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All posts by Bob Jefferson

Maureen Child Update 13 October 2016

Dear All

The 8th Portobello Book Festival was a great success once more, thanks to everyone involved in making it happen!  Photos here by local photographer John Davey:  Blog here:

More here about Portobello Book Festival fun at the local schools :   Inspiring!

Brunstane Primary School’s Open Day for parents/carers of P1 children starting in August 2017 is on Wednesday 2 November 9.30am-10.30am or 1.45pm-2.45pm.  More here:.

Brighton Nursery is celebrating and amazing 25 years in Portobello.  It first opened on West Brighton Crescent and then built anew at Bellfield Lane.  More here:

One of our Portobello/Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership’s ‘You Decide’ grants is supporting a Poetry Competition this year, a fantastic new initiative by local resident Rose Ritchie and fellow poets. As part of Book Week Scotland, Rose is asking you to submit your poem about the place you live, so do get writing! All entrants will be invited to a prize-giving event at the World Community Arts Day next year.  Much more here:  National Poetry Day at Craigmillar Library featured Agnes Torok which was a huge success.  More about Neighbourhood Partnership (including our local one) here:

If you thing is less poetry than prose, Craigmillar Library is running a free five week prose writing course for up to 12 people aimed at beginning and intermediate writers starting 19 October. More here:

The friends we make through our children often prove to be friends for life and making these contacts through our kids can sometimes be easier for Mums than for Dads. The charity Dad’s Rock was set up to help Dads to build those strong links with their kids, and with each other.  All the nurseries and children’s centres in the Craigmillar area are now aware of the possibilities of partnership working, now that Dad’s Rock have started a new under-5s playgroup on Saturday mornings in The Venchie.  I visited there a couple of Saturdays ago, met some young Dads and realised what a benefit it might prove for more local Dads and their under-5 children. More here:

The Venchie is holding a Halloween event again this year.  More here:

And Newhailes House is going all seasonally spooky too! See here:

The longed-for provision of a bus shelter outside the side door to Jenners on South St David Street is fraught with technical problems. This stop serves home-bound No 26 and No 44 Lothian Buses services, which moved stops to around the corner and avoids the bottleneck at the east end of Princes Street.  The head of public transport in a recent update says it is not written off yet. He says that the Council’s bus shelter provider, JC Decaux, are progressing a foundation design that can work with the underlying cellar.  The success of this solution depends on moving a high voltage cable out of the way.  We are hoping for an update on this next week.

Pupils from Castlebrae Community High School were awarded first prize for the Merchant Company Initiative Prize. S4 pupils Paul Morris, Peter Wood, Robert Souter, Callum Jordan and Ryan Johnstone, aged 14-15 years, designed and built a wood-fired pizza oven at their school working with teacher, James Donald. The pizza oven was made from recycled materials. Money is to be raised by donation from those who have enjoyed pizza and will go to Macmillan Cancer Support and The Maggie’s Centre at the Western General Hospital in commemoration of Stewart Allen, a much loved teacher at the school who recently died of cancer. More here:

The Thistle Foundation are holding Tai Chi and Relaxation classes in their new Centre for Wellbeing twice every week. The classes are available between 12.30 and 1.30pm on Monday and Wednesday and are free of charge to Thistle Gym members.  Membership costs £25 for a year and you can join in person at the Thistle Centre of Wellbeing. More here:

If you live in Craigmillar and have a child under the age of four, the fabulous Craigmillar Books for Babies is running another weekly ‘Raising Children with Confidence’ course, on Thursdays starting 27 October to 8 December 1pm-3pm in Moffat Early Years Centre.  Contact Kara or Michelle on 0131 661 2621. More here:

Jim Mckenzie – Portobello resident and husband of the photographer Rosita McKenzie – is caught on camera at the centre of this great piece of work which has won a prestigious CoSLA Excellence Award last week.  Well deserved!  Rosita McKenzie’s new exhibition is starting soon called Bridging The Gap at Stockbridge Library, 11 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh  EH3 5BA  1-29 November, open normal library hours  Artists’ talk is on Monday, 7 November at 6 pm.  Bridging the Gap is a photographic exhibition  that celebrates Edinburgh’s extensive bridge network and how even a lowly foot-bridge is integral to everyday life in Scotland’s capital city.

Save the date for a new exhibition opening at The Velvet Easel Gallery, Portobello from Saturday 5 November 10am – 5pm.

A disabled parking bay has now been marked out on Sandford Gardens opposite the St John’s Parish House which will greatly assist parishioners who have mobility difficulties.  Of course, only someone with a blue badge is entitled to park there, but the space might also be helpful for someone attending weddings and other events surrounding the Portobello Market in Brighton Park.

