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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.

Maureen Child Update 09 September 2016

Dear All

Do you want to learn to play a brass instrument with Oi Musica? Brass Blast is an exciting opportunity for children (Primary 6 and older) who would like to learn to play trumpet or trombone. We also welcome existing players of any brass instrument (trumpets, trombones, tenor horns, French horns, cornets, euphoniums and tubas). Classes are FREE and will be on a Tuesday from 4pm at The Wash House (Portobello Community Centre), starting 25 October. For more info visit This is going to be very popular – Sign up here: to secure a place on the course.

Portobello Book Festival programme is now available.  All events are free but you need to get tickets from Portobello Library to avoid disappointment, as many events always prove very popular and get snapped up early.  More here: 

Towerbank Primary School playground had some fantastic improvements made to it over the past few months but there is still an awful lot of work to do to make it the fun and inspiring playground it should be! Two friends are looking for sponsorship to walk 26 miles as part of the Edinburgh Kiltwalk to raise money to help fund more playground improvements. So, on the 18 September Liz Henderson and Eilidh Scott will walk 26 miles through the city for Towerbank. You can sponsor them by going to:

If you are local to Porty, then please sign up to become a member of Action Porty before Sunday early evening, 11th September. A quarter of Portobello’s voters have already registered their backing for this attempt to secure Bellfield Church and Halls for the community, and we have every chance of securing Scottish Government support for this community buy out, and securing the funding we need to do so. Please go to and join Action Porty.  Joining is free, but note that if you have already registered your support with us online then you may be asked to ‘update your preferences’. Please do, click through, show your support and let’s get this first urban Community Right to Buy registration in place so that we can buy the Church and Halls at their market value, and so save them for community use. 

A reminder that we are inviting nominations for fabulous new Community Councillors across Edinburgh and particularly for Portobello and Craigmillar.  Community Councils are only as good as the people who step up and contribute! There are two more weeks to go before nominations close: More here:

Do you want to waste less food, save money and help the environment?  Jack Kane Centre’s Garden Globe Project  are hosting a Kitchen Canny Workshop on Monday, 10 October, 11am – 1pm.The workshop will look at how we can plan our meals and do our shopping to help save money and waste less.  Everyone who comes to the workshop receives the Kitchen Canny Kit (see picture) which has tools and information to help you get more canny in the kitchen! Please get in touch if you would like to book a place.  You can phone Eleanor on 0131 657 1595 or email

A new free Play Talk Read Group for small children, mums Dads and carers meets at Sandy’s Community Centre, Craigmillar Castle Avenue on Thursdays.  Sandy’s is at 76 Craigmillar Castle Avenue (Phone 661 4064). All welcome: More here:

I said last week, that I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting with some of the Syrian refugees who are settling in Edinburgh and their stories of how life is for them.  They are – so far – 100 among many, many people from all walks of life who come to live among us and contribute to our life in a vibrant multicultural Edinburgh.  In this article, through translation, two refugees from Syria speak to Common Space about their new life in Edinburgh: I know of many people who want to help but don’t always know what is needed.  This link shows you how:

Charitable grants can help individuals with costs such as bills, appliances or clothes. Search today:

This year’s Volunteer Recruitment Fair programme is now published.  See here:

(ELGT) is running an innovative, exciting and fun programme of woodland activities with the Forestry Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust Commission Scotland as part of a research study for people with early-stage dementia. The activity aims to use the environment as a therapeutic tool for people with dementia and their carers. The programme will include shelter building, bushcraft, tree ID, woodland arts and crafts, safe firemaking, campfire cooking, conservation, bird watching, gentle walks and Tai Chi. For more information email

From this month the Tesco Bags of Help grant scheme will be permanently open for applications from a wide range of community groups, schools, local authorities and organisations. Projects put forward for funding can now include both activities on outdoor spaces, greenspaces and parks and physical improvements to them. Find out more about the grants and/or contact one of Greenspace Scotland’s team of Community Enablers to discuss your application

There are loads of great things happening at Bridgend Farmhouse for you to get involved in.  See here:

There’s a Portobello Beach Clean Up at 2pm – 4pm on Friday16 September starting at the foot of Kings Road.  Sign up here:

