Took a trip down to Holyrood this morning for pre-arranged meetings with Sarah Boyack MSP to discuss issues various and Michael McMahon MSP who chairs the Scottish Parliament's Welfare Reform Committee. Didn't come as a great surprise to me that Michael shared my concerns about the impending impact of the changes but he and his colleagues are also concerned about the lack of detail forthcoming from the DWP about implementation and how to cope with the inevitable increase in poor and vulnerable people getting into difficulties and seeking advice on the new systems. As referred to in the post below the Policy and Strategy Committee agreed the report on Tuesday and also agreed to receive further updates including what mitigating measures, if any, we can take to soften the blow when it comes. In life, most problems also offer an opportunity or push you towards a solution. This one doesn't. No matter what angle you come at it, it looks bleak.
Then, off to the Dove Centre (care and social activities for the over 50s), honoured to be asked again to carry out the duties of Guest Chair at their AGM. Always an upbeat affair and great to meet up with old activists and workers from around the Wester Hailes area. The Lord Provost even popped in and delivered an impromtu address and photo opportunity, which seemed to go down well. I'm pleased to report that the Dove Centre continues to thrive, largely due to the fantastic efforts of Caroline and her excellent staff, and amazingly deals with the numerous challenges it faces year after year. The latest of which is that new premises have to be found to house the project. The current (old Rep Council) building has been declared unfit and other options need to be explored. As ever this is a more complex and difficult process than you think it should be. I've offered to help in any way I can and fully expect to get the call.