Gordon Banks MP congratulates Clackmannanshire Hillwalking Club on recent Funding Awards

Picture of Clackmannanshire Hillwalkers Club

Gordon Banks MP has congratulated Clackmannanshire Hillwalking Club (CHC) on their recent successful applications for two separate funding awards – £914.25 from Foundation Scotland, and a £2,238 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Chairperson, Roxanne Kerr, founded the club in February 2013 following a trip to Kilimanjaro where she developed a passion for walking, and between then and now, member numbers have now swelled to 362.

The club used the Foundation Scotland grant to have business cards, leaflets and calendars printed, and the Big Lottery funding will allow twelve organisers to go on a first aid training course with another six other members able to complete their hill and moorland training.  One other member will undertake mountain leader training later on this year.

As well as the physical pursuits such as Munro bagging, low level walks and cycling, there is also a great social dimension to CHC and members enjoy a variety of activities including cinema nights and trips away.  The club also hold an annual charity event to raise money for a local charity where the theme is always superheroes and everyone has to dress accordingly.  Plans are already underway for this year’s special charity project.

Gordon Banks MP said; “I’m delighted to congratulate to Clackmannanshire Hillwalking Club on these two funding awards – I know a lot of effort goes into these applications.

 Although it has only been in existence a relatively short time, this vibrant club has already done so well to achieve what they have and especially in relation to the numbers of members who are involved after only two years.  The social element is a big bonus too and makes it easier for like-minded people to make new friends.

 Good luck to the club, and I would really like to get the opportunity to support them in the future – maybe as a superhero!”

Chairperson of Clackmannanshire Hillwalking Club, Roxanne Kerr said;

“We are delighted to be recognised for all the hard work involved with these

funding applications and the continued hard work of our organisers ensuring
the success of the club. We very much hope that Gordon Banks will be able to
join us for our superhero challenge later on in the year.”


Happiness Festival – Resonate Arts House

Picture of Resonate Alloa poster

The Happiness Festival by Team Resonate – sharing happiness through creativity – Free workshops for all ages April 7th – May 2nd for full details see website

At The Oakwood this weekend


Free Guinness live at The Oakwood Saturday 28th March 9pm

Easter Saturday at The Johnstone Arms: Mojo Rising

Mojo Rising live at The Johnstone Arms Hotel Alva Easter Saturday 4th April 9pm.

Menstrie Spring Fayre

Menstrie Spring Fayre on Sunday 29th March 12 – 2.30pm in the Dumyat Centre, Menstrie.

Fabulous Raffle Prizes including first prize of a mini iPad. Local craft stalls, cake & candy, tombola, lucky dip, new-2-u toys, books etc and refreshments. Come along and have fun, support local school and nursery

Gordon Banks MP receives an update on Crisis Foodbank and other community projects at The Gate Centre

Picture of the Gordon Banks MP at the gate charity alloa

Gordon Banks, MP for Ochil and South Perthshire visited The Gate Centre in Alloa recently to get an update on their busy Crisis Foodbank, and to hear about the other projects that figure prominently at the charity’s Community Hub which is driven by an army of over 80 volunteers.

The MP discussed the latest statistics with Gate Trustees, Evelyn Paterson and Val Rose, Centre Manager, Marie Brownhill and Foodbank Co-ordinator, Adrienne Hilton.

A user-analysis shows that in 2014 there has been a trend for an increase in the number of families obtaining assistance and also for requests to cover a week’s supply of meals rather than individual days, and comparisons between 2013 and 2014 show that the number of meals delivered via referrals by agencies across Clackmannanshire had increased by 13,528 to 35500 on the year. 2015 is predicted to be over 50,000 meals!

Poverty and debt (36%) were came top of reasons for referral whilst benefit delay (40%) and benefit sanctions (16%) came next, other reasons for referrals were health and relationship breakdown.

In tandem with the foodbank, The Gate Soup Pot is also seeing numbers increasing week on week. More recently there has been an increase in families with young children attending and enjoying nutritious food in cafe surroundings. This service also provides a clothing bank, toiletries and small household items which have been donated by the local community to The Gate service users.

Although the foodbank is currently the biggest project, Trustee Evelyn Paterson was keen to emphasise that The Gate Charity seeks to reach out to improve the quality of life for those who live in the area, and this is very apparent by the sheer variety of other projects that are ongoing in the centre which is a hive of activity.

Other projects include;

·The Community Café, serves affordable nutritious food in a welcoming local environment.

·Starter Packs – in conjunction with referral agencies who request support to those moving from homeless accommodation into first tenancies or for others in crisis situations.

·Learning Together – a new pilot project is running to help people learn to cook affordable, practical nutritional meals whilst reducing food waste. Participants are from all age groups.

·Seeds 4 Change- improving and maintaining the grounds around the Centre, which benefits the whole community. Volunteers enjoy the outdoor experience whilst gaining valuable social, emotional and practical skills.

Gordon Banks MP said;

“As always, I am filled with admiration about what The Gate is doing as a charity. It is no surprise that there is a significant increase in constituents who find it necessary to depend on food parcels from the Crisis Foodbank, but it is utterly shocking that growing numbers of individuals and families find themselves in this situation and so are the reasons behind it.

The priorities of the Coalition Government do not begin with getting people off welfare and into jobs – it’s about getting them off welfare so they can disappear from the statistics. Charities like The Gate do so, so much for the vulnerable that are suffering from the impact of these policies and also for the working poor who are experiencing the problems of exploitative zero-hours contracts.

