S4M-06297: Vitamin D Supplements

That the Parliament welcomes the Scottish Government’s decision to make vitamin D supplements freely available for pregnant women, children and vulnerable groups from 6 May 2013; understands that, due to both poor sunlight and modern lifestyles, most people in Scotland do not absorb enough of the ultraviolet B rays that are needed to produce adequate amounts of the vitamin; believes that there is emerging evidence suggesting that adequate levels of vitamin D can increase resistance to multiple sclerosis, depression, various cancers, diabetes and heart disease; notes that the recommended dosage of vitamin D supplements can be taken without any known adverse side effects; believes that the whole population could benefit from taking such supplements, which are widely available at low cost, on a regular basis, and hopes that the Scottish Government and medical professionals will participate in a programme aimed at furthering research and encouraging more people to take vitamin D supplements.

Supported by: Nigel Don, Richard Lyle, Helen Eadie, Kenneth Gibson, Chic Brodie, Mike MacKenzie, Jackson Carlaw, David Torrance, Sandra White, Stuart McMillan, Angus MacDonald, Bill Kidd, Jean Urquhart, Gil Paterson, Maureen Watt, Graeme Dey, Stewart Maxwell, Colin Beattie, Neil Findlay, Dave Thompson, Colin Keir

Date Lodged: 22/04/13

Award-winning Inverkeithing pupil launches digital media initiative

IHSTwo Inverkeithing High School pupils recently hosted the opening of the Media House, a digital media facility ‘for pupils, run by pupils’.

Depute head boy Lewis Phillips has been managing the school’s Media Network since launching it as a first year pupil, an initiative that earned him prestigious ICT awards.

Now in his sixth year, he has set up the Media House – a place to create content, attend pupil-run workshops and hold meetings – to ensure the project continues when he passes the mantle to S4 pupil David Simpson. Read more of this post

Prostate Cancer UK’s Quality Checklist

Scottish Parliament. MSPs show their support for Prostate Cancer UK.Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has pledged to support the swift implementation of a Prostate Cancer UK initiative in Fife.

As a long-time supporter of the charity, the MSP backed its Quality Checklist at a recent campaigning event in the Scottish Parliament. This best practise Checklist aims to stamp out inequalities in the provision of care. It sets out 15 national standards for care and support that Scottish men with prostate cancer should expect and demand, from the point of their diagnosis onwards.

Mr Walker said: “I am delighted to endorse Prostate Cancer UK’s Quality checklist and will be writing to NHS Fife to ask that it be adopted as soon as possible. It is essential that all men diagnosed with prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in Scotland, get the support they need.” Read more of this post

European teachers visit Dunfermline to improve skills

ISP 004Local MSP Bill Walker has welcomed an international group of English language teachers to Dunfermline, on their recent visit to improve their teaching skills and cultural awareness.

The group were taking part in a course offered by International Study Programmes, which has made the ancient Scottish capital its learning centre and regularly sends teachers here. On this occasion, the visitors came from Bulgaria, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Lithuania and Italy.

Mr Walker, who has been welcoming teachers to Dunfermline since 2007, said: Read more of this post

MSP Bill Walker says “Scrap Trident”

??????????Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has lent his support in the Scottish Parliament to the Scrap Trident campaign. The campaign – which operates under the slogan: “Let Scotland lead the way to a nuclear-free world” — calls for a weekend of protest and action in Glasgow and Faslane from 13th to 15th April.

Mr Walker said: “Despite 80 per cent of Scots wanting rid of Trident and despite the Scottish Parliament voting overwhelmingly against Trident’s renewal, the London government continues to foist this unwanted obscenity upon Scottish shores. And now the Tories intend to renew Trident, meaning it will remain on the Clyde for at least another fifty years. Read more of this post

S4M-06183: £5,000 Funding for Pitreavie Amateur Athletics Club

That the Parliament congratulates Pitreavie Amateur Athletics Club on receiving £5,000 from Awards for All; understands that this funding will be used for new equipment, with the aim of increasing participation in the club and developing the skills of its athletes; considers that the club has nurtured the talents of many fine athletes, including Eilidh Child, a gold medallist in the 4×400 metres relay at the 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships, and hopes that the club’s athletes will participate in a triumphant Team Scotland in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Supported by: Bill Kidd, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Nigel Don, Gil Paterson, David Torrance, Kevin Stewart, Sandra White, Colin Beattie, Colin Keir

Date Lodged: 04/04/13

IT Awareness Day at the Vine Conference Centre

IT Turning PointIT Turning Point and The Vine Conference Centre are running an IT Awareness Day, with all proceeds going to the charity LemonAid. The event takes place on the 11th April between 9:30 till 15:00, in Room 1 of The Vine Conference Centre.

