Thursday, 25 February 2016

Big Hearts Community Trust

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Big Hearts Community Trust – the official charity of Heart of Midlothian Football Club. Since it began in 2006, Big Hearts has raised over £1.5m for community projects and working in allegiance with Heart of Midlothian FC as well as the Foundation of Hearts – the supporters group who aim to buy a controlling interest in the football club in just over three years – Big Hearts purpose is to make a real difference to the lives of those in the community who need help the most.
Big Hearts supports families by coordinating and facilitating meaningful activities where need is identified. The charity’s recent new programme of activity has been to focus on Kinship Care Families, a priority group identified with key stakeholders including the City of Edinburgh Council.
If a looked after child cannot remain with their parents, they can be placed by a local authority in the care of family or friends, for either a short or long period of time. This is what is commonly known as Kinship Care.
Big Hearts launched their Kinship Care Programme in October 2015. One of the main strands of this is the Kinship Care After School Club, which is now in its second term and continues to grow.
In 2016, Big Hearts are carrying on their excellent work which includes the growth of their Football Memories group which helps those with dementia and which Big Hearts hope to expand in the year ahead.
This week, Big Hearts has announced the biggest supporter volunteering initiative ever seen in Scottish football.  Those who support Big Hearts will have opportunities to serve their community in many different ways and help deliver a social and cultural change in society through the football club. Big Hearts say this can be in many ways such as sharing a link to the Big Hearts website on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter or giving time to help the charity across a range of projects.  Big Hearts are also looking at an ambitious project of supporting families in times of crisis with some members training as counsellors.
This really is an excellent organisation and a charity which provides invaluable work to the community. If you feel you can help Big Hearts in any way or wish to find out more about the wonderful work they do, you can log on to their website at 
You can also email Caryn Kerr at

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Grateful for the NHS

Back in November I had a health issue which required investigating, the result of which was a wee operation yesterday. Initial findings have shown 'nothing untoward' although a biopsy has been taken to make sure that's the case.

The National Health Service is constantly in the news, principally because of the UK government's reform plans for the NHS in England. In Scotland, health is a devolved issue although you might think differently if you watch the news on the BBC or ITV.

I'm home now, recuperating, after a long and tiring day. I'm drugged up with appropriate painkillers and faced with the prospect of walking like John Wayne without his horse for a few days, if you get my drift...

I must offer a big thanks to the wonderful staff at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital who made time there as bearable as they could.

NHS staff are extremely hard-working and work long hours. One of the nurses I spoke to started her shift at 7.30am. As she prepared my discharge papers just after 4.00pm she commented she was grateful for finishing early that day - she was getting away at 6.00pm. I know you'll find this difficult to believe but I do have a mump and a moan about things from time to time. However, I consider myself lucky when I compare what I do for a living to those who work long hours in a pressurised environment where mistakes can be deadly.

So, I take my hat off to NHS staff (even if one of the nurses on duty yesterday was of the Hibernian persuasion and was keen to relate the events of the Edinburgh derby the previous evening which was almost as painful as the pain I'm experiencing now)

I'm not sure that Prime Minister David Cameron and his cohorts appreciate NHS staff -  but I certainly do.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

One Year On

One year ago today I married the lovely Marion. Stunningly attractive, highly intelligent, gifted....but enough about me...

The last few months have been something of a rollercoaster. But Marion has been by my side all the way. Thanks for making the past year one of the happiest of my life. Happy anniversary, darling.