Macmillan Cancer charity support workers are at Craigmillar Library for their regular support drop in every Monday and Thursday 11-3pm. More here:

The Council is consulting on Edinburgh’s Open Space Strategy and welcomes your input.  Well managed and connected green spaces are important for health and wellbeing, urban wildlife and supporting investment in the economy.See here:

The new Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) figures and maps were published last week, which some of you may find interesting. See here:

I thought this might be of interest to those who have strong views one way or another about 20mph vehicle speed limits in residential area. (Lights blue touch paper and retires):

This is how the Evening News reported the submission of the recent application for housing in the Baileyfield South site beside the site currently being built out:

The planning committee next week is considering the building of the new St John’s Primary School on the Portobello High School site and the demolition of the current games hall.  See the report here: There will be a separate application for the new park on the rest of the site to be submitted by Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust. 

Thistle Foundation’s Centre of Wellbeing is part of Doors Open Day on Saturday 24 September between 10am and 4pm.  Find his fantastic new ‘door’ at 13 Queen’s Walk, Edinburgh, EH16   Thistle is at the heart of Craigmillar. Explore what wellbeing is and why it matters to all of us. Whether it’s mindful meditation, tai chi, the art of good conversations or learning how to better cope with the stresses of life, wellbeing contributes to health, happiness and a good life. And who doesn’t want a bit more of that? The Thistle’s state-of-the-art Centre of Wellbeing reflects their innovative and pioneering approach to supporting people with long term health conditions today. The theme of 2016’s Edinburgh-wide, Doors Open Day event is ‘Innovation, Architecture and Design’, and the Centre’s inclusion in the programme acknowledges the cutting edge approach of our new venue. There will be regular tours of the building, on the hour, throughout the day.

After some effective cycle campaigning by a local SPOKES member, the manager of Fort Kinnaird Liam Smith has announced some improvements to be put in place shortly.  The covered cycle rack currently in place ( opposite Cafe Nero) and there will be additional cycle posts installed there. The same covered cycle facility will be installed opposite Mothercare, within about four weeks. Further provision will be installed as Fort Kinnaird develops. Existing provision (the butterfly hoops) are being reviewed and will be upgraded. Fort Kinnaird are encouraging all staff to use more sustainable ways of travelling to and from work. There are plans to improve signage and they are monitoring cycle use.

The Cyrenians Homeless Prevention Service covers South and East of Edinburgh and is aimed at anyone over 16, including couples and young families. It doesn’t matter if someone is a homeowner, a tenant or living in temporary accommodation – they will help. we know there are many reasons why people can face losing their home. Our decades of experience mean we have an outstanding track record of solving housing problems and helping people avoid becoming homeless. Whether you’re looking for support or would like to refer someone to the service, do get in touch to find out more: Call 0131 475 2556 or email:

Very well done to all involved in Artwalk Porty last weekend!  Here’s a taste of what happened:

That’s all I have time for this week.

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

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 02 September 2016

Dear All

 Portobello Open Door’s (POD’s) Village Show is on this Sunday 4 September from 2-5pm in Rosefield Park. As always there will be lots going on from Dog Show to Duck Racing. This family friendly event has something for everyone. Why not enter one of the Show Competitions, see POD website for details, it’s your chance to win a coveted Village Show medal.  More here:

At the Portobello Village Show there are stalls selling things like lovely cakes and preserves made by the pupils at Castlebrae Community High School who run their own fab Reds Cafe.  There are also campaigns and local groups looking for your support like Portobello Book Festival, Portobello Community Council the Save Bellfield community buy-out campaign.  Do make sure you go to the PCC stall if you are interested in what Community Councils can do and especially if you are standing for election.  The nominations kick off on Monday 5 September. As Returning Officer for Portobello’s CC, I will make sure the forms you need are there on Sunday and any time thereafter until the nominations close in 3 weeks time. My contact details below if we don’t meet up out and about.

