Safe Space

Galloway Oct 11 116

Just over a year ago I attended the launch of a creative writing competition, in my home town, hosted by no less a luminary than Iain Banks (‘The Crow Road’, and ‘Whit’ to name but my favourites, and also of lots of Sci Fi, writing as Iain M Banks).

I didn’t really know what the event was about but it turned out that Iain Banks was a patron of an organisation that provides counselling support to young  survivors of sexual abuse. At that time I was working in a fostering organisation, and daily handling referrals on children who had been sexually abused and were as a result completely mixed up. So I decided to enter the competition and get some sponsorship.

All my working life I’ve had dealings with people who have been through this particular kind of hell. It takes a lot of courage to face up to those demons and try to re-make your life. Safe Space offers young people skilled support and, perhaps, love, to help them do just that.

Anyway, I won the competition with my ‘Tales of the Auld Grey Toun’ and there was an award ceremony tonight at East End Park. That was very nice for me. However Safe Space has also held a class in which a number of women have put down their experiences in writing, and a number of them read out their work tonight. To call it moving would be an understatement and I applaud them all. And also Safe Space for carrying on the work.

Soon after that launch event, Iain Banks was diagnosed with a virulent strain of cancer, and died earlier this year. He is a great loss to the literary world and also, I understand, to Safe Space. Mac Logan, hosting tonight’s event, paid tribute to Iain Banks and his commitment to doing the right thing.

So that’s my takeaway message, friends: Let’s do the right thing. Amen.