If you have questions about cancer, there is MacMillan Cancer Support’s new drop in service, open from 11am – 3pm Mondays and Thursdays at Craigmillar Library.  More here:—Edinburgh-Libraries—Craigmillar-Library?proximity=43.49%20miles%20from%20you

Portobello resident, Rosie Nimmo is having an art exhibition is on at The Tide coffee shop, foot of King’s Road, Portobello.  There are some images on Rosie’s website art page:

You would be welcome at a Question Time event being organised by the City of Edinburgh Council as part of wider engagement about changes to Council services.  This year’s in the City Chambers on Thursday, 10 November (7.15pm–8.30pm). Over 7 weeks, people can play their part by giving their views through various channels including an online survey and dialogue page where residents can speak to other people in their own local area.  The engagement period ends on Friday, 18 November.  Residents who are unable to attend can watch via the Council’s webcasting service. Last year’s event was well attended with an additional 237 tuning in live via the  webcast and was subsequently watched by 3,759 people via the archive. To register for this year’s event, go to; Social media –  use the #playyourpart ;Email – Survey and dialogue page online –; Phone – 0131 200 2305 (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 3.40pm Friday); Write – Freepost, RSJC-SLXC-YTJY, Budget, Council Leader, City Chambers, High Street Edinburgh EH1 1YJ  More here:

If you still want to comment on the Planning Permission in Principle (PPP) application for ‘New Brunstane’ as an individual you have until 21 October, the time for comments having been extended by a month.  You might have had some input direct to the applicant, EDI Ltd and their agents over the last year or so, but it is important you also feed in what you think of any aspect of the PPP application, as submitted, to the Council’s Head of Planning.  Portobello Community Council (PCC) meets on Monday 31 October and will have the results of its own public consultation on their agenda.  The PCC have an extension of time until the following day (1 November) to put in their comments to the planning officer. The reference for the search engine is 16/04122/PPP if you go to the Council website section on ‘to comment on planning applications’. Or you can simply click this link here: 

Last, but by no means least, Portobello High School pupils are now on their October holiday but all of them will have seen round the totally wonderful new school and new sports hub which they will be returning to after the break. The school will be starting back a couple of days later than other schools – on Thursday 26 October. So very, very exciting!

That’s all for now

Best wishes



Councillor Maureen Child | Labour Elected Member | Portobello/Craigmillar (Ward 17) | City of Edinburgh Council | City Chambers | High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1YJ | Tel 0131 529 3268 | Mobile 07718 666 481| Twitter @MaureenChild1

p.s. My face-to-face Councillor Advice Sessions, or ‘Surgeries’, are usually every Monday at 5.30 pm in Castleview Community Centre, 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue (Phone 661 4064) and then at 7 pm in Portobello Library, 14 Rosefield Avenue (Phone 529 5558).  Now also at Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, EH16 4DT, 1st Wednesday of the month, drop-in session 5pm-5.30pm, thereafter by appointment only up until 7.30pm. Please phone me on Direct Line 0131 529 3268 or Mobile 07718 666 481, or email to check availability, make an appointment or request a home visit.

Maureen Child Update 06 October 2016

Dear All

The Jack Kane Community Centre are hosting a workshop on reducing food waste this Monday, 10 October from 11am to 1pm.  Each participant will take home with them a ‘Kitchen Canny’ kit which has tools and equipment to help us reduce the amount of food and money wasted in our homes if we throw food away.  Please do pass this information on to anyone who may be interested.  If you would like to join in, please do contact the Garden Globe Project’s development worker Elly, either by email: or phone 0131 657 1595.

The inaugural meeting of the new Portobello Community Council (PCC) is on Monday 10 October at 7.30pm in Portobello Baptist Church Hall where the new Members will elect office bearers to carry the PCC on to its next meeting, at least. The following meeting will have a full agenda to discuss, that is Monday 31 October, same time and place.  I understand that the PCC agenda for 31 October will include consideration of the ‘New Brunstane’ planning application, following the public consultation PCC undertook.  The period for comments on this major Green Belt application was extended a month to 21 October, but the planning officer has given PCC (as a statutory consultee on local planning matters) a further extension of the time for putting their own comments until 1 November, given the timescales.

The Council last week agreed a consultation on the future shape of the services in the city, all of which underpin everyone’s daily lives. Please do take part! Details be found here: There is also a link there to a consultation on shaping the new long-term City Vision, which our Portobello High School youngsters helped launch. All positive contributions welcome!

Craigmillar Castle featured in the New York Times recently as a highly recommended place to visit – in preference to Edinburgh Castle if you have only 36 hours to spare in the City.  See here, if you don’t believe me!  Thanks to my colleague Councillor Gordon Munro for giving me the heads up on that one!  It’s now all over social media as a result.

