Business calls on others to join them and paint the town rainbow in support of Proud Ness
An Inverness business is calling on other firms in the city to turn things rainbow in support of the upcoming gay pride event and demonstrate most people are not opposed to the march they actively support it.
Jo Barr, the marketing manager for Inverness based ecommerce site Saucy Boutique, was saddened to read in the press a church petition signed by 600 people existed to try block the event called Proud Ness.
Highland Council has now confirmed that Proud Ness will take place on 6 October 2018 despite an attempt by a member of the Free Church of Scotland to stop it on “biblical, religious and moral” grounds.
Mrs Barr is pleased the event has been allowed to go ahead after both Police Scotland and the Highland Council had no objections, but she wants to redress some of the sad and hateful things said by those in interviews opposing it, and for the world to know Inverness welcomes diversity.
She explains: “I love Inverness, so the idea anyone would be made to feel unwelcome simply because of their sexuality was offensive and unacceptable and the sort of stereotypes which were being shared were totally inappropriate."
Jo believes whilst the event has already received support from the actor Alan Cumming and two positive petitions, it is vital the city makes a public display , so tourists and others are not put off visiting or doing business in the area.
Now Jo is calling on businesses in Inverness to display a LGBT rainbow flag either in their shopfronts or elsewhere as a symbol they are in favour of Proud Ness and demonstrate those who signed the petition were in a very tiny minority.
She explains: "Obviously, doing the marketing for an adult retailer like Saucy Boutique, I am open minded, but this shouldn’t be an issue about how people think it is an issue about what is right and fair and proper and that’s a society where everyone is welcome and treated with equal respect regardless of race, age, gender, status, wealth or religion or sexuality.
“So, to show our support and respect for the LGBT community in general and Proud Ness in particular we will be turning the Saucy Boutique website rainbow for the week of 6 October and I would urge other business to join into by displaying the rainbow flag where they can.”
AI system focused on ‘rating not hating’ set to revolutionise student accommodation
Universities are being invited to trial a new quality accommodation assurance system which is set to make for happier students and landlords and save education establishments time, money and ultimately reputation.
The Student Accommodation Quality Service Assurance (SAQSA) is a web-based piece of technology created to improve the experience of both students and landlords and take the pressure of often stretched University accommodation departments.
The brainchild of tech expert Dr Ahmed Mussa, the idea came about because of his own poor experience of accommodation when he was studying 30 years ago and subsequently reading a report which showed it was still a massive issue today.
Dr Mussa who has a PhD in application of Artificial Intelligence and Automation said: “I studied at university between 1985 and 1990, and for much of the time the dwellings that I was forced to live in were far from ideal. In fact, at one time I ended up with pneumonia and was hospitalised for two weeks.
“At another time I returned from my summer holiday with my wife and two children to a flat with no floor. Unscheduled maintenance had been organised while I was away without any sort of notification and sadly these things still happen.”
The National Student Accommodation Survey (NSAS) quizzed over 2,000 students last year and discovered maintenance issues are rife. The survey found nearly 50% of housing issues encountered by students were unresolved within a week. Damp was the most commonly reported issue, boilers breaking down in winter and not being serviced, and even a broken front door remaining unresolved for several days.
Realising the extent of the problem and not content to just build a solution which just allowed students to simply ‘rate’ their landlords, good or bad, and nothing more, Ahmed has produced a piece of tech which will help guarantee the quality of student accommodation across the country.
Dr Mussa, whose firm in based in Birmingham said: “I wanted a system focussed on ‘rating not hating’, which involves all parties – student, landlord and university and where relevant provides reassurance for parents.
“Providing accommodation is a service, not a product, so what you get with SAQSA is not only a system that is smart, it is also wise. It takes into account both sides of a situation and helps them to reach a positive resolution.”
Whilst Dr. Mussa, is no stranger to popular ratings site such as Tripadvisor, which encourage reviews in the food and leisure sector his tech also incorporates the human element which he feels is vital as it stops anomalies such as London’s highly rated restaurant, which did not actually exist.
