Launch of the NHSGGC Daily Mile.  (Photo courtesy of NHSGGC)


Children in Scotland have inspired the biggest health board in the UK to help make their staff healthier, happier and more physically active.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has become the first health board to sign up to The Daily Mile initiative credited with making primary school pupils fitter and more focused during lessons.

As Minister for Public Health and Sport, I was happy to join Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHSGGC’s Director of Public Health, and Elaine Wyllie, who founded of The Daily Mile, to launch The Daily Mile employee health campaign.

By taking small steps and walking just one mile a day, people can make huge changes to their lives. Something as simple as a 15 minute walk each day can add years to a person’s quality of life.

I am delighted that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is encouraging its staff to get moving, and I hope that other health boards currently not signed up to The Daily Mile initiative will consider taking part.

Walking and being more active generally can contribute positively to areas such as mental and physical health. It demonstrates that prevention really is better than cure.

There is no time like the present to get more active – with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner and Glasgow hosting the inaugural European Championships this summer, there are countless opportunities to get moving and make small, but effective, changes to your lifestyle.

The Daily Mile was conceived by Elaine Wyllie, while headteacher of St Ninians Primary School in Stirling. Every day for 15 minutes the children would be encouraged to go out into the fresh air and run or jog around the field.

Since that first 15-minute run in 2012, about 600,000 children in more than 3,000 primary schools worldwide, including over 1,000 in Scotland, now run almost two million miles a week. The daily 15-minute burst of physical activity has also been shown to improve children’s physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing.

As part of its Staff Health Strategy, NHSGGC has produced a website, maps and leaflets to show its employees how easily they can exercise more. The Daily Mile is part of a range of activities, which also includes yoga, football, metafit and active commuting, which encourages staff to be physically active.

“NHSGGC has been inspired by the success and simplicity of the initiative already adopted by schools,” said Dr de Caestecker. “The Daily Mile campaign is the perfect opportunity to encourage over 38,000 employees to keep active, either by incorporating exercise into their working day, or by changing their commuting habits.”

Walking a mile each day has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and stroke.

It can also help to make you feel happier, reduce stress, build self-esteem and lead to a good night’s sleep.

The Daily Mile Foundation supports the Scottish Government’s pledge to make Scotland the world’s first Daily Mile Nation.


Changes to fire and smoke alarm regulations will mean all Scottish homes will have the highest level of protection from smoke and fire.

Following a consultation on fire and smoke alarms, the existing high standard required in private rented housing is to be extended to all homes, privately owned and rented.

This includes at least one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used, at least one smoke alarm in spaces such as hallways and landings and at least one heat alarm in every kitchen.

Additional requirements will include specifying a maximum age of ten years for alarms, and a carbon monoxide detector will be required in all homes.

Announcing the change, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Fires and fatalities from fires are decreasing but even one death is one too many. Scotland already has rigorous standards for smoke and fire alarms developed over time, with the highest standard currently applied to new-build and private rented housing.

“The tragic events at Grenfell Tower last year emphasised how important building and fire safety is, which is why we brought forward our consultation on this issue.

"Now everyone will benefit from the same level of protection, whether you own your home, or rent from a social or private landlord.”

The decision has been welcomed by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 will be amended to reflect the new requirements and there will then be a two-year grace period for compliance.




I was disappointed last week with the vote to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

I know from my own correspondence that there were very strong views on both sides, but the act is being repealed with no attempt to put any alternative in place.

My colleague, Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing, was forceful in her condemnation of the vote, describing it as a foolhardy move that needlessly exposes vulnerable communities to abuse.

“This move sends out an appalling signal...and will compromise the ability of police and prosecutors to charge people for unacceptable behaviour,” said Annabelle.

“It also puts Scotland behind the rest of the UK in terms of protection against religious hatred.

“The Scottish Government will, of course, respect the will of parliament but will also continue to work towards ridding Scottish society of the scourge of religious bigotry and prejudice. However, it’s a great pity that we must proceed without this additional tool to hold perpetrators of sectarian hatred to account.”


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Transport Scotland has today published its strategy for investment in rail improvements over the next decade.

The Rail Enhancements and Capital Investment Strategy, which signals a move to ‘pipeline-based approach’, sets out how funding will be targeted across the Scottish rail network.

"We’ve listened to the views of local communities and the rail industry," said Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands.

"Our strategy will bring to life the new pipeline approach. It will deliver a framework for rail investment with a sharp focus on the right solutions for passengers and freight users, greater efficiency, oversight and value for money’.

“Despite our strong track record since 2007, future investment in Scotland’s railways is set against a real terms reduction in rail funding from the UK Government, which threatens sustainable, progressive investment in rail services. The decisions of the UK Government have created a gap of £460m of the funding that the rail industry has advised us it needs to deliver the improvements required to meet demands for rail.”

‘Transport Scotland will be hosting a series of workshops across the country, where stakeholders and interested groups can find out more about the strategy, as well as how to apply for the Local Rail Development Fund.”

That £2 million Scottish Government fund, which will be available from April, will provide funding to develop community-led options to improve local rail connections.  Local communities will be able to appraise and potentially bring forward proposals aimed at tackling specific, local rail connectivity issues.

Workshops will take place from April 16 until May 1 at venues including Glasgow and Dumfries.

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Closed last month


I welcome the news that the Post Office services will be restored to Strathaven on Tuesday, March 13.

The Strathaven branch closed temporarily in February 2018 due to due to circumstances beyond the Post Office control, and the service is being reinstated as a temporary measure while a permanent solution is still being sought.

This news will be a relief to many in the area. My office has followed developments on this closely, especially in light of news that the RBS in Strathaven was to close.

The Post Office offers a lifeline service for the town, and will become even more important as people now look to carry out financial transactions there.

I will continue to keep in touch with the Post Office about what additional support they can provide for customers in Strathaven and around Clydesdale.

The new service will be operated from 5 Green Street, Strathaven, from 9am until 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am until 12.30pm on Saturday.




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Aileen Campbell MSP, Kirkton Chambers, 12 Kirkton Street, Carluke ML8 4AB • 01555 750 249 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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