Letters: Council support boost for children in need

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As a coalition dealing with those with Additional Support Needs (ASN) we are delighted that Edinburgh City Council has recognised its commitment to children and young people with ASN and rejected proposals to reduce its budget for those in this category by £1.06m (News, February 7).

This follows an intensive campaign by ourselves and a number of other organisations and the decision reflects an understanding that a society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens.

Edinburgh City Council has not 
only recognised its statutory commitment to this group, but has also taken a stand in a move that should set a standard for other local authorities to follow.

As a coalition we found it extremely concerning that authorities were proposing cuts to already overstretched services that have seen a staggering 28 per cent increase in Edinburgh in the number of children with “significant” Additional Support Needs over six years.

This is why we welcome Edinburgh City Council’s additional £281,000 for the service and its promise to increase net spending by 3.8 per cent over the next four years.

Cutting these vital services is simply not an option and this move by Edinburgh City Council is one that should be commended and followed.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising:

Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius;

Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland;

Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School;

Sophie Dow, founder, Mindroom;

Sophie Pilgrim, director, Kindred;

Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations;

c/o 13 Hill Street, Edinburgh

Time to end city dog statue’s Bum deal

NOW that Greyfriars Bobby’s annual ceremony on January 14 is being organised by the council, could I suggest that Bum* be rescued from behind the gates at King’s Stables Road.

He has been sitting in the corner for several years, patiently waiting to be relocated to a better position.

An ideal spot for Bum would be close to the London Road roundabout between Edinburgh and Leith, as Bum is connected to the seaport of San Diego.

Stewart Wilson, Spylaw Road, Edinburgh

* The statue of Bum – described as the US equivalent to Greyfriars Bobby – was unveiled in a ceremony attended by dignitaries from San Diego, along with John Wilson, president of the Edinburgh San Diego Twin City Association in 2008.

The campaign to find a home for a statue of Bum was started after a replica statue of Bobby was placed next to the official Bum memorial in San Diego’s historic Gas Lamp Quarter. The dog takes its name from the American use of the word ‘bum’ to describe a street drunk. The American dog’s story is similar to that of Edinburgh’s most famous pet.

Beware the dangers of drinking games

Although there is nothing particularly new about drinking games, especially among the young, the latest NekNominate craze does appear to have taken things a step further.

Perhaps it is the thought of becoming an internet “hit” that is inspiring young people to risk their lives but whatever the reason, the two deaths in Britain should serve as the grimmest of warnings that alcohol is not something to be fooled about with.

Angus McGregor, Edinburgh

Foolproof tactics for Scottish rugby team

There is nothing to stop the Scottish rugby team beating the French. Mix the play with 15 a side or seven a side to break up the French defence and, when attacking, stand well back with plenty of up and under.

In the scrum, shove them off the ball and make every tackle count. Never mind what the coach says, play according to the situation and crowd the French out, and speed up the passing.

Let the team show what it CAN do not what it can’t do.

CJR Fentiman Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

Carbon monoxide is cause for alarm

With severe weather on us, families across the UK will likely take shelter from the cold indoors and turn their heating up – leaving them exposed to increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty appliances.

The Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign is imploring Brits to ensure that they are protected from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing an audible carbon monoxide alarm in their homes.

According to the Department of Health, more than 40 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year, and thousands more are treated in hospital. It is likely more victims go unrecognised because the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for common illnesses such as flu or food poisoning.

The only way to fully protect yourself and your family is to have an audible alarm. They are widely available from any good DIY store and can cost less than £20. Worryingly, a recent major study found that fewer than one in ten homes has one.

Carbon monoxide has no smell, taste or colour, meaning it is easily inhaled without a victim realising. It can kill you or cause lasting damage to your health, including brain damage.

For more information about how to stay safe, visit www.co-bealarmed.co.uk

Lawrence Slade, campaign manager, Carbon Monoxide – Be Alarmed! campaign