Glasgow Wood Recycling, charity/social enterprise – showroom launch – February 2016

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Peter Lavelle gave up his job as a social worker to found charity and social enterprise, Glasgow Wood Recycling – and he continues to help people – but in a different way.

Founded in 2007, the company not only gives old pieces of wood a new lease of life but people who may be struggling to get back into the job market, can also get a lifeline.

Glasgow Wood Recycling collects wood from all over Glasgow and surrounding areas. The wood is brought back to the workshop in the city’s South Street and lovingly crafted into gorgeous bespoke furniture, befitting of any designer home. They make an array of mirrors, coffee tables, shelves, chairs, benches and more. And there is a huge benefit to the environment as the amount of wood ending up in landfill is reduced.

“Bespoke, hand-crafted furniture. Ethically produced in Scotland”  Glasgow Wood Recycling

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Previously employed as a social worker for many years, Peter continues to help people at Glasgow Wood Recycling through a 10 week programme called Making Wood Work – it’s where people are given a chance to train and to make progress towards employment. They get back into the workplace, learn vital skills and their confidence and self-esteem gets a huge boost. After the course many people go on and find full time employment.

Through word of mouth the company is thriving from their workshop space. They are rightfully proud of their work which deserves to be shown off – but they did not have the facility to do this – until now.

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Now GWR have a showroom, a newly converted portacabin space which allows them to showcase examples of what they do. Buy or order a piece and know that it comes with a story. You’re saving a beautiful piece of reclaimed wood, protecting our environment and helping someone to find work. Plus the furniture is gorgeous, exceptionally well made, sturdy and made to last forever.

Making Wood Work – Making a Difference.

Peter joined the Making Wood Work programme in 2015. He said:

At Making Wood Work we were making things that customers would purchase, so it’s not like you are involved in pointless tasks. You are in an actual work environment and you are expected to meet certain standards. This was good for me, as being out of work for a while I needed a sense that I was working towards something useful.

The really good thing about this programme is that it doesn’t end after the 10 weeks as they are really motivated to progress their volunteers into work or further advancement through courses and I was really impressed by this. My confidence got the boost it needed and I learned new skills, and ultimately I found paid employment, which I am over the moon about.

Here’s a selection of images from Glasgow Wood Recycling open day and Showroom Launch – 26th February 2016.

Glasgow Wood Recycling, Unit 6, Barclay Curle Complex, 739 South Street, Glasgow G14 0BX

0141 237 8566

info@glasgowwoodrecycling.org.uk

Useful links and follow:

@GlasgowWood

Glasgow Wood Recycling Facebook Page

Glasgow Wood Recycling

Zero Waste Scotland  Inspiring change for Scotland’s resource economy

Glasgow Wood Recycling are members of the Glasgow Social Enterprise Network

Initiatives such as Making Wood Work are helped by Big Lottery Fund Scotland

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Filed under Charities, Charity, Glasgow, Scotland, Social Enterprise

Profile – Dead Sleekit, making a Kickstarter Campaign work

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Scottish fashion designer Iain MacDonald of Dead Sleekit is celebrating. He’s achieved 118% of his  Kickstarter – Dead Sleekit Campaign reaching an incredible £4,786 (his target was £4,000 in four weeks), and with 140 backers, allowing him to start work on his second collection. The campaign ended on 28th February 2016.

Here’s his incredible story so far.

Who are they and what do they do?:

Dead Sleekit is the brainchild of Glasgow-based Iain MacDonald. A former Herald Scotland Graduate of the Year, Iain designs “wearable art”. He draws delicate and intricate prints by hand, which are then put together digitally and printed on a mixture of jersey and mesh. The results are wearable clothes in simple easy to wear shapes but their incredible prints make them stand out from the crowd.

Keeping everything Scottish, Iain uses local printing and his clothes are manufactured in Glasgow’s east end by a trusty band of seamstresses based at BeYonder Textiles, part of BeYonder Ltd, a great social enterprise company who call themselves ‘A Profit for Purpose Organisation‘. And with prices ranging from £30 – £80, it’s making wearable art accessible.

With his first collection under his belt, Iain turned to Kickstarter  to help him fund his second collection.  Kickstarter state “Our Mission is to help bring creative projects to life”.

The dreams of millions of people have become a reality since Kickstarter’s inception. The company that consists of 135 people based in an old pencil factory in New York said:

“Since our launch, on April 28, 2009, 10 million people have backed a project, $2.2 Billion has been pledged, and 101,176 projects have been successfully funded”. Kickstarter

Iain’s success is a good example of a well thought out Kickstarter campaign. It ticked all the boxes. If you are considering Kickstarter, here’s a few things to consider.

  • Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. Have a clear goal.
  • Set a realistic target/challenge/time scale.
  • Ensure your project is attractive, desirable and sought after.
  • Show your project off, market it well, use great images, or video if you have any.
  • Make the price range pledges accessible. Dead Sleekit’s pledges ranged from £1 to £290, with everything in between.
  • Ensure people are suitably rewarded. Dead Sleekit offered a bow tie for £8, exclusive art works for £15, a screen printed t-shirt for £20, posters for £35, designer clutch bags for £75 and a bespoke designed dress for £290.
  • Keep the momentum going. Engage with people. Use your networks, constantly update social media, give progress reports, reminders, use countdowns, get your pals to spread the word.  Word of mouth still works wonders.
  • Give thanks. Dead Sleekit thanked people along the way. See the half-way point personalised ‘Thank You’ image below.
  • At campaign end – post an update, but it doesn’t end there. Keep communicating with your new customers. Dead Sleekit promises his backers a secret Snapchat account with sneak peaks of behind the scenes progress.

To view Dead Sleekit’s Kickstarter campaign, see link Dead Sleekit – Kickstarter Campaign

Iain'sThanks

I asked Iain to give a quick insight into Dead Sleekit.

Tell us a little bit about your background and training?

I studied and specialised in Textiles and Surface Design for fashion at Grays School of Art in Aberdeen. Prior to that I studied Graphic Design and Fine Art. I tend to use my my love for fine art and graphics in my textile designs for my clothing label. During my time at Art School I did a placement at Alexander McQueen.

Tell us about your business – Dead Sleekit, and your first and limited collection which was called Veranico.

Dead Sleekit is a clothing label that loves print and emphasizes print through each collection. Every collection has meaning behind it and is derived for love in Art, stories and music.

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You’re about to start work on your second collection – what we can expect? How will it look?

The collection is inspired by American Horror Story, although this concept is quite dark it will have a pastel colour palette.

You’ve used Kickstarter as a way to fund this collection – how does this work and where does the money go / what does it help to fund?

Kickstarter helps a new business (or an existing business) to start a project which gets people involved. The aim is to raise money towards a project and also give back to people who pledge by offering exclusive rewards. We are offering bespoke scarves and dresses as well as prints and more unique gifts.

For people who donate and participate in the Kickstarter – what’s the benefits?

The benefits are backing an independent brand and watching them grow from the beginning of their development. Also,  getting some exclusive rewards and one of products from the project.

You’ve exceeded your target of £4,000 to fund your collection – well done! What happens next?!

I will be working away frantically and excitedly on everyone’s rewards. It also means the new textile prints I’ve been working on will be digitally printed to fabric so I can start working on my new collection.

Thanks to Iain MacDonald of Dead Sleekit for this little insight into his work and Kickstarter. Good luck on the new collection – can’t wait to see it!

Meanwhile – here’s a little view of his previous collection – see below. 

 

“Backing a project is more than just giving someone money. It’s supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world”. Kickstarter

Useful links:

Dead Sleekit

BeYonder Ltd

Kickstarter

 

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Filed under Art, Fashion, Glasgow, Kickstarter, Scotland

Tenement TV launch The People’s Film Collective at St Luke’s, Glasgow – 23rd February 2016

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St Luke’s is a music and arts venue based in a converted church in Glasgow’s east end. This beautifully restored Grade B listed building retains the church’s original features and includes stained glass windows and a pipe organ which dates back to the early 1800’s. Also within the venue is The Winged Ox bar & kitchen.

The venue was the perfect place to host the launch of Tenement TV’s – The People’s Film Collective – an event where music and movies come together, in unusual places.

Music came from Barrie-James O’Neill (Nightmare Boy) and The Bar Dogs. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release (is it really that long?!) we were treated to a screening of Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo & Juliet. And when the film reached its tragic conclusion (no spoiler alert – everyone knows how the story ends! ) with Romeo & Juliet dying on a church altar surrounded by candle light – it was fitting that we found ourselves watching the sad scene unfold in St Luke’s. Here’s a selection of photos from the night.

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For more information on St Luke’s – see St Luke’s Glasgow Website

For more information on Tenement TV – see Tenement TV Website

 

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Filed under Events, Films, Gig Reviews, Glasgow, Live Music Reviews, Music, Photography, Scotland, St Luke's Glasgow

Mhor 84 Motel, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Perthshire, Scotland

DSC06331 If you want to sample the best that Scotland has to offer, you’ll find it just off a busy main road – the A84. Hence the name behind this cool establishment that is fast becoming a must-visit Scottish central belt hot spot. Think Route 66 but with glorious glens, mountains, mists and magical forests. And the location is perfect, it also services Cycle Route 7 and Rob Roy Way.

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Stay overnight at the hotel or in one of the nearby cottages. Or simply take a drive out and visit. Driving from Glasgow will take you just over an hour and the nearest town is Callander.