Portobello Community Council support the #MoreInCommon campaign.  We held an event on June 22 on Portobello Beach to celebrate the life and birthday of Jo Cox MP who was tragically murdered on the way to her regular local consultation session with her constituents, just six days before.  A few of us local people met regularly on the Promenade at 12 noon on Saturdays, before the summer break, to underline the point Jo made in her House of Commons Maiden Speech : “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”.  After the Brexit vote, that local meeting-up seemed even more essential.  The #MoreInCommon message has been taken up by Hope Not Hate to try and ensure those human rights principles are sustained in our neighbourhoods and communities.  This is a weekend coming is one of celebration #MoreInCommon.  If you want to wear a #MoreInCommon badge – this weekend especially – I have acquired more through Oxfam and will bring them along on Saturday and Sunday.  There’s no charge, although you might feel like giving a donation to a related charity or campaign like Oxfam, Hope not Hate or Amnesty International.

I was still wearing my #MoreInCommon badge again this week when I visited The Welcoming which is one of the key voluntary organisations working with us in Edinburgh to ensure a smooth transition into Edinburgh life for migrants and refugees; 100 individuals so far in Edinburgh and 1000 in Scotland as a whole. Our Syrian families are coming to us through the UK’s Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme. These individuals were our particular focus this visit, along with the Scottish Government Minister for Communities Social Security and Equality, Angela Constance.  It was a pleasure for me to meet Angela for the first time, to be listening together to the stories of some of Edinburgh’s Syrian refugees at a language class, and to be working together on this.  We want to make sure that everyone who comes to live here gets a warm welcome, and we can help them progress with their lives, no matter where they come from or how they got here.

Portobello Community Council is consulting on the new – now formal – application for 1330 units of housing on Green Belt land at Brunstane.  More here:  This is the link to the applcation on the Council’s planning portal.  16/04122/PPP | Proposed residential development (including class 8 residential institutions, class 9 houses and sui generis flats) primary school (class 10 non-residential institutions) local centre (including class 1 retail, class 2 financial and professional services, class 3 food and drink, class 10 non residential institutions and class 11 assembly and leisure ), green network, means of access and transport links, infrastructure and associated ancillary works. | Land 445 Metres North Of 103 Newcraighall Road Edinburgh  Even although you might have had a say at the pre-application stage, it is very important indeed to put in your views on the detailed applcation now by email or on paper to the Council’s planning department so they are taken into account when the applcation is being assessed. 

I am deeply disappointed that the only retail branch bank in Craigmillar’s Trustee Saving Bank TSB, is one of the UK branches that is being closed by the Bank, so that people will soon have to travel to Portobello or Cameron Toll to get the service they require.  The local people, in concert with the MP Tommy Sheppard, are rightly challenging this decision on the part of TSB.  Mean time, we understand the Post Office in Londis is changing hands and people may not be able to open a Post Office Account in Craigmillar and will have to go to ASDA at the Jewel.  Many people particularly, elderly people are going to be hugely disadvantaged by this move.  The Portobello/Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership is writing to TSB in support of the local campaign to keep the branch open.

Castle Community Bank, based a block away 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

A reminder that Portobello Market on Saturday! Gates open at 9.30 and the market runs until 1.30pm. Bring your bicycle along for a free check by BG Cycles, listen to some buskers music while you wait or browse the stalls.  Full list here:

Every time I went into the community room at Portobello Library and used to see the portrait of the last Provost of Portobello, Alexander Brand, sitting in the corner. I meant to do something about it.  A few of us felt it needed a new home, maybe at Portobello Town Hall.  I am glad to say it has now been re-housed in the foyer of the Town Hall, thanks to a timely reminder from John Stewart Chairman of Portobello Amenity Society and a very responsive facilities manager.  We only needed to ask! 

Some things are easy to fix, once you get the right person and actually ask!   But others prove a little more tricky and long drawn out, even although they seem simple and straightforward.  I am sure you can think of quite a few, as can I.  Thnaks to one dogged constituent’s continual persistence, we now have improved/new L.E.D. lighting at the Milton Link Cycle track underpass  – the ‘tunnel’ which takes pedestrians up to ASDA and surrounding areas.  How long did that take, Ian? (-;

Dad’s Rock runs a playgroup in Craigmillar for Dads and small children on a Saturday morning at The Venchie in Niddrie Mains Terrace.  Dad’s Rock set up a Just Giving page for those who would like to contribute or raise money for this really worthwhile cause.  It is the Year of The Dad, after all!

