Local MSP celebrates new Act after visiting SSPCA in Inverness

Emma and Hamish the Westie

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick was delighted to be shown around the SSPCA in Inverness to meet some of the animals they are currently looking after and to talk about new legislation and the positive impact it will have on the rehoming of animals. 

While at the centre, Emma learned of the various welfare concerns that the SSPCA has and the difficulties they face caring for animals in temporary refuge – issues addressed by the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Act passed by the Scottish Government last year. 

Emma said:

“It was wonderful to get out and see how much work the local SSPCA put in to caring for animals in the Highlands; both pets and wildlife. 

“I particularly enjoyed meeting Hamish the Westie and learning about his journey; from arriving at the centre in very poor condition to becoming a happy, friendly dog who is soon to be rehomed thanks to their wonderful care.

“However, other animals are waiting for court orders before they can find their forever home.

“It is clear that the new Act is going to make a massive difference to the SSPCA’s ability to use their own judgement and do best by the animals who need them.”

The new act means that Inspectors and Constables can re-home and treat animals without needing to wait for a court order. 

It will have a positive impact on the Inverness centre who have many “temporary refuge” animals in their care. 

There are still many animals looking for homes at the centre. Please visit scottishspca.org to find out more about the charity’s work and available animals. 

Highlands and Islands MSP seeks clarity on how individuals at high risk from COVID will be supported as restrictions ease

Emma Roddick MSP asked the First Minister today how the most vulnerable to COVID in our society will be supported following the move to level 0, highlighting specifically those with blood cancers whose treatment may affect the vaccine’s effectiveness. She asked:

“Given that Blood Cancer UK has instructed that the vaccine may have lower efficacy in people with blood cancers – who were instructed to shield last year – what extra support and guidance will the Scottish Government provide for those in this high risk group as we move to Level 0 while the vaccination programme continues and case numbers remain high?”

The First Minister acknowledged the importance of this issue and went on to cover the protocols in place to protect these individuals. Knowing that some blood cancer treatment can affect the Covid vaccine, these individuals are having their second doses brought forward until 2 or 3 weeks after their first dose to increase the level of protection.

The First Minister said:

“While it is the case that immunosuppressive therapies might reduce the effectiveness of COVID vaccines, it is recommended that patients with blood cancer should still look at receiving one.

“As we unlock society, we will inevitably see a rise in cases, so guidance for those on the shielding list will be provided and we will continue to update that guidance as needed.”  

She went on to insist that “no one will be abandoned” as the restrictions ease.

Ms. Roddick was pleased to hear that the Scottish Government will be providing further support to this group of individuals and also the First Minister’s insistence that a balanced approach will be taken going forward to ensure maximum protection for everyone in Scotland.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Carer’s Allowance Supplement consultation

The Social Justice and Social Security Committee is considering the Carer’s Allowance Supplement (Scotland) Bill and asking people to submit their views.

What are your views on the increased payment of the Carer’s Allowance Supplement?
Do you agree with increasing the December payment of Carer’s Allowance Supplement?
Do you have any views on the Bill’s Financial Memorandum?
Do you consider the increased payment the best way to support unpaid carers with the challenges faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
What level of parliamentary scrutiny do you think there should be for any future increases to the amount of Carer’s Allowance Supplement?
Do you have any other views on the Bill?

Have your say here: https://yourviews.parliament.scot/…/carers-allowance…/

Roddick encourages young people to apply for Job Start Payment

SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Emma Roddick, is encouraging 16-25-year-olds to apply for the Job Start Payment, a grant which helps young people get back into work by covering “prohibitive” start-up costs.

Roddick said:

“The costs of starting a new job shouldn’t be prohibitive, but they often are. I am delighted to see this issue get the attention it deserves from Shona Robison, our Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, who is encouraging young folk to apply for their Job Start Payment.

“It is great to see the Scottish Government use new powers to develop a better social security system which maintains dignity and respect for those who use it.

“Having a social security system which is supportive and protective, not degrading and traumatising, will be central to creating a fairer Scotland.”

Are you aged 16-24? Have you been on benefits for the last six months? Are you struggling with the costs of starting a new job? Apply for the Job Start Payment here: https://www.mygov.scot/job-start-payment

Islands MSP supports Orkney’s first Pride march

Following Orkney Pride celebrations on 26th June, organisers have shared an interview with Emma Roddick MSP, the island’s only out Parliamentarian.

Roddick had said she was “delighted” to be taking part in the march, a first for the island, after a year of COVID restrictions prevented them from taking place in 2020.

SNP MSP returns to Ross-shire to open new youth facility

Emma Roddick, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has returned to her home town of Alness to open new facility ‘The Field’.

Following the closure of the Place on Alness High Street, co-ordinators and young people worked tirelessly to build a new outdoor facility with a tent to house learning and social opportunities for young people.

Roddick said:

“It was fantastic to hear such a great understanding of deprivation and mental illness from the very successful Alness YPI group who gave a presentation at the Field’s opening. It’s wonderful to see that young people in Alness are so engaged and proactive.

“People often have low expectations of those of us who attend Alness Academy, but these young people had their centre taken away and, instead of letting it go, helped build a brand-new outdoor facility which promises incredible possibilities for learning new life skills.

“I hope it is a constant reminder of their achievement and an indication to everyone that young people in Alness are capable of anything.“

Read more at: Alness youth project opens new outdoor base for summer activities (ross-shirejournal.co.uk)

New Highlands and Islands MSP to visit Orkney

New MSP Emma Roddick, who won a Highlands & Islands list seat for the SNP last month, arrives in Kirkwall later this week to consult council leaders and local residents about the community’s welfare during recovery from the pandemic.