What I loved about Mhor 84 is the relaxed vibe. All are welcome – take your dog, take the kids, even if you’ve been out cycling or hiking the hills, and looking a bit tatty – the doors are open. And there’s plenty walks and trails around this area, which is called Rob Roy Country (the grave of the famous Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor is only around two miles away located beside Balquhidder Kirk). See my other blog post Balquhidder, Rob Roy Country

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Meanwhile at Mhor 84, there’s lots to enjoy – from the all day breakfast, to hearty soup, full blown lunches and dinners to hot chocolate, coffee and yummy cakes, then swill it all down with some fine wine, spirits, drams and beers. There’s no restrictions or stuffiness – choose whatever you fancy. You’ll easily sit, while away the day, and enjoy the beautiful views outside. There’s also a games room to keep kids and adults amused, which includes a pool table, TV, wi-fi, toys and board games.

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The Rob Roy Bar

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The relaxed dining room

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Mhor 84 excels in its food. With a full menu offering lots of options and delivering some fine Scottish produce. It’s worth visiting for the food alone.

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A healthy breakfast option

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Hearty Scotch Broth with tomato and ginger topping

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A healthy salad packed with flavours

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Is that a doughnut or a meringue? No joke – these meringues are seriously good!

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Kings of the Empire … biscuit …

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Be sure to check out the fish suppers at Mhor Fish in nearby Callander

Also part of the Mhor brand is Mhor Fish – located in nearby Callander – around a 15-20 minute drive from Mhor 84. This is a top notch fish and chip shop restaurant with tasteful, contemporary decor. Serving up great quality fish encased in batter that is so light and crispy, it melts in your mouth. Delicious. And while you’re here – also check out Mhor Bread – a bakery/coffee shop, full of cakes, shortbread, varieties of bread and award-winning pies.

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It’s also worth hanging around Mhor 84 on a Thursday night for “Thank Folk It’s Thursday”. The hotel becomes host to an array of musicians who pile through the doors with an assemble of instruments. Watching this scene unfold is like being part of a Marx Brothers movie. It becomes a jamming session for folk musicians – and extremely talented ones at that, featuring Ewan MacPherson of Shooglenifty. What adds to the charm is that there appears to be no set list/script or order. It’s wonderfully organic, free flowing, in the moment, and harmonious. And just when you think things can’t get any more surreal – in walks an elderly gentleman with a fascinatingly wizened face, dressed head to toe in swathes of plaid, drums on his back – and looking like he’s wandered off the set of Braveheart. When he’s not joining in on the music, he’s reciting old poetry and verse, retelling magical tales of Scottish folklore to an captivated audience. While all this is taking place, a lady sleeps in a chair, but still taps her feet to the music. A shaggy sheepdog settles for a snooze beside her, it’s not her dog, but he sees a good spot. Meanwhile all the staff, who incidentally are all charming and very friendly, never bat an eyelid. I don’t know if every Thursday night is like this, but the whole Mhor 84 package is bewitching. I can’t wait to go back.

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No bones about it – dogs are welcome at Mhor 84

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The Mhor the merrier … lots of quality from the Mhor brand to enjoy

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For more information see Mhor 84 Motel Website

For more information on the surrounding area see Rob Roy Country Website

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Filed under Food Reviews, Hidden Gems, Hotel Reviews, Photography, Scotland, Travel

Balquhidder, Rob Roy Country, Central Scotland

Balquhidder located Perthshire/Stirlinghire, Scotland is deep in the heart of Rob Roy country. He was a local outlaw, who was often called the Scottish Robin Hood. Baptised on 7th March 1671, he died in his house at Inverlochlarig Beg, Balquhidder on 28th December 1734. You can see his grave beside the ruins of Balquhidder Church.

It’s also said that St Angus visited Balquhidder Glen in the 8th or 9th century and identified it as a “thin place” where the boundary between Earth and Heaven was close.

Around this area you’ll find lots of walks and options to suit the adventurous to the easy ramblers but whatever path you take, you’ll feast your eyes on stunning scenery, lush green glades, towering trees, magical waterfalls and often snow topped mountains. Breathe in the fresh air, relax the mind in the quiet solitude and you can often experience all seasons in one day, as the sunshine gives way to showers and snow.

While you’re here you can also visit and stay at the excellent  Mhor 84 Motel – and see my other blog post. Review of Mhor 84 Motel It’s a Scottish gem with a cool laid back vibe and a perfect pit stop.

For more information see Rob Roy Country Website

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February 23, 2016 · 1:34 pm

Photo Gallery – Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland

Linlithgow Palace is the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. She was born here in 1542.

James I (1406 – 1437) started work on Linlithgow Palace in 1425. The building was finally completed nearly a century later by his great grandson James IV (1488-1513).

