Friday 30 November 2012

West Port Christmas Lights are switched on!

As part of West End Christmas Fortnight events, at teatime today, the West Port Christmas Lights were switched by Victoria Park Primary School pupil Nathan Davidson.

Here's Nathan (right) doing the honours and the West Port tree lights are pictured below!

Many thanks Blackness Library!

Many thanks go today to Blackness Library for running a free community Coffee Morning at the library - part of West End Christmas Fortnight - and with a Scottish theme given that it is St Andrew's Day!   I'm most grateful to Lorraine, Blackness Library's librarian, and her team for arranging this.

Complimentary copies of the excellent "My Favourite Place" book, a tribute to Scotland's best-loved places were available as part of Book Week Scotland 2012.

An update on the Green Dundee Annual Christmas Fayre

Further to my recent item about the Green Dundee Annual Christmas Fayre - don't miss this today!
You can download a higher quality of this poster here.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Community tour round of the new West End schools campus

As part of West End Christmas Fortnight, I was very keen to organise a community tour of the new shared campus for Balgay Hill Nursery School, St Joseph's Primary School and Victoria Park Primary School and I am most grateful to the Director of Education for agreeing to this.

Last night, about 30 community representatives and local residents joined Lorna Ferry from the Education Department, Mrs Alison Starke, Head Teacher of Victoria Park Primary School and myself in a tour of what everyone agreed is a superb new educational facility for local children.   Alison and Lorna gave an excellent guided tour that all concerned thoroughly enjoyed.   Here's a few photos from the tour:

Cappuccino Concert from Friends of Wighton

From Sheena Wellington:

Golden voiced mezzo soprano Helen Brown is the guest at the Friends of Wighton Cappuccino Concert on Saturday 1st December. 

Helen, accompanied on piano by Helen Boyle, will present a programme of mainly Burns songs, including some unusual gems from the Wighton Collection.

The concert starts at 11a.m. with doors open and coffee and newspapers available from 10.30a.m. Tickets are £5 (includes coffee).

Saturday's concert is part of Scotland Sings - the full Dundee programme, which will be updated daily,  can be found at

You can also download a Scotland Sings poster here.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Good for Scotland

Dear Fraser 

Earlier today I joined Vince Cable and Ed Davey in Edinburgh to give the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) its official launch.

The triumvirate of Ministers underlines that this is a Liberal Democrat-led initiative that will stimulate renewable energy innovation in the United Kingdom. With an initial budget of £3 billion - £250 million of which is ring-fenced specifically for Scotland, but all of which is open to Scottish bids - the UK GIB will bring green jobs and commercial success to Scotland and all of the UK. 

I am delighted that the Bank will be headquartered in Edinburgh. Scotland has enormous green energy potential and Edinburgh is the UK’s second biggest financial centre. It makes perfect sense to have the roots of GIB grounded in Scotland - though the benefits will be felt in every part of the UK.

The size and scale of the UK’s single energy market ensures the level of investment that will unlock Scotland’s renewables future, providing sustainable and affordable green energy across the UK.

The launch of the Green Investment Bank is just the latest evidence that the whole UK can achieve results far greater than the sum of our parts, and that Liberal Democrats in Government are able to make that happen. 

Our party has a strong green tradition. In office, we have a strong green record. The UK GIB launch is just the latest step towards shaping the green future to which we are committed.

Best wishes,

Michael Moore
Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Scotland

Bonnie Dundee group

Last night, I attended the latest committee meeting of the Bonnie Dundee group, at the City Chambers. 

This really positive group encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee's parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape.

I took the opportunity to highlight the new traders' association about to be launched in Perth Road and its interest in environmental improvements.    Bonnie Dundee has already assisted with  improvements at the Roseangle/Perth Road corner owned by Dundee West Church, at the back of DCA and at Sensation.

On the group's behalf, I have asked Scottish Enterprise for its permission for Bonnie Dundee to undertake planting of lavender at the steps down to Seabraes that would enhance the area.

Jericho House Support Group

Yesterday lunchtime, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House (see right) support group, a regular meeting at which a group of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.

It was good to hear about the very positive progress on the fundraising and the new Jericho House minibus will arrive before Christmas.   Jericho House’s play is also making good progress with rehearsals and will be performed in February of next year.

From Dundee University Students' Association ...

Dear friends,

This year’s Raising and Giving initiative, organised by Dundee University Students' Association in partnership with Cash for Kids to the benefit of the Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Lodge charity, has launched a custom made line of Christmas cards (see designs below!)

The cards can be bought in shops on campus, ordered online at the price of £4 per pack of 6 cards. Bulk orders over 5 packs can be made by emailing, and we will ensure their delivery to your location.   Birthday cards are also available for purchase at £6 per pack of 10 or at £1 per individual cards. For your convenience, the designs have been attached to this letter. You can also buy the cards on campus at the Premier shop or the Library CafĂ©.

