Empowering communities like mine here in the north of Glasgow is something I’m very passionate about.

I’ve made sure in my four years as local councillor in the Canal Ward that it has been a leading priority.

Giving our people the ability to take control of their own neighbourhoods has led directly to the progress of an entirely new Community Hub for Milton.

As I use this column to shine the spotlight on the activities and people of the Canal Ward, this exciting project is certainly one I’ll return to.

But I want to kick off this series by highlighting the amazing work that’s already underway. Our communities up here in the north of the city were ignored for far too long by previous council administrations.

We’re turning that neglect around and the incredible people and work which has always been there is now getting a better opportunity to thrive.

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In Milton, two flats provided by GHA at Castlebay Street and Scaraway Street are real hives of community activity. Providing a space for Milton Community Council and Tenants Association meetings, they’re also a base for third sector organisations delivering everything from youth work, sewing groups, mums’ groups, community breakfasts, and English lessons for new arrivals to our city.

The flats are small and busy and clearly this community needs much more space but the groups are making the most of both spaces.

As local councillor, it’s always a pleasure meeting these groups and getting involved with the outstanding work each brings to our ward.  Again, I’ll highlight many of these over the coming weeks, but today I want to focus on one group very dear to my heart - The Milton Rattlers.

An older people’s group, I first met these incredible folk at local community meetings back in 2018. They came along just to listen to what was going on and were very interested in helping in their community. 

I met them a few times at Friday morning breakfast clubs delivered by local mums and they told me about clubs they went to in other parts of North Glasgow and which regularly organised social events. But there was nothing for them in Milton.  

So I encouraged them to create their own club to meet the local needs of the older members of our community, helped them secure the necessary initial funding and even suggested the name.  

Glasgow Times:

And so began the Milton Rattlers. In the three years since it has gone from strength to strength.  What started as six men and woman, now boasts 32 members and growing.  The events they deliver include bingo nights, coffee mornings, fish supper evenings, Easter, Halloween and Christmas events. 

Throughout the lockdown, the Milton Rattlers checked in on their neighbours with daily phone calls, delivered food, and picked up medicines for the most vulnerable.  This built on their efforts to deliver food parcels, particularly leading up to the Christmas period, a lonely time for older people who maybe don’t have families close by. The Rattlers understand the needs of the community best because they are an integral part of the Milton community.  This year they are planning a Christmas lunch and a bus trip to New Lanark, assisted by new funding they have secured as part of the first round of COVID-19 Recovery Funding.  

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The Milton Rattlers started just a couple of years ago with a small grant from the City Council.  With a limited budget, using limited facilities and despite the pandemic, they have achieved a great deal and touched the lives of so many in our community. They knew what the older people of Milton needed and together we helped meet those needs. 

I am delighted that they were successful in the first round of COVID-19 Recovery Funding, allowing them to continue their outstanding work, growing their membership and reaching more and more people in our community

If you want to join or know more about the Milton Rattlers a group of older adults in Milton please email me at Jacqueline.mclaren@glasgow.gov.uk