Mavis's Shoe

Author of two novels and a creative memoir.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Govanhill Gazette

In case you thought all I've done this year is muck around in a campervan in the north of Scotland, I have to tell you about the Govanhill Gazette. In January this year I was asked by wonderful South Seeds, a community environmental organisation in the South Side of Glasgow, to research flytipping in a particular back lane in Govanhill. A mucky job if ever there was one.

Wearing walking boots and clothes designed to fend off any bugs that might want to hitch a ride with me, I toured the lane and documented all that went on there rubbish-wise for a month. I also interviewed over sixty people and spoke to all the organisations and powers-that-be in the area who might have an interest or bring some light to bear. These included the cleansing management and the bin-men themselves, various support organisations and agencies, and as many residents as I could find. The above publication is the result, almost all of which was written by myself, not including the headings. My accomplices in the final production were Lucy Gillie, project manage of South Seeds, and Sam Bartlett, a journalist and South Seeds volunteer who used to work for the Herald newspaper.

Our aim was to simply state what people were saying without casting judgement or offering solutions. By literally just sharing everyone's views we hope to facilitate some communication and understanding, and perhaps thereby give people the opportunity to make real change. What I found was not what you'd expect. There were no obvious demons and no obvious angels either. Much of the problem stemmed from misunderstandings, misinterpretations, faulty or no information and obvious human problems. It's an eight page easy read and so far has been very well received.

If you'd like a copy, get in touch with South Seeds at or visit them at their office in Butterbiggins Road. They also run lots of other community environmental projects including offering free energy audits for your house to help reduce bills and community gardens in various locations offering opportunities to get your hands dirty in a cleaner way than I had down the lane.

But it's not all bad. Here are Louis, Ruskin, Casey and Sam, (from L to R) four of the South Seeds team at the Glasgow Awards Ceremony this month where South Seeds picked up the award for best community initiative. I think a prize was also due to everyone for more or less managing the 'black tie' attire directive stipulated on the invite. Those who should be specially named in this respect are Robin and Uillie, with Maureen, Lisa and Lucy all as effortlessly gorgeous as ever.

PS Here's a link to an online version of The Govanhill Gazette

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