The Thistle Foundation’s first foray into Doors Open Day on Saturday 24 September was a great success with over 200 visitors on the one day. Now the Thistle Foundation Centre for Health and Wellbeing has been shortlisted for this year’s FX Magazine International Interior Design Awards. The landmark project will be competing in the ‘Public Sector’ category against other projects from across the UK and beyond. The purpose-built Craigmillar facility replaced the former Tudsbery Centre and offers the local community a central Hub to come and discuss their health and wellbeing with the Foundation’s staff or experience a breadth of leisure activities including making use of a specially designed gym. The first floor of the building primarily comprises open plan office space and also features a self-contained living space, which offers overnight accommodation for support workers who are on call, out of hours. Well done Thistle and fingers crossed for a win in London in November!

Community organisations fighting inequality and promoting social inclusion can now bid for awards of up to £5000. The £333,000 available is being administered by SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) on behalf of the Scottish Government. The fund closes on the 31 October. More details here;

If you would like to share your event or story with the community news online Chronicle, please do contact them by email or use the form on the Chronicle website here:

There is plenty of positive local news from the fantastic Castlebrae Community High School including progress on the skiff they are building, thanks to a fruitful partnership with the rowing club in Portobello. I also heard today that their S4 won first place in the Merchant Company Prize for Initiative – just to add to that long list successes for the school!

By all accounts this road safety event was a great learning experience for senior pupils in our schools which will help keep them safe at a time when they are setting out to learn to drive. Statistically it is their young lives which are affected by accidents on our roads, as they are their most inexperienced as drivers.  More here:

Following a few requests, community enterprise Bridgend Inspiring Growth (BIG) have a produced a summary of their programme of activities for the next few months. This includes the weekly drop-in sessions and activities happening at the farmhouse, as well as other activities in the surrounding areas. This is below, so please do share! Bridgend will be having an open ‘bring and share’ type celebration event in the evening after their drop-in on 6 November. More here

I thought you might be interested in a local history link about Portobello sea swimmer Ned Barnie:

Another date for your diary: Apple Day in Portobello Community Orchard on Saturday 29 October. See here:

See all those wildflower areas in our parks and gardens – they are doing good work!  More here:

Edinburgh Leisure offer lots of activities for older people.  See brochure here:

Ageing Well Edinburgh has had over 10 successful years of making a significant difference in the lives of those over 50’s who regularly attend the activities. For further details on taking part section or telephone the Ageing Well team on 0131 458 2183 or email: All the activities are here: More on the background here:

“The simplest of moments – a word of inquiry, a knock on the door to check up on an older person, a quick chat in the street, an offer not to go for the messages but to go with them for their messages can be life giving; for us all.” – sound advice from Cyrenians: Click here:  Vintage Vibes is a partnership aimed at tackling isolation and loneliness among over-60s. They offer a number of options for VIPs (over 60s), including friendships based on one to one visiting in and outside the home, as well as friendship pools and family visiting. Vintage Vibes offer companionship, reliable support and the chance to be more connected with other people. They have a waiting list of VIPs who do need some support and it would be really great to be able match them with a local volunteer. During October, Vintage Vibes are actively looking for volunteers, particularly in Craigmillar. They are keen to speak to local groups of people and will hold a Volunteer Information evening at The White House Centre on Thursday 3 November. More here:

There is good reason for the city’s Transformation Programme which is causing such disruption to our current staff and services.  This is not just transforming the Council, alone, but all of us marshalling all the city’s resources to better effect, improving lives in the process. This is the kind of thing we should be able to tackle in future much more effectively by working together in future:

Following a consultation on new strategic priorities for Police Scotland, the government has identified localism as one of seven key priorities. They now acknowledge (at last) that the force should: “ensure that the needs of local communities are understood and reflected in the planning and delivery of policing at a local and national level.” The other six themes cover inclusion, prevention, responsiveness, collaborative working, accountability and adaptability, which recognises the need to tackle new and emerging threats to the public such as cybercrime.

The Portobello Heritage Trust annual lecture this year is entitled St Kilda: the Last and Outmost Isle. Angela Gannon, joint author of the book of this title, will give this lecture at 7.30pm on Monday, 21st November in St. Mark’s Church. Angela is an Archaeological Field Investigator and Project Manager with Historic Environment Scotland. The book this lecture is based on is a wonderful production and contains photographs previously unpublished. St Kilda is one of only 24 global locations to hold World Heritage Status for both its natural and cultural significance. It is also home to Europe’s most important seabird colony. As always all are welcome, so please bring a friend or anyone you think would appreciate what promises to be a fascinating talk.

