Sport Paper Review, Tuesday 23rd October

Bryce Donaldson, John Menzies and David Ronney discuss the sport in today’s back pages.

Red Dead Redemption 2: Masterpiece?

Liam Mackay discusses if Rockstar’s highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a gaming masterpiece.

Podcast: Edinburgh’s Concert Hall: Condemned before Constructed.


Artist impression of the Impact Centre. Photo credit to Impact Scotland.

In this weeks EN4 News podcast, Calum Wilson and Joanna Hampson discuss the newly proposed concert hall.

The hall, known as the Impact Centre, has faced controversy after the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland complained the proposed building would overshadow the historic Royal Bank of Scotland building, known as Dundas House.

The Highlands named as top world destination for 2019 by Lonely Planet

The Highlands and Islands have been selected as one of the top places in the world by Lonely Planet.

The beautiful landscape helped place the region in the top 10 of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2019.

The guide named the Highlands “one of the wildest, least inhabited and most scenic parts of Europe”. The “innovative and fast-developing” accommodation across the Highlands is another reason for the area’s high ranking.

Lonely Planet’s guide recommends looking out for a number of animals native to the area including red deer, golden eagles, otters and whales.

The Highlands have long been a popular destination. They are home to Britain’s largest National Park, Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis, and a stunning coastline.

We found out where else in Scotland visitors should be sure to check out, by asking the public the most beautiful places they have been.



Commuting to Edinburgh saves you £82k on house prices, says Bank of Scotland

A recent analysis by the Bank of Scotland finds that buyers can expect to save an average of £82,088 when commuting from towns outside of the capital. 

The research pitted average wages in the centres of Edinburgh and Glasgow against average house prices in their respective commuter towns.

The results show how much you might save travelling into the countries two biggest cities rather than living in their centres.

Edinburgh fared the best with commutes from 30 to 60 minutes outside of the city on average saving you over £80k on property values. North Berwick, Dunbar and Livingston were some of the towns cited but Kirkcaldy was the most affordable, with house prices just 3.2 times the average yearly salary for workers in Edinburgh.

The average savings for Edinburgh were said to be enough to pay for 35 years of commuting into the city at current rail fares.

Kirsty Mengham, a 23-year-old Property Manager working in the Bruntsfield area south of the city, recently bought a property in Fife, deciding to commute.

Speaking on the benefits of going further afield, Kirsty says the value is worth it and that she still sees the move as being good for her in the long term.

“I feel like a lot of people are being pushed out of Edinburgh by high property values, so it’s still a sound investment”.

Although there is money to be saved in commuting, there are still other issues associated with time lost and stress with lengthy commutes to and from satellite towns.

“It can be bad sometimes, taking an hour or more getting home, but I’m looking long-term, rather than at the short-term sacrifice,” Kirsty said.

While the benefits are very clear in the east, the west is a different story. House prices initially dip but then rise, and eclipse inner city prices the further you go outside of Glasgow.

Towns like Paisley, just 15 minutes outside of Glasgow see buyers saving an average of £50k over city prices.

Interestingly, however, as you get further afield to areas like Dumfries and Perth – with a 60-minute commute to Glasgow – the trend goes sharply in the opposite direction, with house prices rising to an average of £52k more than what you might pay without the commute.

One thing to keep in mind though is how commuting needs efficient transportation services to be an option. Read more on how Edinburgh Waverly is servicing passengers;

Edinburgh Waverley station worst in Scotland for delays and cancellations




Charity calls for ‘Right to Rehab’ in Scotland

Jane-Claire Judson Chief executive Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland delivers speech. credit to Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland

The Chest, Heart, and Stroke Scotland charity has published a report calling for more funding and accessibility for rehabilitation services in Scotland, claiming that many people lack access to the services.

The One in Five Report highlights what life is like for the estimated one in five people who live with the effects of chest, heart or stroke conditions.

The charity said ministers needed to invest in physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists to match demand.

They carried out an extensive report on suffers of ailments such as asthma, COPD, heart disease and strokes. They have found that a vast number of patients have little or no access to any after-care. Many find that after their direct medical treatments, they are left to their own devices in terms of rehabilitation and psychological support.

A survey of 1164 respondents revealed that many people who have experienced these illnesses feel their mental health was affect as a direct result of it.

Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said,

“Too many people are struggling to cope with the impact of their chest, heart or stroke condition. This is unacceptable in modern Scotland.

“Opportunities are being missed to support people to live life to the full and current services need to rise to the challenge. That’s why we are urging the Scottish Government to commit to and invest in establishing a universal ‘Right to Rehab’ so everyone affected by these conditions can rebuild their lives.

“This report should serve as a call to action to all of us. All services need to be better connected. We need to be doing things differently and working together to make sure that there is no life half lived in Scotland.”

“Action on this is a matter of life and health.”