I have signed up early to a MacMillan Coffee Morning at Home Instead for later on the month in the wonderful refurbished Castlebrae Business Centre, Peffer Place where they are now based – and you could too!  I’ll remind you nearer the time.

A fantastic picture of Joppa in 1954 here:

Joppa is the 6th most affluent/least deprived place in Scotland, according to the latest Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) Figures, just released this week.  But part of Niddrie is the highest for unemployment. Closing the gap between rich and poor in Edinburgh must be our top priority.

Edinburgh Equality and Rights Network (EaRN) is a member-led network that seeks to advance equality, promote human rights and tackle inequality and poverty in Edinburgh and surrounding areas. As a member-led network, EaRN’s activities and focus are defined and driven by its membership base. This means that the best way to ensure equalities issues that matter to you are represented, is by joining and having your say! You can now join EaRN as a Professional. This membership subscription is intended for those who work in Edinburgh’s public sector, and would like to join EaRN in their professional capacity. Your professional role will include an interest in or concerns about equality and rights issues, and/or inequality and poverty. This category includes elected members and all public, including third sector, officers. Please click on the link to become a member:

 Community growing makes a difference to people’s lives. It’s not just a nice thing to do.  It matters. Fresh Start recently put up wonderful pictures on social media of produce for their allotment space which is growing fresh vegetables and fruit.  They had some fabulous photos. From their garden in Craigmillar, Fresh Start grow the vegetables to give to local churches to make meals for those in need.  To give just one example, they say some of their produce made a soup for a family who had not eaten for a week.

Orienteering happening this weekend in Figgate Park.  See here:

From the 1-8 September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Week, so many of the landmarks around Britain and abroad will be lit in Gold.  

Vintage Vibes are organising a new short weekly walk for older folks on Wednesdays at 10.30 am from Portobello Swim centre. More here: 

School Streets were on the agenda for Transport and Environment Committee this week.  See more here: and here: In two phases from September 2015, the scheme restricts cars on streets around schools, aiming to encourage safe and sustainable travel by children and parents. Nine primary schools were chosen to take part in the 18-month pilot – Duddingston, St John’s, and Towerbank among them. Now the process to make these changes permanent will begin. Amongst the findings, an average speed reduction of 1.2mph was surveyed across both the School Streets and surrounding areas, while air quality was shown to have improved in all streets. In addition, the number of children walking to school has increased by 3% alongside a 6% drop in children being driven in. Perceptions of safety also improved, with around two-thirds of all respondents agreeing that School Streets felt safer during operating times.

Free workshops and drop-in sessions for black or ethnic minority community people to find out more about how they can get involved in Community Councils.  Contact Edinburgh and Lothian Regional Equality Council (ELREC) Workshop is on 7 September 6pm-8.30pm and the drop-ins are Wednesdays 14 and 21 September 2-4pm.  Contact Mizan Rahman, equality engagement officer at ELREC by email or phone Mizan on 0131 556 0441 for more details

It’s so good that Cressida the Octopus sculpture is back in time for Art Walk Porty this year.  Here’s Jon Davey’s photo of here.  As Jon says: “Cressida – the Tidal Octopus – was re-installed today, back where she belongs on Portobello Beach. After the installation in the afternoon, which all went very well, there was a small gathering on the sand this evening with the artist, a few of the Art Walk Porty team and some other Porty residents. We all had a drop of rum to toast Cressida’s return as the tide came in”  You can see her from the foot of Bath Street, and get up closer at low tide. 

Yes, ArtWalk Porty is started!  Art at the Seaside. More than 70 artists. Over 48 locations.
Pick up a map from the popup gallery at A449 Architects, Portobello High Street, or at the Skylark, The Tide, Dalriada, or Portobello Library.  See you around and about, I hope.

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

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 26 August 2016

Dear All

Chris Dooks is giving a short talk today about his commission for ‘Journey Lines’. Come along and hear a recording of his spoken Portobello Tales as part of his “Stations of the Lost” work, to be followed by a short Q+A.12.30-1.30pm
Portobello Library.  See you there?

‘Cressida, The Tidal Octopus’ by Lauren Fox returns to our beach today. Come and join us and celebrate its return!
6pm today Beach Groyne, by Bath Street thanks to the support from Velvet Easel Gallery who has sponsored its return, together with Portobello Community Council and the local community helping to make it happen.

