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Friday, 26 November 2010

Suicide bids stopped by award-winning council scheme

UNISON members at City of Edinburgh Council, who have successfully prevented potential suicides at a social housing block, have been recognised at the Guardian Public Services Awards 2010.

Staff on one of the council’s high-rise estates had been struggling to cope with at-risk tenants until a suicide prevention initiative was set up. More than 200 people in the frontline team have now been trained to spot signs of mental illness and a multi-agency mental health awareness group, including police, social services and NHS members, has been formed.

The initiative was launched after the Edinburgh Tenants Federation raised serious concerns with council landlords about the risk of suicides and the scheme has prevented at least four deaths since.

Personal information on residents and their support needs is now available to staff and information leaflets on mental health services have been delivered to all the council’s high-rise blocks.

The City of Edinburgh Council received the award for Skills Development in the Innovation and Progress category.

UNISON member Michael McCrossan, senior officer for services for communities, said:

“We are over the moon to have received the Guardian award and believe that the initiative has had a huge effect on the lives of council tenants.

“Mental health awareness is extremely important, especially for those living in high-rise buildings, which can be very isolating and lonely.

“It is vital to keep talking to local people, who can raise concerns and help develop the scheme.

“We hope to continue with the good work and prevent many more tragedies.”

Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary, said:

“It is a huge honour for the team to win this award, as it is such a ground-breaking initiative.

“Training staff to identify problems and have the confidence to deal with them, can clearly help save lives.

“This scheme shows how important it is to empower workers through training.”

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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

PUBLIC MEETING Thursday 25 November 2010 7.30pm

Edinburgh Anti Cuts Alliance: PUBLIC MEETING Thursday 25 November 2010 7.30pm City Chambers, High St. Speakers: Margo McDonald MSP, Derek Thomson PCS, Peter Hunter UNISON, Liam Byrne NUS, Plus speakers from community campaigns. All welcome

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Kevin DuguidLate negotiations saw councillors agree to backtrack on plans to close Blindcaft. "We’ve got a platform to build from", UNISON's Kevin Duguid tells Deadline Scotland
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Tuesday, 16 November 2010


UNISON and the other trades unions at Blindcraft have vowed to fight the closure of its renowned beds factory in Edinburgh as they join with workers to lobby the City of Edinburgh Council meeting on 18 November.

UNISON understands the City of Edinburgh Council's Lib Dem /SNP Administration is to push for the closure of Blindcraft at the meeting.

Kevin Duguid, UNISON lead negotiator, said: "The closure plans are being pushed through despite the unions positively engaging with the Council over Blindcraft's future and coming up with proposals, including a reduced working week, which would hugely reduce the deficit the organization faces".

Many of those losing their jobs are people with disabilities who will find it incredibly difficult to get another job and to cope with a huge upheaval to their daily life.

"These are skilled staff who make a quality product that is more than a match for its competitors", added Mr Duguid.

"Unions and council officials met last week with the Minister for Enterprise, Jim Mather but this failed to address the reality of the position Blindcraft is in and concentrated more on nice words and platitudes than any help that could be offered.

"Nothing constructive emerged from that meeting, but if the Scottish Government are serious about supporting people with disabilities to be part of mainstream society they must put their money where their mouth is and support places like Blindcraft", said Mr Duguid.

There will be a lobby of the Council Meeting on Thursday at 9.30am which Blindcraft Staff will attend and the unions will be calling for the Council to reject closure and work with all stakeholders including the Scottish Government to safeguard the future of Blindcraft .

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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Get your Modernising Pay appeal in by 17 December

Details on how to appeal under Modernising Pay for City of Edinburgh Council employees will be on the website from 8 November.

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