Here is the motion that I lodged on Wednesday 11th December:
That the Parliament welcomes Giving Something Back, an independent report published by the think tank, Demos, on the economic and social value of charity shops; understands that there are 900 charity shops in Scotland, which collectively raise over £26 million every year as well as provide 1,500 jobs and 19,200 volunteering opportunities in Scotland; notes that 61% of volunteers asked in Giving Something Back said that volunteering in charity shops had a positive impact on their physical and mental health and over 80% said volunteering improved their self-esteem and confidence; agrees with Demos that charity shops improve community relations and are economically beneficial by helping maintain footfall on Scottish high streets and by offering cheaper goods as the cost of living increases, and agrees that charity shops provide both older and young people in Scotland with invaluable opportunities to learn new skills, improve their confidence, have a new sense of purpose, socialise and meet new people and to ultimately gain experience that can help those seeking a job to find employment.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Walk the Walk to hear about how the Moon Walk is helping improve the lives of Scotland’s cancer population. The amount of good that Walk the Walk are able to facilitate through their grants system is truly astonishing. Over the last 6 years, the Moon Walk has raised over £15 million in Scotland- hopefully I can help add to that total when I take part next year!
Steall Gorge Footpath Appeal
That the Parliament congratulates the John Muir Trust on the success of its Steal Gorge Footpath appeal, which has raised tens of thousands of pounds in order to repair the historic footpath across Glen Nevis; understands that the path is an important tourist attraction that is walked by tens of thousands of visitors every year to enable them to view the dramatic An Steall Ban, Britain’s second highest waterfall; recognises the importance of footpath maintenance, which aids public access to mountain landscapes and protects surrounding habitats from damage, and commends the work of all not-for-profit organisations involved in carrying out what it considers to be the vital repair and restoration of Scotland’s upland footpaths.
Jean Urquhart has encouraged local community groups throughout the Highlands and Islands to apply for the latest round of People’s Postcode Trust funding. The Trust funds small, community-based projects across the UK, with £4.1 million allocated to 748 projects since it was established in 2009.
Jean Urquhart, a Highlands and Islands SNP MSP, said:
“In these tough economic times, funding from the third sector can make the difference for the numerous community projects that run in the Highlands and Islands and indeed for the people that benefit from them.
“The focus of the People’s Postcode Trust on granting sums of £500-£10,000 to small, local projects undoubtedly affords groups across the Highlands and Islands a fantastic opportunity to secure funding that will allow them continue their invaluable work across the community.
“I would urge any community project in the area to apply during the next funding round, which runs from July 9th– August 24th.”
SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Jean Urquhart today highlighted the establishment of a one-off funding programme aimed at enabling people to learn more about their local heritage.
All Our Stories, a programme instigated by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is offering grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 to new projects that are expected to promote heritage-related activities in local areas across the UK.
Jean Urquhart MSP has urged local groups to consider applying for grants, stating:
“Every corner of Scotland has a rich and vibrant history spanning centuries. As a Member of the Education and Culture Committee, I am aware of how our collective history can enrich the present, and help to bring communities together.”
“I would encourage any community group currently investigating heritage projects to apply before the July 31 deadline, and to help bring their projects to fruition. With funding on offer, the benefits for all parts of the community from these potential projects are too good to miss.”