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Maureen Reports - 33. page

Maureen Child Update 19 February 2014

Dear All

Portobello Heritage Trust have arranged an illustrated talk and display of finds from the Portobello Harbour Dig at Bridge Street near the Pottery Kilns. The event is in the Baptist Church Hall, 185 Portobello High Street tomorrow, Thursday 20 February at 7.30pm and the speakers are local freelance ceramic researcher George Haggarty and the City’s Archaeologist John Lawson. Promises to be fascinating and entertaining. All welcome and admission is free.

Belles on Bikes is running its second Edinburgh run on 22 February. facebook.com/events/3626013… If you are a female cyclist looking to get out on your bike then come along! We are a friendly bunch of ladies keen on cycling (and cake) and welcome women of all abilities. If you are interested in getting the group up and running in Edinburgh then we’d love to hear from you. The route will be a quiet, relaxed and reasonably flat loop around East Lothian, starting from Portobello in Edinburgh. It’s around 30 miles, with a cake stop in Longniddry. Here’s the route: http://www.bikemap.net/en/route/2425476-portobello-musselburgh-longniddry-musselburgh-portobello/

Porty Beach and Figgate Burn clear up squad of volunteers is meeting up for some hard graft, starting at 10.30am Sunday 23 February at Bridge St. Car Park. All welcome to lend a hand – dressed appropriately for the task, of course.

An “All you need to know” home security booklet in PDF format bit.ly/1j4DezO What are you going to do to make your home more secure?

Portobello Transition Town’s Market is a week on Saturday. Organiser, Graham Kitchener says: “February’s a short month, which is great because here we are already, just 10 days away from the next Portobello Market on Saturday 1 March. We have an exciting new supplier this month called Build Rwanda. Responsibly sourced African cooking products that help support communities in Rwanda. Arbroath Smokies are back, together with our popular and regular suppliers of organic lamb, mutton, pork and beef; seasonal vegetables; handmade soaps; crafts and textiles and plants and furniture for the garden. There’s something for the pet pooch too, and we have several baking and food stalls including condiments, sweet and savoury pastries, fresh bread made the old fashioned way, and freshly brewed real espresso coffee to while away the time at our tables and chairs. A full list of stallholders is available on the website. We open at 9.30 until 1.30pm. Don’t miss out on this wide variety of goods as it’s 5 weeks before we’re back again on 5 April. See you there in Brighton Park, just off Brighton Place, Portobello.”

There was a Community Media Café on blogging in Craigmillar Library last December. This was part of the Digital Commonwealth project for communities in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Ayrshire which has a particular focus on blogging, video, audio and social media. The project is now moving to the next stage and is looking for volunteers who are interested in exploring these themes further to sign up (link below). If you are interested, you have until 28 February to apply: http://digitalcommonwealth.co.uk/2014/02/11/recruiting-now-digital-storytelling-workshops-in-glasgow-edinburgh-and-ayrshire/

Lastly, this has gone ‘viral’ on social media, but you might not have seen it yet: Scottish Water’s story about what Scots put down their sewers – but shouldn’t! – might be of interest: ow.ly/tHRxQ

Best wishes

Maureen

Maureen Child Update 14 February 2014

Dear All

As many will have noticed, the traffic signals at Bath Street/Brighton Place and Portobello High Street have been changed as a consequence of aligning the pedestrian crossings at Windsor Place and the Town Hall. This might have had some befits elsewhere, but is causing difficulties – especially in the north south routes and also at the pedestrian crossings. I have had a number of discussions with local residents, watched what is happening myself and had a chat with the lollipop lady too. The change is still very under review and I anticipate it will not stay as it is now. I will be doing a site visit with the signals team next week, so would appreciate any further feedback you can give about what your own experience has been of knock-on effects nearby and in the wider area – good or bad – so we can get the balance better.

