Christmas is coming for sure


No-one seems quite sure where 2013 has gone. It seems only last week I Reindeer, Glasgowcommented that February had come round quickly. Now December seems to have followed on even faster! For many people, this is a time to reflect, and it’s too easy to focus on the things we didn’t achieve.
What are you most proud of having achieved this year? Take a moment to think. It could be a small thing, but significant to you.
What is the most important change you want to make in 2014? Note it in your pristine new 2014 diary – electronic or not. Tell a friend. Make it happen.

Real life heroes
Glasgow isn’t short of real life heroes; when the helicopter struck the Clutha Vaults on the Clyde, nine people died. Instead of running from the scene, though, Glasgow’s citizens came running into the danger zone to help people out.

Day in day out, people are committed to the business of helping people out. This year, I had the privilege of working with a number of organisations in the city, all very different, and all with a robust social agenda – that is, a real intention to help people change their lives.

Glasgow Wood Recycling produces beautifully crafted furniture and garden furniture from wood that would otherwise go to landfill. At the same time, this social enterprise provides excellent volunteer and training opportunities to local people, as a practical way of tackling poverty and social exclusion. (Well worth a visit for last minute shopping!)

It is estimated that 4 million people in the UK cannot afford a healthy diet; at the same time many tonnes of food go to landfill every week. FareShare Glasgow delivers quality surplus food and related support services to a number of organisations supporting vulnerable people in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. At the same time FareShare provides opportunities for disadvantaged young people across the city.

I was privileged to work with The Women’s Centre in Maryhill this year; this is a dynamic centre dedicated to helping people move on in their lives through a raft of programmes from storytelling to soup making, from poetry to wellbeing. The Centre offers a safe, positive, accessible environment to empower women to develop confidence, raise aspirations and fulfil their potential.  I’m all for that!

Last but not least, Gorbals Recycles is yet another dynamic and ambitious organisation. Dedicated to upcycling everything from bikes to furniture, their three outlets not only provide quality goods at fair prices, they also run exceptional learning opportunities for people to train in new skills and develop their prospects of employment.

If I were a Glaswegian, I’d be proud. As it is, I can only admire.

The gift that really countsHot chocolate
From Secret Santa gifts to too much boozy rouge, the Christmas lunch season is upon us. Make it an opportunity for some gift networking. Pass contacts to one another – search your database – who just might need help from whom? Send them a Christmas email with the gift of a new contact (or two). Follow up with hot chocolate meetings in the chilly days of January/February. What’s not to like?

Wishing you a very happy Christmas, and a successful year in 2014.