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Maureen Child Update 22 September 2016

Dear All

The deadline is fast approaching for local people taking part in this year’s Community Council Elections across Edinburgh, including Craigmillar and Portobello CCs, with nominations closing in a few days. The nomination period runs until 4pm next Monday, 26 September. Returning Officers for each CC need to receive the nomination forms by then. That’s me for Portobello CC and Councillor David Walker for Craigmillar CC. Elections –  if there are more nominations than places to be filled – will take place on Thursday 27 October. Residents can apply as an individual or as a representative of a constituted local interest group, such as a Parent Council, Friends of Parks, sports club or whatever. Both kinds of nomination forms are available on the website or I can send you an electronic copy or get one in Portobello Library  – if you are really quick! You can find information on each individual community council, including maps, on here:

Another deadline – for comments/objections to the so-called ‘New Brunstane’ application – has been extended by another month form the end of September to the end of October.  More here:

An event coming up in Tribe Porty –a  free event, where intrepid cyclists will talk about their adventures with bees, trees, bikes and beer!  What’s not to like? Book here:

World Day of Peace is held on 21st September every year and this year Portobello/Craigmillar schools topped off some great work they have been doing with link schools in Tanzania. The Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh met a group of over 250 P6 and P7 pupils from our local schools as part of the Twende Pamoja project. All our local feeder primaries across our part of Edinburgh, with Holyrood and Portobello High Schools worked on this with their school friends in Tanzania.  After an event at Lauriston Hall – which I was delighted to be invited to – they all walked together through the Meadows to Holyrood. The Presiding Officer was presented with their ‘Global Vision for Peace Statement’ which the pupils have developed with children and young people in Tanzania. Find out more about the project:

As the nights draw in Edinburgh Living Landscape is asking people to share their images of seasonal change for a new photography competition: Autumn Changes Edinburgh is open to any photograph of nature taken in the city this autumn. Entries are open until Monday 31 October.

What next for Bellfield Church and Halls?  The Government recently accepted our Community Right to Buy application and has requested that the Church of Scotland put the sale of Bellfield Old Parish Church buildings and grounds on hold until Scottish Government Ministers decide whether to give the community the chance to raise the funds to pay the full market value. In the mean time, we want to find out what the community think the potential uses of the building could be. Please do fill in this short survey telling us what you think it could be used for!  Save Bellfield are hosting an open day during which we will be inviting everyone to drop in, look at the options we have collated from the community of how the space could best be used and also give us some welcome feedback! What would a community owned and managed Bellfield look like? What kind of activities and services could/ should it offer? What do YOU think about the project? What could a community owned Bellfield achieve? Pop in to the Open Day Drop-In Event in Portobello Library on Saturday 24 September 10.30am to 12.30pm or 1.30pm to 3.30pm to let us know and find out more about the campaign. Have a biscuit, tea, chat, become a member, children of all ages 0-110 welcome!

Read the story of the true grit and real determination of young Greta McMillan to find her voice and play her full part in her family and Portobello community – and how you can help her fulfil her full potential. More here:

The amazing Ramp House barrier-free home Greta’s parents designed and built for the family is one of the Doors Open this weekend.  The whole brochure is here:  Other local door open include The arts and crafts Robin Chapel and the fabulous new Centre of Wellbeing at the Thistle and Portobello Baptist Church – our Portobello’s first Town Hall.

The Health Opportunities Team (HOT) are raising money for their Feel Good Groups, which encourage and support young people (aged 13-18) to improve their emotional, sexual and physical health, and to try new fitness activities and health foods. HOT currently run three groups within the Craigmillar/Portobello and Liberton/Gilmerton areas for both young men and young women. The groups consist of three parts: physical activity, group work on a range of health topics and sharing a healthy snack together. These sessions are planned in partnership with young people so they can raise topics they would like to know more about. A team of workers and young people from HOT will be completing the 5km Big Fun Run in Edinburgh on 9 October 2016. They are fundraising so that we can arrange fun activities and provide healthy food for young people, as well as pay skilled staff to deliver group sessions. Please sponsor them:

It was great to meet former art teacher at Portobello High School, Helen G S Forde (Mrs Helen Brady as was) on Wednesday, when we shared some of the history of how the school hall mural came about and shared our hopes to find it a new home and save former pupils’ Art Interest class course work for posterity. Head teacher Ruth McKay, Helen and I have appealed for a new home for the colourful wood panelled 40ft mural which has hung in the school’s main hall for over 20 years – for as long as I can remember! – and depicts the history of art. It’s lovely – but BIG!  There was front page splash in Thursday’s Evening News, which could help.   News reporter James Delaney told me he was himself a pupil at the school four years ago!  More also in the Edinburgh Reporter here:

There are other Porty High School artefacts that might be saved for a good home, besides the mural.   The WARP site I wrote before is for charities .  If you are not a charity, but an individual or small business (e.g.) wanting to have a chance of saving something in the old Portobello High School before it is demolished, do get in touch with the school direct. The contact is Gillian Kennedy New School Coordinator / Business Manager, Portobello High School. Phone: 0131 669 2324

Fax: 0131 669 0975 or E mail: 

Wellsprings Community, based in Newcraighall, are holding an event called Spirit Rhythms in Caffe Nero, Fort Kinnaird, from 5-7pm on Sunday 2 October (a week on Sunday). This will involve various stalls offering such things as dream interpretation, healing, insight etc with live music, all for free – come and de-stress and be encouraged! 

Some of our community growing projects are looking for green fingered volunteers to get involved.  More here:

And talking about community growing – across Edinburgh there are now 1,724 allotment plots of which the Council directly manages1,488.  Demand for allotments is high, with about 2,500 people on the Council waiting list. Consultation on the new strategy runs until 18 October to feed in to a report on the new Allotment Strategy to the Council’s Environment Committee, probably in January 2017. The following provides a link to the public consultation on the draft strategy and comments are welcome:

It’s nice to see friendly karaoke and disco social nights happening regularly at the Craigmillar Hearts Club, just opposite the entrance to the Thistle Village in Craigmillar Castle Avenue.  See here:

Last year, several Portobello community members and beyond joined their ‘Hands Across our Forth’ and persuaded the Scottish Government to put a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). A year on, the group are joining together again to draw a line in the sand and send a clear message to the Scottish Government to turn their temporary bans on UCG and ‘fracking’ into permanent bans. They are meeting on Sunday 9 October (a week on Sunday) at 2pm on Portobello Beach, at the foot of Bath Street.  If it’s windy, do bring a kite! 

You can help cure the stigma of dementia by doing six little things. To find out more about the six easy ways help someone with dementia.  More here:

The Welcoming recently held their AGM and celebrated their work over the last year with 1138 people from 71 nationalities, making sure they have the best possible chance to settle in and contribute to our life in Edinburgh.  More stats here:

Have a great weekend – when it comes and I hope to see some of you out and about!

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.