RUTS, boxing and green spaces

Friday November 3rd 2023


Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

I had the opportunity recently after my regular Tesco surgery to visit the YMCA at Queensway at the launch of RUTS on the premises. RUTS stands for Rural and Urban Training Scheme and is open to young people from ages of 14 to 25 who feel disengaged from what might call “traditional” education provision.

Some self-refer and others are referred by schools, social work and so on. It is non-judgemental and for example there is training in maintenance of motorbikes. RUTS is now in partnership with the YMCA and is ensuring that the premises becomes a sustainable youth hub. I had fun slugging at one of the punch bags (I’m not disclosing who I was fantasising in place of the punch bag) and a bit of sparring with Cameron Longdon, trainee Youth Trainer. I found wearing boxing gloves quite liberating though they might look out of place if I sported them in Parliament. Tempting though.

In the meantime I also sponsored this week a Horticultural Trades Association exhibition at Parliament celebrating how important green spaces and our gardens were during covid. Scott McMurray office manager to another MSP came out tops as he transformed a gravel wilderness into a beautiful partly wild garden during covid. He did it on the cheap although he did have to bring in soil to supplement what was under the gravel. Plants were donated and he went to the sale stalls at garden centres and also scattered wildflower seeds. His efforts have prompted neighbours to do the same.

Pictures of the winners and runners-up are on my Facebook page. Debbie McCall, Midlothian’s Provost who also works for me put in three entries: Penicuik through the seasons. Her “Penicuik in Spring” was highly commended and needs to be seen to be believed and we received entries cross party which just shows you we have much in common despite our political differences.

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