Leaders: ‘The example deserves to be praised’

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Underage drinking remains one of the biggest concerns in communities across the Lothians despite repeated efforts to crack down on the problem.

Despite strong words from police and politicians, supermarkets and independent stores have repeatedly been caught selling alcohol to children. Often the punishments are soft.

It is heartening, therefore, to hear of the tough stance being taken husband and wife team Linda and Dennis Williams, who run a shop in Oxgangs. Their Broadway Convenience Store beat the likes of Tesco and Morrisons to be named Responsible Retailer of the Year at the recent Drinks Retailing Awards in London.

Linda and Dennis have realised that running their own business comes with great responsibility and is not all about the immediate bottom line. The store has banned swearing and enforced tough restrictions on bulk booze sales is winning the respect of customers with its tough love approach.

A five-step ID protocol is enforced to guard against underage sales, while a log book containing the names of repeat offenders is kept to clamp down on bad behaviour.

From October 1, 2011 in Scotland, the Alcohol (Scotland) Act 2010 introduced a new mandatory condition requiring age verification in all premises for anyone who looks under 25.

The Oxgangs store has gone further than this and this example should be praised and followed by others.

In the short term, Linda and Dennis will lose some sales. But in the long term their responsible attitude will foster greater customer loyalty from all, especially parents.

Saddle up

Greek war heroes who were severely wounded in battle used to be rehabilitated by riding horses.

So the great benefits of horse 
riding as a way of improving the physical and mental wellbeing of people with disabilities has been recognised for at least two and a half thousand years.

Today those benefits are enjoyed by almost 100 young riders who would not get that opportunity if it was not for Riding for the Disabled.

But the harsh Scottish winters mean that for three months of the year the great work at their Ravelrig centre in Balerno has to grind to a halt.

The charity has now set itself the ambitious goal of raising £1.6 million to create an indoor arena so that lessons can continue all year round.

What a great boost that would be for all those young riders and their families. With the generous support of the public we are sure they will find a way to raise the roof.