Craigmillar Community Arts invite you to an “Arts Cabaret” tomorrow – Saturday afternoon (between 1pm and 4pm) at the centre which is on the corner near Fort Kinnaird on Newcraighall Road . This is to help celebrate World Community Arts Day and launch their new “Arts and Health Programme”. The fun event will offer opportunities for everyone to sing, paint, act, write, try some crafts and listen to music while learning how taking part in creative activities can improve your health. The event is open to people of all ages and you can drop in for a while or stay all afternoon. There will be a scheduled programme of workshops throughout the afternoon, a range of drop-in activities, a pop-up café and an opportunity to have a free health MOT (provided by Edinburgh-based social enterprise, the Centre of Health and Wellbeing). This event will also mark the start of our exciting new “Arts and Health” programme (funded by NHS Lothian Health Foundation), which will run over the next 2 years.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Lorna Hood, will be guest preacher at the beautiful Robin Chapel, Craigmillar, this coming Sunday 16 Feb, at the service starting at 4pm. Music, as usual, is provided by the very talented Chapel Choir. All welcome.

Local people in Portobello, in partnership with the Council and others locally, including Romanian families settled in Edinburgh are inviting you to a party – a Romanian and Scottish Celebration on Friday 28 February 6.30 – 9.30 pm in the Washhouse Community Centre Adelphi Grove, Portobello Food, Music, Dancing Bring dish or snacks to share and – if you want – a song or a tune. All are welcome, bring the kids! Please RSVP to Gica and let her know numbers of adults and children. Tel: 669 7618 Mobile: 0781 465 7029 or email: gica@loening.com
This Hunters Hall Park local community consultation is happening now, although I made clear to senior management that local community consultation on the principle of the development should have taken place first, before any drawings were made or consultants appointed. The Jack Kane Community Wing management committee were included (at my insistence) and their representatives have also been pushing for a much wider community discussion of the principle:

David Wardrop says: “The City of Edinburgh Council recently appointed a team of external consultants to complete an options appraisal study and stakeholder engagement, in relation to options for the development of cycling and synthetic turf pitch facilities at Hunters Hall Park. The purpose of this study is to create a masterplan for the Park. The Park is presently home to the Jack Kane Sports Centre, and several grass pitches, and serves as one of the city’s multi-pitch sites for football and other team sports. Options for improvement of the Sports Centre and its Community Wing are also being reviewed as part of the study. The Park is also recognised as an important informal recreational green space for users seeking less structured informal recreation. The historic woodlands, together with the newly planted woodlands and the burnside, provide biodiversity and opportunities for people to enjoy quiet walks and rest, and it is important that those who wish to use the Park for informal recreation continue to be able to do so. The study follows discussions with governing bodies and the cycling community regarding their desire to see improved cycling facilities in the city. The commitment is part of the Council’s £1.215m investment in sports facilities, and a further £800k is available for pitch improvements, to include at least one new 3G pitch in the Park. The aim is to add to the regeneration of the area by revitalising the Park and Sports Centre with investment in new and upgraded facilities to create a sports hub, serving both the local community and the wider sporting community. The project has now reached a stage where some initial options have been developed. These reflect the brief, and the needs expressed to date by a number of sports organisations and other members of the project team. The next stage of the work is to consult with a range of local community organisations to seek views on the initial proposals, before the work progresses any further. I would like to invite you to attend a stakeholder consultation evening on Thursday 20 February. The consultation will be held at the Jack Kane Community Centre in Hunters Hall Park. The options being considered will be on display and there will be an opportunity to meet the members of the project team, to ask questions and to provide your feedback on the options. The consultation will be open and informal and will run from 4pm – 7pm. You are welcome to join us at any point during that time. This is an important opportunity for you to provide your input to the study and I very much hope you will be able to make time to contribute. In the meantime, if you have any questions relating to the consultation evening please do not hesitate to contact David Wardrop | Sports Manager | Culture and Sport | Corporate Governance | Level 2:6 | Waverley Court | 4 East Market Street | Edinburgh | EH8 8BG | Tel: 0131 529 7738”

This year is the 10th anniversary of the start of FairTrade Edinburgh. Come along to our Family Fair & Bruncheon! On 1 March, 10am to 2:30pm in Out of the Blue Drillhall pic.twitter.com/0ru6JlWpD0

You might find it useful to plug into what Keep Scotland Beautiful is doing. They run two community engagement campaignsBeautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood – which both give national recognition to, and celebrate the hard work of community groups who are cleaning up and greening up the local neighbourhoods where they live, work and visit.

