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Maureen Child Update 24 November 2017

Dear All


Edinburgh is apparently the loneliest city in the UK for older people, so charity Vintage Vibes have launched their Cosy Christmas Project. Local lass and former Brunstane Primary School pupil Gail Porter and Vintage Vibes are asking the people of Edinburgh to write a FREE Christmas Card to brighten the life of someone who is lonely and over 60 in the city.  Find out more at and please share with as many people as you can!


Big Kid Balloon Twister’s Big Book Show is on at Craigmillar Library tomorrow, Saturday 25 November at 12.30 pm. The show is a fun, interactive reading show full of stories from big magical books, full animated balloon puppets and lots of balloon props. Followed by art activities with Artman. You are welcome to join the free fun!


Remember the fundraising Wash House Family Ceilidh with Fun Fiddlers is on Sunday 26 November, 3pm – 5.30pm.


Also this Saturday, 10am-2pm, at the Portobello Community Orchard (entrance opposite Brunstane Station) volunteers will be doing an end of season tidy-up and re-planting one of the trees they rescued from the number sadly ripped out earlier in the season.  They’ll be pruning the soft fruit bushes and improving the soil around trees in the wetter part of the orchard and planting Portobello Rotary Club crocus to make a beautiful display next spring. They hope you’ll drop in for a cup of tea and a chat – and something sweet, no doubt!


Dates for your diary:


Thistle Centre of Wellbeing is having its first ever Christmas Fair next week, Saturday 2 December.  Doors open at 12.30pm. Join in for lots of festive fun including cakes, cards, crafts and – of course – carols!


Towerbank Primary School Christmas Fair is also on Saturday 2 December 2pm – 5pm.  There will be games, craft activities, Christmas baking, raffle, toys and books, and Santa’s grotto.   Porty Maker’s market will also be there with handcrafted items, print and jewellery for. Local artists. Entry is £1 per child which includes five tokens to spend inside and adults free entry.  Book to see Santa at the stall in the playground from Monday 20 November.


A Christmas Coffee Morning on Saturday 2 December at St Mark’s Episcopal Church, High Street, Portobello, 11am to 1pm. Come and enjoy bacon rolls, tea and coffee, home baking, books, raffle and Tombola. All welcome! Then enjoy an evening of wonderful music on Sunday 10 December when Dalkeith and Monktonhall Brass Band give their Christmas concert at St Mark’s. Tickets are £8 and free for under 16s. More details at or


A new park amenity green space is planned on the site of the former Portobello High School informed by a big community consultation phase led by Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust.  Work will include the demolition of the existing St John’s RC Primary School currently on the site which will be relocated to a new build school adjacent to the park.  For details, click here:  Planning application for the new Treverlen Park reference number is 17/05217/FUL.


The public meeting about the Powerleague site at Westbank Street, organised by Portobello Community Council, last Wednesday attracted 150 people and – in case you missed it – this account appeared in the Evening News:  Portobello Community Council, Portobello Amenity Society and us four local Councillors are involved in assessing the bids at some point in the next couple of weeks, as part of our Participation Request under the Community Empowerment Act.  That will help inform the Council officers’ report to the Council’s Finance and Resources Committee in January.


Portobello Macular Group meets on the second Wednesday of the month between 1 and 3 pm upstairs in Portobello Library. Anyone who is affected by any eyesight condition is more than welcome to join the group for peer support and information. Also tea and coffee are provided, Contact Anne Dignan for further information on 0131 657 2299.


I came across the of Porty Velo, a band of happy cyclists and all their activities:


If you are considering planning a community event, small grants are now available to help fund it.  Click here: Deadline for applications is 15 December 2017.


I started last week with a resolution to walk more every day.  Health benefits are well documented as Edinburgh Leisure  know well:


For the last two meetings, in the absence of Councillor Lewis Ritchie, I was voted in as Development Management Sub Committee Convener.  This week, we had a Hearing on Scheme 4 of Baileyfield South application for 435 homes at the former Standard Life Site off Fishwives Causeway.  Committee spent over three hours hearing the arguments, and asking questions from all sides – community and professional – before coming to a collective view.  Report from the Edinburgh Evening News here: Portobello Community Council’s  report is here:


Yesterday, the Full Council voted in new Planning Committee Convener, Councillor Neil Gardiner.  I have suggested to Neil that he watch the community representations from Portobello Community Council, Portobello Amenity Society, Brighton and Rosefield Residents Association and Local Councillors to see what a fully active, engaged community can achieve in shaping new development alongside planning officers and a relatively responsive developer.  I know there are still concerns about the impact of this new development at Baileyfield on Portobello, but I can assure you we have all done the very best we could within the constraints we face.  Work on the development of this important brownfield site will start in Spring 2018.