People with dementia get by with a little help from their friends.  Anybody can become a Scottish Dementia Friend. It’s just about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition. This could be helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a till queue if someone with dementia is taking longer to pay. Every action counts! More here:

It’s Portobello Book Festival this weekend and I will see some of you – hopefully – at the opening event in Portobello Library or at some of the other talks throughout the weekend.  Some events might already be fully for Portobello Book Festival next week, so get your tickets from Portobello Library as soon as possible or take your slim chances at the door on the day. More detail here:

And if you love books and writers, here’s another programme of Scottish Book Trust Events to look forward to –

Have a great weekend!

Best wishes



Councillor Maureen Child | Labour Elected Member | Portobello/Craigmillar (Ward 17) | City of Edinburgh Council | City Chambers | High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1YJ | Tel 0131 529 3268 | Mobile 07718 666 481| Twitter @MaureenChild1

Maureen Child Update 29 September 2016

Dear All

It’s just 10 days to go until the new Portobello High School gets handed over to prepare for the school community to come back to after their October break.  Two young people from Porty High, Pippa Watson and Alexander Fraser, did us all proud in presenting their vision for the future of their city.  Read all about it here in the Evening News piece about the event:

And this is what our young people were helping to launch – ‘2050 Edinburgh City Vision’  Now it’s your turn to have your say, and help all our youngsters – especially – to do the same, right across the City.  We want to encompass the diverse needs of the city, ensuring it continues to thrive as a great place to live, work and visit over the next 30 years. A city-wide engagement campaign will run until December, inviting all other interested parties to share their vision for the future and unlock creative potential for collaboration across all sectors. A draft document will be produced based on the responses received before being refined, agreed and published next summer. Anyone who lives, works or studies in the city can join the conversation by answering the following three questions at the Edinburgh 2050 webpage and on social media (@edinburgh) using #Edinburgh2050.

  • What’s great about Edinburgh?
  • What could be better?
  • What would you like Edinburgh to be like in 2050?

A reminder that tomorrow Friday 30 September from 10.30am to 1.30pm is Home Instead’s Macmillan Coffee Morning, with focus on addressing social isolation amongst older people in Edinburgh.  All taking place in their lovely refurbished offices at Castlebrae Business Centre, Peffer Place, Edinburgh, EH16 4BB. Treat it as another Doors Open Day! Just come along, or register here: If you can’t attend we would all still love to have your views on how to address social isolation amongst older people in Edinburgh.  Just complete the attached and email it back to Andrew Senew at  Home Instead will collate everyone’s ideas and share them along with some suggestions for what next.

As Returning Officer for the Portobello Community Council Elections, I am delighted that 12 people – 7 new members and 5 more established members – have been nominated to serve on Portobello Community Council for the next 3 years. Thanks to them, and those who nominated those great people.  I look forward to working with them all.   Five local groups have registered to be a part of it too, including three parent Councils. No poll is required, but they are all duly elected and I am convening their first meeting will be on 10 October at 7.30pm in Portobello Baptist Church Hall to elect the office bearers.

Sadly, Craigmillar Community Council has folded – this time around – as only 5 people were nominated and they needed a minimum of 8.  Other Community Councils have been through similar dips and come back again with renewed enthusiasm, as will others.  And I am sure Craigmillar will be no exception!  More on how and why here:

Two church communities in Craigmillar, Links and Bristo Churches, have co-operated in opening a foodbank. It will be open in Bristo Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-3pm and Saturdays 11-2pm. This is a fantastic way to serve the community and they are looking for volunteers to help. Contact is Freddi Wilson, Links Team Leader, 165/6 Craigmillar Castle Avenue, Craigmillar, Edinburgh, EH16 4DR. Mobile: 07772884899

Portobello Market is on Saturday 1st October. Gates open at 9.30am in Brighton Park, just off Brighton Place, and the market runs until 1.30pm. Lots of our traders who missed the September market are back this coming month, plus a couple of newcomers, and you can see a full list on the website  BG Cycles can’t be there on Saturday, but the Caleerie Buskers are back to provide a little entertainment with a selection of traditional tunes and reels to enjoy whilst shopping.

