Getting things done – Blackness Library #dundeewestend

Residents will be aware that I have previously asked for the railings of Blackness Library to be repainted – this is badly needing done.
In principle, it was agreed the Community Payback Team would do this, and I recently asked for an update on timescale.
I have now received this helpful response from the Project Manager :
“Due to reduced staffing in my team, client numbers and the amount of work we have on our list (most of which are projects requiring several months’ work) we were unable to carry out any work to the railings.  We are now in a better position to commence the work. 
We’re looking at April until work can begin due to the weather but it is on my schedule for then. We’ll also be meeting on site to discuss the work.”
This response was received immediately prior to the COVID-19 health emergency and, clearly, the April timescale is now not possible.   However, it is good to know the work will be carried out in due course.

Christina – A New Folk Performance #dundeewestend

Fresh from the sell-out Edinburgh Fringe run of her acclaimed production “Roots”, Elisabeth Flett brings her one-woman show “Christina” to Blackness Library this Tuesday.    
It takes place at the library on Tuesday at 3pm.
The show, commissioned by the Friends of Wighton, is inspired by the 19th century manuscript book of Christina Gib of Maulesden House, Brechin. E
Elisabeth has researched the elusive Christina’s story to create a fascinating musical and historical journey.
It is a free event but please book here.

Getting things done – Blackness Library #dundeewestend

A resident recently suggested it might be helpful in advertising events within Blackness Library is there was a noticeboard outside advertising activities within the library.
I took this excellent idea up with the Head of Library and Information Services and she has responded positively as follows :
“We are in agreement that this is a great idea.  Budget and planning permission may be hurdles, but we will look into this and see what is achievable.”
I will keep residents updated with progress.

West End Reading Group meeting #dundeewestend

The West End Reading Group is a book club based at Blackness Library. 
This book club is set up to encourage all people to read and become more aware of the literature of authors of African, Caribbean and African American heritage. 
Meeting 5.30pm to 6.30pm on the second Monday of every month and the next meeting is tomorrow – Monday 10th June – when it will discuss “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, the first volume of autobiography written by Maya Angelou.
In this book, she describes her childhood in the American South in the 1930s. 
Maya Angelou won many awards including the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of freedom, the Lincoln Medal and the Norman Mailer Prize. 
The group looks forward to welcoming you tomorrow at 5.30pm.

Additional handrails at Blackness Library #dundeewestend

Some time ago, I arranged a site visit to the entrance of Blackness Library where a council officer kindly discussed safety at the entrance with representatives from West End Community Council and myself.
The issue was around safe access up and down the steps particularly in the dark during the winter months on the late opening evening.
It was agreed to provide two new handrails and I am pleased that these were put in place recently – see below :

Friends of Blackness Library

Leisure and Culture Dundee is hoping to establish a Friends of Blackness Library group, similar to the successful initiative at Broughty Ferry Library.

If you are interested, please print off and complete the short questionnaire below and hand into the library (hard copy of this is also available in the library) – many thanks :

Tuesday meetings

Yesterday, I had a number of meetings including :
* A site visit with council officers at Blackness Library to look at the best way of improving safety at the entrance steps when it is dark.   Officers are considering the options and I will be discussing them with West End Community Council and residents to get views on the best way of achieving the best outcome.
* The AGM of of the Bonnie Dundee group, at the City Chambers.   Bonnie Dundee encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee’s parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape.   In addition to discussing the city’s involvement in the Beautiful Scotland Awards and the It’s Your Neighbourhood Campaign for 2016, there was also an excellent presentation on community garden initiatives across Dundee.
* A meeting of the Balgay Stakeholders’ Group, which brings together local councillors, council parks/environment department staff and community representatives – in particular Friends of Balgay – to look at issues related to Balgay Park and its surrounds.   We had a good discussion on a number of initiatives including planned roads resurfacing in the cemetery, improved drainage in Lochee Park and tackling speeding issues and better signage across Greater Balgay.

Colouring in … for adults!

An event from the Time2Give West End timebank :
Time2Give advises :    “We’ll bring tea/coffee, biscuits, pens/pencils and beautiful pictures to colour in!
You bring your secret desire to spend an hour just colouring in and creating something lovely on a cold dark afternoon!
Feel free to bring your own pictures and/or pens/pencils if you want to and relax for an hour or two.”

Friends of Blackness Library

Following the successful launch of a Friends Group for Broughty Ferry Library, I asked libraries staff if a similar initiative could be considered for Blackness Library.

I am very grateful for Leisure & Culture Dundee’s positive response and staff would be grateful for your views.   Please print off & complete the survey below and hand into the library – many thanks!