To find out more about local partnership working, it’s always worth checking the Neighbourhood Partnership website for interesting things about the area and up-coming meetings – http://www.edinburghnp.org.uk/neighbourhood-partnerships/portobello-and-craigmillar

The harmful effects of cyber bullying and “sexting” are being highlighted in the latest phase of the Speak up Speak out public protection campaign. The campaign launched this week, to coincide with Safer Internet Day 2014. It’s the fourth in a series of campaigns highlighting public protection issues. This time the focus is on keeping safe online and on your phone. It’s a topic relevant to everyone but particularly to:

· children (spotlighting the issues of cyber bullying and sexting)
· parents/carers (for advice on how to keep children safe online)
· vulnerable adults
· older people
· domestic abuse situations.

To coincide with Safer Internet Day, Police Scotland and the Council have arranged a series of events in schools, community venues and libraries across the city. In addition, a range of posters will be seen in venues across Edinburgh to spotlight the main issues and directing people to these contact points for help:

· ChildLine (0800 1111) or ParentLine Scotland (08000 28 22 33)
· ThinkUKnow
· GetSafeOnline
· Saferinternet
· edinburgh.gov.uk
· Social Care Direct, The City of Edinburgh Council’s social work service (0131 200 2324).

A radio advert is being aired on Forth One and Two for one week until Tuesday 18 February and a series of child-friendly posters have been developed for primary and secondary schools.

Making sure vulnerable children, some of them looked after by the City of Edinburgh, should get the same chances as other children. 302 children have completed the ‘Jump In’ swim programme since December 2012. Out of the 200 children who have received a ‘Jump In’ card, 36% have continued swimming lessons with Edinburgh Leisure this is a 15% increase compared to last term. 83% of children who complete the Jump In ASN (additional support needs) sessions have continued into Edinburgh Leisure’s core swimming lessons. A parent of one of the Jump In participants gave the following feedback: ‘When Robert first came he didn’t want to get in the water. Now he loves it. He can’t wait to come back and the staff are great with the kids’. Consultation with parents who access Greendykes Early Years Centre highlighted that they would not normally have the disposable income to access swimming lessons, so the Centre started a funded learn-to-swim session through ‘Jump In’ at the Royal Commonwealth Pool. .

It’s always worth checking the Portobello/Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership website for interesting things about the area and up-coming meetings you might want to get involved in or ask about or help set the agenda – http://www.edinburghnp.org.uk/neighbourhood-partnerships/portobello-and-craigmillar

Bridgend Growing Communities’ annual Potato Day is 41 on Sunday 23 February 11am until 2pm at Bridgend Farm, Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, EH16 4TE. Many organic varieties on sale and all are welcome. I have a flyer with more information. Please spread the word.

Have a good weekend

Best wishes

Maureen

Maureen Child Update 4 February 2014

Dear All

A few things to update you on:

The launch of Dementia Friendly Portobello at Portobello Library yesterday was a huge success, with a lot of great connections made. It was great to have a full house.  A good start!  Do get back to me if you are interested.  One or two of us were also talking about doing it in Craigmillar.

Positive noises are coming through on the grapevine already:

·        Offers of free space for activities
·        Possibility of an art therapist doing something locally
·        A gentleman who has recently been diagnosed finding out about key link workers
·        Interest in a dementia awareness event locally
·        A dementia singing group
·        A dementia cafe
·        Interest from local emergency services, library & businesses
·        Local GP surgery keen to do their bit

Please do help us exchange ideas, suggestions and names of those interested in getting involved. If each of us in Porty could rope in one other person we’d have a good number of people! There was a write up in the Evening News last week about dementia friendly activities in Edinburgh, Porty got a mention – Creating a Dementia-friendly City

Free hands-on film-making group is starting up TODAY in Craigmillar Library, East Hub, 101 Niddrie Mains Road for young people 13+ starts Tuesday 4 Feb for 2 hours from 5.45pm pic.twitter.com/txGtwdzUZd

The joyful ‘Sunshine on Leith’ is the next film to be put on by local voluntary group Portobello Open Door at the Wash House next Saturday 8 Feb at 7pm. See you there? See: fb.me/3gqrPqsYk

I hope everyone will support plans for new pedestrian crossing outside St Philip’s Church Joppa, a project the Portobello/Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership is planning to take forward and which many local people have wanted for a long time. http://www.portobellocc.org/Consultations.php