You may have noticed the heras fencing now around both Portobello Pottery Kilns with nothing apparently happening to these important scheduled monuments.  The kilns are now both awaiting essential repairs.  The buddleia growth at the top of the eastern one required attention, but we noticed that one of the steel strapping bands had snapped on the western one and that may lead to movement of the bricks.  The site was due to be surveyed this week and we hope repairs can go ahead – and soon.

That’s all for now!  I hope to see some of you around.  Please do say ‘hello’ so I can try and put names to faces.


Kind regards




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

Maureen Child Update 16 November 2017

Dear All


The Council’s Education, Children and Families Committee agreed on a statutory consultation on the proposal to provide a new secondary school to replace Castlebrae High School on the site identified in Craigmillar Town Centre, to the east of the Council East Office and Craigmillar Library. For further information and the full statutory consultation paper and an online questionnaire are at  Copies of the full statutory consultation paper are in Craigmillar Library and in the local schools affected by the proposals. A public meeting will be held about the proposal at Castlebrae High School on Tuesday 28 November, 18.30pm – 20.30pm. Everybody is welcome to participate in this meeting and to respond in writing to the consultation.  Do spread the word!


The annual small grants program opened for applications to help for work with children and families.  More here:


Remember the Jumble Sale at Portobello Town Hall in aid of Portobello Amateur Swimming Club this Saturday. Monies raised will go towards the social and fun events as well as competition fees for relay galas. That’s Saturday 18 November from 10.30am to 1pm. Tombola, home baking and jumble all on sale.  If you’d like to hand in any items for sale PASC are setting up on Friday evening (17 Nov) from 6pm – 7.30pm.


Remember you can vote for Portobello’s own Fun Fiddle project which has been nominated at the Scots Traditional Music Awards for ‘Community Project of the Year’. Voting is for their category is here at Question 7: Voting is open until 24 November.


A few days of ground investigation works are being undertaken to inform the work required for a new footbridge over the Niddrie Burn at Hunters Hall, as promised a long time ago. I have an electronic copy of a plan showing the proposal and where they will be working; if you would like to see the plans just let me know. There will also be a path down to the Jack Kane Centre, thanks to additional cycle charity Sustrans and the Council’s active travel budget. The Council hopes to deliver the bridge project in April / May 2018.  We will have a firmer start date once a contractor has been appointed.


I am so relieved that minimum pricing of alcohol will come in after a Court appeal by the whisky industry was rejected this week!  Reasons why are here:


Action Porty, who took possession of the Bellfield Church and Halls just few short weeks ago, have been as busy ever since getting it ready for everyone’s community use. Part-time Development Managers, Emma Griffiths and Angela Thomas, have been hard at work creating a costed and sequenced plan for the essential safety and repair work which needs to be done before we can open Bellfield fully for use by the community in June 2018. New fire alarms, improved fire escape routes, asbestos identification and specialist high level repairs to the clock tower, are all crucial steps which will allow the building to be used safely and legally. The team are also looking at how best to upgrade the kitchen and catering facilities. To keep fully up to date and be involved, do join as Action Porty Members! Email


Friends of Figgate Park are selling a calendar to raise funds for their great work improving the park. Just £8 for a wonderful 2018 calendar full of gorgeous figgy wildlife photos (all taken by Anthony Robson) as well as that feel good factor knowing you are supporting a lovely local park, nominated as one of the best in the UK. The calendars will be available for sale at the Farmers Market in Brighton Park on Saturday 2 December from 10am.


