A VERY Happy New Year to you all. It's great to be able to start the year off with some good news. I'm talking about people power bringing a new bus service to the North Kilbowie area after Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) stepped in to fill in the gap after the 144 bus was cancelled.

Hundreds of commuters were left stranded until SPT decided to take action after a 150-strong petition - backed by this newspaper - was handed in to bosses who have now stepped in to fill the gap.

This victory means that residents - particularly the elderly - can once again get around town with a reliable bus service. It just goes to show that it definitely pays to get together and make your voice heard, especially on a facility as vital as this.

However, it's not all good news this week. I was disappointed to learn that an excellent community arts project, CAOS, faces an uncertain future this year.

I was aware that they are struggling financially for some time and have offered advice and support to the group concerning applying for funding, such as Lottery grants, for example.

But it seems that unless a cash boost is assured, they could face closure by this April.

This would be a terrible shame as the group do fantastic community work with people of all ages throughout West Dunbartonshire.

Last year I was lucky enough to be able to attend their Christmas pantomime and it was a great night, enjoyed by the audience and performers alike. As Project Manager Hannah McLean says, arts projects aren't exactly flavour of the month in these difficult times, but I sincerely hope support can be found.

But let's end on another high note - I recently lodged a motion at Holyrood praising the work of pupils and staff at St Eunan's Primary School in Drumry, and Linnvale Primary School, for tackling the scourge of sectarianism.

The pupils - supported by their excellent teachers - launched a programme to raise awareness of the subject and organised discussions and projects designed to break down the barriers.

These young people fill me with optimism for the future of Scotland and I congratulate each and every one of them once again.

As always, if you need to contact me on any issue you may need advice or help with, phone 952 9677, or email gil.paterson.msp@scottish.parliament.uk. Or please drop in to any of my Friday surgeries.