Local resident Danielle Trudeau and others share a vision for finding a local space for a collective of professionals and makers. See A Quest called Tribe The identified space would form flexible and permanent office, desk and workshop rental as well as a community hub for a variety of events and activities that complement what we already have.. Danielle is looking to find out if there is a gap to fill and what the filling might look like. It takes only a few minutes to fill in the survey, whatever your interest might be.  Your feedback will help them create an amazing and exciting new space. So far, 76 responses have come in via facebook and twitter and the group want to make sure they reach more parts that social media doesn’t reach.  Hence this email. The survey only takes 4.14 minutes, promise, Closing date 14 February. the survey link is  https://trudeau.typeform.com/to/s3UGMF

Local police have told us today (Tuesday) that a 25 yr old male, arrested and in custody regarding theft from sheds and house breaking offences in Joppa and Musselburgh areas

Communities Together: Build Bridges Holocaust Memorial Event is Next Tuesday, 11 February, 6.30-8.30pm, Portobello High School  With guest speaker, Judy Russell, daughter of Holocaust survivor Ernest Levy. More information email nicola.todd@portobello.edin.sch.uk. Refreshments and exhibition from 6.30pm in the school library  Musical performance . Presentations from the school’s Young Holocaust Education Ambassadors.

Mark Cooper tells me there is a gig on 1st March  at Portobello Town Hall, where his band The Nature Boys are playing and also The 10:04’s, who played Hogmanay with the Pet Shop Boys.  It’s all for charity and tickets are £7.50. 100% of the money will go to the Jordan Houston Foundation, a charity set up in memory of a local lad who sadly died of a brain tumour aged just 11. It’s going to be an amazing night of punk/rock for a brilliant local cause. You can get tickets by emailing Mark Cooper at mark@runwithmark.com.

It’s very welcome to see that the number of passengers attracted to Lothian Buses is at a 25-year high http://www.scotsman.com/lothian-buses-see-passengers-at-25-year-high-1-3287013 but there can be difficulties when routes and stops change. Do you use the 26 or 44 bus service? If so, you may wish to join Carolyn Wilson’s campaign.  Carolyn says: “After standing last night at the side of Jenners in the freezing cold I have decided that enough is enough. If you feel like me and want our 26 and 44 bus to either go back to Princes Street then contact Lothian Buses. email: mail@lothianbuses.com”  More at fb.me/3bELfHpMn

Sing in the City at Porty Town Hall – another date for your diary. fb.me/1b5fqvomK

Portobello Online have been working on their Gallery section. You can now create your own tag-based gallery, staring with Kings Road junction as it used to be.  See:  fb.me/2fsv5GxjL

More on the ‘adoption’ of Brunstane Station which I wrote about a while back: two local residents nearby have taken up the challenge and Scotrail tell me they will be in touch soon to give them safety training, install planters and so on.

Need some help to get a community improvement project off the ground? The Edinburgh Evening News can help : pic.twitter.com/7hj0NMFelw

Following an accident where someone slipped and fell quite badly, I alerted the Council and  Park Rangers have been busy putting wire onto the boardwalk in Figgate Park to help reduce the risk of slipping. Here they are hard at work:  pic.twitter.com/3ITxksenWx

A Communications Level 3 SQA course running at Sandy’s Community Centre in Craigmillar is helping young people work on their literacy, ICT and communication skills as well as other associated job preparation needs such as interview skills. wp.me/p2xW77-1iB

A thought-provoking graph showing the probability of slight, serious and fatal injuries to people depending on the speed of the car and why keeping speed limits low in residential areas is – literally – vital! pic.twitter.com/UruSjPV9k9

Several local groups benefited from funding http://www.evoc.org.uk/partnership/change-fund/canny-wi-cash-participatory-budgeting-project/

The ‘Canny Wi Cash’ voluntary sector celebration event was a wonderful success and it was great to welcome – in particular –  people from Portobello Older People’s Project, Hunter’s Hall Housing Co-op and Niddrie Farm Grove with a lot of other groups of volunteers, staff and older people themselves to the City Chambers for a cuppa and a chat about what they get up to. The Canny wi’ Cash Report “Our Voice is Being Heard at Last” is now available on EVOC’s website.

