Volunteers would be havens sent
Stirling nature-loving volunteers are being sought for a project which aims to transform city spaces into green havens.
Residents in Raploch, Cornton, Top of the Town, Braehead and Hillpark are being asked to help plant native trees and wildflowers that will boost populations of butterflies and moths, as well as other wildlife, for the Wild Spaces scheme.
Butterflies and moths are important pollinators and are fundamental food for birds as well as bats. However, their habitats have faced catastrophic declines and some species in Scotland have declined by 27 per cent in recent years.
Funded by a grant of £79,800 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and with support from Stirling Council, over the next two years the project will not only help create a network of restored habitats for pollinators but will also offer additional greenery and bring benefits to local people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Wild Spaces project officer Anthony Mccluskey said:“the Wild Spaces project is the perfect opportunity for people in Stirling to get directly involved in improving their local greenspaces and gardens for wildlife and the people living near them. Nature is in crisis and we all want to do something to help, so it’s fantastic to have the support of Stirling Council for this important work.”
Events will also be held around Stirling to show people how to identify and record butterflies, and opportunities for people to come along to Discovery Days and Moth Mornings to find out about the wonderful world of insects in their communities.
Gardeners and community groups will benefit too, with training workshops to show them how to make their gardens and greenspaces better for insects. The project will give away 200 native trees or wildflower packs to residents of Stirling so they can do their bit to help at home.
Director for Scotland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Caroline Clark said:“wild Spaces is going to have a real impact improving the environment for people and nature in the heart of communities.
“These volunteering opportunities are a great way for local people to be part of that change. Volunteers are at the heart of much of the work that, thanks to National Lottery players, we support. We know it is a tremendously rewarding activity. On this project volunteers will be able to enjoy watching the local havens for wildlife they create grow and thrive for years to come.”
Stirling Council environment, transport and net zero committee convener Jen Preston said:“stirling Council fully supports projects which seek to improve the availability of habitats that help to support our pollinators.
“We are also keen to see projects delivered that better connect our communities with the natural environment.
“We have made a commitment through our recently adopted Alive with Nature Plan to manage 50 per cent of our land for biodiversity and this exciting project will help us to achieve that target.”
Details of events and how to take part in the project will be on Butterfly Conservation’s Scotland website.
To sign up to take part in the Wild Spaces project or for more information contact Anthony at: amccluskey@ butterfly-conservation.org or go to www.butterfly-conservation.org/ scotland.
The family of a Doune teenager who tragically died of a rare heart condition have met with Stirling’s MSP.
Evelyn Tweed MSP met with Morag and Gilbert Ferrier to discuss the debate on cardiomyopathy and hopes for the future.
Earlier this year, Ms Tweed led a debate in the Scottish Parliament on cardiomyopathy, to raise awareness of the condition and to celebrate the fundraising efforts of the Ferriers.
Morag and Gilbert lost their son Callum to cardiomyopathy in 2008.
Callum, described as fit and “sports-mad”, was aged just 16 when dad Gilbert found him dead in bed.
The popular Mclaren High School pupil was later found to have died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.
Since then, his family – including his three brothers – have raised over £30,000 for Cardiomyopathy UK through treks, ceilidhs, sky dives, and other events.
As well as regular charity ceilidhs, Callum’s brothers Sean, Darren and Neil have raised thousands of pounds through a host of events including 10k runs, half and whole marathons, and even a 64-mile charity trek in the Sahara Desert in 2012, as well as challenges in Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China.
Cardiomyopathy is a group of conditions that affect the shape of the heart and make it difficult for the heart to pump blood around the body.
Ms Tweed met with Callum’s parents at the newly reopened Woodside Hotel in Doune to present them with the motion and to reflect on the debate and their hopes for what can be achieved next.
They discussed the issues around screening, including parts of the world where all young people are screened before they take part in sport.
Mstweed said: “I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Ferrier family to personally congratulate them on their successful fundraising, and to discuss the future.
“We talked extensively about screenings, which are vital as there are no signs or symptoms in 80 per cent of cases of cardiomyopathy.
“Screening in the UK is limited, being offered to those with symptoms on the NHS but those without symptoms rely on charities working in this area.
“I am committed to continuing to raise this issue in the parliament, and in my role on the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, and to work towards more widespread screening.
“I am grateful, and I know the Ferrier family are too, for the interest and engagement on this debate, and I look forward to a future where cardiomyopathy is diagnosed and treated for as many young people as possible.”
Morag said: “It was a great pleasure to meet Evelyn Tweed MSP. We met after her recent debate in the Scottish Parliament on Cardiomyopathy.
“Evelyn has been very supportive of this cause, which is dear to us.
“To move the cause forward and possibly have some sort of support in Scotland for the benefit of sufferers would be our dream. Evelyn has encouraged us with her support.
“Our next fundraising event is Callum’s Ceilidh. Past ceilidhs have been successful and enjoyable.”
Although cardiomyopathy is frequently undetected, it is possible to diagnose it. Doctors use scans and tests such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and magnetic resonance imaging, and once diagnosed the condition can be managed through lifestyle, medication or surgery.
Diagnosis for family members is also available on the NHS due to the genetic nature of the condition.
Symptoms can go unnoticed or remain mild, or they can get worse over time. They include breathlessness, chest pain and feeling faint or light-headed; the abdomen, legs and feet may become swollen; and the rhythm of the heart may be abnormal.
Callum’s Ceilidh will be held on March 18 at 7.30pm in Victoria Hall, Dunblane. Tickets are available from Morag on 07909564963 and Neil on 077868672225.
Anyone interested in volunteering for Cardiomyopathy UK in Scotland can find out more at https://www.cardiomyopathy. org/westscotland