Read more of this post

£5,000 grant for Pitreavie Amateur Athletics Club

Awards for All ScotlandDunfermline’s Pitreavie Amateur Athletics Club, which nurtured the talents of 2013 European Athletics Indoor Championships gold medallist Eilidh Child, has received a £5,000 Awards for All grant from sportscotland.

The funding will go towards new equipment, with the aim of increasing the level of participation within the club and developing the skills of its elite athletes.

MSP for Dunfermline, Bill Walker, said: “This is excellent news for Pitreavie, especially in light of the upcoming Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Pitreavie has produced many fine athletes, and I look forward to watching our local talent compete for Scotland in the Games. Read more of this post

Wise Words

My fellow Independent MSP Margo MacDonald posed the most sensible question after Alex Salmond introduced the Referendum Bill:

“I ask the First Minister whether he could raise the level of the debate. This is about our country’s soul. It is about our children and our grandchildren’s standards and place in the world, and we are talking about candles in case someone cannot vote. Many friends of mine on the Labour side of the chamber have let me down and have let Scotland down this afternoon by the way in which they have approached the debate. This is a big question and it needs big people and big answers”.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

Contradictory Questions

The First Minister has announced that the Independence Referendum will be on Thursday 18th September 2014. Predictably, some Labour MSPs tried to make an issue of not receiving special knowledge of the date ahead of Parliament. This would have been improper and against Parliamentary procedures.

We can now expect an 18-month increasing onslaught against Independence. Though I hope this might include some rational debate, I anticipate plenty of nonsense. For example, immediately after the date announcement, a Labour MSP objected saying some of her constituents might need candles to get to polling stations!

Opponents are in the strange position of demanding to know why the Referendum can’t be held sooner, but asking in the same breath how Scots can decide on major constitutional change without knowing, in microscopic detail, exactly what the future will look like in an independent Scotland. Read more of this post

Letting Down Longannet

In October 2011, the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) pulled the rug from under the proposed Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project at Longannet Power Station. This project would have put Fife at the pioneering forefront of new CCS technology, reducing carbon emissions, delivering highly skilled well-paid jobs and stimulating growth in our local economy.

Longannet won the competition for funding after all other bidders for the CCS project withdrew, yet the UK Government pulled out at the 11th hour out and re-ran the competition, claiming they could not reach an agreement with the developers. Read more of this post

Parliament gives healthy response to vitamin D advances

A Crossford woman diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1998 was among the speakers at a presentation in the Scottish Parliament explaining the health advantages of vitamin D.

Sue Polson, an active member of the MS Society’s Research Network and its Steering Group, argued the “overwhelming” case for supplementing the population of Scotland with the vitamin.

She said: “When you combine the evidence for the benefits of Vitamin D in other conditions, surely the case for supplementation is overwhelming? MS alone costs this country a vast amount of money; it costs each family concerned a whole way of life, and it costs the person with MS their future.”

Attending the event, MSP for Dunfermline Bill Walker said: “Though vitamin D is necessary for our health, it is often lacking in Scotland due to poor sunlight and our modern life-styles. Recent research has shown a vitamin D deficiency in 84% of our population, but this can be overcome with relatively cheap supplements and by eating more fish. Read more of this post

High Hedges Bill is “welcome action” for Dunfermline and West Fife

High hedgeDunfermline MSP Bill Walker has hailed the passage of a Private Member’s Bill tackling the nuisance of high hedges as “welcome action for people throughout Dunfermline and Fife”.

The High Hedges (Scotland) Bill, raised by North East Scotland MSP Mark McDonald, passed unanimously through the Scottish Parliament and is the first Private Member’s Bill of the current session.

Mr Walker said: “I was glad to participate in the early stages of drafting the High Hedges (Scotland) Bill, in 2011.

“Under this new legislation, a high hedge is a ‘row of two or more trees or shrubs rising to a height of more than two metres which forms a barrier to light’. All species of trees and shrubs are included. Read more of this post

Headwell House care home opens in Dunfermline

Fife Provost Jim Leisman and Bill Walker MSPLocal MSP Bill Walker has attended the official opening of Headwell House in Dunfermline, the latest residential care home of Fife-based Abbotsford Care Ltd.

Headwell House has 60 en suite rooms, with accommodation for 64 older people and vulnerable adults requiring residential, nursing and respite care. It aims to provide a “home from home” atmosphere, while guaranteeing a safe and secure environment for residents, staff and visitors.

Mr Walker said: “I was very pleased to attend the official opening ceremony of Headwell House, conducted by the Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman.  I met a good number of the 60-odd residents, who seemed pleased with their accommodation. Read more of this post