Environmental charity Changeworks’ “waste wise” volunteers are out in Craigmillar.  You might have seen posters on how to get involved. ow.ly/i/4ruuV  Changeworks inspired over 74,000 people & 1,700 organisations to live and work more sustainably in 2013 Let us inspire you too ow.ly/swGyD

I hope at least some of the above is interesting or helpful!

Best wishes

Maureen

Maureen Child Update 27 January 2014

Dear All

Please find my latest Councillor’s Report attached. A few more things for now – and a list which is by no means exhaustive of all that is going on, so do keep the ideas coming!….

Notice for all about “Dosh Day” which is taking place on Thursday 30 January 2014 at The White House, Niddrie Mains Road, Craigmillar, from 9.30am until 1pm. This is an awareness day for the public at which a variety of advice and guidance will be offered on a number of different topics– but predominantly it is about ways for families on low incomes might save money. Seonaid Boyle Project Administrator Money Matters Project Financial Inclusion Team Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association, 1 Hay Avenue Edinburgh EH16 4RW. Phone: 0131 657 0655

From Graham Kitchener about the local Portobello Market which he and others run for us on an entirely voluntary basis: “It’s been a quick month, and on the 1st of February the Portobello Market returns. It’s Groundhog weekend too, which is appropriate, as that Saturday is the first of our regular fun days repeating on the first Saturday of every month for the rest of the year. We kick off with two exciting new suppliers this month: one provides hand-made knitted goods, including Merino wool, and the other is a fresh fish stall which we have worked hard to get. Of course we have all your regular favourites too with everything from bread, cheese and oils to organic meats, vegetables, soaps and crafts. We’ll have out tables and chairs out for you to sit a while with a fresh coffee and listen to the live music from Scott’s Music Band. Check out the full list of stallholders here. So, see you at 9.30am in Brighton Park, Brighton Place, Portobello. We’ll be trading away until 1.30pm and look forward to welcoming you.”

Like last year, Portobello High School parents are organising a major fundraising Cabaret Night. Please do show your support for Portobello High School and have a great night too! Tickets on sale now at the school office and at Cashbrokers’ shop on Portobello High Street for their fabulous Special soulful jazzy cabaret night. You can reserve a table with friends (or meet new ones there), enjoy a drink from the bar, and settle down for some top class entertainment ranging from the fabulous jazz band via stunning solo artists to The Nomads (winners of Edinburgh’s Battle of the Bands competition) all hosted by Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis. There will be time to talk and enjoy the atmosphere as well as being wowed (and sometimes surprised) by the acts, Portobello High School Hall is transformed into a club style venue for the night with licensed bar on Friday 7 February from 7.30pm– 10.30pm (doors open 7pm). Tickets: £8. To reserve a table for your group email ewood@qmu.ac.uk This is a key fundraiser for the Parent Council to raise money for the school and was a huge success – both socially and financially – last year. Please check the Facebook site to see just how much of a difference your support can make http://www.facebook.com/pages/PHS-Fundraising/161119547255992

City of Edinburgh Council recently announced ambitious plans to become a ‘Dementia Friendly’ City. As part of this initiative, local people and local home care providers Home Instead Senior Care are working with local community leaders to create a dementia friendly community in Portobello. Starting at 3.30pm, for an hour, you will hear how local residents and businesses can help make Portobello a better place for people affected by dementia; both those who live in Portobello and those who visit Edinburgh’s Seaside. Sandra Shafii (NHS Lanarkshire’s Dementia Consultant) will tell us how Motherwell became Scotland’s first dementia friendly town. Take inspiration from what is possible as Sandra tells us about their experiences. If you would rather, drop-in any time between 4.30pm and 5.30pm to find out how you can get involved. For more details call Home Instead Senior Care on 0131 300 0599 or visit www.homeinstead.co.uk/edinburgh

If you are interested in improving links in Primary Care, you may find the blog about a recent event of some interest: www.improvinglinks.scot.nhs.uk

You have until 14 February to respond to the fire and rescue service plan consultation. Given the very scary stair fires in Portobello, perhaps you could have a lot to say and think about how to prevent them and what you would do? Still time to tell the Fire and Rescue Service what you think of Edinburgh’s own local plan. Consult closes 14th Feb. Your views are important. Click on this link and look for City of Edinburgh: http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/about-us/local-plans.aspx