Some events might already be fully for Portobello Book Festival next week, so get your tickets from Portobello Library as soon as possible or take your slim chances at the door on the day. More detail here:

National Poetry Day is next Tuesday 4 October and I can thoroughly recommend you discover this young poet Agnes Török who is performing at Craigmillar Library.  Craigmillar Library is also a great place for young people of all ages.  More here:

There are some great events at the nearby National Trust’s Newhailes House.  More here:

If you don’t feel too confident about cycling, you might fancy going out as part of a friendly group and build up your confidence  Local cycling club Portovelo is doing some additional leisure rides in October to make it easier for newcomers to try out their rides. As well as the normal combined fitness and leisure ride on the first Sunday of the month – happening this Sunday (2 October) – they’re doing something similar also on the 9th and 23rd October. On each day, the two groups will start together at a moderate pace before separating. Leisure rides usually last about 3 hours, plus cafe stop, and distance is around 35-45 miles.  More here:

Great coverage of our community bid to be allowed buy Bellfield Church and Halls in the Evening News:  On behalf of the campaign and bid, Mary Campbell and Kyrsta MacDonald-Scott presented Save Belfield at the Communities and Neighbourhoods (C&N) Committee in the Council Chambers this week. Mary and Kyrsta did a great job of raising the profile of what can be done in an active community – especially now, with the powers we have gained through the Community Empowerment Act. The sale of the Church on the open market has been halted, while the community prepare their business plan and bid.  And please do the quick community survey for them if you haven’t done so already:

Our Council C&N Committee also had a fantastic presentation this week from the Men’s Shed movement, with one coming together in Leith Walk.  And we know of a couple of Men’s Shed initiatives in Craigmillar and maybe one in Corstorphine?  More about them here:  Lots of food for thought!

Dads are hugely important in young people’s lives and it is not always easy for them to get involved and stay involved.  That’s why ‘The Year of the Dad’ was started and why we have Dad’s Rock setting up playgroups – I visited the new one in The Venchie in Craigmillar last Saturday.  I talked about the Year of the Dad and put a link in a previous Update and Trevor MacDonald got back to me to say that had inspired the speech he was to make at his daughter’s wedding.  He shared his own story on the Year of the Dad website and said I could give you the link here, which I recommend you all read:  and here’s some more thoughts on the importance of Dads (young and old Dads, of course!) in early years of children’s development:

That’s all for now.  Maybe see you at that Macmillan Coffee Morning?!  There shall be cake this weekend.  Have a good one, whatever you do!

Best wishes



Councillor Maureen Child | Labour Elected Member | Portobello/Craigmillar (Ward 17) | City of Edinburgh Council | City Chambers | High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1YJ | Tel 0131 529 3268 | Mobile 07718 666 481| Twitter @MaureenChild1

p.s. My face-to-face Councillor Advice Sessions, or ‘Surgeries’, are usually every Monday at 5.30 pm in Castleview Community Centre, 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue (Phone 661 4064) and then at 7 pm in Portobello Library, 14 Rosefield Avenue (Phone 529 5558).  Now also at Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, EH16 4DT, 1st Wednesday of the month, drop-in session 5pm-5.30pm, thereafter by appointment only up until 7.30pm. Please phone me on Direct Line 0131 529 3268 or Mobile 07718 666 481, or email to check availability, make an appointment or request a home visit.

Maureen Child Update 22 September 2016

Dear All

The deadline is fast approaching for local people taking part in this year’s Community Council Elections across Edinburgh, including Craigmillar and Portobello CCs, with nominations closing in a few days. The nomination period runs until 4pm next Monday, 26 September. Returning Officers for each CC need to receive the nomination forms by then. That’s me for Portobello CC and Councillor David Walker for Craigmillar CC. Elections –  if there are more nominations than places to be filled – will take place on Thursday 27 October. Residents can apply as an individual or as a representative of a constituted local interest group, such as a Parent Council, Friends of Parks, sports club or whatever. Both kinds of nomination forms are available on the website or I can send you an electronic copy or get one in Portobello Library  – if you are really quick! You can find information on each individual community council, including maps, on here:

Another deadline – for comments/objections to the so-called ‘New Brunstane’ application – has been extended by another month form the end of September to the end of October.  More here:

An event coming up in Tribe Porty –a  free event, where intrepid cyclists will talk about their adventures with bees, trees, bikes and beer!  What’s not to like? Book here:

World Day of Peace is held on 21st September every year and this year Portobello/Craigmillar schools topped off some great work they have been doing with link schools in Tanzania. The Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh met a group of over 250 P6 and P7 pupils from our local schools as part of the Twende Pamoja project. All our local feeder primaries across our part of Edinburgh, with Holyrood and Portobello High Schools worked on this with their school friends in Tanzania.  After an event at Lauriston Hall – which I was delighted to be invited to – they all walked together through the Meadows to Holyrood. The Presiding Officer was presented with their ‘Global Vision for Peace Statement’ which the pupils have developed with children and young people in Tanzania. Find out more about the project:

As the nights draw in Edinburgh Living Landscape is asking people to share their images of seasonal change for a new photography competition: Autumn Changes Edinburgh is open to any photograph of nature taken in the city this autumn. Entries are open until Monday 31 October.