SAQSA has already been tested with more than 3,000 students completing standardised accommodation reviews. Following the successful first phase, Ahmed is now seeking three universities to sign up to use SAQSA and use it for the second beta stage, which he expects to last for up to six months prior to it going on general release. Each of the first three universities to sign up will be given free subscription for one year – an offer worth around £10,000 each.
SAQSA benefits universities by giving them happier students and parents better links to accommodation providers, both of which will help them to enhance their reputation in what is a highly competitive market place.
Students also benefit by being supported and knowing they can report problems easily with a platform available 24/7 leading to quicker responses as well as quality assurance with issues around private rental property or halls of residence.
SAQSA marketing manager and father-of three Abdel Mussa explains said: “When it comes to attracting and indeed retaining students, it won’t be a case of whetheruniversities need to have it, the situation will be that if they want to attract students they won’t be able to afford to not have it and parents will expect to see it.”
SAQSA based around the value of positive reinforcement with landlords. To address the latter point, SAQSA is designed to engage directly with landlords, opening a process to effectively coach landlords on how to deliver better conditions for their tenants.
Landlords have the opportunity to earn positive feedback via the system, obviously a key component of existing brands such as Amazon, eBay and Uber.
Ahmed said: “Harmony for universities and landlords, assurance for students and their parents and rate not hate – that is what we do in a nutshell.”
Universities wanting to sign up are asked to visit the SAQSA website.
Dad creates kids’ TV series to sow seeds for future generations
A first-time dad-to-be was so dismayed hearing friends complain about the children’s programmes they were forced to endure in the name of parenthood he wrote and made his own TV series.
Dom Williams, and his wife Jenny of Croydon, were expecting their first child, when he came up with the idea for Sunny Bank Allotments. It is an animated pre-school series which he wrote both as a gift to his unborn child and as an attempt to get away from the type of programmes his friends with children said they were fed up of watching.
Dom explains: “When you are expecting a first child you know people are going to warn you about the sleepless nights and the lack of time and how much life changes. But I noticed for a lot of parents one of the things that really drove them bonkers was their children’s television programmes – often with storylines that didn’t seem to promote strong family values or reflect the interests of the children I knew. Most children I know love nature, animals, the outdoors and are excited by the idea of grow your own. I was disappointed not to see any shows reflecting all these themes.
“You read all the same things online in parenting forums and there have even been polls run in national newspaper about the kids TV programmes parents hate the most –it’s a hot topic in the parenting world.”
With so many pre-school programmes on offer, Dom was disappointed to see much of what was available and while there was a variety of shows on offer, many followed the same formats and it wasn’t obvious how or if they were benefitting children’s development.
Dom started writing the storyline based around a little boy and girl who carried the names (Pippa and Barney) he and his wife had chosen for their baby before they knew what sex it would be. He worked with an illustrator to design the characters and settings, before going on to animate them and bring them to life with the help of actors who he auditioned and cast through his other business Williams Bulldog Management, a talent agency. The TV show was then made through his established production company Smart Dog Productions Ltd.
Dom, whose business is based in Beckenham, Kent said: “I hadn’t written anything like this before, but I was a very passionate parent-to-be and I wanted to produce something my child could enjoy in their early years and grow up to be proud of in later life.
“I also wanted something which was not too over the top and with voice and music which kids would enjoy, but which would not prove too grating on their parents. I like to think we have achieved all that.”
The programme takes its name from the road in Croydon where Dom and his family live, although he has subsequently found out there are actually at least three places called Sunny Bank Allotments in the UK.
The series consists of 12 x 11 minute episodes and 12 accompanying books. Details available at: www.Sunnybank.TVwhere the episodes can also be watched. They are also available watch They are also available to watch via the popular Kids Youtube Channel Wizz: https://www.youtube.com/c/wizz
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