Blair House Trust Community Funding

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has welcomed almost £19,000 funding to the Blair House Trust from Scottish Coal, which the Trust will award to local groups for projects of long-term community benefit. Eligible projects must be in the Saline/Steelend and Oakley/Comrie areas or along the coal haulage route to Longannet Power Station.

Mr Walker, a former and founder member of the Trust while serving as a Fife Councillor, said: Read more of this post

Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club Funding

Dunfermline Carnegie Hockey Club has received a £1,900 award from the Big Lottery Fund to purchase equipment and encourage young people to get involved in hockey. These objectives meet the 2014 Communities outcomes of “more people take part in sport or physical activity” and “more people volunteer in sport or physical activity”.

Bill Walker, MSP for Dunfermline, welcomed the award: Read more of this post

Fife Council School Estate Review

A Dunfermline primary school with dwindling pupil numbers could relocate to the local high school, an MSP has suggested, to prevent disrupting the “social fabric of the community” if the school were to close.

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker’s suggestion comes as Fife Council conducts a review of the School Estate. While no closures have been announced, performance tables show that only 31 pupils attend Wellwood Primary School. This means the school runs at 33% occupancy, making it the most expensive per pupil in its cluster. Read more of this post

Post Office Committed to Culross Services

The Post Office has affirmed its commitment to restoring services in Culross. Responding to an enquiry by Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker, the National Consultation Team advised that a search is underway for suitable new premises.

Mr Walker said: “Culross residents have been without a branch for some weeks following the resignation of the postmaster and withdrawal of the premises. Read more of this post

Energy Saving Support for Dunfermline Homeowners

MSP Bill Walker has urged Dunfermline homeowners to find out if the Energy Saving Trust can help them make their homes greener and more energy efficient. Read more of this post

S4M-04178: Remembering the Suffragettes

That the Parliament remembers and commemorates the 50th anniversary, on 11 September 2012, of the death of Anna Munro, the Dunfermline woman who founded one of the first branches of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the Suffragettes, in Scotland in 1906; understands that she was imprisoned for protesting in 1908 and that she participated in the census boycott of 1911, and applauds her resilience and efforts in successfully campaigning for the right of women to vote.

Supported by: Brian Adam, Kenneth Gibson, Dave Thompson, Sandra White, Stuart McMillan, Fiona McLeod, Richard Lyle, John Finnie, Kevin Stewart, Colin Beattie, Maureen Watt, Colin Keir

Date Lodged: 18/09/2012

Minister Opens Kincardine Housing Development

 On Thursday, Scottish Government Housing Minister, Margaret Burgess, officially opened Kingdom Housing Association’s £9 million housing development in Kincardine.

The 65 new affordable houses replace two of the three tower blocks demolished in 2010.  This is the first phase of a larger regeneration plan which will conclude with the demolition of the last remaining tower block, probably next year. Read more of this post

New Townhill Business

I recently attended the opening of a new local business in Townhill. The family-run Loch Café is based in the Scottish National Waterski Centre, with a great view of the Loch, and is open to the general public. Owner Marie Hendry has put in a lot of hard work setting up the café and is to be congratulated.

The Loch Café is part of a wider upgrade to Townhill Country Park, which I very much welcome. The Park is an important local facility, home to Scotland’s national waterski training site, which is regarded as one of the best ski facilities in Europe. Read more of this post

Police Memorial Service

On 5th September I attended the Annual Service of Remembrance at the Scottish Police Memorial, located on the grounds of the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan. This memorial is dedicated to those police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Reverend Georgie Baxendale’s service was a fine tribute, and the Lone Piper’s Lament by Stewart Reid, whose police officer grandfather lost his life in the line of duty, was particularly moving. Among those who laid wreaths was Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, on behalf of the Scottish Government, while the Lord-Lieutenant of Fife, Margaret Dean, laid another on behalf of the Queen. Read more of this post

Parliamentary Moves

The Scottish Parliament was certainly abuzz last week. Not only did we officially reconvene after the summer recess, but Alex Salmond announced his surprise Cabinet re-shuffle, which has involved a big move of Scottish Government personnel.

Of particular interest to Fifers will be Alex Neil’s move from Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment where, among other things, he oversaw progress on the new Forth Bridge, a project that appears well underway. Read more of this post

Headwell House New Dunfermline Care Home

Abbotsford Care (Glenrothes) Ltd is due to open a new care home in Dunfermline’s Headwell Avenue.

Headwell House, expected to open on 1st December, will be Abbotsford Care’s eighth home in Fife since their establishment in the care sector in 1987. Read more of this post

S4M-04066: Parliament Hails Andy Murray’s Magnificent Sporting Achievements

That the Parliament hails what it considers to the magnificent achievement of Scot Andy Murray on winning the 2012 US Open Championship, the first UK citizen to win a tennis “grand slam” event for over 70 years; applauds what it sees as Andy’s incredible year of sporting achievements, which included becoming the gold medallist in the men’s singles at the Olympics; commends what it considers to be his modest and dignified manner in reaching these sporting heights, and wishes Andy success in his future career.

