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Hamilton project visit to Scottish Parliment

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Last updated: 1.06pm, by Leanne McGuire

Following a visit from Margaret McCulloch MSP at our Hamilton project, the Service Users and staff were invited by Margaret to visit the Scottish Parliament on the 28th January.

Service Users Billy Graham and Logan Cronnie went on the visit, accompanied by Ed Morrison (Assistant Project Manager) and Elaine Mullan (Project Worker). We received a very warm welcome at the Parliament. Margaret was there to greet us and had arranged a guided tour of the building, which was both interesting and informative. The guide explained the concept behind the design of the building and the history of the creation of the parliament itself.
Margaret had arranged tickets for us to attend First Minister’s Questions so following the tour we were able to witness the Parliament in session. Questions on the NHS, Local Government Funding and the earlier announcement on UK and Scottish Government financial input for the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire area following job losses in the Oil Sector. Staff and Service Users enjoyed watching the cut and thrust of debate live.
We also met the Deputy Presiding Officer, Elaine Smith MSP, briefly she was very interested in the work we do and explained that prior to becoming a politician she was a Housing Officer in North Lanarkshire; a short discussion about Homelessness Legislation in Scotland followed.
Margaret organised tea / coffee and sandwiches in a private room where she joined us and although chatting with us all, she took a particular interest in Billy and Logan’s plans for the future. She told them of her husbands work with Employability and the training and work opportunities available through this and has offered to keep the project updated on these. She also asked that staff to pass on her contact details to Billy, Logan and other Service Users in order that they can keep in touch with her and update her on their progress.
Margaret’s Parliamentary Aide Joe gave us a further tour, showing us MSP’s private offices and taking us on to the floor of the debating chamber, where Logan in particular was delighted to sit in the First Minister’s chair and have his photo taken.
We took advantage of the opportunity to request Margaret’s support to access one of the two stalls at the Parliament which allow non profit making organisations to raise awareness, promote/ publicise their work and services to MSP’s, staff and visitors to the Parliament. We were advised that Margaret would be please to sponsor us for this and a request has now been sent to her secretary to arrange this. We were advised this will probably be after the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May.
During the time we spent with Margaret we advised her about the BTHA Service User’s Forum, she expressed an interest in this and would like to come along when the Hamilton projects host it.

Written by the Hamilton project

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