway, their employees and volunteers, as well as members and employees of public sector bodies.

Subjects to be covered in a series of workshops include: welfare reform, community shares, care for older people and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill.

Connect2013 takes place on Friday 8 November at the Cairndale Hotel in Dumfries. Visit for more information and to book a place.

Latest issue of Credit Union News published

Image of the magazine - Credit Union News

We’re pleased that the latest issue of Credit Union News, which we have been working on for our client ABCUL, has now been published.

The magazine, which goes out to ABCUL members and many others with an interest in the sector, is published three times a year. In this issue, we look at the support for credit unions from the Archbishop of Canterbury, which hit the headlines in the summer, and we talk to Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Church of England, who is leading the church’s work on this.

We also look at the work credit unions are doing to develop links with local authorities and we talk to Simon Blissett, Programme Director for the £38 million Credit Union Expansion Project, about the opportunities and challenges for the sector to deliver this project.

A copy of the latest issue can be downloaded from our publications page.

Calling all Voluntary Organisations in Dumfries and Galloway

Third Sector First, the Dumfries and Galloway wide organisation set up to promote charities, voluntary organisations and community-led groups, is holding two training sessions in Castle Douglas.

Third Sector First logo

Third Sector First supports the third sector in Dumfries and Galloway

Volunteers play an important role in many organisations and these workshops will give local organisations help in developing programmes and policies for the involvement of volunteers in their organisation.

Speaking about the courses, David Coulter, Chief Executive at Third Sector First, said: “There are hundreds of voluntary organisations locally which are doing some fantastic work with local volunteers. Many organisations that help to make Dumfries and Galloway the place it is rely on volunteers and it is only right that they receive the best support possible.”

These two workshops are designed to help those organisations consider the important role volunteers play. Topics to be covered include: who volunteers and why; what motivates volunteers; recruiting & selecting volunteers; supporting volunteers and equal opportunities & diversity.

Added David: “Without volunteers our communities would be so much poorer in terms of charity and social cohesion. That’s why we are helping to give local organisations the skills and practical support to help them work with their volunteers.”

The courses run at Castle Douglas Fire Station on Thursday 31 October 2013 and Thursday 5 December 2013, from 9.30am to 4pm.

To find out more or to book contact Third Sector First on 0300 303 8558. Alternatively the workshops can be booked online at

New qualification is the right prescription for nurse Saria

Clients of LSaria 1aserase Bolton will benefit from a faster, more flexible service now that Sister Saria Tahir has qualified as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

Saria from Bury, who is already a State Registered Nurse and is fully trained to deliver a range of laser and injectable skin treatments, will have the same prescribing abilities as a doctor thanks to her new qualification.

Previously a doctor at the clinic had to prescribe all injectable treatments, whether that was for thread veins or facial lines and wrinkles, but now that Saria herself can prescribe treatments, the process will become quicker and easier for patients.

Saria said: “This new qualification will enable me to take a patient from initial consultation through to treatment, helping to make it a smooth and seamless process. Delivery of care will be more efficient and robust.

“The course was extremely tough and it took six months of very hard work and dedication. However, I’m delighted to have passed my exams and I’m looking forward to being able to put my studying into practice.”

Independent Nurse Prescribers are specially trained nurses who are allowed to prescribe medicines within their field. The course that Saria undertook at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk gives her all the necessary skills to prescribe safely and effectively.

Mind the language gap…

file5981249389157Latest blog from Shaun.

News that many universities are giving up teaching foreign languages is shocking to me. I think a strong modern languages education sector is vital not only for the skills and knowledge it provides, but for helping to create a more positive attitude towards other countries and immigration.

The value of speaking a foreign language cannot be under-estimated, in my opinion. As well as giving people an ability which can prove useful on holiday or in business, as the world gets ever smaller, learning a language and gaining a qualification in it demonstrates a good deal of hard work and dedication that can be put to use in many other areas of life, from getting a job to moving abroad.

Apparently modern language students are being put off at both GCSE and A Level because the grades they get aren’t as high as they would be in other subjects. This raises two questions – surely all subjects should be marked and graded on a level playing field, or are other subjects marked more leniently? If so, that seems unacceptable. On the other hand, if modern languages exams are more difficult and a qualification harder to come by, surely universities should recognise that in the grades they ask for?

It seems to me that, as with many science subjects that are no longer taught at universities, there is a drift towards offering ‘easier’ courses so more students get top grades, regardless of how valid the qualification is in the wider world.

As a French and Economics graduate myself, I think a degree in modern languages is far more worthwhile in life and for a career than some of the more ‘unusual’ degree courses now available. So, rather than cutting modern language degrees, much more should be done by the education establishment and the Government to give these courses the support they deserve. This might help to provide more young people with the skills and qualifications they really need for getting a job in today’s global economy.

Of course, we are forever reading about the number of European immigrants coming to the UK, most of whom are able, let’s face it, to speak a certain amount of English. If more British people spoke a foreign language, perhaps they would be tempted to try emigrating to other parts of Europe themselves, so the flow of traffic wouldn’t be so one-way. We might learn more about our European neighbours, respect them more and appreciate the barriers that immigrants to Britain have had to overcome in order to offer their skills and improve their lot in this country.

Politicians co-host Godwin Lawson Foundation

Godwin Lawson Foundation logoMPs Nick de Bois and David Lammy are co-hosting an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of young people who participated in the Godwin Lawson Foundation Leadership Programme, set up in memory of Godwin Lawson, a 17 year old murdered in a knife crime in 2010.

Photo of Godwin Lawson

Godwin Lawson

The event takes place on Wednesday 9 October in the Macmillan Room of Portcullis House at the House of Commons.

The Godwin Lawson Foundation (GLF) is a charity set up in Godwin’s memory, which aims to raise awareness of the positive role that sport and education can have in challenging gang culture and the use of weapons as a status symbol.

Yvonne, mother of Godwin Lawson, an aspiring young footballer, said: “The Godwin Lawson Foundation was set up in memory of my son, Godwin, who was tragically killed in a knife crime in 2010. My aim is to facilitate activities that tackle the causes of knife crime in London, as well as across the UK.

“Football was a passion for Godwin and I want to raise awareness of the positive role that sport can have in challenging gang culture and the use of weapons as a status symbol.”

Nick de Bois MP for Enfield North said: “Yvonne has suffered something few of us can imagine, the loss of her son through a senseless knife assault. She has since shown a determination rarely seen in others to ensure others understand positive influences on their life rather than a life of crime and violence. Her foundation programme and awards are the perfect tribute to her late son Godwin and I am very proud to host this event with my fellow parliamentarian David Lammy.”

David Lammy MP for Tottenham added: “The launch of the Godwin Lawson Foundation is testament to the courage, strength and dignity of Yvonne Lawson, her determination to create a positive legacy from a tragedy. It is wonderful to see that the foundation is already building relationships with students from across North London, tackling gang and knife culture through working constructively with the young people. I look forward to celebrating further achievements of the Foundations in years to come.”

Yvonne added: “Our lives feel empty without our beloved Godwin, however we are determined to use his memory to create something positive. The Godwin Lawson Foundation’s aim is to invest in young people who want to be part of a positive initiative to reduce gang and street crime.

“We are also aiming to deliver road shows to schools using Godwin Lawson Peace Ambassadors to deliver anti-gang and anti-knife messages.”