What next for Bellfield Church and Halls?  The Government recently accepted our Community Right to Buy application and has requested that the Church of Scotland put the sale of Bellfield Old Parish Church buildings and grounds on hold until Scottish Government Ministers decide whether to give the community the chance to raise the funds to pay the full market value. In the mean time, we want to find out what the community think the potential uses of the building could be. Please do fill in this short survey telling us what you think it could be used for!  Save Bellfield are hosting an open day during which we will be inviting everyone to drop in, look at the options we have collated from the community of how the space could best be used and also give us some welcome feedback! What would a community owned and managed Bellfield look like? What kind of activities and services could/ should it offer? What do YOU think about the project? What could a community owned Bellfield achieve? Pop in to the Open Day Drop-In Event in Portobello Library on Saturday 24 September 10.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30pm to 3.30pm to let us know and find out more about the campaign. Have a biscuit, tea, chat, become a member, children of all ages 0-110 welcome!

Read the story of the true grit and real determination of young Greta McMillan to find her voice and play her full part in her family and Portobello community – and how you can help her fulfil her full potential. More here:

The amazing Ramp House barrier-free home Greta’s parents designed and built for the family is one of the Doors Open this weekend.  The whole brochure is here:  Other local door open include The arts and crafts Robin Chapel and the fabulous new Centre of Wellbeing at the Thistle and Portobello Baptist Church – our Portobello’s first Town Hall.

The Health Opportunities Team (HOT) are raising money for their Feel Good Groups, which encourage and support young people (aged 13-18) to improve their emotional, sexual and physical health, and to try new fitness activities and health foods. HOT currently run three groups within the Craigmillar/Portobello and Liberton/Gilmerton areas for both young men and young women. The groups consist of three parts: physical activity, group work on a range of health topics and sharing a healthy snack together. These sessions are planned in partnership with young people so they can raise topics they would like to know more about. A team of workers and young people from HOT will be completing the 5km Big Fun Run in Edinburgh on 9 October 2016. They are fundraising so that we can arrange fun activities and provide healthy food for young people, as well as pay skilled staff to deliver group sessions. Please sponsor them:

It was great to meet former art teacher at Portobello High School, Helen G S Forde (Mrs Helen Brady as was) on Wednesday, when we shared some of the history of how the school hall mural came about and shared our hopes to find it a new home and save former pupils’ Art Interest class course work for posterity. Head teacher Ruth McKay, Helen and I have appealed for a new home for the colourful wood panelled 40ft mural which has hung in the school’s main hall for over 20 years – for as long as I can remember! – and depicts the history of art. It’s lovely – but BIG!  There was front page splash in Thursday’s Evening News, which could help.   News reporter James Delaney told me he was himself a pupil at the school four years ago!  More also in the Edinburgh Reporter here:

There are other Porty High School artefacts that might be saved for a good home, besides the mural.   The WARP site I wrote before is for charities .  If you are not a charity, but an individual or small business (e.g.) wanting to have a chance of saving something in the old Portobello High School before it is demolished, do get in touch with the school direct. The contact is Gillian Kennedy New School Coordinator / Business Manager, Portobello High School. Phone: 0131 669 2324

Fax: 0131 669 0975 or E mail: 

Wellsprings Community, based in Newcraighall, are holding an event called Spirit Rhythms in Caffe Nero, Fort Kinnaird, from 5-7pm on Sunday 2 October (a week on Sunday). This will involve various stalls offering such things as dream interpretation, healing, insight etc with live music, all for free – come and de-stress and be encouraged! 

Some of our community growing projects are looking for green fingered volunteers to get involved.  More here:

And talking about community growing – across Edinburgh there are now 1,724 allotment plots of which the Council directly manages1,488.  Demand for allotments is high, with about 2,500 people on the Council waiting list. Consultation on the new strategy runs until 18 October to feed in to a report on the new Allotment Strategy to the Council’s Environment Committee, probably in January 2017. The following provides a link to the public consultation on the draft strategy and comments are welcome:

It’s nice to see friendly karaoke and disco social nights happening regularly at the Craigmillar Hearts Club, just opposite the entrance to the Thistle Village in Craigmillar Castle Avenue.  See here:

Last year, several Portobello community members and beyond joined their ‘Hands Across our Forth’ and persuaded the Scottish Government to put a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). A year on, the group are joining together again to draw a line in the sand and send a clear message to the Scottish Government to turn their temporary bans on UCG and ‘fracking’ into permanent bans. They are meeting on Sunday 9 October (a week on Sunday) at 2pm on Portobello Beach, at the foot of Bath Street.  If it’s windy, do bring a kite! 

