Did You Know

Balfron Busses to be Upgraded

Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has received assurances from First Bus that busses based in Balfron are to be upgraded in coming months.

Around 8 First Bus vehicles are to be “substantially refreshed” – with around £6,000 per vehicle to be spent on average.

The refreshed busses will have a new two-tone appearance, some of which have already arrived and are in operation.

Bruce First Bus J HarveyMr Crawford met with James Harvey of First Bus last week to discuss the changes, following concerns that had been raised by members of the local community about vandalism and damage caused to a number of vehicles on the fleet.

Mr Harvey assured Mr Crawford that all vehicles operating Balfron routes had received a 100% MOT pass rate and were maintained to the same standard as busses operating in urban areas.

Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:

“Over a period of time, busses can begin to look tired and can sustain damage – it is clear that this has happened with a number of the fleet based in Balfron.

“I am pleased that First Bus has responded directly to the complaints raised with me, and I am confident from the discussion I had that this is a matter they take seriously.

“An average of £6,000 per bus on refreshing 8 vehicles is a considerable investment from the company, and will make a substantial difference.

“As much as I’d like to see a brand new fleet of busses for the Balfron area, I have to be realistic about what’s achievable. This investment in the current fleet will go some way in addressing the concerns that have been raised with me.

“I look forward to seeing more of the refreshed and two-toned branded busses in the area over the next few months.”

Did You Know

Mobile Tarriff News

48% of Kippen residents say their mobile tariff is not good value for money

A recent survey of Kippen on 4G coverage from Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has shown that there is widespread dissatisfaction about what local people are paying for in mobile phone tariffs when they are unable to connect to the most up-to-date mobile internet services.

Mr Crawford received hundreds of responses which also showed that 59% of local people are unable to connect to 4G in their own home, and 65% could not connect elsewhere in Kippen.

48% of people in Kippen said that their mobile phone tariff was not good value for money as a result of the inability to connect to these services.

Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:

“Firstly, I’m grateful to everyone who took time to fill out and return my survey on 4G in the area. The large number of responses that I received alone tells a story about how important this issue is.

“There are obvious challenges within rural communities in terms of mobile internet coverage – however, I do not think enough has been done to connect rural Stirling communities such as Kippen.

“The fact that 48% of local people here do not feel that their mobile phone tariff is good value for money because of an inability to connect to the most up to date services is a very serious matter and one that I will be raising with individual mobile network providers in coming weeks.

“4G access is an important way of modern life, both socially and economically and, as I pursue this issue, I hope to see better coverage of 4G across the whole rural Stirling area, including in Kippen.”



Notes to the Editor:


Photograph attached: Bruce Crawford MSP


Did You Know

A vintage Rice horsebox has been recently, and lovingly, converted into The Gin Thing “mobile gin experience” by Kippen residents Sue and Cliff Hewett.

Sue had the idea towards the end of 2017, and within days the couple had travelled to the borders to buy a rather well-worn horsebox of unknown antiquity and provenance…

Although the respray should really have come last, in fact it came first as they were impatient to see the vision taking shape (and the exterior photos came in handy for marketing even at this early stage!)

Next came a few months of work, in what turned out to be a very long, cold winter.  Indeed during the installation of the copper roof panels the box began to fill with snow from the open rear door! Cliff says he was very fortunate to have guidance and plenty of hard work from local resident Andy Gordon (“it was very handy to have the village handy-man, Andy, on hand to lend a hand.  Very handy.”)

Aiming for the highest standards, “Senior Management” (Sue) dictated that the wooden work surfaces weren’t going to be just any old work surface.  Rather, an overnight dash in thick snow to the wilds of Aberdeenshire to Cliff’s wood-working friend, Alan Smith, who supplied some raw oak boards.  Days of sanding and re-sanding followed, which Cliff says he is trying hard to forget.

Eventually, however, the worktops were installed, closely followed by full electrics and then gas for hot water and the brand new coffee machine – another capability of The Gin Thing!

With the help of Stirling STEP, a professional photo shoot took place in early May, closely followed by the launch party where a certain member of The Wee Vine’s editorial team became The Gin Thing’s very first customer!

The Gin Thing is available for hire at weddings, parties and events, and further details can be found at:

Let The Gin Thing begin.

Did You Know

Campaign to Reduce Speed Limit in Kippen Moves Forward

SNP MSP for the Stirling Constituency Bruce Crawford and the Stirling Council Environment Convener Cllr Jim Thomson have met with Helen Wilson of Kippen Community Council and Polly Douglas of Kippen Primary Parent Council, to discuss the local campaign for speed limits throughout the village to be reduced to 20mph.

Mr Crawford then met with Kippen Primary P7s, who have been running their own campaign for speed limit reduction, with their teacher Mrs Stone.

Councillor Thomson confirmed that the SNP Group on Stirling Council supports 20mph zones in communities where there is a want and a need for it and highlighted that there is £40,000 available in this year’s local Budget to invest in ground work for reducing speed limits in residential areas.

Pending the expressed support from local groups such as the Community Council, Parent Council and the Toddler’s Group, the Council will take into consideration what work can be carried out to reduce speed limits in the village under the current Budget.

