Dundee Mental Health Awareness Week

Abertay University’s Dundee Mental Health Awareness Week starts today.
 
Details are of the events can be downloaded here.
 
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Zoology Museum talk tonight – Fitness and Fatness in Seals and Humans

From the Curator of Museum Services at the University of Dundee :
 
Our next evening event in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum will be tonight – Tuesday 13th December at 6pm:
 
Dr Kimberley Bennett (Abertay University) – Fitness and Fatness in Seals and Humans
 
Dr Kimberley Bennett
Fitness in humans rarely goes hand in hand with fatness. But for seals, to be fit they have to be fat. This talk by Kimberley Bennett (a Lecturer in Biomedical Science at Abertay University) will explore why being fat is so important to seals, what we know about how they regulate fatness compared with humans, how pollutants can influence body fat control in both seals and humans and the potential consequences for human and animal health. 
 
Refreshments will be served after the talk. Please enter by the main front door of the Carnelley Building, facing the back of the Tower Building.   Latecomers may not be admitted.
 
The talk is free but places should be booked via Eventbrite here.

Living Room for the City @VADundee #LivingRoom

Yesterday evening, I was pleased to attend a preview at the University of Abertay of Living Room for the City, the exhibition of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee’s first community engagement programme.
 
The exhibition features the work of photographer Ross Fraser McLean with communities across the city, along with images contributed by the public, and lighting created at the Living Room Drop In and Design community workshops.
 
It is really well worth a visit – open from 16th to 29th August 2014 (Mon–Fri 10am–5pm / Sat–Sun 12–4pm) at the Hannah Maclure Centre in the Abertay Student Centre, 1-3 Bell Street.

Busy Friday …

Yesterday, following my raising concerns that the latest City Council new recycling kerbside collection pilot excluded the West End Ward (and two of the other seven wards in Dundee), I met with the City Council’s Environment Director and the Head of Environmental Protection regarding the matter.

We had a useful discussion and I did obtain assurances that the department aims to swiftly roll out the facility to as many ‘viable’ houses as possible, hopefully this financial year.   It is expected that a report will go to the council’s Environment Committee later in the year regarding the roll-out programme and I will expect to see West End households benefiting from the extension of recycling facilities at that time.     I also raised the need to offer plastics recycling at Tesco Riverside and aluminium cans recycling at the Roseangle Car Park recycling facility and was promised that this would be considered.

Also yesterday, I had a site meeting with local residents and a City Council officer about improving security at the Lochee Park Bowling Green and thereafter met with representatives of the Community Spirit Action Group and a representative from Dundee City Council about the quality of grass maintenance in Pentland.    We viewed the remote controlled grass cutting machine in action (see right) and sought assurances about the way the grass is cut across Pentland to ensure a good quality result.

I had a superb lunch at the Dundee West Church Healthy Eating Lunches and the chance for a chat with Rev Andrew Greaves about local issues.   The Healthy Eating Lunches remain a hugely well-attended community resource.   Next Friday’s are the last before the summer break but they will be back later in the year!

Late yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending a reception (see right) to launch the University of Abertay Dundee Digital Graduate Show, showcasing work by students in areas such as computer arts, creative sound production, game design, visual communications and media design.   A fantastic event and great to hear students talk about their work and ambitions.    See more below …

Willie Rennie on the SNP’s college funding cuts …

Dear Fraser,
Today at First Minister’s Questions I asked if the SNP government would use some of the £67 million of extra funding they have received from our government at Westminster to fill the £40 million college funding gap.
The SNP took the decision to cut college funding, which could threaten nearly 9000 student places next year and compromise the depth and quality of the subjects on offer.
Liberals have always understood the importance of colleges in giving people, no matter what their background, the opportunity to gain the skills needed for secure, well paid jobs.
As such, we have offered a solution to the SNP government – use the extra money to protect college places.
The First Minister did not commit to doing this today, so it is up to us to keep the pressure up and stand up for Scotland’s colleges.
Please join our new campaign today – www.scotlibdems.org.uk
Yours,
Willie
Willie Rennie
Leader, Scottish Liberal Democrats

At last Friday’s meeting at the University of Abertay Dundee on the future of post-16 education in Scotland, I stressed the need to reverse the SNP college funding cuts and I view Willie Rennie’s highlighting this at FMQs today as very helpful.   The SNP college cuts amount to a staggered £40 million.   It is estimated that 9000 student places are at risk next year due to these cuts.     There must be pressure put on the SNP to back Scotland’s colleges in the run up to the budget before these cuts have a lasting impact on the quality and depth of courses on offer.

Future of post-16 education

Meeting at the University of Abertay Dundee
Last night, along with representatives from the University College Union (UCU) at the University of Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee and London Metropolitan University and a UCU national representative, the National Union of Students (NUS), Abertay Students’ Association and parliamentary representatives from Labour and the SNP, I took part in a public meeting on the future of post-16 education – addressing the audience and taking part in the panel discussion thereafter.

For me, key messages include the need for clarity about what is actually meant by “closer collaboration” between Dundee’s two universities and reassurance regarding academic posts and other jobs and on course availability.    Both the NUS representative and I stressed the damage the SNP government’s proposed further cuts in college funding will cause and urged the government to reverse these cuts.