Monday, February 29, 2016

"Grant a Grand" winners!

I mentioned the "Grant a Grand" results event a few days ago ... well, all the results are now in, and the winners are all listed here!

Congratulations to them all :-)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bridgend Annual Potato Day :-)

It's that time of year again - time for the tatties to be chitted ;-)

... so, we headed over to Bridgend 'Annual Potato Day' earlier this morning, and managed to get four varieties for the Allotment: three 'first earlies':

  • Sharpes Express
  • Casablanca
  • Charlotte
- and one 'main crop':
  • Robinta

All are now happily chitting away on top of our kitchen-cupboards :-))

Quick snap of the Potato-displays below:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Edinburgh Printmakers update

I've mentioned the Edinburgh Printmakers ongoing developments at the Castle Mill Works (in Ward 9) a couple of times before - here and here ...

... well, delighted to report that the project secured nearly £2million further funding today, through the "Regeneration Capital Grant Fund for 2016/17" :-)

More details can be found via this link; and I''ll paste some further information on the award/project below:


7. Project lead:                    City of Edinburgh Council                      
    Project title:                     Castle Mill Works - Creative Industries Incubator

This project will restore Castle Mill Works, a C- listed heritage building of significant social interest in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. The building will be transformed into a vibrant cultural centre with cafe, garden, exhibition and retail space and a Creative Industries Incubator Hub, providing a catalyst for the economic regeneration of the Fountainbridge area. The project will actively target some of Edinburgh’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

The Castle Mill Works has lain vacant for 10 years and requires complete refurbishment in order to retain it. In 2012 community groups expressed a desire for the property to be brought into sustainable, community use.

The project will be delivered in a partnership with Edinburgh Printmakers.


·  Address worklessness through the employability programme (training and work placements) and make links with FE and HE Creative Industries students
·        Broaden access for more people to enjoy and experience the arts
·      Enhance the ‘sense of place’ for Fountainbridge residents, encourage social cohesion and play a part in a major redevelopment that will make Fountainbridge a better place to live, work and visit.
·       Redevelop a historic building and return it to a viable productive use, boosting the local economy
·      Develop the resilience and international connectedness of Edinburgh Printmakers and contribute to Edinburgh’s and Scotland’s international cultural reputation.
·      Foster excellence and experimentation across the creative industries by establishing a new Creative Industries Hub

Anticipated outputs.:

·         24 new jobs created
·         50 construction jobs supported
·         13 existing job supported
·         18 training places created
·         1 buildings refurbished and brought back into use
·         507 sqm of business space created or modified
·         2250 sqm of building created or refurbished
·         3.5 ha of Vacant and derelict Land remediated/ de-risked/ brought back into use
·         1 community facility supported
·         20 businesses/ enterprises benefiting from supported facilities


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bass Rock, East Lothian

Been over in East Lothian this weekend, for a bit of a birthday celebration, for my better-half ...

... the whole coast was looking glorious as ever (see above), but the Bass Rock was looking particularly splendid :-)

Reminded me of this Gordon Meade poem:

Bass Rock

The foundations
Of this house are black,
A beautiful, sooty black,
With the occasional glimmer
Of emerald green, hewn
From the living bodies
Of cormorants and shags.

The walls of the house
Are charcoal grey and white,
The elegant pillars of guillemots.
The windows and the doors are the cries
Of kittiwakes and the cackling
Of fulmars blown on the wind.

The roof of the house
Is brilliant white, tipped
With black, and lit with saffron.
The individual tiles are over six-feet
Wide, the wingspan of gannets.

Friday, February 19, 2016

February's Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee

All of the Reports are now out for February's "Corporate Policy and Strategy" Committee; it meets next Tuesday 23rd February!

All the papers/reports are now in the public domain: the main Agenda can be found here.

The individual reports are all on Committee Papers on-Line (CPOL) linked from here.

And, of course, all the Policy and Strategy Committee meetings are webcast live - and thereafter archived! All available via here --- it's TV; but not like you've ever seen before ;-)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Grant a Grand" results event next week

I mentioned the 'Grant a Grand' scheme a few weeks ago ...

