:- Going begging

Welcome to the Hotel Caledonia that's the ironic invitation behind an exhibition of photographs intended to offer an altemative view of the lives of homeless people in Glasgow.

The timing of the project couldn‘t have been better, with the official launch coming only 24 hours after John Major‘s unexpectedly vitriolic tirade against the ‘offence‘ caused by begging, which he claimed was unnecessary. ‘There is no need for begging. particularly aggressive begging. We have a social security safety net and people should not be subjected to aggressive begging.‘ John Major was reported as saying.

Hotel Caledonia. which was sponsored by The Big Issue. gave a group of homeless people in Glasgow the opportunity to give their side of the story. it is portable so the magazine‘s

vendors can set up the exhibition beside their pitch. The Big lssue's outreach manager Raymond Heath says most vendors regard begging as a last resort. not an easy way of supplementing


issue vendors with the liotel Caledonia exhibition

benefit as Major implied. ‘i don‘t think anyone really believes what he says.’ comments Heath. ‘There may be the odd aggressive beggar but they don't last long. it's picking on a minority to

put down the majority and most of the public knows that.’

The exhibition was co-ordinated by the Open Museum. the community outreach arm of Glasgow‘s museums service. It is based on six months of interviews with homeless people. searches of social work archives and- photography. This is the first time the Open Museum has produced an exhibition for another group: Hotel Caledonia is actually owned by The Big Issue vendors.

‘They make points about homelessness that you or i might not think of.‘ says Open Museum curator Alex Robertson. ‘lt's clear that there's a fine line between having a home and not having one.’

Meanwhile, organisations campaigning on behalf of homeless people believe the Prime Minister's comments could actually help their cause by putting it at the top ofthe political agenda. (Eddie Gibb)

Hotel Caledonia is out and about on the streets of Glasgow front this week.

:— Policy adviser

EC cultural policies haven’t generated the same heat as, say, campaigns to save the Great British Banger, but that’s not to say they don’t exist. You

lust have to know where to look. A new information service, based in Glasgow, has been set up which will help artists and performers beat a path through the tangle of Brussels bureaucracy.

The International Cultural Desk, which is jointly funded by the British Council, Scottish Museums Council and Scottish Arts Council, will monitor changes in European cultural policy and help create partnerships between artists working in different countries. It will operate a database of companies, groups and venues throughout Europe that are keen to work with foreign artists.

‘The EC is increasingly proactive in encouraging inter-regional collaborations and a lot of funding schemes encourage partnerships,’ says development manager Hilde Bollen. ‘There’s no core funding at BC level for culture so the key is to tap into other schemes that don’t have cultural activity as the primary theme.’

The idea is that the cultural desk will work as a ‘clearing house’ for information which helps Scottish artists take their work to Europe, develop ioint productions and find new sources of funding. Initiallv

Initially information will be freely available, but during the project’s three-year pilot, Bollen will be looking at ways to make the desk self- supportlng, with a monthly newsletter available from September. However, the Cultural Desk will not become a grant-giving body or lobby for changes in European cultural policy, but will gather information on behalf of bodies such as SAC that are able to shape policy. (Eddie Gibb)

The international Cultural Desk can be contacted on 041 339 0090.

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Working women

While many other employers are making workers redundant, increasing numbers of women in Lothian are turning to the sex industry for

co-ordinator of Scottish lilll Action (SHIVA) - the Leith-based project which recently won a Lothian Health Board contract to provide outreach services for workers in the sex industry - this trend is true for all parts of society.

‘There are no two ways about it,’ says Taylor, who is an err-prostitute herself and has worked in outreach projects for sex-workers since 1988, ‘more young women, students and older women are entering the sex

employment. According to June Taylor,






June Taylor: ‘more women entering the sex industry'

industry. Indeed, I have come across a couple of nurses and other professional workers who are working as escorts to supplement low incomes.’

What sets SlillIA apart from other projects is that it is run by sex workers themselves. The management committee consists of current and ex- sex workers, politicians, health professionals and workers with drugs and HIV expertise. Taylor says that this involvement is absolutely crucial. ‘They know what their own health needs are, they know what their issues are and they need to be able to find their solutions to their problems,’ she says.

Besides running drop-in health clinics for sex workers and providing free condoms, SillllA operates a telephone advice line for all those involved in the sex industry. This includes sauna owners, managers, clients, partners and sex workers themselves, whether they are working as prostitutes, escorts, rent boys or masseurs. (Thom Dibdin)

SHIVA can be contacted on 031 553 2490.

_ Green routes

The first section of the proposed Glasgow to Edinburgh cycle route, which will eventually join the cities with car-free paths. could be finished in time for National Bike Week. The route runs from Glasgow Green to Cambuslang Bridge along the Clyde. Another route linking Glasgow to Cumbemauld will be officially launched during Bike Week.

The Cumbemauld cycleway is the first of a series of ‘safer signed‘ routes planned by Strathclyde Regional Council which will link all the new towns to Glasgow city centre and are

intended to encourage people to commute to work by bike. Another major route running almost entirely off- : road between Airdrie and Bathgate is

5 also nearly complete. This route has lbeen built by volunteers from cycleway Eeharity Suslrans and will eventually llurin part of" the Glasgow Edinburgh :i'nute.

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Both Strathclyde and Lothian Regional Councils have policies which support cycling. though there is concern that these policies are over- ridden by pro-road interests within the

authorities. Sustrans engineer Dave

Halladay believes that Scottish local authorities. many of which put money into developing cycle routes, are not yet fully convinced of the economic benefits of promoting cycling as a way of reducing carjoumeys. ‘There are a lot ofgood people in the regional councils but in some ways they are stopped by regulations,‘ he says.

The Glasgow Cycling Campaign will be launching its proposals for a more cyclist—friendly city during Bike Week. it has organised a Cycle to Work Day which will include a ‘cycle-frame' demonstration; a bike is fitted with a car-sized wooden frame to demonstrate how much more road space cars use compared to bikes. (Eddie Gibb)

National Bike Week runs from Sun ll—Sat 19 June. There will be an information caravan in George Square. Glasgow from Mon—Wed with details of existing cycle routes in Strathclyde. Neil McDonald of the Glasgow Cycling Campaign can be contacted on 04 I 337 287/. Sustrans is on 04/ 552 824/. Details of events in Edinburgh and other areas on 0483 425909.