The temperatures are dropping, and it’s time for all of us to get prepared for winter.  The link below gives the location of grit bins, what you can expect the Council to do in severe weather, and what you can do to make yourself and your street well aware and ready for winter. The Council will do it’s bit, but fit individual citizens can and will help themselves and neighbours out when weather gets tough.  More here :


The Thistle Foundation, Queens Walk, Craigmillar, are holding another community music night on Friday 24 November, 6.30pm – 8.30pm.  Join in a night of fun and singalong!  Good food, music and free admission.  Over 16s only.  More information and sign up form Dani Waddell.  Email  or phone Dani on 07909 257415


Now it’s time to look away and stop reading, if it’s still too early for you to think about Christmas……


Christmas Fair on Saturday 25 November 11am – 1pm in Richmond Craigmillar Church Hall to support the Church’s amazing local work.


This Christmas, you can take the whole family to meet The Snow Queen who has transformed Newhailes into a magical winter wonderland.  And you can help the busy elves prepare for Christmas, taking part in a range of festive crafts, songs and dance. Sound like fun?  More details here:


Join Thistle on Saturday 2 December for Thistle’s first ever Christmas Fair. From 12.30pm – 4pm the Centre of Wellbeing will be full of carol singing, cakes, cards and gifts, fantastic artisan produce and plenty of Christmas cheer!  There might be a couple of stall spaces left, so do contact if you’re interested. Entry is £1 on the door (under 16s free).


All are welcome to Holy Rood High School’s Christmas Carols and Craft Fair on Monday 4 December 5pm – 8pm. A wide variety of Christmas gifts for all. £2 entry (children free entry)


Christmas Makers Market at Tribe Porty is on Saturday 9 December, 12-4pm.  Free entry.


Christmas Carol Service on Sunday 17 December for 4pm: a service of traditional Lessons and Carols with mulled fruit punch and mince pies afterwards. Do come along with family and friends. Details of all our services at:


Whatever you do, have a lovely weekend!


Kind regards



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

Maureen Child Update 3 November 2017

Dear All


A great initiative from the Evening News and our fabulous local bus company.  Nominate your favourite ‘random act of kindness’ by local bus drivers! One driver stopped his Number 3 service to hop out and assist a pensioner struggling with his shoelace at the side of the road. Another on the 44 route jumped out at a stop to assist an elderly resident across the street, while another went to the rescue of a hedgehog stranded in the road. Awarded or not, bus driver or not, if we all did those random acts of kindness, we’d find our own reward!  More here:


Evidence is mounting that diesel emissions are causing serious health problems and making Edinburgh city air quality worse and many cities are already taking steps to combat this. What do you think of the idea of adding a surcharge to Edinburgh residents’ parking permits for diesel vehicles? Have your say here:


Edinburgh’s Licensing Board has begun an initial, informal consultation on the terms of its Statement of Licensing Policy.  The Board is required to agree the terms of its new policy, to be published by the end of 2018.  The details of the consultation are located on the Council’s online Consultation Hub:-


Faulty lamp post in your street? Each one has a registration number, which helps, but if you can’t get the number, the exact location will do.  Report it to


Traffic congestion might be driving you mad – and I told you so in 2003 – but even so research by the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Mobility Index has revealed Edinburgh’s transport infrastructure is the second best in the UK, only pipped to the top by London. More here:


Portobello High School Fair is on Saturday 4 November 10am-1pm, organised by the school’s Parent Council.  I’ll be on the Fairtrade stall for a while, so do come and say ‘Hello!’.


Fancy an outing to Craigmillar Castle Park? Events planned throughout autumn.  Details here:


Portobello and Leith Guides Jumble Sale Saturday 4 November in Portobello and Joppa Parish church hall 1pm-3pm.


At Portobello Market this Saturday you can place orders with your favourite trader to be collected on the 2 December market.The market is in Brighton Park, Brighton Place, from 9.30am to 1.30am. Check out the PEDAL website to see the full list of traders and any updates.

BG Cycles of Portobello is back on site, offering a free check on your bicycle, so bring it along and make sure it’s fit for winter riding. Please Like & Share our Facebook page Next market is on Saturday 2nd December. There is no market in January.


If you’re looking for a venue for a local event or meeting, Portobello Community Council usefully complied a list which is freely available on their website :


Local Opportunites for Older People (LOOPS) are open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm to answer your calls. Call fabulous LOOPS on 0131 603 8311 to speak to a friendly adviser about activities in your area. More here:


Best wishes for a good weekend, whatever you are up to.