Aside from this, The Gate also seeks to improve the quality of life for those living in the Clackmannanshire area and its impact just grows and grows, reaching across our communities. I congratulate them on their fantastic efforts and wish them all the best in their current and future endeavours.”

The Gate Chair, Evelyn Paterson said;

“Although the Foodbank is our biggest project at the moment, we look forward to the day when foodbanks will no longer be headline news. There will always be a need for a crisis foodbanks because there always has been a need to support very vulnerable people in certain situations, but hopefully not on the huge scale of referrals we are experiencing today.

However, we want local people to be aware that The Gate is doing many other things too. We were glad to speak to Gordon to tell him about all that is going on and about plans for the future, which includes working towards securing additional funding to expand our premises to incorporate activity space and an IT suite for training which will allow us to offer new services according to local needs.”

Pictured above: The Gate Trustee/Chair Evelyn Paterson, Foodbank Co-ordinator, Adrienne Hilton, Gordon Banks MP and Marie Brownhill, Centre Manager

Key Appointment for Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership


A Chief Officer has been appointed to take forward the development of the new Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership – a joint partnership between NHS Forth Valley, Clackmannanshire and Stirling Councils.

Shiona Strachan, who is currently the Head of Adult Services for Renfrewshire Council, will take up the role which will help ensure that local health and social care services for adults are more joined-up, especially for people with long term conditions and disabilities.
This will make it easier and quicker for local people to access the services and support they require to live safely and independently in their own homes for as long as possible. It will also make it easier for health and council staff to work together to provide care and support in a more co-ordinated way. This will help reduce delays and make care more seamless.

Shiona Strachan, who is expected to take her new role in Summer 2015, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to the post of Chief Officer for the new Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership.

“Much of my working life has been spent in Central Scotland and I am committed to working with local people, services and communities to make a difference. This is a huge opportunity to build on the developments already underway to ensure that people living in Clackmannanshire and Stirling are able to live full and positive lives within their own communities.”

Jane Grant, Chief Executive of NHS Forth Valley, said: “Shiona has extensive experience of partnership working across the NHS, local authority, police and voluntary sectors and is therefore ideally placed to build on the many excellent examples of joint working already in place and drive forward further improvements.”

Clackmannanshire Council’s Chief Executive Elaine McPherson said: “This is a key appointment for the Partnership and we are really pleased to have appointed Shiona into this new leadership role. It marks a significant step forward in building the team to make further progress on transforming health and care for the people of Clackmannanshire and Stirling.”

Stewart Carruth, Chief Executive of Stirling Council, said: “I am delighted with Shiona’s appointment. I’m sure she’ll develop the great examples of partnership working we already have to push forward improvements for our residents. Shiona has an in-depth understanding of the Stirling area, having worked here for many years.”

Longannet to close

Picture of longannet power station

Scottish Power is to close Longannet Power Station at Kincardine. The move follows the company failing to win an essential contract with the National Grid.

The closure is expected to take place early next year.

Charity Ladies Night – Inglewood House

Picture of charity ladies night at Inglewood House Alloa

Girls!!!! Here is a date for your diary 25th April 2015

Inglewood house in Alloa. How do you fancy a night of excellent food, tasty cocktails, fantastic prizes and even better entertainment? Ideal for that girly night out you’ve been meaning to organise for ages or your up coming hen party.

Walk the red carpet and fine dine in a stunning mansion house before being entertained by the UK’s hottest take that tribute show, take part in our charity raffle where you could win Weekend hot tub hire from Party people Event Hire Block of fitness classes from Sparkles fitness Hair and beauty treatments from Sanctuary Fake bake pamper hamper from Fake bake Curry club vouchers from Escoffiers fine dinning And much more.

Tickets are £25 each and are available from Party people in Alloa during opening hours (please check opening hours on our website or Facebook page) You can also call 01259 230507 to book and your tickets can be posted for an additional £2 per order.

Clackmannanshire Golf Forum

A new collaboration of golf clubs has been set up in Clackmannanshire with a view to promoting golf clubs in the area and increase the playing membership of clubs across the region.

The Clackmannanshire Golf Forum was set up in order to capitalise on a hugely successful Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September 2014, which helped to shine a spotlight on central Scotland as a golf destination. The Forum consists of representatives from: Alloa Golf Club, Alva Golf Club, Braehead Golf Club, Dollar Golf Club, Muckhart Golf Club, Tillicoultry Golf Club and Tulliallan Golf Club.

The main aim of the Forum is to increase the playing membership of the clubs and to work together to maximise their collective purchasing power. The clubs themselves represent a wide range of golf opportunities in Clackmannanshire and there are numerous examples across Scotland of golf clubs working together for their mutual benefit, a blueprint Clackmannanshire hopes to follow.

The first piece of activity from the Forum has been to successfully produce a leaflet which explains the golf opportunities in Clackmannanshire, as well as agreeing a reciprocal deal for members of clubs in the area.

Councillor Donald Balsillie, Chair of The Clackmannanshire Golf Forum, said: “The Forum have agreed a reciprocal deal for existing club members to experience and enjoy the other golf clubs in Clackmannanshire. Players should contact their member clubs for more details.

“The Forum meet several times per year and are working on more developments to increase opportunities for golf, encourage more visitors and generally sell the uniqueness of golf in Clackmannanshire. Set in the heart of Scotland, Clackmannanshire has a lot to offer visitors with our magnificent scenery and turbulent history.”