The figures speak for themselves:

  • People with COPD are up to 10 times more likely to have panic attacks
  • After a stroke, people are 2-3 times more likely to have depression
  • One half or respondents suffering from heart conditions say their confidence is expecting

The report also highlights how sufferers with lower incomes are even more vulnerable to mental and physical decline because they are less likely to be able to access personal private healthcare, attend rehabilitation classes – because they may be too far away to commute to or too costly, or receive psychological support from friends, family or professionals:

  • In the most deprived areas of Scotland the mortality rate from stroke is 39.5% higher than in the least deprived
  • 20% of people after a stroke have resorted to paying for private treatment

According to the report, there is not enough availability for rehabilitation services and not enough people are being made aware of the services available to them:

  • Only 9000 out of 69000 people can access pulmonary rehab for chest conditions.
  • 29% of people who have had a stroke want more access to therapists such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, or speech and language therapists.
  • Around 1 in 5 people say they simply don’t know what support is available to them locally, which suggests that they are not being properly signposted to it.
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Debbie Matthew, stoke survivor from Perthshire describes her struggles. Credit to Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland

Debbie Matthew, from Perthshire is a stroke survivor with a young son. Debbie had a stroke at just age 40. She faced the additional struggles of living in a remote area and feeling unsupported as a result:

“After my stroke, I wasn’t able to drive for nearly a year and because I live in a remote part of Scotland without a regular bus service it meant getting anywhere was really difficult. Transport is only available to the over 65s in my local area so because I was in my early 40s when I had my stroke, the only options for me were to rely on taxis which were really expensive or the goodwill of family and friends. Neither of these options were good for me.”


Fashion Fighting Against Homelessness

Ross Hempseed 2

Shelter Scotland fashion show catwalk. Photo by Ross Hempseed

It may not be the luxurious and high fashion designs that grace the catwalks of Paris and London but the 50th anniversary Shelter Scotland fashion show has a serious message behind the glamour and clothing.

The two-part event was to raise awareness for the charities seemingly insurmountable task of eradicating homelessness in Scotland. Volunteers from Shelter Scotland shops across Edinburgh strutted their stuff down the runway, modelling donated clothes.

Shelter Scotland is committed to helping people who have been affected by homelessness or poverty by providing support, advice and legal representation. Their 50th anniversary is marred by the fact that the fight to end homelessness has gone on for so long. Unfortunately, the most recent statistics show that they face a steep ascent to achieve their goals.

Startling new figures, according to the Scottish Government, show that 34,972 homeless applications were made in Scotland in 2017/2018, a number that has increased for the first time in nine years. The latest figures show that over 137,000 households are on the council waiting list for a home and this number is growing. In Scotland, 1 in 5 people are living in poverty after paying their housing costs. The rise in need for food-banks have also been an unfortunate indicator of the problem of poverty in Scotland.

Tony Foster, Community Shop Manager at Shelter Scotland Morningside, said:

“Our shops help to raise the money we need to continue providing the help and support that is sadly still required by people struggling to find or keep a home in Scotland today. The fashion show will help us to bring in more vital funds to ensure that work continues.”

On the night, the audience were treated to musical from local band, Banjo Lounge 4. The fashion show itself comprised of sections that showcased both designer and affordable clothes that are available throughout the Edinburgh stores. Some of the designer brands included Vivienne Westwood and Alexander Wang.

One audience member was pleasantly surprised:

“I would never have thought that you would find designer clothes in a charity shop. It just shows what you can get for a bargain and it goes to a worthy cause.”

The Fashion show finished with a poignant demonstration of mission statements that Shelter Scotland are committed to as they continue to fight the issue of homelessness in Scotland.

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Shelter Scotland volunteers demonstrating during fashion show. Photo by Ross Hempseed

Preserving Scottish Gaelic heritage and culture through the Royal National Mòd

Culture and history are two of the key motivators for visits to Scotland and the Highlands and Islands, and they play an important part of the visitor experience. Scotland is rich in history and archaeology — from World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, listed buildings to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends.

However, there is a fear that Scotland is risking the irrecoverable loss of its heritage by abandoning the use of its native language — Scottish Gaelic. Only 57,375 people which is the equivalent of 1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old, are reported as able to speak Gaelic.

Luckily, the Gaelic community is actively trying to preserve its culture and traditions, and the Royal National Mòd is one of them.

The Royal National Mòd is the main music festival of Scottish Gaelic literature, songs, arts and culture and is one of the more notable peripatetic cultural festivals in Scotland. It is the most important of several other Mòds that are held annually. This year it was held in Dunoon and was organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach (The Highland Association).


The Royal National Mòd 2018 programme

The festival ran from October 12 to 20 and included many competitions and awards for people as young as seven years old. Whether you are fluent in Gaelic or still learning the language, everyone was welcomed to take part.

