Honourable Lady Rae writes letter to Glasgow City Council in support of MCR Pathways

Dear Glasgow City Council 

I am writing to seek your assistance regarding an important issue that I believe you will be asked to consider in the near future. 

By way of introduction, I am a retired Senator of the College of Justice and the past Rector of Glasgow University, 2021-24. I write also from the perspective as Chair of a safeguarding standards Agency and Vice Chair of an adoption and fostering Agency. As a former Sheriff in Glasgow, I had a particular interest in children’s cases and spoke regularly at Children’s Panel Members’ training events. I have supported (and continue to support) bursaries at the University of Edinburgh for a number of years. 

Let me be clear, I am not seeking anything personally and only include this background information to show that I write as someone who speaks with some knowledge of children and young people who are greatly disadvantaged. I am passionate about doing what I can to improve opportunities and safety for those young people. 

The assistance I seek is to right a wrong which risks writing off this generation and future generations of Glasgow’s most disadvantaged young people. 

You will no doubt be aware of the amount of press coverage regarding the removal of funding or partial funding to support the work of the MCR Pathways Project. I need not repeat what was said by the press. I was shocked to see it. 

The founder, Mr Iain MacRitchie, first became aware of what was happening when suddenly, the project’s coordinators in each of the schools they support were called to a meeting to be told that their roles were finishing in August. It became apparent that cuts were in mind, any of which would be catastrophic in terms of support of the most disadvantaged young people. 

I was involved with this project in a small way at its inception and have followed its obvious success in benefitting young people from less privileged backgrounds and who may have varied problems or difficulties. What that support does for young people is just amazing. It helps many move forward with hope for their future, to realise that they can achieve goals and it assists in confidence building. It can also keep them in education and, importantly, away from people like me in the day job! 

As a solicitor, advocate and judge I have seen so many young people ending up in the criminal courts because they have had no guidance, no proper parenting and often no structure in their lives. Many victims are affected by the harm they can cause. We need to look ahead and think of potential victims as well as the disadvantaged young people who can benefit from this type of project. It is so worthwhile. It can lead young people into work and professions instead of into the criminal courts or a life on benefits with no hope for the future. These are just examples. I could go on but, as local councillors, you must know so well the many disadvantages some young people face in our city and country. 

All I ask is that the Council gives very careful consideration to all the implications, including those long term, of removing or reducing funding and that it comes to the conclusion that no reduction for this wonderful project is put through. I hope that you will support this request. 

This is the first time I have written such a letter but I do so without hesitation. 

Yours sincerely 

Rita Rae 

The Honourable Lady Rae 

Lady Rae.

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