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February 12, 2016 · 11:13 am

Holocaust Memorial Day – January 27th 2016

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

Today is Holocaust Day (27th January 2016) and it’s 71 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The theme marking this year’s day is “Don’t Stand by”. And if anyone could teach us the importance of this statement – it would be Sir Nicholas Winton.

A few days ago I watched a film called Nicky’s Family, which was screened at Glasgow’s Film Theatre to a cinema full of secondary school children. A version of this film will be shown on BBC1 tonight at 22.45 pm.

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This documentary, made by film director and producer Matej Minac, tells the story of Sir Nicholas Winton, a London-based stockbroker, who became known as Britain’s Schindler. In 1939, aged 28, he embarked on an incredible journey to Czechoslovakia which led him to save the lives of 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. He established the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia – Children’s Section and he brought children to Britain via train, called Kindertransport, arranging for their adoption by families throughout the country.

Sir Nicholas Winton

Winton helped 669 children out of Czechoslovakia in 1939

The film was made in 2011 and it’s a compelling story, pieced together by interviews with some of these children who are now well into middle age.

It’s impossible to imagine the trauma these children faced, and now when interviewed, the pain and memories are evident, seen in the tears that trickle down their older, wiser, wrinkled faces. They retell the stories of their parents anguish and heartbreak at putting them on trains to a far and distant land. And when most of those parents faced the Nazi gas chambers, they knew they had done the right thing because they had saved their children by sending them away.

Six million Jews died during WWII and the recollections in Nicky’s Family will stay with you. One story tells of a mother being advised to encourage her children to sing when they are in the gas chamber, because singing means increased inhalation and a quicker death.

Some of these children who came to Britain were as young as three years old, split up from their families with hardly any possessions in a strange country, but they were given a lifeline. It was heartbreaking to hear that a train was due to leave for Britain on Sept 1st 1939 carrying over 250 children – then war broke out, following Hitler’s invasion of Poland  – and everything changed. The train never left and those children most certainly didn’t survive.

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There were some funny recollections. When the train stopped in Holland the children were welcomed by women in national dress serving hot chocolates and strange white bread – which the children had never tasted before.

And we learned that Britain in 1939 was a tolerant and compassionate country. Willing to reach out and help. One man told a story of how he arrived in London with his four brothers. It was dark, they had been waiting all day for someone to collect them. A taxi driver took the five boys off the street and back home to his wife, who looked after them.

The compassion and tenacity of Winton was inspiring. He was someone who didn’t stand by. He pressed on with his crusade and tried to get as many children out as he could. Often speeding up the process by making up fake passports and papers.

When the children stopped arriving after the onset of war, there was nothing else Winton could do. He joined the RAF in the fight against the war.  He eventually met his wife Grete, and settled down. He told no one about his past, not even Grete, but she discovered his old scrapbooks in the attic of their home. There were names upon names of children, photographs and documents.

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Eventually Winton’s story found its way onto Esther Rantzen’s TV programme That’s Life in 1988. Where unknown to Winton, he was sitting in the audience with around 100 people – all of whom he had rescued. One can’t imagine what that must have felt like for him, as he wiped tears away from his eyes, or for those people who finally met the man who had rescued them.

He was knighted in 2003 and in Nicky’s Family we also get a sense of his later years, still helping people, finding causes and creating some mischief, being booked for speeding and retaining a sense of adventure by flying in small aircraft. What is most striking though is his humility, he seemed embarrassed at all the attention and we have his wife to thank for bringing his story to us.

Sir Nicholas Winton

While this film contains many horrors, there is also a strong sense of hope. The “children” Winton saved – have married, made families, and the generations include grandchildren. Those 669 children have grown to 5,700 people. And so the story becomes Nicky’s Family. Many of these people have found their way into charitable acts and are making real differences to the world around them. And people who have heard of Winton’s story have been inspired to help others.

His story is an inspiration. He died on 1st July 2015, the anniversary of the departure of a train in 1939 which carried the largest number of children – 241. He was 106.

This film was shown at the Glasgow Film Theatre as part of Holocaust Day. And there was also a Q&A session afterwards with 92-year-old  Henry Wuga. Henry came to Scotland aged 15 via Kindertransport system. He eventually met his wife Ingrid, in a refugee club in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. They married in the synagogue at Pollokshields on December 27, 1944.

His recollections were fascinating and he received an MBE in 1999 for his work with the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association. A keen skier, he only stopped skiing last year, aged 91. He trained ex-soldiers who have lost limbs to slalom down slopes, as well as raising tens of thousands of pounds for the charity.

Read more of Henry’s story here on the Daily Record link

Henry emphasized the importance of reaching out to people and helping, “it’s so important” he said and it really does make a difference. Don’t Stand By.

 

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Filed under Charity, Film Reviews, Films, Glasgow Film Theatre