You can help cure the stigma of dementia by doing six little things. To find out more about the six easy ways help someone with dementia.  More here:

The Welcoming recently held their AGM and celebrated their work over the last year with 1138 people from 71 nationalities, making sure they have the best possible chance to settle in and contribute to our life in Edinburgh.  More stats here:

Have a great weekend – when it comes and I hope to see some of you out and about!

Best wishes



Councillor Maureen Child | Labour Elected Member | Portobello/Craigmillar (Ward 17) | City of Edinburgh Council | City Chambers | High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1YJ | Tel 0131 529 3268 | Mobile 07718 666 481| Twitter @MaureenChild1

p.s. My face-to-face Councillor Advice Sessions, or ‘Surgeries’, are usually every Monday at 5.30 pm in Castleview Community Centre, 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue (Phone 661 4064) and then at 7 pm in Portobello Library, 14 Rosefield Avenue (Phone 529 5558).  Now also at Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, EH16 4DT, 1st Wednesday of the month, drop-in session 5pm-5.30pm, thereafter by appointment only up until 7.30pm. Please phone me on Direct Line 0131 529 3268 or Mobile 07718 666 481, or email to check availability, make an appointment or request a home visit.

Maureen Child Update 16 September 2016

Dear All

Thanks to the wonderful work and inspirational leadership of Mike Knox and Twende Pomoja Trust, there will be an Inter-Faith Vigil for Peace from 7.00 to 8.00pm in St John’s Church (Portobello) next Wednesday 21 September, the International Day of Peace, to which everyone of all religious traditions or none is invited.  I wouldn’t miss it! All of the 6 Primary Schools in Portobello now have partnerships with schools next to each other in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. They have been working together towards a Global Vision of Peace, Justice and Mercy.

City of Edinburgh Council is preparing to decommission the current Portobello High School in preparation for the move to the new building over the October break.  They are making items available for use by charities, not for profit, third sector organisations. They are using a sustainable web portal called WARP It.  More here:   You can register and will have web access now to all the items which will be available for reuse and up cycling from the school when it closes to pupils for the last time in October. Collections of claimed items from w/b 17 September. Please do not claim an item unless you are sure you will be collecting it. The site is to be prepared for the new primary school build early next year. If individuals want a particular item (like your old desk or artwork) please do contact the school business manager. There is also an agreement with a charity operating in Africa to take a container of equipment and furniture to a school in Africa.

There’s a fun foraging walk on the Tuesday 20 September led by Carr Gomm. Make sure to book your space!

At the fabulous refurbished Castlebrae Business Centre on Friday 30 September (10.30-11.30) you are promised great coffee and tea with cakes and lots of information about how to help older people facing loneliness. The Macmillan Coffee Morning which Home Instead Senior Care is holding will celebrate their five years in business, and will also bring organisations who offer companionship and befriending services together.  More here form Phyllis Stephen in the Chronicle Online:

John Connor and Guests are once again In Concert tonight, Friday 30 September,  Doors open at 7pm.  £5 entry  The White House, 70 Niddrie Mains Road.  Keep up to date with events and news like this with the Chronicle Online:

In case you missed it, this is how the Evening News recently covered the application to build on the ‘New Brunstane’ site in addition to other house building in the area at Baileyfield

This is the guide on how to comment on planning applications:

Volunteer Edinburgh and sixty volunteer-involving organisations, join together on Wednesday 21 September between 11.00am and 7.00pm at St Paul’s and St Georges Church Hall on York Place to host Scotland’s leading Volunteer Recruitment Fair.  Entry is free to the public, and they expect more than a thousand visitors to come along to find out about the huge variety of volunteering opportunities available across Edinburgh with charities, social enterprises, community groups and the public sector.  This yea, there will be free learning zone workshops happening throughout the day, and for the first time a free app to enhance the experience: Click here:  Poster here:

I was at a local voluntary sector partnership meeting this week and met Stephanie Gerin from Fresh Start and want to highlight the work they can do locally, particularly in Craigmillar.  Fresh Start is an Edinburgh based charity helping people who have been homeless get established in their new home. Working in partnership with volunteers and organisations from a broad section of the community, they deliver a range of services that provide the practical and social support that help people resettle successfully. Each year Fresh Start helps thousands of new tenants settle into their homes. This can only be achieved by the hard work of the volunteers and generosity of the donations they receive. More here:

Edinburgh Doors Open Day is next weekend.  New on the list is The Thistle Foundation on Saturday 24 September (Saturday only) between 10am and 4pm at their new Centre of Wellbeing, 13 Queen’s Walk, Edinburgh, EH16 4EA.  More here:

The September newsletter for the Garden Globe Project community growing at the Jack Kane Centre is out and you could sign up to get the next one by email.  Alternatively you can see the newsletter here  You would be very welcome to visit!

A major report on tackling poverty in the UK has highlighted the role credit unions can play.