Supported by: John Mason, Graham Dey, Brian Adam, Kevin Stewart, Kenneth Gibson, Richard Lyle, Dave Thompson, Colin Beattie, Maureen Watt, Sandra White, Colin Keir

Date Lodged: 11/09/2012

S4M-04063: UK Defence Secretary’s Absence from Scotland

That the Parliament expresses regret that Philip Hammond has yet to visit Scotland since becoming Secretary of State for Defence 11 months ago; notes that his absence occurs at a time when historic Scottish regiments have faced uncertainty regarding whether they would survive UK Government cuts; understands that over the last 10 years successive UK administrations have underspent on Scotland’s defence budget by £5.6 billion; further understands that between 2000 and 2010 Scotland experienced a 27.9% reduction in service personnel compared with 11.6% across the UK and that the number of service jobs continued to decline over the last year; considers these cuts to be disproportionate and damaging to Scotland, and believes that the potential £25 billion or more put aside for the upgrade of Trident nuclear missile submarines would be far better either saved for the taxpayer or spent more appropriately on non-nuclear defence.

Supported by: Kenneth Gibson, Brian Adam, Richard Lyle, Dave Thompson

Date Lodged: 10/09/2012

S4M-04041: Riding for the Disabled Association Awarded £10,000

That the Parliament congratulates Riding for the Disabled Association Incorporating Driving Dunfermline Group (RDA Dunfermline) on receiving a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to improve its riding arena; understands that RDA Dunfermline is a registered charity that provides tuition and hippotherapy to autistic youngsters and to people aged 3 to 65 with learning difficulties, medical conditions and who are physically disabled; considers that the activities offered by RDA Dunfermline can improve people’s confidence and enrich their lives as well as having significant physical benefits; further recognises the benefit to younger people who might not otherwise have a chance to fully participate in group activities with their peers, and wishes RDA Dunfermline every success with the continued provision of what it sees as this worthwhile service.

Supported by: Angus MacDonald, Fiona McLeod, Kevin Stewart, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Maureen Watt, Colin Beattie, Stuart McMillan

Date Lodged: 07/09/2012

Statement on Proposed Council Parking Charges

I learned with utter dismay of the new parking charges proposed by Labour-led Fife Council for railway stations and elsewhere throughout Fife.  These include Dunfermline Town, Dunfermline Queen Margaret, Ferrytoll Park and Ride and the planned Halbeath Park and Choose facility.

This is all completely contrary to the well-established public policy of encouraging drivers to shift to train, bus and car-share whenever possible. It will increase the already high costs of travel, at a time when people’s budgets are squeezed.  It is completely mad to push more cars back on the roads and may even undermine employment by out-pricing travel costs. Read more of this post

Steelend Saline Group’s Lottery Award to Drum Up Interest in Music Workshops

Steelend Saline Drumming Group is set to launch the first of a series of drumming and music workshops, assisted by an Awards for All grant of £3,868 from Creative Scotland. The launch, at a forthcoming community festival, aims at raising interest in future workshops.

Local Dunfermline MSP, Bill Walker, said: “Congratulations to drumming tutor Mr Ian Holmes-Lewis and everyone taking part in the workshops. I hope the launch will generate lots of interest from the community. Read more of this post

Riding for the Disabled Association’s £10,000 Big Lottery Award

A riding group that provides tuition for children and adults with learning difficulties and physical disabilities has received £10,000 to improve their riding arena at Shiresmill, near Dunfermline.

The award from the Big Lottery Fund will enable Riding for the Disabled Association Incorporating Driving Dunfermline Group to buy Propel artificial riding surface . Read more of this post

Statement on the Future of Dunfermline Fire Station

I attended last Tuesday’s meeting of Fife Council’s Environment, Finance & Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee.

I was concerned about the previous decision taken by Fife Council’s Executive Committee to suspend the sale of the former Dunfermline Fife Station building on Carnegie Drive for a year so that “exclusive discussions could be undertaken with Dunfermline Creative on their proposals to convert” the building to an arts centre. Read more of this post

Post Office Returns to Kingseat

The MSP for Dunfermline has welcomed confirmation that Kingseat Post Office, previously located in Main Street, will reopen on the 19th September in the Wee Shop at 13 Henderson Street.

Bill Walker MSP said: “The people of Kingseat will be relieved to have a Post Office again, after the previous sub-post mistress’s retirement led to the loss of this vital service. This very welcome development means Kingseat residents won’t have to travel to Dunfermline to access a Post Office. Read more of this post

S4M-03965: First Female Minister Appointed to Historic Abbey

That the Parliament welcomes the appointment of Reverend MaryAnn Rennie as the first female minister of the historic Dunfermline Abbey, burial place of King Robert the Bruce and a wealth of Scottish kings and queens; understands that Revered Rennie has 14 years of experience as a parish minister and that she currently serves in St Anne’s Parish Church in Corstorphine, Edinburgh; considers that Reverend Rennie will bring a wealth of experience to her new charge, and wishes her success in her appointment.

Supported by: Richard Lyle, Graeme Dey, Dave Thompson, Colin Beattie, Jamie Hepburn, Kevin Stewart

Date Lodged: 31/08/2012

Saline Show Gets Visitor From Down Under!

The “Saline Show”, more fully known as the Saline & District Horticultural & Handcraft Society Show, took place this weekend in Saline Community Centre.

Society President, Mr Gareth Turner, along with Show Manager, Mr John Crane, and their many Society colleagues and helpers organised a show worthy of the long heritage of the event, which first took place in 1905. Read more of this post