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Maureen Child Update 16 January 2014

Dear All

Here’s a strong recommendation for a local ‘over 50s’ computer club which I helped promote last year – and will again. Marion from the Christians/Brands neighbourhood 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 etc which we did not know about.”  The club is always keen to look for new people to come along.  Find out more for you or someone you know: http://www.thirdagecf.org.uk 

The Council provides cash support for carers so they can have a break – maybe to go to the friendly computer club or have a bit of a holiday. If you know anyone who might qualify for this kind of support, do find out more and spread the word.  Click on: carers support payment for more information.

The Edinburgh police recently announced that more police officers to go on beat in Edinburgh through a change in officers’ duties away from response teams to more community beat duties and change in shift patterns.  This is in response what was coming through loud and clear in local consultation responses and pressure from local Councillors who were all feeling that there had been a loss of community engagement since the formation of Police Scotland in April 2013.  For Evening News coverage click on: community policing

Especially in the aftermath of Christmas, you may have debt worries yourself or know someone who has. Get help National Debtline 0808 808 4000, from charity Step Change 0800 138 1111, the local CAB, or the Council’s own advice services. All these services are free. The CABx always have useful up to date information, and advice e.g. on avoiding or dealing with payday loans. Click on: dealing with debt

Several legacy charity trust funds for the relief of poverty used to be administered by the City of Edinburgh Council until 2011 and are now consolidated and managed by the national charity Elizabeth Finn Trust (EFT). I serve on the Trust’s Edinburgh advisory committee. EFT have made the application process a lot easier in recent months and may be able to help you or someone you know – or you may be in a position to donate so that other people can get the help they need.  The Edinburgh Trust was established in 2011. The Edinburgh Trust operates solely in the City of Edinburgh to provide dedicated support to its residents who are in financial need.  They can help with provision of a small regular payment, made periodically in instalment; support for children – for example school uniforms, books or IT support or  sign-posting to other charities. A welfare benefits check. More detail at: The Edinburgh Trust

The People’s Postcode Trust has announced that its small grants programme is due to re-open for applications on the 7 January 2014 and close on 22 February 2014. Through its small grants programme, the People’s Postcode Trust offers grants of between £500 and £10,000 to small organisations and community groups for projects lasting up to 6 months in the areas of Poverty Prevention; Advancement of Health; Community Development; Public Sports; Human Rights; and Environmental Protection. http://www.postcodetrust.org.uk/

Drop-in and talk to staff, volunteers and service users about how Community Connecting could support you or someone you know aged 65 and over to get out and about more in the local community  Tuesday 28 January, 1-4pm: East Neighbourhood Office, 101 Niddrie Mains Road. For more information contact Michael Huddleston. Email: community.connecting@placesforpeople.co.uk  Tel: 0131 558 3728

Over 80 Community Councillors from across the city have registered for our first day developing an induction and support programme on Saturday in the City Chambers and I look forward to meeting and discussing with those who come that day and on the next in March. Of over 500 Community Councillors, nearly half of them are newly elected in October and getting to grips with their role, possibly with little previous experience. They all have a potential influence in planning and licensing, where CCs have a statutory role.  They have a huge role in influencing Counicl policy and practice at local level and working together with other bodies like NHS, Police Scotland, Fire and Rescue and the voluntary sector through neighbourhood partnership working. For more on Neighbourhood Partnerships click on the links I always supply below. There’s plenty of opportunities for everyone to get involved in their neighbourhood and community.

PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town’s AGM is next Wednesday, January 22nd, from 7.30 – 9.30pm at St. James’ Church Hall, Rosefield Place.  Hope to see you there! The plan is to get the business bit out of the way quickly, then Dr Lorna Fyffe talks about honey – including some from Portobello, which was found to have some healing anti-microbial compounds.  There will be feedback from the various working groups and a chance for an informal chat about what might be coming up in the coming year. T-shirts and Shoppers for sale too.

Date for the diary and for circulation: Portobello High School are holding their Holocaust Memorial Event ‘Communities Together: Build Bridges’ on Tuesday 11 February, 6.30pm-8.30pm.  The guest speaker this year is Judy Russell, daughter of Holocaust survivor Ernest Levy. More details from nicola.todd@portobello.edin.sch.uk. Refreshments and exhibition from 6.30pm in the school library with musical performances. There will be presentations from the school’s Young Holocaust Education Ambassadors.

Few can have failed to pick up the general popular excitement about the dead sperm whale washed up on Joppa rocks.  The story went ’viral’ on Twitter and there has been a huge amount of other media coverage.  A flavour here : https://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Scottish-Marine-Animal-Strandings-Scheme/359005850856875  where there are a couple of really great photos. The final estimated weight of the whale was 26 tonnes.  The poor animal ended up buried at a landfill site. There was a mix of reactions from real excitement and fascination (including me) to ‘Really what IS all the fuss about?’; from real grief that such an amazing individual animal could meet such an end – to some rather dark humour.  Whatever your own thoughts, it was a very rare event which will go down in local history and it certainly brought the crowds to Portobello and Joppa.

Best wishes for a good weekend when it comes!

Maureen