Rhoda Grant tries virtual reality courtsey of Sue Ryder

It was reality, but not as I know it! Rhoda gave virtual reality a try in the Scottish Parliament last week, courtesy of Sue Ryder.

For more information on the work they do, visit www.sueryder.org

The charity, which operates Sue Ryder Dee View Court, Scotland’s only specialist residential care centre for people living with complex neurological conditions, such as Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and acquired brain injuries, uses virtual reality as a form of therapy for its patients.

The system, which was specially developed for Sue Ryder Dee View Court users by tech company Immersicare allows residents to find themselves in places they may not be able to visit, such as the beach, jungle or outer space. Its impact has been so positive that the system is now being rolled out to all of Sue Ryder’s neurological care centres.

Pamela Mackenzie, Director of Neurological Care and Scotland at Sue Ryder, said:

“Early evidence from the team at Sue Ryder Dee View Court shows that use of virtual reality by people with neurological conditions is helping to lower blood pressure and pain levels as well as boosting mood and wellbeing.

“As we eagerly await the Scottish Government’s National Action Plan on Neurological Conditions, it seems like a good time to share with others the innovative technology we are using with our service users to improve their quality of life.”

Rhoda Grant to ask FMQ on Thursday (November 8th)

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has lodged a First Minister’s Question on Thursday (Nov 8) asking the Scottish Government what support it plans to give to Scottish mountain rescue teams in the light of their concern about lack of back-up from other agencies.
“I was totally shocked by claims that agencies, such as the search and rescue helicopter, were refusing to assist teams with the recovery of bodies of people killed on the mountains and also that there have been instances where volunteers have put themselves at risk managing a body down a narrow gully whilst an aircraft was instructed to standby.
“I am extremely conscious of the life-saving work these volunteers carry out, often in horrendous weather and at risk to their own lives.
“I am reminded of this every time I see people rescued from the hills or, sadly, when I see bodies recovered.
“People are right to say that our teams are the envy of the world – they answer when duty calls for everybody who is in danger or lost.
“I will be supporting their campaign to return to full back-up from other agencies. It’s what our brave volunteers deserve.”

Photo: David Crocker


Nationalist councillors need to contact their SNP Governments about cuts

A Labour MSP has accused a Highland SNP councillor of ‘hypocrisy’ over launching a petition to save a community based garden project, which is under threat due to Scottish Government cuts.
Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant is tackling Cllr Maxine Smith over her double standards by failing to acknowledge that Government cuts are to blame for the threat to the Garden Project at the Isobel Rhind Centre in Invergordon.
Mrs Grant points out that the SNP run Scottish Government has year on year cut money to local authorities and to health authorities putting both in a dire financial position resulting in cuts to services.
“I support this campaign fully however if the SNP Government funded NHS Highland and Highland Council properly, this unsettling situation could have been avoided,” said Mrs Grant.
“The fact that Maxine Smith has launched this campaign when her own SNP Government is forcing NHS Highland to make these damaging cuts – affecting projects such as this – is complete hypocrisy.
“I suggest the councillor gets on the hot-line to her contacts in the Scottish Government to complain. Scottish Labour put forward an alternative Scottish Budget that would have funded this project and other services that are now facing cuts, but it was voted down by the SNP and Tories.
“This is a thriving project which is of great benefit to adults with special needs, allowing them to experience horticultural work.
“I sincerely hope it wins its battle to receive funding next year.
“However, for it to become sustainable for another 10 years, the SNP Government will need to fund NHS Highland appropriately.”
The community-based garden project is under threat because NHS Highland proposes to withdraw its £51,000 funding budget from March next year.
The board has told HighLife Highland, which runs the scheme, that it cannot afford to keep the service but is having talks to explore alternative models.


Fireworks Educational Leaflet

Delighted to take delivery of my fireworks educational leaflet today. Thanks to Mark from Red Revolution,Inverness for the graphics. A big thank you to the SSPCA for their support, local Vets, businesses and organisations (you know who you are) for agreeing to hand them out.
In short I want everyone to enjoy this season, preferably at an organised bonfire and fireworks event, but if you want to let off fireworks outside your home, please just stop and think first about the fact that the bangs may frighten some vulnerable people, pets and wild animals.
Most importantly – BE SAFE