Good neighbour wants less red tape to allow it to do more for the community

Good neighbour club East Renfrewshire Good Causes (ERGC) is calling for common sense to prevail in the interests of everyone in the community.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 2:42 pm
East Renfrewshire Good Causes founder Russell Macmillan
East Renfrewshire Good Causes founder Russell Macmillan

The club was set up by registered blind man Russell Macmillan from Newton Mearns, after his life-saving double pancreas/kidney transplant cured his type 1 diabetes and kidney failure.

Since in 2007 it has given out over £1.2m in goods and services, helping over 3,000 people.

Russell said: "In following my personal Christian faith, it was the least I could do to honour the memory of the sadly deceased organ donor, and thank God for my second gift of life.

"I hope the donor is in heaven looking down approvingly on the incredible work being done by the two organs living on inside me"

Despite its success ERGC has struggled with one bureaucratic hurdle after another.

Since winning £121,000 in the tv game show "Holding Out for a Hero" in 2011, the club has never dipped below having £100,000 in bank and now has over £200,000 in funding, it is struggling to spend.

Russell provided examples of these struggles – in November the club wished to provide Argos vouchers to low income families and in January tried to give out ‘household’ packs, but on each occasion East Renfrewshire Council said it couldn’t provide the details for the end destination.

Russell said: "It's not that we haven't done amazing things, but we could do so much more, especially with poverty made so much worse by the dreadful Covid outbreak.

"We have an army of dedicated workers from teachers, health, housing and social workers to name just a few, who have a wealth of knowledge about items that the state can't provide.

"Those items we would like to pay for to show our neighbours we care, but they are being barred from referring directly to us on their clients behalf."Russell is asking First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, to intervene and eliminate some of the red tape.He said: “If we let the state do its best with limited resources, then the community tops up state provision, we end up with a more caring and cohesive community, that is clearly in everyone's best interests.

"Please let our community put more resources into the hands of our beloved, highly skilled and dedicated frontline workers."