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

Maureen Child Update 26 October 2017

Dear All


It was a privilege to be able to pay a Full Council tribute to the current Head Teacher of Castleview Primary School in Craigmillar who was awarded the very prestigious annual Scottish Government Robert Owen Award, joining a pantheon of internationally renowned previous recipients. It has been even more of a privilege for me to know Lyndsey Watt, to work with her in the Craigmillar community and to learn so much about leadership from her.  This was truly inspired choice for this very Inspiring Educator for a hugely inspiring educator. More about Lyndsey and her personal and professional journey here from an Evening News article four years ago:


Also this morning, your four Portobello/Craigmillar Councillors – working together as a Local Ward team – secured cross-Party consensus on a way forward for the Powerleague site to ensure that the widest range of people in the community are fully and properly involved in getting the best possible development on the site that meets the wider needs of East Edinburgh and our own neighbourhood in Portobello at the same time.


Craigmillar Castle Park Event for Halloween is on Sunday 29 October, 2pm-5pm. This promises to be lots of fun, with spooky games and activities thanks to the effective collaboration of quite a number of people and their organisations working together! For booking, and more information, email:


Here’s a link to great prospectus put together for Castlebrae Community High School as it continues to grow from strength to strength:


Holyrood High School news is also well worth looking up regularly through their website:


Newcraighall Autumn Fair is on 10am-4pm Saturday 28 October Crafts, gifts, vintage collectibles and other stalls with live music and refreshments at Wellsprings (the old church), 71 Whitehill St, Newcraighall EH21 8QZ.


Thistle are holding cheese tasting and art sale night to raise much-needed funds and are delighted to welcome artist and printmaker, Linda Sheridan, who will be happy to talk about her work and is offering prints for sale.In 2016, Linda’s ‘Coal Fans Portobello’ was selected for an open exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy. Meanwhile Bams Deli in Musselburgh is providing a tasting with cheeses from all over Europe – Holland, Spain, Italy France – in addition to its range of wonderful Scottish fare.  Drinks will also be provided.  A Tai Chi taster session will be led by Thistle volunteer Margaret Hendry. Tickets are available at reception £10.  All profits go to support the work of the Thistle Foundation, Thistle Centre of Wellbeing 13 Queens Walk, EH16 4EA.


Another note for your diary – St Martin’s Church in Magdalene are holding their Autumn Fair on 18 November. Any gifts for the fair will be gratefully received any Sunday between now and then.


Here’s a great write up for Portobello Book Festival in the Edinburgh Reporter. This year’s was decidedly the best yet, I think, as it gets better every year.   Click and read here:


Craigmillar Book Festival 2017 is coming up 16 – 25 November, with over 40 events for children and young people in Craigmillar. All events are free.


Lothian Buses have increased passenger numbers by 50% in the last 6 months. Hundreds more have been using LB’s newly extended services to Fort Kinnaird that launched six months ago. Since announcing the changes in April, Lothian has seen a 50% rise in the number of passengers using Services 18 and 49 to travel to the shopping, dining and leisure. The half-hourly Service 18 runs to Fort Kinnaird from the Royal Infirmary via Little France and Greendykes Road, and the Service 49 connects Leith, Lochend and Portobello to Fort Kinnaird every 20 minutes. More here:


There are a few days left for you to cast your vote for your favourite park.  My vote is for the Figgate Park – of course!


The next Portobello Timebank Brunstane Burn Clean Up is on Saturday 4 November 1.30pm – 4pm.


I enjoyed my break last week, but it is good to be back!


Best wishes





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

Maureen Child Update 12 October 2017

Dear All


Portobello Timebank members completed another fantastic clean up of Magdalene Glen last Saturday – a truly magnificent effort, and all very much appreciated! A lovely sunny day brought out a dozen people, of all ages and abilities, to pick up surface litter around the Asda footbridge, and to tackle weightier problems alongside Portobello Timebank members. On a previous recce Timebanker James Carver had discovered a trolley graveyard up near Fort Kinnaird, and 18 were recovered in various states of disrepair. A couple of recently fly-tipped mattresses were also dealt with.  As ever, a Council refuse cage was filled with rubbish accumulated since the Timebank group were last there in May.  Have you seen the photos on social media yet?


