Gazette Letters 30.7.15

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UNIS FOR EUROPE

This week saw the launch of Universities for Europe, a coalition of the UK’s higher education institutions, campaigning for our continued membership of the European Union.

Including 16 Scottish universities, the higher education sector is to be applauded in standing up to be counted in backing the case for our continued membership of the European Union.

EU membership has an overwhelmingly positive impact on Scotland’s higher education institutions, benefiting individuals, the economy and society as a whole.

Over 19,200 students from the rest of the EU attend Scottish universities and these institutions have won over £400 million in EU funding between 2007 and 2014 – almost 1.3% of the research funding programme for the whole of the EU.

This has boosted the quality of research, benefited the economy and helped Scottish academics to tap into a continent-wide pool of knowledge, cementing the strong global reputation of Scotland’s universities

The case for staying in the EU is about ensuring the future prosperity of Scotland, about maximising the chances of new discoveries that enhance the society in which we live, about increasing Scotland’s global profile, about Scottish jobs and about greater opportunities for people in Scotland now and in the future.

Derek Hammersley

Chair The European Movement in Scotland

Edinburgh EH3 6RU

PARALYMPICS

What a treat to see Team GB’s paralympians, such as Hannah Cockroft and David Weir competing once more in the Olympic Stadium on National Paralympic Day.

It took me right back to the incredible euphoria of the London 2012 Games.

But three years on, has the Paralympic legacy survived? I work for Revitalise, a charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers.

We did a survey of our guests directly after the 2012 Paralympics and over half told us that they didn’t think the public had a better understanding of the lives of disabled people as a result of the Games.

I dread to think what they might say now!

Disabled people have enormous potential.

They want to play a part in society, to make a contribution, but all too often they are held back by the negative attitudes of society itself.

The 2012 Paralympics did an enormous amount of good, but until we start thinking in terms of what disabled people can do, not what they can’t, there is little prospect of any lasting change.

That’s why events like the Anniversary Games are so important, because they remind us of something that is so often hidden from view.

So I’d like to ask your readers to help us reignite the Paralympic flame.

Please join us in calling for a society where disabled people have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams and make a meaningful contribution to their communities as everybody else.

For more information about our vital work or to support Revitalise, visit www.revitalise.org.uk or call 0303 303 0147.

Colin Brook, Revitalise

www.revitalise.org.uk

CONTRADICTIONS

I’ve read about ID Campbell’s holiday in Cornwall and his experience of local seagulls - agressive and none too friendly (Gazette July 23rd).

ID talks of common faith which he found on his travels, but he says, we’re often told faith is divisive and it can be, we are fallible; it can be cohesive too.

He talks a bit about churches and chapels as though Christian faith has ever to have four walls to it, and if it hasn’t it has to be common faith.

The Bible talks of Christian faith as being all important to Christ and the gospel, but is doesn’t say anything on the importance of the church building or chapel, they are only places that people meet in. Life is indeed full of contradictions.

Donald Murray

Inverness

HEART FOUNDATION

I am writing to ask you and your readers to join me in supporting the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Schools events.

You can take part in physical activity that is fun, rewarding and heart healthy.

The activities will raise money for your school, as well as contribute to lifesaving research into heart disease.

I am urging schools in the Scotland to take part in a sponsored skipathon or game of ultimate dodgeball in aid of the fight against heart disease.

These events promote the importance of maintaining a healthy heart through regular exercise whilst raising funds for the BHF’s lifesaving work into the fight against heart disease.

The scheme also allows schools and youth groups to keep 20 per cent of the money they have raised, which they can put towards new equipment and resources to benefit their children.

Last year, BHF’s school events raised over an amazing £711,221. This year, we want to top this total and with your help we can.

Heart and circulatory conditions are responsible for nearly 15,000 deaths in the Scotland each year, that’s over 40 people every single day.

We are asking people of the Scotland to sign up today and help the BHF to continue to save lives.

To find out more and to sign-up, visit bhf.org.uk/schools-event

Beth Tweddle,

Olympic gymnast

EDITORIAL - Call for more powers to Island communities

Is it time for the Scottish Government to practise what is preaches when it comes to devolving power?

As national politicians continue to push for more powers from Westminster to be devolved to Scotland there is a strong argument for centralised powers in Scotland to be devolved to local communities.

The ‘Our Islands Our Future’ campaign, which comprises the three Island Local Authorities (Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland) is lobbying hard for such an outcome.

The use of power and how it is applied to fragile, rural areas has been highlighted this week due to the possibility of new marine designations being imposed on the Western Isles.

Fishermen have warned that such a move could decimate the economy and threaten jobs.

It is argued that marine designations should be one of the areas which falls under the control of local communities, who are likely to be better informed about the good management and control of assets.

It will be interesting to see how the Scottish Government reacts to this compelling argument for local control.

If you would like to comment on, or write a letter on this topic, or any other please contact me at: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk

The above image is our ‘Picture of the Week’ by reader Archie Mclaren, who sent in this atmospheric image of a rescue on An Cliseam Harris by the Coastguard helicopter.

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