Portobello Community Council

Maureen Child Update 22/3/2017

Posted on: March 22nd, 2017

Dear All


The white envelopes containing all-important ballot papers are dropping – or have dropped – through letter boxes now for the Save Belfield campaign.  The letter with an Electoral Reform Society logo in the top left corner contains information about the ballot in the name of Action Porty and simply asks you to mark ‘Yes’ (please!) or ‘No’ (don’t go there!) in the printed box, fold it into the business reply envelope provided, and post it back.  No stamp required.  Simple and quick, but vital if we are to secure the over £600,000 to help us – as a wider community – to acquire Bellfield Church and Halls under the new powers of Community Empowerment Scotland Act (2016).  To be counted, you have to get it back to the ERS by next Monday, so post it off TODAY if you have received one.  More here: https://www.bellfield.scot/


It is so great to have The Portobello Reporter back!  Well done the great new expanded team of volunteers! For your on line copy, click here:  http://porty.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/rep_spring_17.pdf


The Shop Porty Awards are open again this year to decide the best small business on Portobello High Street.  David Calder did a podcast with Bob Jefferson who runs the completion.  Front Room (now transformed into Two Sisters) won last year.  Who’s next?  More here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/71622/488914-29-shop-porty-awards


More of David’s Porty Podcasts here: http://porty.org.uk/news/porty-podcast/


Blood Transfusion Service will be at Portobello Town Hall on Wednesday, 29th March from 2.30pm-4.30pm and 5.30pm-7pm.  New Donors are always needed!


I set a ‘gardeners question time’ challenge last week as Portobello Rotary were wondering what was happening to their crocuses.  They suspected rabbits.  George Anderson, our very own ‘home-grown’ Beechgrove Garden expert, got back to me right away to say: “Who could resist the challenge? I read your news item re the crocus at Newcraighall Station. I suspect that the culprits may indeed be grey squirrels – they love crocus corms. Mice are also lovers of a crocus corm snack, but I suspect they would have carried them off and stored them in a little cache for eating later rather than eat them on site.” Local resident John Maule agrees: “We have the same problem but squirrels are the culprits. We now put a layer of granite chippings over the soil surface where crocuses are planted, which seems to deter squirrels”.  There you are, Portobello Rotary, the rabbits are innocent!


The Portobello and Joppa Church Drama Group production of their very own 1930s Hollywood musical Tinsel! begins tonight and runs until Saturday. Tickets can also be ordered by contacting Anne McKerchar on 669 3123 or anne.mckerchar@gmail.com or at the door (if they are not sold out in advance).  The show will take place from Wednesday, 22 March (tonight) right through until Saturday, 25 March at 7.30pm each evening.  Tickets are £10 for adults or £5 for children or students.


More on the new Edinburgh Trust Grants Fund I told you about last week.  Christina Hinds from EVOC (Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council) is working with Turn2Us to help promote our new Edinburgh Trust Fund which registered charities, constituted groups, non-constituted groups, and individuals are all eligible to apply for. There’s more detail here:  http://www.evoc.org.uk/updates/edinburgh-trust-community-programme/ and Christina can help people with the application. Contact: Christina Hinds Development Worker Phone: 0131 555 9103.


This week, I was privileged to hear some wonderful young people present what they had got out of youth work in our city.  There are some fantastic provision and we were launching the new Youth and Children’s Work Strategy put together by a Consortium of providers which included the voices young people themselves.  This form one in the Jack Kane Centre, whose fabulous work I and the rest of the Centre’s management committee consistently celebrate: “My experience has been exciting, challenging and empowering but I have no certificate to show you. We don’t sit in a classroom setting with a syllabus to get through to sit an exam. However I believe the process that I have been involved in has given me far more opportunities to learn and develop as a person than any college or university course could have provided.”


If you have a young person in your household, please do draw their attention to this opportunity to vote for the youth and children’s service they want to see most in their area!  Click here: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/news/article/2264/voting_opens_for_edinburgh_youth_work_projects


Local home care provider, Home Instead Senior Care is partnering with Viarama, Scotland’s first virtual realty company to let people experience new technology that might be used in a health and social care setting.  They say it’ll be fun, and we might well be impressed by the possibilities virtual reality might offer. Find out on Tuesday 18 April between 12.15pm and 1.45pm.! For further details and to book tickets, follow the link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/if-only-i-could-virtual-reality-in-a-health-and-social-care-setting-tickets-32820768803. I am intrigued!