The Art Walk Porty 2016 Programme has 48 venues this year. All at  Everyone invited to the opening preview of Art Walk Porty at Skylark and at A449 Architects both on Porty High Street Thursday 1 Sept 7-9pm.  Poster here:

I came across this great film about the roots and history of Craigmillar Festival Society (CFS) and can highly recommend you watch it for a trip down memory lane for some and for others to look and learn why there is a statue to CFS and Helen Crummy at the entrance to Craigmillar Library.  That pioneering spirit and spark is still there today.

Castlebrae Community High School is building on that Helen Crummy legacy of ‘The arts is the key’.  Mike Wade did a piece in The Times yesterday said this:   “In a school gym hall on a council estate on the edge of the city, Alan Cumming faced his toughest audience of the Edinburgh International Festival, proof of the little-known showbiz saying: “If you can play Castlebrae High, you can play anywhere.” The festival, soaked up by its wealthy patrons in the city’s New Town, has rarely reached out to the housing schemes that ring the city. But in 2015 it went into partnership with the council and Castlebrae to set up a three-year residency programme to encourage engagement in the arts among 130 youngsters at the school.”  The kids would be the stars – if he really did think that was a tough audience but in all the picture I saw, he looked like he and his fabulous audience were enjoying every minute.

Community Council Elections are held every three years and whether there is a vote at the poll, or not, Community Councillors are an elected to post for a term.  I am Returning Officer for Portobello Community Council and Councillor David Walker is playing the same role for Craigmillar Community Council.  Portobello and Craigmillar Community Council, along with all community councils in Edinburgh, are looking for new members to take part and help improve their neighbourhoods. Nominations start on 5 September 2016 and close on 26 September 2016.   What Portobello CC has put up about CCs applies equally well to the Craigmillar CC, both covering Ward 17.

Portobello Community Council’s latest e-newsletter is here:  Do get involved in helping your community thrive and making your neighbourhood a better place!

Several constituents have been in touch to say they fear the George Bingo, 14 Bath Street, is being turned into a night.  The application to demolish the George, and build housing instead, has been refused by the Council as planning authority.  It is a listed building and the listing includes internal features.  I got in touch with the enforcement section of planning and also with licensing. On the planning position, both uses as Bingo Hall and Night Club fall under ‘Class 11: Assembly and Leisure’ so there is no requirement for planning permission to change one to the other, even although we might feel they could have a different local impact on neighbouring amenity. There had been no need for planning permission for change of use from the original cinema to bingo hall – all Class 11 uses.  I have still to hear a definitive view from licensing, but a licensing officer is de to visit to find out what the intention is here.

Portobello Big Busk on the Beach – Saturday 27th of August from 12 noon More here:

Musselburgh Flower Show is tomorrow, Saturday, 27 August, Brunton Hall from 1-4pm. It promises to be a great family afternoon with cakes, candy and free face painting. 

Also on Saturday – an invitation to come to the Community Orchard in Brunstane Road South (opposite Brunstane Station) this Saturday 27 August 10.00am to 2.00pm.  Come and lend a hand enjoy the space and join in the chat about Apple Day. The apples are looking good on their Facebook page!

Magdalene Community Centre’s annual fun day is this Sunday August 28 12:30-4pm.  Everyone welcome and do spread the word.  More here:

Portobello Book Festival takes place as usual over the first weekend of October, and as usual all its events will be free.  The Festival organisers raise funds to cover the costs, for which they will have their traditional second-hand book stall at the Village Show on Sunday week, 4 September (2pm to 5pm in Rosefield Park).  Do you have any spare/surplus books that you could donate to the stall?  If so please bring them along on the day, or if you’d like them collected, please email Bill Jameson (  The Book Festival programme will be available at the stall.

Orienteering event with maze in the Figgate Park on Sunday 4 September.  Check out link for details.

Edinburgh’s Riding of the Marches takes place Sunday 11 September roughly 2pm coming through Craigmillar Castle Road, Duddingston Road West, Peffermill Road and King’s Haugh towards Duddingston Village.

Why Me? Survey on experiences of hate crime and support offered.