Leading on from last year’s campaign, DUSA plans to run a series of events to raise money for the Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Lodge Charity for their project to construct a fully equipped holiday home for children suffering from cancer or leukaemia and their families to enjoy in between treatments.  TCCL is a children's cancer and leukaemia charity, who work closely with the oncology staff at Ward 29 in Ninewells Hospital. TCCL has been serving the Tayside and North East Fife community since 1994.

DUSA’s partner in fundraising for TCCL Lodge is another well established and recognisable Tayside charity, Tay FM’s Cash for Kids.   Cash for Kids will be working along DUSA and TCCL Lodge to popularize the cause of TCCL Lodge.    In addition to that, Cash for Kids will be a platform for fundraising for TCCL Lodge with 100% of the funds raised going directly towards the Lodge project.

For more information, visit our website. We would greatly appreciate if you share that message with your students and colleagues and thus help us spread the word as this is a unique community effort!

You can engage with the event further, by

-    Being a volunteer
-   If you are an artist, donate a piece of your creativity to be auctioned off at   the final Gala night that will conclude RAG week
-   If you are also an entrepreneur or participate in a business, to donate prizes or vouchers for services towards our bank of raffle prizes and auction items.

We are grateful for your time and consideration in advance!

Kind regards,
Anna Dimitrova
VP Student Activities and RAG Week Project Coordinator

...and the DUSA Executive Team 

Tuesday 27 November 2012

West End Fireworks - photographs

Last week's West End Christmas Lights Switch On and Fireworks were a great success, and, with thanks to Gareth Key of Key Images ( and 07775 438879), here's some superb photographs of the fireworks display that was so impressive again this year:

Supporting the people of Palestine

I have today written to the MP for Dundee West in the following terms:

From: Fraser Macpherson 
Sent: 27 November 2012 08:44
To: Jim McGovern MP

Dear Jim

As you will be aware, the Palestinians are seeking recognition of sovereignty by applying for Observer status at the UN on 29th November.   This is a fundamental step towards having long term peace in the region and moves the two state solution closer to reality.   Unfortunately the British government is planning to abstain in this vote.   However, it is expected that the Palestinians are likely to win this bid and gain recognition by the UN.   There are a number of senior members of the government like Nick Clegg that are actively lobbying fellow MPs to vote in support of a yes vote.   Can you please advise what your position on Palestinian sovereignty is?

It is important that we demonstrate our international outlook by supporting this initiative by impressing upon both the Westminster Government and indeed all MPs the need to support the Palestinian bid.   The government has openly stated that all parties should work together to achieve the two state solution and supporting this bid would demonstrate that the government genuinely believe in this solution and are prepared to work towards creating political, diplomatic and trade encouragements for doing so. 

This vote is due to take place this Thursday (29th November 2012) and I look forward to hearing your views on this matter. 

Best regards


Cllr Fraser Macpherson
Liberal Democrat Councillor for the West End
Dundee City Council

West End Christmas Fortnight - event later today ...

Don't forget - later today - 4pm – 5pm ... Children’s Craft activity at Blackness Library – making a snowman – all children welcome!

Green Dundee - Annual Christmas Fayre

I'm pleased to see Green Dundee having its Annual Christmas Fayre this Friday - 30th November - during West End Christmas Fortnight!    It takes place at the University of Dundee Dalhousie Building main foyer between 12 noon and 2pm and features :

·   Palestinian Olive oil, soaps, scarves brooches etc 

·   Fairtrade Swaziland sauces, pickles and jams 

·   Ragweek Christmas cards in aid of Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Lodge Charity 

·   Kenyan Orphan project Society- with home baking raising funds for orphanage

·   Guide Dogs for the Blind- variety of small gifts and stocking fillers

·   Russian speaking society with some traditional Russian pancakes and other snacks

·   Botanic Coffee shop with selection of gifts

·   The Well with selection of Traidcraft goods

You can read more about Green Dundee on their Facebook page at:

Monday 26 November 2012

Monday meetings ...

This afternoon, I participated in the latest meeting of the Balgay Stakeholders' Group that brings Friends of Balgay, local councillors and City Council Environment Department officers together to discuss issues at Balgay Park, Victoria Park and the surrounding area.

We had an extremely productive meeting, discussing amongst other issues - improvements to the Rose Window, including new planting and a commemorative plaque, very good progress on dealing with potholes on the roadway up to the Mills Observatory and plans to improve the Rose Garden.

After this, I attended an exhibition by Whiteburn Projects on development proposals for the former Parkview School at 309 Blackness Road (see right) - this was very well-attended by local residents.