This is interesting about Newhailes House, one of the National Trust properties nearby, which I really must get to see inside this year!  Walks round the grounds are all very well! http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/musselburgh/newhailes/index.html


The work on replacing gas mains that has caused a lot of travel disruption to many lives and brought glorious peace and quiet in Brunstane Road.  But the works are coming to an end and there shall more gas leaks from 100 year old corroding metal pipes!  Works to decommission the old metallic pipes was completed by 18 March. The focus now is complete all outstanding reinstatement including backfilling, concrete, tar and the replacement of antiskid surfaces as well as the removal of all signs, barriers and other traffic management. This does take time, but Milton Road East will be open to two way traffic next week, four weeks earlier than planned.


A couple of people have got in touch as parents about entry to schools at primary or secondary level (P1 or S1).  It’s not usually complicated if you send your child to their catchment school, but can feel very daunting and complicated if a parent wants to send their child to a different school, not least if there turn out to be no spare places available.  I can help you navigate the appeals process, although I can’t influence it.  Parents will find out if their ‘placing request’ has been successful by letter after 14 April 2017.  If a place isn’t available, the parent can submit an appeal to Committee Services by emailing SchoolAppeals@edinbugh.gov.uk. I realise this can be a tense time, particularly for parents of children making that transition to primary or secondary school.  We are lucky that all the schools in our area are good schools.


Also on the travel front, Lothian Buses plc have announced changes to bus routes, frequencies and timetables that affect Portobello and Craigmillar main routes.  These come into effect on 23 April.  Details here: https://lothianbuses.co.uk/news/article/Lothian-Buses-Service-Changes

I first heard about it by a constituent posting on Facebook about the re-routing of the No 21 through Greendykes Road and the public transport link to the Royal Infirmary, instead travelling towards Cameron Toll and turning left on to Old Dalkeith Road. In Portobello, the main change is the removal of the No 15/X15.   No prior warning or consultation as Councillors have had in the past.  I detect a bit of a community campaign or two coming on! Lothian Buses plc are a company owned 100% by the Lothian Council but – by law – Councillors do not manage the Company or direct how they work out their routes.  We do have a fund to subsidise routes that don’t make a profit, but that is as far as it can go. Portobello might benefit from some of the changes to East Lothian Buses: http://lothianloop.com/2017/03/21/new-services-and-improved-timetables-coming-to-east-lothian/ 


As we move into Spring weather, some details of the Scottish Workplace Challenge and Buggy Walks as two of the Council initiatives to encourage more and more people into active travel and leave more of our road space for those who really have no choice but to travel in a vehicle.  As we are the only local authority in Scotland where car use is decreasing, it’s initiatives like these that tend to help us get more healthy and out and about meeting the wonderful new friends you won’t come across by driving from A to B or getting stuck in the house or office. Click here: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20087/cycling_and_walking/1483/guided_walks_rides_and_events


Recycling rates continue to climb in Edinburgh thanks to a range of measures introduced by the City of Edinburgh Council – and to you! The latest Committee report shows an increase of 1239 tonnes – more than 1% – in recycling citywide on 2015/16 for the year to date, while the amount of un-recycled waste has dropped by 2.6%.  More information here:

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/news/article/2266/council_improvements_see_recycling_rates_rise_in_capital  Well done, everyone!


The results of the Annual People’s Survey is being reported to Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee of the Council next week.  94% of people say they like living in Edinburgh.  Full report is on this agenda (Item 7.1)  along with other interesting information on a range of topics including Hunters Hall Cycling Facility, Locality Working and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act:  http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4159/corporate_policy_and_strategy_committee  The Evening News covered the report under a front page headline ’Welcome to Happy Town’.  Link here: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/welcome-to-happy-town-94-say-they-like-living-in-edinburgh-1-4399303


On that happy note, I will leave you in peace for this week!


Kind regards





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| Facebook Maureen Child


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 maureen.child@edinburgh.gov.uk to check availability, make an appointment or request a home visit.


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