Titled We can solve poverty in the UK, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) offers a plan to end poverty in this country by 2030. It is the most comprehensive strategy of its kind to set out how to solve poverty across all groups in the UK, calling for a new ‘long term deal’ to solve poverty between governments, business and the public. A role for credit unions is identified in providing fair and affordable access to credit, as well as in helping people to save, budget and avoid problem debt.  We have a credit union in our area: Castle Community Bank, at 84 Niddrie Mains Road, is a community-based credit union, a financial cooperative.  It does not provide a full banking service like the TSB or mainstream banks do.  It only provides for savings and low-cost loans.  More here at

As a member of the Police and Fire Scrutiny Committee for Edinburgh, I was very impressed to hear about a partnership between the police and a relatively new third sector organisation Aid and Abet which seems to have the potential to make a huge difference to turning some people around from a life of repeated crime, arrest and the prison ‘revolving door’. I remember being told about this idea about a year ago on the top of a No 26 bus from Portobello.  It was great to see the idea come to fruition!  A little more about Aid and Abet here:

It’s not all bad news with the refuse collection service. I know there are still problems for some streets, but on the bright side: the Council’s  kerbside recycling service rolled out to more than 140,000 homes in 2014 and 2015 – has seen the amount of waste recycled increase by 29% in 2015/16 compared to 2014/15. Houses involved in the service also produced 51% more food waste recycling in 2015/16 than in 2014/15, with the tonnage of food waste collected increasing at each phase of its roll out. The upturn has contributed to a city-wide drop of 10% in the amount of waste sent to landfill since 2014/15, while the average city-wide rate of recycling has grown by 2.9% over the last year.

Having cycled to work on Cycle to Work Day on Wednesday this week, I really appreciate the art of finding routes across the city to the places I need to go  –  Cre8te at Castlebrae Business Centre, City Chambers then Coillesdene Sheltered Housing. Next time, I’ll pick a day when I don’t get soaked to the skin! Finding good routes here would also help:  http://www.ed!

More about the Year of the Dad emphasising how vital the contribution of our men – young and old – can be in family life.  Maybe we don’t always appreciate their contribution quite enough?  See here:

Edinburgh’s Draft Open Space Strategy was approved for consultation purposes by Planning Committee last month and a very brief survey on the Consultation Hub is open until 21 October. Your views would be very welcome.  Click here:

Reducing the cost of living for tenants and building more affordable homes are the key elements to a new raft of objectives over the next ten years to improve housing in Edinburgh.  More here:

The Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello is presenting ‘Imaginescapes’, a unique portrait and landscape experience, by local artist Diane Benn. If you’ve ever thought about having a family portrait done then go along to the Velvet Easel Gallery on Sunday 1-4pm on 2 October when Diane will be appearing to talk about and demonstrate this amazing form of portraiture.

In Edinburgh as a whole, we have been working closely with The Welcoming, in particular, in helping to resettle Syrian refugees and welcome newcomers to this city form a range of different backgrounds, cultures and places. You can support their work to make Edinburgh a more and more welcoming city, for everyone who come here to stay, by becoming a Friend of The Welcoming, free of charge.  This a great group to be part of and their AGM is coming up next week, which sadly I will have to miss this time. More here:

I see one third of payphones in the UK, most of which have been used for very few call in the last year, are to be removed.  Four of them in Portobello/Craigmillar Ward – Niddrie Mains Road, Niddrie House Drive, Brand Drive and Milton Terrace.  More information here:

It’s so very good to see the local and national support for getting a beach wheelchair scheme established in Portobello, as in the groundbreaking North Berwick scheme, run by some very committed people.  More here:

Advance notice of the next Meet the Funders event:  The library service also has a facility to search for funders:

This week was world suicide prevention day. More here about how you can help:

That’s all for now.  Have a good weekend!

Best wishes



Councillor Maureen Child | Labour Elected Member | Portobello/Craigmillar (Ward 17) | City of Edinburgh Council | City Chambers | High Street | Edinburgh | EH1 1YJ | Tel 0131 529 3268 | Mobile 07718 666 481| Twitter @MaureenChild1

p.s. My face-to-face Councillor Advice Sessions, or ‘Surgeries’, are usually every Monday at 5.30 pm in Castleview Community Centre, 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue (Phone 661 4064) and then at 7 pm in Portobello Library, 14 Rosefield Avenue (Phone 529 5558).  Now also at Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, EH16 4DT, 1st Wednesday of the month, drop-in session 5pm-5.30pm, thereafter by appointment only up until 7.30pm. Please phone me on Direct Line 0131 529 3268 or Mobile 07718 666 481, or email to check availability, make an appointment or request a home visit.