Scotland’s youngest MSP will meet with Orkney Islands Council leadership on Friday afternoon.  In addition to discussions with the council, Ms Roddick is scheduled to meet with Orkney Rape and Sexual Assault Service and mental health charity Orkney Blide Trust.  She will also be viewing properties under construction with Orkney Housing Association.

On Saturday, 26th June, Ms Roddick will be participating in Orkney Pride including a virtual, COVID-safe virtual Pride March, an outdoor exercise class at the Pickaquoy Centre, and visiting stalls at the Pride Tent on Broad Street.

Ms Roddick said:

“People in island communities have suffered badly from unavoidable Covid restrictions.  Now that we’re moving into recovery, it’s vital that MSPs stay in touch with what’s happening on the ground, so we can advise the Scottish Government on what’s needed here.”

“People should be able to afford to stay where they have grown up, especially in the Highlands and Islands.  It’s absolutely central to the concern about depopulation in the region.”

On participating in Orkney Pride: “I’m thrilled to be participating in Orkney Pride.”  She added that she is “especially looking forward to seeing the various window displays showcased by local businesses.”

WATCH: Women’s Health Plan “must address ingrained problems” says SNP MSP

The Scottish Government’s commitment to publish a Women’s Health Plan is welcome, but must address “ingrained” problems, according to Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on the plan, Ms Roddick said that many of the problems in women’s health are deep-rooted. She said they are “the result of many years of lack of understanding, concern, and motivation throughout society to do anything about substandard care”.

Endometriosis was a focus on Ms Roddick’s contribution, in which she expressed concern that many of those who seek help with their periods are dismissed. She said:

“We have to recognise and admit that one of the reasons it takes so long to get a diagnosis of endometriosis is that those who seek help with their periods are dismissed. We are accused of exaggerating pain; of it being because we are a size 14 instead of a size 8; and – especially if we also have mental health issues – of being essentially hysterical, with doctors suggesting it’s all in our heads.

“It’s not just that there is a long assessment period or a lack of research and available treatment, but that we are sent home from the GP again and again with a wave of the hand and a pack of paracetamol.

“I am committed to working with the Government to make life better for those who suffer these issues, but we must begin from a point of understanding just how bad the situation is and that, for many, periods don’t just bring a cramp or an annoyance, they bring a debilitating, excruciating pain which prohibits mobility and may even require hospitalisation.”

Roddick welcomed to the commitment by the Scottish Government to reduce waiting times for diagnosing the condition, which affects an estimated one in ten women during the years they menstruate. Of these, around 500 women in Scotland have endometriosis severe enough to require specialist treatment.

This was Roddick’s first speech made remotely from the Highlands, a provision introduced to the Parliament due to COVID but that she has argued should be retained after the pandemic to increase access.

You can watch the contribution below:

Delight as Shetland Islands receives £53,000 for kids’ summer activities

SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands Emma Roddick has expressed her delight as Shetland Islands Council is set to receive £53,000 from the Scottish Government to encourage children to play and socialise as part of the recovery from the pandemic.

Councils across Scotland will receive a share of £15m to support summer activities that are already in place in certain areas.

The support will specifically target those aged up to 25 from low income households who may otherwise struggle to access such experiences during the holidays.

£5m will also be distributed among prominent Scottish children’s charities such as Barnardo’s and Who Cares Scotland.

Commenting, Emma Roddick said:

“I am absolutely delighted at this investment in Shetlands’ children and young people, who have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic as they have not been able to meet up with friends or play the sports they love.

“Coming out of the pandemic young people have told us that their mental health will be a priority and the SNP Scottish Government has listened to them and is investing in summer activities.

“This will have a positive impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of our young people, which will be extremely important when coming out of lockdown and into recovery.”

New Highlands and Islands MSP makes Shetland first regional visit

Emma Roddick in Shetland

New MSP Emma Roddick, who won a Highlands & Islands list seat for the SNP last month, arrives in Shetland today to consult council leaders and local residents about the community’s welfare during recovery from the pandemic.  The three-day tour marks her first official visit since being sworn in at Holyrood.

First call for Scotland’s youngest MSP will be Lerwick Town Hall to hear from council leader Steven Coutts and deputy leader Emma MacDonald about the SIC’s priorities.

After her discussions with the council, the 23-year-old MSP is set to meet with Hjaltland Housing Association, Shetland Women’s Aid, and Ability Shetland.

The MSP’s surgery is in Islesburgh Community Centre tomorrow from 2-4pm.

Ms Roddick said:

“Because of the pandemic, it was impossible to visit during the election campaign, so Shetland is the first stop on my tour of the vast region that I now represent.  People in isolated island communities have suffered badly from the unavoidable Covid restrictions.  Now that we’re moving into recovery, it’s vital that MSPs stay in touch with what’s happening on the ground, so we can advise the Scottish Government on what’s needed here.” 

“People should be able to afford to stay where they have grown up, especially in the Highlands and Islands.  It’s absolutely central to the concern about depopulation in the region.”

On meeting with Shetland Women’s Aid: “I’ll be discussing with the staff the best way to address the difficulties we face in tackling violence against women in Shetland and other island communities. This is an issue very close to my heart.”

“I am looking forward to holding my first MSP surgery in Lerwick on Saturday, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet with community activists and Leaders of Shetland Islands Council. It is crucial to maintain open and active lines of communication among MSPs and local leadership, especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”