Stirling Council have carried out a survey on traffic in the village, following a letter from Mr Crawford, calling for the local authority to look into introducing 20mph throughout Kippen.

The findings of the survey are:

By far the majority of traffic comes from cars, whose behaviour would be most affected by a change in speed limit.

The average speed of traffic is above the 30mph speed limit.

There’s a peak in traffic on a Saturday – indicating that the 20mph during start and finish times at school just isn’t going far enough.

Commenting, Bruce Crawford MSP said:

“I fully support the efforts of the local community, including the Community Council, the Parent Council and the superb work that Primary 7 at Kippen Primary have been doing with Mrs Stone to campaign on this issue.

“I am pleased that the SNP Partnership Administration on Stirling Council has committed funding to delivering 20mph zones, and it is clear that there is a desire within the local community to have this implemented throughout Kippen.

“The meetings I had with various local goups were very positive and I look forward to supporting the Kippen community throughout the next stages of this campaign.

“I must make special mention of the Kippen Primary P7s, who have shown incredible determination and have run a fantastic campaign themselves. Raising awareness of this issue has got the local community to this point and, as they prepare themselves to leave Primary School to begin High School after the summer, they should be very proud of all they have achieved.”


Did You Know


Could you spare a couple of hours a week as a volunteer befriender?


We are looking for volunteer befrienders to build relationships with people living with the early stages of dementia in the Stirlingshire area. We match befrienders with people who have similar interests so they can be encouraged to pursue loved hobbies or supported so they can build the confidence they need to take up new hobbies. This might be visiting a garden centre, having a walk or even just having a coffee and chat in the person’s home for two hours per week (full training, ongoing support and expenses paid).

If you are interested, please contact Gisele at Town Break on (01786) 476797 or by email gisele@townbreakstirling.org.

Town Break is a Registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation  SCO20526

Did You Know

Capping the price on energy bills

In Westminster, I am a member of the cross- party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee. Consumers’ energy bills are one of the most important issues we are dealing with, which is why   this new legislation, which will introduce an energy price cap for domestic energy supplies, is so important. The committee reported last month that it was overwhelmingly in support of this policy. The Bill will require the regulator (OfGEM) to introduce a price cap for all customers, which would run until 2020, with provision to be extended if needed. There are already caps in place for those customers on pre-payment meters and for certain vulnerable groups, this would now introduce a cap on the price any customer would pay if they were on a variable or default tariff.  There will be opportunities for Green Energy tariffs to be exempted from the cap to ensure they can be made available. Although switching suppliers is encouraged, a recent report stated that only 18% of customers do so on a regular basis and that many customers remain with the ‘Big 6’ energy companies, despite there now being over sixty suppliers operating. We must make it far easier to switch between suppliers. This is an important opportunity to stop many customers from paying a lot more than they need to and ensure we have a consumer led marketplace. I will continue to support this legislation as it progresses through Parliament.

John Bennett

Communications Officer for Stephen Kerr MP

Did You Know

New initiative for people affected by stroke gets underway

Active Stirling and the Stroke Association are delighted to announce a new partnership that seeks to improve physical fitness and wellbeing of stroke survivors in the Forth Valley area.   

Andrea Cail Director Scotland of the Stroke Association said: 

“Stroke is a sudden and devastating condition.  It can affect peoples’ mobility, their speech and emotions and is a leading cause of disability.  This means that many stroke survivors rely on others for help with everyday activities. 

“We are delighted to be working with Active Stirling on a programme which has the potential to change the lives of those who take part.” 

The service, based at Stirling Sports Village will consist of a programme of physical activity and information sessions for people who have had stroke and their family and friends.  This aims to reduce their risk of a second stroke and develop a peer support network. The programme is the only one of its kind currently in Scotland and will consist of tailor-made exercise programmes. 

Matt Bunnell, Director of Delivery at Active Stirling, “On behalf of Stirling Council, we at Active Stirling are thrilled to have developed this unique and ambitious programme in partnership with The Stroke Association. This will widen our portfolio of person centered support programmes complementing the successful Active Living For Life exercise referral scheme. Strokes are now one of the most prevalent health risks across the globe and we are determined to ensure that people affected by stroke get the best support and care they need to lead happy and fulfilled lives.” 

Friederike Klinghammer, the programmes Co-ordinator believes the Moving Forward After Stroke programme is a great opportunity for people who had a stroke to enhance their recovery process. 

“My colleague Dawn and I are looking forward to working on the programme, supporting stroke survivors on their journey towards the recovery of lost functions and independence. We want to help them to feel better through the adoption of a healthier lifestyle, which will result in a better quality of life and also reduce the risk of a second stroke.” 

The ‘Moving Forward after Stroke’ service will be open to stroke survivors at any stage of their stroke journey and the information sessions that are included are open to carers and/or family members who may be interested. In order to join the programme, people are advised to contact their local health professional or for more information please email: Friederike.Klinghammer@stroke.org.uk  or call: 07799 436030 

woman on bike