I was at the Hub in the Thistle Foundation in Craigmillar last week. Currently Wighton House is the midst of a building site off Greendykes Road at the end of Tudsbery Avenue. The facilities staff were telling me they have about 900 people coming and going all day – for courses, to the gym or for support or supervision – so parking is at a premium. The Thistle have taken up a great idea for raising funds for their charity, which involves a lot of sitting around eating cake an drinking coffee with pals. Sounds good to me. The first one, and the launch, was last week. Lemon drizzle cake to die for! There are photos, but no cake left. For details, see here: www.thistle.org.uk/t-for-thistle

A survey seeking people’s views on the Edinburgh’s Parks Events Manifesto is underway now until 21 March 2014. The City’s parks are home to a number of high profile festivals and events every year. These events enhance the city’s reputation, generate significant economic benefit for the region and add to Edinburgh’s cultural and community activity. However, it is also recognised that these events can impact on the parks themselves, as well as how they are used by local people and others. The Parks Events Manifesto enables the Council to assess which events take place within our parks and green spaces. It outlines how many events should take place in each park and provides the criteria to help decide if a request is suitable. As well as providing criteria tailored to those parks used most frequently for events, the document also provides a framework for a balanced events programme and aims to make sure that the quality of the land is maintained to the highest standard possible. The survey is now open for anyone who has an interest in Edinburgh’s parks. Once the survey is complete we will analyse the results and present these to the Transport and Environment Committee on 3 June 2014. Further information, including links to the current manifesto and the survey, is available at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/eventsinparks. Paper copies of the survey are available by calling 0131 529 7921 or emailing parks@edinburgh.gov.uk

You can now apply for a Scotmid community grant using their new online form. Find it here: http://www.scotmid.coop/community-and-charity/supporting-local-communities/scotmid-community-grant/

A stolen bike was recovered in Portobello and is looking for its owner: Marin, silver frame, blue forks. Is it yours? pic.twitter.com/Q4GRDwrZ2Y

Keep your property safe by keeping it locked and out of sight if at all possible!

Best wishes

Maureen

Maureen Child Report January 2014

Dementia Aware Portobello
We are launching on 3 February in Portobello Library and looking for local volunteers to help us take this great initiative further forward. The current steering group is a partnership of public, private, charity and community members and needs people to commit just a little bit of their time and energy to help make it happen, raise people’s awareness and ensure Portobello is a generally understanding and friendly place for people who suffer from dementia. It won’t happen at all if we are not aware of how this condition affects people and know what to do to help, and what not to do. All of us will know someone who is affected by memory loss at some time in their lives. We can all help make life a little easier for those of us who might get confused or distressed on occasions, and those who care for them.

Walk the Walk
Last June a cross-Party group of 8 Edinburgh women Councillors teamed up to do the Moonwalk in Edinburgh and raised money to help those suffering from breast cancer. Seven of us walked as a team called ‘Strident’. As a result of our small efforts, I was invited to an inspirational meeting with the founder and organisers and beneficiaries of the event to hear how our money is spent. There is a fantastic relationship between our Western General Hospital, Maggie’s Centres and the Moonwalk. The money raised has enabled huge improvements in the care and treatment of cancer patients and to help provide just the kind of support they and their families and friends need. The Moonwalk in Scotland has netted over £16 million in the last 8 years for vital investments in cancer care. They are looking for people to get fit and walk but also to volunteer and sponsor this year’s event which starts at Inverleith Park on Saturday 7 June 2014. Now is the time for us to start training for the 26.2 miles or indeed the 52.4 miles walk through the night and into next day. There is also a 6.55 mile New Moon or 13.1 mile Half Moon challenge, which we find a bit more of a ‘walk-in-the-park’. Whatever the distance, let’s make the event bigger and better than ever before! Find out more on: www.walkthewalk.org/moonwalkscotland, Phone 01483 741 430 or email info@walkthewalk.org.