Also a massive thank you to the great 18 volunteers who spent a total of 74 hours on our Bellfield’s pre winter clear up at the weekend!


Portobello Timebank is having a coffee and cake morning on Saturday in Portobello Baptist Church,10am -12noon so come along and  find out how you can get involved and help them raise some funds and find out about the next fun clean up!  TIckets are £3 and accompanied children go free.  See you there?


Our dynamic Portobello beach volleyball duo is featured again this week; great role models for women and girls taking part in sport and training on our doorstep! Click here:


The Thistle’s Monday Tai Chi classes have been incredibly busy lately, so they recently added a fourth weekly session to the timetable. There is now a session on a Wednesday at 1.30pm.  If you’ve never tried it before, and want to give it a go, do pop in and speak to the friendly reception team at Queen’s Walk, Craigmillar.


David Calder’s local podcasts are always worth a listen, and this one no less than the others about enabling children to swim: David’s Porty Podcasts now number well over 50 and are great to listen to in archive too!


As the parent of two sons who went to Towerbank Primary School and the grandparent of five Towerbank pupils and ex-pupils, I am personally delighted to contribute a little to the ongoing development of the fantastic playground by buying a ticket for their lottery. Maybe you would like to do so as well?  Here’s the link:


This week I gave a big plug for the amazing ‘Alex and Charlie’ book for children which three of the six young authors from Young Edinburgh Action who presented so confidently at Portobello Book Festival over the weekend.  Watch me in action (if you  reallywant) from 52m48secs


In my view, Youth Action shows us all how to do politics for real and make a tangible difference in people’s lives; by participating and making a sustainable change in policy, culture and attitudes.  Our representative democratic structures, like Councils and Parliaments are important, but it can also seem like ‘all talk and no action’. These youngsters show how participatory democracy can be done well. So, please do take note and learn from how they do politics!


On this topic, I just got a lovely note of thanks for this from Christina McMellon who chaired two Sunday sessions I went to in Portobello Book Festival. Christina says:   “On behalf of the Young Edinburgh Action team (staff and young people) I’d really like to thank you for your contribution at the Education, Children and Families Committee on Tuesday. We were cheering you on as we watched the live stream.  You reflected the project and our views about young people’s participation perfectly.” She also says the young people also got a big buzz out of presenting their work to Portobello Book Festival.  This was all such a fabulous learning experience – for us all!


On the ongoing  complaints about the occupation of caravans and mobile homes at foot of Kings Road, I had a walk about down there this week – in the rain – and met one of the local residents who desperately wants something done about them.  I will ask –  again –  if the Council would put up notices encouraging people to have some consideration and not to camp there overnight in their caravans and mobile homes.  It is causing some grief to immediate neighbour’s.


This week, I visited residents in the sheltered housing in Hope Lane, first thing in the morning, and saw demonstrated in practice how difficult they find crossing the busy Hope Lane to get to the new path and beyond.  There are a number of things that have to be sorted around the new school as it beds in, and some of these are being flushed out through a road safety audit.  Once that audit is complete (very soon, I hope!) and the recommendations for changes clear, work will be done to sort out the issues these residents have.  I am also well aware that the flashing lights on the 20mph signs on Milton Road are not working as they should, while the one on Hope Lane works fine!  Apparently they were connected to the wrong electricity supply and that really does need to be sorted too!  It is in hand.


On Tuesday evening, Ian Bienowski, network performance manager for Lothian Buses plc came to Craigmillar Community Council (CCC) to answer questions about the re-routing of the No 21.   Since the changes in the Spring, instead of going via Peffermill Road, the No 21 goes straight to the new Royal infirmary along the dedicated bus lane through Greendykes. Understandably, Craigmillar residents to the west of the Greendykes Road junction are upset and angry that they must now take two buses to get to the RIE and Savacentre and they are not as well served as before. This route change was to make sure the buses are more reliable, by avoiding congestion both at Craigmillar crossroads and the junction near Savacentre.  All four Local Portobello/Craigmillar Councillors were at the Community Council Meeting.  Last Spring these changes imposed on us with no notice at all, with no opportunity to protest about it.  We – and CCC – are assured of a much better dialogue in future.


Have a great weekend when it comes!


Best wishes




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