Dyslexia Scotland’s President Sir Jackie Stewart joined the First Minister on Thursday 2nd May to thank the many volunteers, supporters and staff team and to celebrate the charity’s work.
Marion Murray attended as a representative of the local branch, Dyslexia Scotland Hebrides. Marion helped set up the Dyslexia Scotland Hebrides branch, co-wrote the successful ‘Awards for All’ bid for the recent youth project, assisted on a very successful Western Isles roadshow and has helped raise awareness of Dyslexia through her role as publicity officer.
Highlights of the evening included guests being piped into the spectacular Great Hall, entertainment by musicians Eilidh Steel and Mark Neal and inspiring, entertaining speeches by the First Minister and Sir Jackie.
Despite the economic cuts and pressures, Mr Salmond took the opportunity to announce additional funding from the Scottish Government for Dyslexia Scotland to £100 000 for the coming year to support the crucial running costs.
Sir Jackie Stewart also spoke movingly and entertainingly about the key issues and about what still needed to be done to make a real difference including in teacher education. He also offered a vote of thanks for the Scottish Government’s additional funding and then continued to point out that it is was a ‘good start’ and ‘would not be enough’ as it made sound economic sense to invest in supporting people with dyslexia and related learning difficulties.
He spoke of his experiences going into prisons and meeting many people there who did not have basic literacy and had fallen through the educational system turning to crime and opportunism. The cost of keeping someone in prison in Scotland amounted to some £64k a year, whereas investing in educational support for people who struggle with literacy, numeracy and other aspects of life was a much cheaper and sensible alternative he said.
During the evening, at the back of the Great Hall there were two paintings on display - one by Dame Elizabeth Blackadder which was the First Minister’s Chirstmas Card last year and which will be auctioned for charity with some of the proceeds going to Dyslexia Scotland and this work by well known Scottish landscape artist Jonathan Mitchell of Jackie racing in a 1969 Matra Ford at the Nurburgring.
The painting will be used by Dyslexia Scotland as publicity for the organisation and to raise funds - a process that will include the sale of prints signed by the artist and Jackie.