Portobello Kilns Restored
The restoration work on our historic Portobello pottery kilns was just completed last week. Our local Portobello Heritage Trust have done a huge amount of work, alongside the Council and contractors, to make sure these scheduled ancient monuments were restored, rebuilt and repaired. These landmark scheduled ancient monuments should continue to stand testimony to Portobello’s proud industrial past. The brickwork craftsmanship really is superb. To mark the project’s completion, there should be some celebration, but we have yet to know what form that will take.

Don’t Be Digitally Excluded!
The charity Third Age Computer Fun runs friendly, informal weekly 2-hour drop-in sessions at a very low cost for the over 50s. Initial taster sessions are free of charge. On Thursdays 10am-12 noon they meet at Craigmillar Library, 101 Niddrie Mains Rd EH16 4DS . It is a very friendly group. One local lady from the Portobello community council area went along with her friend and told me: “I just had to write to tell you that a friend and I have just returned from our first session at the Computer Club at Craigmillar Library.  We are just so impressed with the excellent help that is available! The tutors are so knowledgeable and friendly (as is the whole group) and have the happy knack of making ‘students’ feel eager to learn and in no way did we feel patronised about the applications we did not know about.”  The club is always keen for new people to come along.  Find out more – for you or someone you know call 0300 6666 110.

Portobello Developments – Baileyfield and Portobello Park
The Scottish Power Baileyfield Site was put on the market last year with a closing date in December 2012, well over a year ago now. I am being told informally that the sellers are closer to agreeing a sale, but it may not be the Council who are currently one of the shortlisted bidders. This site is master-planned for housing and mixed uses, but will need a lot of remediation and most of the bidders will have put in a conditional offer subject to a site investigation. It is widely expected that parts of the site will be contaminated, given its previous industrial use. This is not the preferred site for Portobello High School. The very best option for our new secondary school remains Portobello Park. The Council’s Private Bill, simply to change the Common Good purpose of the new school site, has passed the first stage in the Scottish Parliament. It was debated by MSPs and agreed by all political Parties in the Chamber. The Portobello Park Private Bill Committee is scheduled to meet again four times over this next phase of consideration but MSPs may not need all four scheduled meetings. My hope and expectation is that the Bill will become law by summer 2014 and allow work to start soon after with an opening possible for the new school term in August 2016. A report on progress will go to the next meeting of the full Council on 6 February. That report will be in the public domain by Friday 31 January.

Newcraighall Housing Development Gets the Go-Ahead
Permission was granted for 270 units at Newcraighall North site between Gilberstoun and Newcraighall, despite the objections from north and south of the site and a previous Reporter decision suggesting 140. The detailed plan was granted permission on this green field site a division at the Committee, 8 in favour and 3 against. The only addition Committee made to the planners’ recommended conditions of the consent was a request that the developer pay a sum towards the improvement of Newcraighall play-park, when the legal agreement is drawn up. I went on a wander around the village recently taking photographs, mainly of the disused railway abutment that will be removed, as part of this development. I still cannot see how this junction will work as one of the two entry/exit points to the site.

Craigmillar Primary Schools
It’s always a delight to go into primary schools to meet young people. It’s particularly fun to go with staff from the Jack Kane Community Centre. We were presenting their certificates and booklets showing all the work they did together in the ‘Agents for Change’ programme. Davie and Diane work with P6s in the area, helping develop the kids’ confidence of their place in their own neighbourhoods. Last week it was Niddrie Mill in the morning and St Francis in the afternoon. I was asked loads of great questions and they were more than able to answer mine too. I also had the pleasure of meeting a P4 class form Castleview at the bus stop in Newcraighall. They were taking part in the Craigmillar Heritage Trail, put together by a group set up by Helen Crummy, founding secretary of the Craigmillar Festival Society. Her legacy lives on at Castleview and beyond.

Helen Crummy Memorial
A sum of money from a bit of planning gain in Craigmillar has been used to commission a piece of sculpture to sit outside the Craigmillar Library. A local group of people who knew and worked with Helen interviewed and selected the work of Tim Chalk. The installation will take place soon and a date for the unveiling has been set. Family, friends, colleagues of Helen’s and also people who took part in a musical put on in 1973 are being traced and brought to the ceremony, including some people who have gone on to other great things, as well known faces in the world of drama and/or making a huge contribution to arts and education – thanks to Helen.