Experiencing risk is key but how do we keep kids safe?

THE death of Elliot ­Peacock, a 14-year-old boy from Newton Mearns, was truly a tragedy.

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It is difficult to conceive the pain that his parents must be experiencing.

Elliot was part of a group from Eastwood District Scouts, who were on an Outward Bound experience, in the Italian Alps.

It would appear that the group were gorge scrambling and jumping at low level, into pools. I recall my own son going on similar trips, just in the last couple of years. As a parent, how can you possibly cope with the receipt of such news. I am sure that as the school term came to an end and the summer holidays beckoned, all of these young people were so looking forward to their Italian experience.

Experiencing risk is an essential part of growing up, yet how do we keep children safe? If we try to remove risk from our child's life, they will merely seek it out in the local environment, and find it in different ways. Indeed in Scotland, each year, dozens of children are killed in such circumstances, falling from height or playing in water.

I trust that you might rest in peace Elliot, and my thoughts are with your parents at this most difficult time. Hold him in you're memory, find him in you're dreams.

WITH just weeks to go, the safety and security operation around Glasgow 2014 is swinging into full effect.

Years of preplanning, rehearsal and table top exercises will now be put to the test. The operation, which will cost some £90million, will adopt a unified agency approach. This will involve members of the military, the intelligence services, police and fire services, prison officers, medical staff and the private sector.

All of these resources will be co-ordinated through a single command and control centre. This approach follows from the experience gained from the Olympics in London 2012, where a similar style operation was successfully put into effect.

I recall that Hampden Park was used as a London 2012 venue, with security arrangements identical to all the other London venues, it was good experience.

All the venues, the athletes village, and other listed sites, together with the transport network will be made subject to detailed contingency planning and on occasions, locked down. Entry in and out will be via airport-style security. Every threat assessment and every risk assessment has been carefully thought through and preplanned.

For example, I recall that one of the potential scenarios in 2012, was that some bad people hired a party fire engine limo and attempted to access the secure site by pretending they were the fire service.

It didn't work, the planners had already thought of that as a possible risk, and put control measures in place to stop it. The public should be reassured that Glasgow 2014, will be a safe and secure games.

CITIZENS Advice Scotland ( CAS ) have criticised recent changes to jobseekers allowance and other benefits.

In 2013, almost 900,000 penalties were imposed on those seeking benefits. According to the organisation, those penalised face difficult decisions in relation to using what is left to buy food, or to heat their home. It is little wonder that the use of food banks is booming.

In total, 97% of CAS staff have seen cuts being made, without the reasons for non-compliance been taken into account. Indeed in one case a claimant had benefits reduced, despite being in possession of a doctors certificate confirming that he had terminal cancer. The CAS are calling for a public review. I couldn't agree more.

Drawing welfare benefits and being unemployed, carries many side-effects in relation to our esteem and our self worth. It is a tribute to the resilience of many, that they endure such treatment and retain their humanity.

YESTERDAY, I was in the mood for some fish and scanned the shelves of my local supermarket.

Of the dozens of species on display, both fresh and frozen, only three were of Scottish origin. It is a well publicised fact that much of our fish produce finds its way to the French and Spanish markets. It is a similar story with much of our venison and beef.

Across the city, both on the South Side and in the West End, farmers markets appear, in an attempt to bring fresh produce onto our streets. Why doesn't some entrepreneur, or indeed our city council, redevelop somewhere like the Briggait Centre. This fantastic building was created as a fish market in 1873. Some 140 years later, let's start eating what we produce, again.

Just imagine, an entire shopping centre converted into a large city centre food market.

The finest of Scottish produce, for sale, affordable and fresh, in Glasgow.

Our well-being is intimately tied to the food that we eat and the conservation of our natural resources... let's protect both. Any takers?

Food and drink

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