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We have some wonderful organisations in my constituency of Strathkelvin and Bearsden, all of which help to make life better for others.

None more so than Deafblind Scotland (pictured) whose state-of-the-art HQ is based at Lenzie.

It must be challenging enough to be without one of your senses, let along two but under the leadership of CEO Isabella Goldie, the inspirational team are doing so much to make life better for people with dual sensory impairment.

I'm delighted to be leading a debate at Holyrood on February 7 on Deafblindness being formally recognised in Scotland as a distinct disability, as it is defined in Nordic countries, after putting forward a motion at the Scottish Parliament.

It is a crucial step towards identifying, diagnosing and supporting people with dual sensory loss.

I applaud Deafblind Scotland, its members, staff and volunteers, for working to ensure that lived experience plays an integral part in informing policy.

There's no doubt that 2024 has got off to a busy start in my constituency. I was delighted to meet recently with the new Area Commander for East Dunbartonshire, Police Chief Inspector Aidan Higgins. It's clear he is committed to ensure the local area remains a safe place to live, work and visit.

I was also impressed with the work being done by Chief Inspector Higgins and his team in conjunction with domestic abuse support service ASSIST to help tackle and prevent gender-based violence through workshops at local secondary schools.

The start of a year tends to focus on getting fit, losing weight, trying new challenges. But for many of my constituents, the challenge is simply getting through each day.

However, I was heartened to hear that Scotland is faring better than the rest of the UK in tackling poverty in this cost of living crisis.

New research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) highlighted Scotland's 'much lower' child poverty rate of 24 per cent - compared to 31 per cent in England and Wales - and much of this was attributed to the SNP Government's Scottish Child Payment which provides low-income families with £25 each week for every child, rising to £26.70 from April.

Contact my team at 0141 776 1561 or email

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