Thursday, 3 April 2014

Scott vs Zombies & WAAD

Me, Scott & the Zombie Auctioneer
Yesterday was one of the most interesting and unusual days for me as Convenor of Health and Social Care. It began with a pre meeting at Waverley Gate, followed by a lengthy NHS Lothian Board meeting and then a visit to Craigmillar to meet one of the city's Pioneer Groups which provide support for dementia sufferers and their families. It was a relatively small gathering, supported by a couple of NHS colleagues, and we had a good chat about what services are needed for people and also what businesses and other public services can do to encourage a wider understanding of dementia and what they can do to help people if they become disorientated or confused. Our work to help Edinburgh become a Dementia Friendly City was welcomed and I look forward to developing this further.

We then made our way to the Gallery on the Corner, in town, for the opening of an exhibition of art work produced by people with Autism. Timed to coincide with World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), the gallery, an Autism Initiatives social enterprise, provides gallery and studio space as well as the experience of producing work in a business environment. More details on this link to the Autism Initiatives website.

Then a short walk to Stockbridge Library for "Scott vs Zombies". Scott Davidson, who has autism, inspired the project and through the excellent Artlink Edinburgh worked with writer Alan Grant and artist Robin Smith to produce a heroes style comic to tell Scott and his mum Liz's story. Last night's event was to auction 18 of Robin's original sketches used for the artwork in the comic. Quite a specialised interest area and a large crowd gathered to raise money that would be donated to support people with autism. The Zombie Auctioneer, ably assisted by Scott, expertly worked the room and bidding was brisk and generous. An excellent event and congratulations due to all involved.

Then after Scott vs Zombies it was off to Tynecastle for Hearts vs Aberdeen. Following our derby victory on Sunday, a creditable draw means relegation has been evaded again, at least for now...

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Committee Business, POSH success and Autism Awareness

Thankfully no April Fools pranks at this morning's Health, Social Care and Housing Committee and not the biggest agenda we've had but still a useful session, in particular hearing from the POSH (Protect Our Sheltered Housing) deputation. Almost 1000 tenants live in Council sheltered housing complexes throughout the city and most receive support from a visiting warden service. The remainder have on site wardens who live in tied accommodation and residents were concerned at proposals to move from this to the visiting wardens. After further in depth consultation via a checkpoint group we've agreed to retain the existing service but not replace the onsite wardens when they move on, retire etc. The deputation made some excellent points about future working and asked for the establishment of a liaison group to monitor the service in future. Given that almost 1000 people live in these complexes and we are acutely aware of the need to ensure more community support for older people this seemed and eminently sensible suggestion and we were happy to agree it. Full papers for the committee on this link, by the way.

Tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day and I'm looking forward to a couple of events to mark the occasion. Will post details later in the week.