Dundee Travel Active at Blackness Primary School

Dundee Travel Active has returned to Blackness Primary School at the start of the new term last week, to work with pupils on travelling actively.    
Last week saw P7 pupils participating in workshop activities to learn about air pollution and the forthcoming week will see P5 and P6 pupils learning how to use www.dundeetravelinfo.com to create a Personal Journey Plan for journeys on foot, by bike or by public transport.
Week commencing 10th September will be Walk to School Week – pupils and their parents are being encouraged to walk to Blackness Primary School this week and there’s other activities that week in partnership with local bus companies to launch a new bus with advertising poster designed by Blackness Primary School pupils.
In the 4th week – week commencing 17th September – Dundee Travel Active will be back at Blackness Primary School to find out how pupils enjoyed Walk to School Week and there will be a special school assembly to congratulate everyone for all their efforts.
You can read more about Dundee Travel Active at www.dundeetravelactive.com

Some of last week’s activities …

On Tuesday, I had much pleasure in attending a meeting of the support group for Jericho House. This project is extremely worthwhile, providing care and support to men recovering from alcohol problems. We discussed various projects being undertaken by Jericho House of benefit to the residents and I am really pleased to join the support group to assist the project.

I then attended a meeting of the Finance and Operations Committee of Dundee Contemporary Arts, where we discussed and agreed DCA’s budget for 2011-12. Thereafter, along with a number of fellow councillors, I attended a civic reception to thank all who helped during the severe weather period in December/January. Many staff put in a huge effort above and beyond the call of duty during this period, particularly to help with meals of wheels, other social care and winter maintenance in very difficult conditions. It was a good initiative on the part of the City Council’s Chief Executive and the Lord Provost to thank all involved.

Also on Tuesday, I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of Barnetts Motor Group to discuss the re-launch of their Barneys Charity Fund, aimed at helping local charities, community groups and worthwhile local projects, and I am pleased to accept the Chair of the Barneys Charity Fund Committee, on which there will be community representatives. The company has kindly agreed to donate a minimum of £2000 for local projects in the West End in the first year, which is an excellent boost to community groups in our area. More details will be available soon on how local groups can apply for a share of this funding.

On Thursday, as well as holding my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended a meeting of the Dundee West Transition Town Group’s home insulation team to discuss how home insulation in the local area can be further promoted.

I also attended an enjoyable civic reception to mark the end – and the achievements of – Dundee Travel Active– a project launched when I was the City Council’s Planning and Transport Convener. Here’s Anthony Active, the project’s mascot, at the reception – above.

Dundee Travel Active – latest update

From Dundee Travel Active today :

“As someone who has taken an interest in the work of Dundee Travel Active and taken part in the project in some way or other we would like you to know that we offer free adult cycle training to residents in Dundee. It would be great if you could spread the word to people in your workplace/group/community.

We can offer up to 4 hours of free one-to-one cycle training to individuals of any ability.”

Anyone interested can contact Dundee Travel Active at Unit 31B, Wellgate Shopping Centre or call 0800 111 4510.

Campaigning, Belfast, Surgeries, City Council …

A very busy few days – with the Liberal Democrats campaigning across the West End and the Dundee West constituency as a whole.     Pictured above is John Barnett, Dundee West Liberal Democrat candidate, in Cleghorn Street yesterday.
I missed much of Sunday’s campaigning as I have been in Belfast with the “day job” (photo below!) and returned just in time to attend my afternoon surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy, followed by City Council meetings tonight.
At tonight’s Council’s committees, I raised questions about the Bike Boost initiative as part of the Dundee Travel Active project, the review of ‘out of hours’ social work service, and welcomed the decision to give the job brokerage services contract to the Dundee Employment and Aftercare Project (DEAP).      The handling of this matter by the Dundee Partnership and the SNP council administration has been unimpressive, the tendering process wasteful and unnecessary and – in terms of the future – I made the point that now is the time for all councillors in the city to get behind DEAP and the excellent work it does to secure job opportunities for Dundee people.
I also raised my concern at the expenditure of nearly £80 000 to change the car parking and access at the East District Housing Office – an office barely three years old.    Why is the council spending such a large sum of rent-payers’ money changing parking arrangements so soon after the project was completed?    The SNP Housing Convener appeared disinterested in the matter and I have written to the Chief Executive of the City Council asking further questions about the concern.    City Council tenants are entitled to know that their rent monies are being properly spent.

Thursday Updates

* ‘V and A at Dundee’ – hopeful of progress : I understand that, next Monday, Mark Jones, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and Mike Russell MSP, Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution, will make an announcement relating to the ‘V and A at Dundee’ project.
A feasibility study conducted for the project steering group by Whetstone Group and Conran & Partners, launched in February 2009 at the”V and A at Dundee: Making it Happen” conference, concluded that ‘V and A at Dundee’ would have significant economic and cultural benefits for Dundee, Tayside and Scotland.
For the many of us in the city that can see the enormous advantages to Dundee – and its waterfront project in particular – of the “V and A at Dundee” proposal, I am hoping we will hear next Monday a specific commitment to proceed with the project and that Scottish Government is going to make all necessary funding available.
* In response to a letter about the former Homebase site, published in the Evening Telegraph earlier this week, I have a letter in tonight’s edition – see http://tinyurl.com/homebaselttr.

* At lunchtime today, three of my fellow councillors and I had a briefing on progress being made by the Dundee Travel Active project, aiming to encourage residents of, or visitors to, Dundee to walk or cycle a little more to improve people’s health and the environment. Its core target area includes much of the West End. You can read more about Dundee Travel Active by going to http://tinyurl.com/travelactive.