I then held my weekly surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy and thereafter took part in tonight's Dundee City Council committee meetings.

At City Development Committee, I expressed concern about the narrow footpath that has been created at the front of the development on the former Homebase site at Riverside Drive - it is not wide enough given the very busy road and I sought assurances that the department that this will be looked into.

At Policy and Resources Committee, I moved deferral of any decision to replace the civic cars.   The council had sought prices for a 3 year lease but I felt that getting costs of taking leases over 4 or 5 years would make sense.   I am pleased that committee agreed to this and the matter will be reconsidered with this additional information in two weeks' time.    

I also spoke about the concerns regarding high interest rate lenders and supported the council's moves for Dundee to be UK City of Culture in 2017.

Celebrating Harris Academy

To celebrate the past, present and future of Harris Academy, there will be a film preview and exhibition at the Central Library at 6pm on Friday 14th December, with thanks to the school, Pure Media UK and the Central Library.

In what are exciting times for the future of Harris Academy, this will be a great event, and all are welcome to attend.

You can see more about Pure Media UK below: 

Brian Taylor's Big Debate

Good to see BBC Scotland's Brian Taylor's Big Debate coming to DCA this week - during West End Christmas Fortnight ...

Sunday 25 November 2012

Dundee LibDems campaigning with @UK_Together today!

A team of us from Dundee Liberal Democrats took part in a campaigning effort by the cross-party Better Together campaign today.

There was a great reception from local people as we all campaigned in the Murraygate area of the City Centre - here's a photo below of some of my Dundee LibDem colleagues at the City Square at lunchtime!

West End fireworks!

With thanks to Tour Scotland, here's a video of our superb fireworks display managed by Robin Carstairs at the West End lights switch on/Christmas events last Wednesday evening:

Saturday 24 November 2012

Super Saturday activities across the West End ...

In the middle Saturday of West End Christmas Fortnight, it was great to see lots of activities across the West End, including:

* The West End Christmas Fortnight Primary 5's football competition.    It was a great event with 5 teams participating from three of our local primary schools - Ancrum Road, Blackness and St Joseph's.   Here's some photographs and a video from the tournament that was kindly sponsored by Good Health and Fitness and run by Riverside Community Sports Club:

And the winners are St Joseph's Primary School who won the final against Blackness Primary School.   Here's the winning team, having received the cup from Murray McDowell of Good Health and Fitness:
Best goal scorer was Ben Garrick - Ben received a gold football boot award from Murray:

* Christmas Fayres.    In addition to the Harris Academy Parent Teacher and Pupils Association (PTPA) Christmas Fayre that I also had the pleasure of attending (see right), it was also great to see other fayres taking place in the West End this morning.

Firstly - see below - the Pennycook and Sinderins Courts Sheltered Housing had a very well-attended Christmas coffee morning at Pennycook Court. It was a thoroughly enjoyable event and good to see so many local residents supporting this.

Secondly - again see below - the Magdalen Artists have their Christmas Exhibition of Art and Craft taking place at the Vine in Magdalen Yard Road.   This is open again tomorrow from 10.30am to 4pm.

Pennycook Court Coffee Morning:

Magdalen Artists' Christmas Exhibition:

A new service for older people in Dundee

Dundee Independent Advocacy Support (DIAS) is providing a new service for older people in Dundee that was launched in August of this year, through funding we received from the Scottish Government’s ‘Reshaping Care for Older People – Change Fund’.  This provision is a telephone information line called DIAL-OP (Dundee Information and Advocacy Line for Older People).

The information line – which is supported by local volunteers – is a fantastic resource for older people, and carers of older people in Dundee, the main strategy being to help signpost callers to agencies and organisations that can help provide them with more detailed and accurate information in relation to their enquiry or concern.   It also aims to be a practical point of contact for vulnerable and/or isolated older people who may not have anyone to talk to about their concerns, or perhaps a caller may be apprehensive about discussing certain issues with family and relatives. In a nut shell; if it matters to the caller, it matters to DIAS. 

DIAS has ten friendly, local volunteers, who are keen to support callers to the service by providing ‘a listening ear’.    All callers are accepted without prejudice and encouraged to talk and explore their options. 

Dial-op aims to provide a local service which aims to provide callers with information to improve social inclusion, independence and well-being. 

Callers remain responsible for their own lives and do not lose the right to make their own decisions. The purpose of this information line is to provide older people with easy access to information on services available to them in Dundee, in turn enabling and empowering choice and control.

The service is provided Monday to Friday from 10am-1pm on 305757 and out with those hours DIAS has an answering service which is checked daily as well as an e-mail address -

DIAS has worked closely with Celebrate Age Network and the Re-Shaping Care Team to help devise this service and have valued their support throughout, and continue to do so.

