Fife Centre for Equalities

Building a collective voice to champion equality, diversity, inclusion and social justice.

Equality News Update: Virgin Trains’ Matt Litton Honoured For Standing Up To Racism

Virgin Trains employee who intervened to stop the racist abuse of mum Sanaa Shahid and her four-year-old son has been honoured in a prestigious awards ceremony.

Matt Litton, 42, was commended in the Frontline Employee of the Year category at the Scottish Transport Awards, organised by Transport Times, where he was praised for “standing up to intolerance”.

His actions were praised by Sanaa, who said: “Matt’s actions restored my faith in humanity and gave my son and I immense comfort during a very difficult period.”

Matt, a Preston-based train manager, was working on a London to Glasgow service on December 29 when Sanaa and her son Zayn were subjected to racist abuse by fellow passenger Alexander MacKinnon.

Matt stepped in to prevent any further abuse from MacKinnon, ensuring he was taken from the train and arrested at Carlisle, and stayed with Sanaa and Zayn to offer comfort and reassurance.

Mackinnon later pleaded guilty to a Racially Aggravated Public Disorder offence and was fined more than £1000.

A career railway man, Matt was recruited as a trainee for British Rail in 1991 and has worked through in number of roles at Warrington, Wigan and Preston stations before taking on the job of Train Manager on Virgin Trains’ Anglo-Scottish route 15 years ago. He lives near Wigan with his wife and two children.


#EqNews #Racism #VirginTrains


Equality News Update: Help Musicians UK launches Jazz Promoters Fellowship

Help Musicians UK (HMUK) has launched the Jazz Promoters Fellowship, a new pilot programme aiming to increase gender equality in the world of jazz.

The pilot programme has been unveiled with internationally recognised jazz composer, educator and producer Issie Barratt.

This fully-funded HMUK Fellowship has been developed out of the need to create a gender balance within the jazz scene in the UK and provide a framework for best practice in training for promoters.

Issie has conducted research over the last four years showing that women are underrepresented in jazz, often excluded from performance opportunities, rarely booked as often as their male counterparts, and infrequently considered in development initiatives.

The fellowship will aim to equip the next generation of male and female promoters for a career in the industry by working closely with many of the UK’s best jazz promoters, venues and festival directors.


#EqNews #GenderEquality #Jazz


Equality News Update: Half of homeless in West Dunbartonshire are fleeing domestic abuse

Council figures revealed of the 880 properties let out over the 2016/17 period, a total of 417 homes – 47 per cent – went to applicants registered as homeless. And of those homeless applicants, 223 cases cited a “dispute within household: violent or abusive” as one of the reasons for becoming homeless.

The statistics cover all levels of abuse, not solely abuse stemming from a spouse or cohabiters.


The news comes as housing chiefs have pledged to continue tackling the homeless challenge in the area, among the plans include tackling poverty, inequality and providing services and assistance to fit the individual needs of homeless people.

If you or someone you know is affected by domestic abuse don’t hesitate to contact one of these organisations for support and advice;

#EqNews #DomesticAbuse #Homelessness


BREXIT Questionnaire

To coincide with our Brexit focus groups this week, we have launched a short online questionnaire so that we can get an insight into how Brexit is going to affect not only you but your friends, family etc. This is perfect for you if you are unable to attend one of our sessions this week!

We still have two sessions that you can pop in for this week:

Wednesday 21st June, 6:30-8:30pm

Parkgate Community Centre , Parkgate, Rosyth, KY11 2JW.

Thursday 22nd June 6pm-8pm

County Buildings , St Catherine Street, Cupar, KY15 4TA.


To book, or for more information, contact Pat by Email: Tel: 01592 645 310.

Brexit poster Social media posterFINAL

Police Scotland’s Message to Communities

Message from Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson

Following the incident of Monday 19 June 2017 in Finsbury Park, London, I assure you that Police Scotland remains united with all communities. Obviously this comes soon after the attacks in London and Manchester as well as other attacks abroad. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.


While we understand that the public will clearly be appalled by these events, I would urge each and every member of our communities to remain united against extremism and hate.


Police Scotland will not tolerate any attempts to target any community by any misguided individual or group and will work with all of our partners to resolve any issues and address concerns. Should anyone become a victim of, or witness to, hate crime, they should contact the police and report the incident.


Please be assured that Police Scotland continues to work with partners at home and abroad to counter the threat from terrorism and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our communities.


Please be vigilant and if you suspect something is wrong then report it to the police. If you have any concerns or information about suspicious activity please contact the Police on 101, the UK Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or in an emergency dial 999.


Police Scotland continues to dynamically review all safety and security plans and operations. An element of this includes ensuring our armed policing and specialist resources are appropriately deployed.


The UK threat level remains at Severe. We have no specific information that Scotland is at risk of attack and I would ask you to go about your business as normal, remaining alert but not alarmed. The UK Government has produced guidance which can be accessed via the following links: ‘Places of Worship Guidance’ ‘Crowded Places Booklet’. These provide sensible precautionary advice and can be distributed throughout your communities.

Thank you for your continued support in keeping our communities safe.

Nelson Telfer

Assistant Chief Constable

(Click here to down the original letter to communities by ACC Nelson Telfer).

We here at Fife Centre for Equalities would also like to make a statement about the horrific events Finsbury Park, London:


We are all deeply saddened by the attack that took place in Monday 19 June 2017 in Finsbury Park, London. We also want to promote a message of unity across all communities in the wake of these distressing events.  We support Police Scotland by asking you to remain calm and untied against extremism and hate.  If you need to speak to someone, please feel free to contact us at FCE.”

Equality News Update: Suicide epidemic must be tackled by new government

Mental health charity Samaritans is calling on the government to make suicide prevention a top priority and to deliver on election promises.

Throughout the election campaign, Samaritans appealed to voters to urge anyone standing for parliament to sign up to its campaign to make effective suicide prevention a priority in every part of the UK.

The charity will be following up with all the successful candidates who took part and holding them to that pledge.

Suicide is currently the biggest killer of men under 50 and of both men and women aged 20-34.

Samaritans chief executive Ruth Sutherland said: “Every week, Samaritans hears from thousands of people facing difficult life challenges, often coupled with dire economic circumstances. Suicide and inequality are inextricably linked. Disadvantage can aggravate difficult thoughts and feelings and make people more vulnerable to taking their own life.


#EqNews #MentalHealth


Equality News Update: Scottish Government promises new measures to tackle hate crime

The Scottish Government has laid out new measures to tackle hate crime in Scotland.

The commitments include the launch of a national campaign to raise awareness of what hate crime is and how to report it, a refresh of the bullying strategy in schools as well as more training for teachers on equality, and work with the STUC and others to collect evidence of hate crime in the workplace, particularly against frontline workers.

The Government will also work with transport providers and disabled people’s organisations to deliver a hate crime charter for public transport, to include steps such as consistent retention of CCTV footage to help police follow up on incidents.

The Scottish Government is already working with Police Scotland around data with a view to producing more detailed hate crime statistics.

The measures are a response to the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, which were published in September 2016.


#EqNews #HateCrime #PoliceScotland