Ricky Hannaway, an Assistant Floor Manager and Runner Co-ordinator working on the Mòd, spoke about what impact festivals like this one has on the Gaelic community.

“There are only about 60 thousand Gaelic speakers,” Ricky explained. “So, to have a situation where you can put more emphasis on the culture, where people learn old songs, where people learn old arrangements of things when they learn instruments to go do musical events, it’s really good.

“Our culture is an oral tradition where we pass everything on, all the information, through word of mouth, spoken stories and songs. So now that we’ve got a place and a platform to do that it’s really good.”


Dunoon presents… The Royal National Mòd 2018

During the Mòd festival, people celebrate old traditions of the Gaelic culture. But some believe this isn’t the best approach to keep the language alive, Ricky said.

“Some people don’t have an opinion of the Mòd of something that’s good, they think it’s a bit detrimental to the culture, thinking we’re always looking backwards. But I think it’s something that can preserve what we’ve got but has a forwarding outlook as well.”

Not only does Ricky work in the festival, but he also competes in it.

“It’s an absolute experience to be a part of the Mòd,” he said. “For years I sang in the Mod and I never knew anything about the media side of things. Now doing the media side of things, it’s great and it’s adventitious because I know the people involved in putting the Mòd together.”

Final day of SNP conference

snp conf 2 - add credit to Nick Eardley

Final day of the SNP conference in Glasgow, Tuesday 9thOctober 2018. Photo by Nick Eardly.

Tensions rise as Nicola Sturgeon paves the way for a second Independence Referendum.

As the final day of the SNP conference gets underway Nicola Sturgeon is set to send a message of hope. Today, the First Minister is expected to declare how independence is the only way forward for the people of Scotland.

The pressure from ‘Yes’ activists have been heightened after protesters took to the streets of Edinburgh on Sunday. Sturgeon is expected to tell delegates that it is up to them now more than ever to offer optimism and hope.

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Audience members today look forward to an inspiring and uplifting speech from the First Minister. An audience member told EN4 News that they were “looking for an affirmation of where most members stand and patiently waiting for the kick off for the second referendum.”

SNP Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf said today that patience is needed in order to win a second referendum.

“There needs to be patience, there needs to be an understanding that we have to take the Scottish public with us and it has to be guided for when the timing is absolutely right and I don’t have an answer for when that is, I don’t have a crystal ball, but the campaigning for independence should take place just now.”

Calls for Indyref2 comes with the First Ministers announcement that the SNP would back any calls for a second vote on Brexit. During an interview on the Andrew Marr Show, when asked if SNP MPs would back a second Brexit vote, Sturgeon said:

“I would expect the SNP MP’s to vote for that if it comes to a second vote in the House of Commons. A second EU Referendum, the case for that is understandable but we have to be absolutely clear it’s not the clear solution.”

However, the SNP’s stance is not backed by members of the opposing parties. Scottish Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour told EN4News:

“The people have made the decision to leave and the UK Government need to negotiate the best deal and get on with it. I want the First Minister to get on with the day job and stop talking about independence.”

Scottish Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “The SNP should be focusing on areas that concern the public. These are our health and social care system, education and economy. We see one million Scots living in poverty, the educational attainment gap growing and a national housing crisis.”

City of Edinburgh Council spends £23,000 every day on expert consultants

copyright credit to Martyn Gorman.jpg

Photo credit to Martyn Gorman

Edinburgh council paid £5.6 million to consultants for the running of council services, as well as paying almost £2.8 million to experts for capital projects.

This included the project management and design of new school buildings and the Meadowbank Sports Centre.

The tram extension also received £1.5 million before the plans were given the green light by councillors.

A bonus of almost £2 million was paid to one company for helping the authority achieve savings.

The amount spent on expert consultants dropped from £9.7 million in 2016/17, but opponents have argued against the multi-million-pound price tag on outsourcing jobs.

Green Councillor Gavin Corbett said some of the reasons behind the £8.4 million spending were unclear.

He said: “The amount spent on consultancy is down a bit, which is good news.

“However, at well over £8 million, it is still a hefty budget and every single penny needs to be justified.”

He added: “A large and complex organisation like the council certainly needs outside expertise from time to time, but there is still a way to go in getting it to the right level.”

Conservatives have criticised the spending made by the SNP-Labour administration on the tram extension.

Conservative Councillor Andrew Johnston said; “While I welcome the slight reduction from the previous year, that £5 million of revenue is an awful lot when we are facing another difficult budgeting process for next year”

“It’s completely unreasonable for the council to be taking forward the next stage of the tram extension before the results of the Hardie inquiry are known. It does not make sense to be spending on it before we have a clearer picture.”

SNP Councillor Alasdair Rankin said that the council monitors the consultancy fees “to ensure we get the best value for Edinburgh’s tax payers”.

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