Friday 23 November 2012

Meerkat Polka Band Play Corrie Theme Tune #meerkatband

Ladies and Gentlekats, it fill me with great pleasures to introduce the Meerkat Band! After many days of practice we make musical debut as we perform theme tune from telebox show known as 'The Corrie Street':

West End Local Community Planning Partnership meeting

Last night, after my ward surgery at Blackness Primary School, I took part in the latest meeting of the  West End Local Community Planning Partnership (LCPP), which allows local councillors, council officers across various departments, police, fire & rescue, NHS and local community organisations to get together to discuss West End issues.   On this occasion, the City Council Chief Executive attended part of the meeting, which was a welcome development.

We were given an update about progress with the proposed new Dundee Local Development Plan from a senior officer from the council's City Development Department.   I again highlighted the issues of derelict buildings and the need to support our district shopping centres.

The LCPP meeting also had a welcome update from the Environment Department about proposed improvements in parts of the West End that include:

  • Improvements to the pathway from Logie Street to the Tullideph sheltered housing.
  • New hedge planting to replace the "temporary" fence at the east end of Magdalen Green.   I requested the "temporary" fence on behalf of residents the best part of a decade ago, so some nicer hedging will be a welcome development.
  • Scott Street entrance to Balgay Park - I have complained about its state before and was pleased to hear it will be improved and brightened up.
  • Hunter Street - roundabout with Hawkhill by-pass - to be tidied, improved with new planting and birch trees.
  • The old toilet block at Lochee Park will be removed and replaced with new toilets at the Lochee Park changing rooms.

Free talk on Alan Turing in the Zoology Museum

From Matthew Jarron, Curator of Museum Services and Cathy Caudwell, Zoology Curator, at the University of Dundee :

A forthcoming special event at the D‘Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum in the Carnelley Building, University of Dundee will celebrate the recent centenary of the birth of mathematical genius Alan Turing. 

Prof Mark Chaplain (Head of Mathematics at the University) will give a talk entitled ‘Alan Turing: much more than an Enigma’ in the museum on Tuesday 27th November at 5.30pm. 

Turing is perhaps best known for his work during World War II at Bletchley Park, where he helped break the "Enigma" code used by the Germans. Even if this had been his only mathematical achievement, it would have been a major contribution to mathematics and computer science. However, his many contributions are much more wide-ranging than this and span a broad range of mathematical disciplines. For example, he was highly influential in the development of computer science, giving a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. As such, Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence.

Mark’s talk will also focus on the influence of D’Arcy Thompson on Turing’s work. Inspired by the famous Dundee professor, Turing wrote a seminal paper proposing a theory of pattern formation in biology which is now used widely today with applications to animal coat markings, plant phyllotaxis, shell patterning and cancer growth. 

The free talk will survey Turing's scientific career and show that he was indeed much more than an enigma.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Harris Academy Project Board

This morning, I took part in the latest meeting of the Project Board relative to the Harris Academy rebuilding project.   On this occasion, the board met at the school itself so that members could get sight of the exhibition that opens imminently at 2pm today which will give pupils, staff, parents, residents and all others with an interest, a real indication of what the new school building is planned to look like and the facilities envisaged.

The plans are at the Pre Application stage, so feedback from those attending the exhibition can influence the final plans when submitted for full planning approval, probably in late April 2013.

The exhibition is open today at the school from 2pm-7pm, 10am-1pm tomorrow (Friday 23rd November) and 10am-1pm on Saturday 24th November - all welcome and an excellent opportunity for the school community, parents and local residents to see the plans for the new school building and feed back their comments about them. 

The Project Board today received updates on numerous aspects of the project including a discussion about possible transport arrangements during the decant to the Rockwell site, physical education arrangements during the decant and indicative project timescales.

A couple of photographs from the exhibition are given below:

Dundee-Nablus Twinning Association forthcoming event

Wednesday 21 November 2012

A great Christmas night in the West End!

We have had a superb Christmas night in the West End this evening, with a packed-out Christmas Concert in Dundee West Church, Christmas Tree Lights Switch On, fireworks and carnival ride.

The turnout this year was the best ever of the 12 years we have organised these events and I am indebted to my colleagues on the West End Christmas Committee and many others including - Rev Andrew Greaves and Dundee West Church, Robin Carstairs our fireworks supremo, Nisa Extra and the Kilted Kitchen who organised a great selection of food and drinks, Horne's Carnivals, the University of Dundee for use of their car park - and the large number of West End residents who took part tonight.

Here's a few photos from tonight's events:
Concert in Dundee West Church

Mother Goose, Priscilla - and yours truly!

With the snowman!

With our local police!


Carnival Ride on Duncan of Jordanstone Car Park

Kilted Kitchen was busy!

Tree Lights on!
And a couple of videos!