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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.