I attended Carr Gomm’s signing of the Charter for Involvement at their HQ in the Space Building and was struck by how well this charter seemed to fit with what we are all trying to do to make Edinburgh a more inclusive co-operative City and do more with people rather than to and for people.  You might like to look at  I raised the possibility of the City Council and partners adopting the Charter with the Council Leader at yesterday’s full Council Meeting and the Council are certainly going to look at it. 

Please help spread word about Edinburgh LOOPS phone line which helps Edinburgh people aged 65+ find activities and get out of the house.  Here’s a film showcasing the great work they do in tackling loneliness:  LOOPS is short for Lothian Opportunities for Older People.

I joined the Thistle Gym on Wednesday this week and the next challenge is to make use of it!  Their beautiful new healthy living centre building is part of Door Open Day this year, but you needn’t wait until then to drop in and find out what they do.  Doors Open Day is from 10am on 24 September.  Poster here:

Portobello Community Choir are starting up again on 31 August.  They meet to rehearse at Portobello Baptist Church Hall, 189 Portobello High Street on Wednesdays 7.15pm to 9.15pm..  More here:

There’s a craft festival at Craigmillar Castle tomorrow, Saturday 17 August.  See here: : Craigmillar Castle Craft Skills Festival at Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh South | What’s On Edinburgh and  ‘A league distant’ or Craigmillar Castle in 15 minutes – Historic Environment Scotland Blog

Richmond’s Hope is a fantastic locally conceived and locally based charity which supports children through the loss and bereavement following the death of a family member.  It started in Craigmillar and has now providing a service in Glasgow too.  To find out more about this fantastic organisation,  and donate to an excellent good cause, go to:

You can nominate a neighbour for a Good Neighbour Award.  Either the nominee or the person nominating must be a Council tenant. Winners receive a £50 gift voucher


Vintage Vibes are looking for lovely folks to join their community of volunteers in and around Portobello and Leith. They will provide information about volunteering and put together people with shared interests to create friendships. It’s flexible, fun, fulfilling and all takes place within our local area. If you are interested in developing a friendship with someone over 60 who is lonely and isolated near you, then find out a little more about volunteering with Vintage Vibes. They work to make it as flexible and fun as possible. More here:

They say these are 18 things you’ll only know about Portobello if you’ve lived (t)here

A local resident is organising a Figgate Burn Clean Up from Bridge Street on Sunday 25 September 10am to 1pm meeting at Bridge Street Car Park.  I have made sure he has the right Council contact – this time – to get all the kit needed to do the job.  He just needs the volunteers to turn up in the same numbers as the three times we did the Brunstane Burn and we’ll get it done in no time!

Health Opportunities Team (HOT) based near The Thistle in Craigmillar at 1 Queen’s Walk do 1:1 support for young people and have drop-in advice sessions for young people needing some support in local areas including Portobello and their base at Craigmillar,  They now have an email support service them: Contact HOT at for help, information and advice.

A Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) fund is now open to help finance green space projects, including active travel –

Portobello Market is on again on Saturday 3 September. Gates open at 9.30am and we run until 1.30pm in Brighton Park, Portobello Check out the website for a full list of all the traders coming along.

Let’s Sing: starts Tuesday 6 September, 11am – 12.30pm at Fisherrow Community Centre, South Street, Musselburgh. They say: “If you are worried about you memory or living with a diagnosis of dementia and like to sing or would like to try – this may be the group for you!  Singing is good for the brain and fun.  We sing familiar songs and simple harmonies from around the world.  Family, friends and supporters are also welcome. Come every week or just drop in – it’s free.”   More information from: Penny Stone, m.07805454620 or e-mail:

That’s all I have time for now.  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

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 12 August 2016

Dear All

If you missed the pre-application public events at the end of July for the vast Standard Life Baileyfield industrial site (on the map, south-west of the one being developed for the new Aldi), or you have further questions for the people proposing its development, there is another opportunity to see the exhibition about what is planned, today Friday 12 August from 3-7 pm in Portobello Town Hall. 

Lots of summer activities at Bridgend Farm House  to get involved in:  See here:

It’s Allotment Week and some local allotments were part of Scotland’s Gardens last weekend.  Sadly, I didn’t make it along but enjoyed the photos on Facebook and Twitter.  See a bit more here of what we missed: Craigentinny and Telferton Allotments – Scotland’s Gardens and resolve to be there next time!