Children’s author Lindsay Littleson at Blackness Library

Lindsay Littleson
Leisure and Culture Dundee has invited the author Lindsay Littleson to Blackness Library to help celebrate the fun of reading throughout the summer holidays, as part of Record Breakers, the Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge for Scotland 2015.   This will take place this Wednesday – 5th August 2015 – at 2.30pm.
Lindsay won the Kelpies Prize last year for her debut novel ‘The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean’.     She was also one of the three shortlisted authors for Leisure and Culture Dundee’s own Great War Dundee Children’s Book Prize earlier this year.    Lindsay will talk about her writing journey, the process of creative writing and read an extract from her laugh-out-loud adventure.
Children’s reading can ‘dip’ during the long summer holidays.  The Reading Agency’s annual Challenge helps get three quarters of a million children into libraries to maintain their reading skills and confidence.   Tesco Bank support has led to a 30% increase in participation in Scottish libraries over the last three years.      The Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge Scotland takes place every year during the summer holidays. Open to 5-12 year-olds, children can sign up at their local library then, read six library books of their choice, collecting stickers and other rewards along the way – all for free.
Last summer over 1,000 children in Dundee registered to take part and it is hoped the number will increase this year.   The Challenge runs until Saturday 22nd August 2015.

Changes to Waste & Recycling collections : an update

I have previously advised residents about the changes to bin collections and recycling arrangements covering much of the West End, now being rolled out.   The area covered in the current roll-out (Phase 1) covers quite a convoluted boundary but is roughly speaking the area west of Peddie Street to the Invergowrie boundary, including Logie, but currently not including Pentland and Tullideph.   
The council website has more details about the new arrangements.   Delivery of detailed information to residents affected commences today (being delivered between now and 6th March) and the Director of Environment at the City Council has advised me of the following timetable for the phasing in of the new arrangements for Phase 1 (with the exception of a very small number of properties in Clayhills Drive and within the Ninewells Hospital grounds which were switched over last December) :
Any resident with queries can contact the Environment Department on 436289 or e-mail  
I previously mentioned the concerns raised by residents in Blackness Road west of Ashbank Road (on the north side and east of Balgay Road) about how the new arrangements are proposed to affect them.   I am pleased to note than an additional consultation meeting has been arranged by the Environment Department for these residents this week – 7pm on Wednesday (25th) at Blackness Library.

Concern over funding loss for the Hear to Help Project in Dundee

I have expressed concern at the loss of funding for the Hear to Help Project in Dundee.   Run by Action on Hearing Loss Scotland, it has provided help for people to maintain and use their hearing aids in recent years.   I visited a drop-in session at Blackness Library last year and was extremely impressed with what the project provides for local people.
I am very concerned indeed to learn that the funding for the above project is not being renewed.   I feel it is a great service as many elderly constituents in particular are able to get some support to maintain their hearing aids, cleaning tubing, etc and the project supplies batteries to them at each visit. 
It makes it so much easier for residents to have this drop-in clinic in local sheltered complexes and at Blackness Library locally and to access this support on a regular basis.    I fear that without these regular visits, many will find it much more difficult to maintain their hearing aids properly.    It would be greatly detrimental if this service ended.
The background to the project is that following a pilot in the Borders, in 2010 the Scottish Government provided continuation funding and money to run similar projects in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Tayside and Ayrshire & Arran NHS health board areas.   The four Hear to Help projects have made well over 8000 interventions to support hearing aid wearers and have drop-in sessions running in 52 community venues across Scotland.
Funding for the projects in Glasgow, Tayside, Ayrshire and Arran and the Borders, however, is due to run out at the end of March 2015 and continuation funding is being urgently sought to ensure these life-changing Hear to Help services can continue.   If funding is not found, the loss of the Hear to Help projects will have an immediate impact on the communication, health and well-being experienced by thousands of people with hearing loss.
I recently wrote to Lesley McLay, Chief Executive of NHS Tayside, emphasising the great value of the project and calling for funding to be found to allow it to continue.    
In response, Ms McLay advised, “I am conscious of your concerns about the quality of life aspect for users of this service, therefore I have asked (the) General Manager for this area and the Head of Audiology Services … to work with Action on Hearing Loss Scotland to jointly explore potential options for the continuation of the scheme.”
I know of some constituents who have just recently started using hearing aids who benefit greatly from some individual advice and support. 
I would be extremely sorry to see this service come to an end due to funding not being continued and am very keen that Scottish Government and NHS Tayside find a route forward to allow Action on Hearing Loss Scotland to continue to run the service.