If you are feeling inspired to get your hands dirty, here are books at Edinburgh Libraries:  There’s lots of places you can get some experience like at the Jack Kane Community Centre’s ‘Garden Globe Project’, which I must try to get to see again this afternoon if I finish this in time!

I get lots of feedback about communal bins, although it is diminishing a little.  To report and overflowing communal bin, you can now use this form: – and let me know how it goes!

Lots of day-to-day community partnership activity is happening across Edinburgh in our neighbourhoods, that few people here about or get a chance to celebrate..  Find out about just some the good news stories here:

Portobello’s Turkish Baths are being touted as a hidden gem by Edinburgh Leisure.  More here:

A date for your diary: Musselburgh Horticultural Society are holding their Annual Flower Show at The Brunton,  Musselburgh on Saturday 27th August from 1 pm, with Presentation of Awards at 3.30pm. Do go along and see lovely flowers, huge vegetables and – new for this year – The Scottish Gladiolus Society will be there. A home baking and candy stall, produce stall with plants for sale and Free Face Painting for Children with Stina Sparkles.

More forward dates: The Big Beach Busk is Saturday 27 August from 12 noon; Portobello Village Show is Sunday 4 September 2-5pm;  Portobello Book Festival is on from 7-9 October this year.  Watch this space!

The Council’s huge and varied adult education programme can now be viewed on line and ready for you to book for the Autumn.  See all about the classes available here:

‘Journey Lines’ is a series of stories, journeys, art works, installations and events taking place in and around Portobello, Joppa and Brunstane, now until the end of September. The full ‘Journey Lines’ programme is available at The project newspaper available in participating venues, like Portobello Library. This leads into the Art Walk Porty 2016 which is on from 2-4 September.  Programme is available at

Get some facts and stats at your finger-tips when you want to make an argument about something in Edinburgh.  Interesting numbers here:

Friends of Bingham are advertising a new community cafe starting on Monday  in Southfield Hall, Mountcastle Drive South (opposite the GP Surgery)  Monday and Thursdays from 12noon to 2pm for hot rolls, teas and coffees.  Spread the word!

Steam trains are returning to the Borders Railway, through Brunstane and Newcraighall every weekends.  Details here:

The Save Bellfield campaign has achieved the 20% minimum requirement for the Community Right to Buy application. In fact we have more! Around 25% of the community has signed the petition. Not everyone was in when their door was knocked but don’t worry, there is still time to sign! Thank you so much for all your support so far!!!  More here:

50 for the Future, lists the fifty things that The Scottish Wildlife Trust believe should happen in Scotland over the next 50 years to benefit both people and wildlife. Here Tim Duffy explains why re-naturalising our urban green spaces is beneficial for both wildlife and people. 50 for the Future – re-naturalise urban green spaces – Scottish Wildlife Trust

The way to get your daily paper is getting better, even if the news content is often dire! Edinburgh Libraries PressReader app service has had an upgrade.  Now if you visit a library, and open up the app, you get 3 days worth of use to download from home as well.

I am not a Counsellor, but a Councillor – at least once in my life and perhaps again – in need of professional counselling myself.  Counselling can help you – and others important to you – understand, communicate and deal with things that you are finding challenging and preventing you from enjoying life to the full.  Counselling will help you plan for a better future and support you in achieving your goals. Last year, Bright Light (for example) helped over 1,400 people to do just that.  More here:

Two different consultations you might want to get involved in:  Have your say on Edinburgh’s use of public spaces  and/or  And there are always more on the website.

The Council is about to consult on our Open Space Strategy, as reported to Planning Committee this week.  See papers here: There’s more interesting stuff on that agenda too, including  the impact of Edinburgh Airport flight paths

And if you think our city is growing in a way that hugely impacts on us locally, there’s even more in store for the next forty years or so and we need major, major investment in infrastructure to cope with it!  See here: Strategic Development Plan 2 Proposed Plan and Action Programme

That’s all for now, folks!

Best wishes and have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re up to!



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.

p.s.  Please let me know if you don’t want to receive emails like this from me and I’ll take you off my list.  Equally if you want to share it, please do.