... voting is still ongoing, up until the 24th February; and new details of the 'results/announcement' event - on Friday 26th February - are now available, as per the poster on the left!

Hope some readers may make it along next week ;-)

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Applications for the 2016 "Grant a Grand" are here!

  Applications for the 2016 Grant a Grand are here !

Young people in South West Edinburgh can vote by heading along to:
Fountainbridge, Balgreen, Sighthill (Gate55) or Wester Hailes Libraries.
Voting starts on Monday 1st February and runs until Wednesday 24th, the results will be announced at a community event on Friday 26th February at Carrickvale Community Centre. The event will include stalls from local community groups, sports tasters and refreshments. It's free to come along and everyone in South West Edinburgh is welcome.

You can keep up to date with all Grant a Grand developments by following the  @Southwest_team Twitter and watching out for #GrantaGrand.

South West Grant a Grand 

Over autumn 2015 and early 2016 young people in South West Edinburgh are being given the opportunity to suggest projects and vote on the ones they want.

There are 10 prizes each of £1000 to be granted, and local young people get to choose which 10 ideas get the money.

We are now closed for applications and we have sixteen applications going forward for the vote.

Young people between 10 and 19 will be able to vote at a South West Library whenever they check out a book.

The South West Libraries are: Fountainbridge; Balgreen; Wester Hailes; and Sighthill (at Gate55).


The money has been allocated by the South West Neighbourhood Partnership from their community grants fund budget. So everybody making an application should read the Community Grants Fund Guidance and Conditions of Funding.
Grant a Grand Criteria
Information Sheet

If you would like more information please contact either:

Michael Edwards, Partnership Development Officer
Tel: 0131 527 3884 Email:

Scott Neill, Partnership Development Officer
Tel: 0131 527 3816 Email:


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A real alternative on offer now

It was a pleasure to briefly introduce Kezia Dugdale - the Scottish Labour Leader - at an event here in Edinburgh, earlier this morning; as she outlined a significant policy announcement for our Party ...

... for those so interested, my personal Speech Note is as below; and fuller details on the actual policy can be found via this link (& full audio and text of today's event is now available via here).

In essence, I do sense a real alternative is on offer now:
  • the Scottish Government could amend their 2016/17 Budget (Stage 1 debate is tomorrow)
  • this would raise some £0.5billion to help protect education and front-line services
  • the lowest paid would be protected
If such an amendment was accepted, I'd be the first to congratulate the Scottish Government.

Speech Note

Good morning colleagues --– great to see you all here on this fine Edinburgh-morning

For those of you who don’t know, I’m Councillor Andrew Burns, the current Council Leader here in the Capital City

My task this morning is simply to say a few words of brief introduction before we hear from our Scottish Party Leader, Kezia Dugdale

I’ve been a local Councillor for 17-years this coming May ... I was first elected on Thursday 6th May 1999, the very same day as the first Scottish Parliament elections

So I’ve experienced all four Scottish Parliament terms – as a Senior Councillor, and latterly this last term as a Council Leader

And I think it’s fair enough to say that I’m probably one of the least-tribal Council Leaders in the country ...

... indeed, I’m so non-tribal, that I’ve spent the last 4-years in a two-Party Coalition with my local SNP-colleagues

It’s the only two-Party Labour/SNP Coalition across all of Scotland’s 32 Local Authorities

I mention all of this just to underscore that I am not one prone to anti- Scottish Government sentiment just because of its current political colour ...

... but frankly, having just set our own Edinburgh Council Budget for the 2016/17 financial year: enough is enough

Local Authorities – local communities - across Scotland cannot go on like this

I have just taken £85.4million pounds out of our 2016/17 local Budget (that’s a lot of money and a lot of service reductions) ... and I’ve done it, under central diktat with no choice but to sign-up to certain conditions, and no genuine ability to raise alternative revenues

But the body which has just enforced this austerity regime upon me – the current Scottish Government – does have the genuine ability to raise alternative revenues - right now

They have a majority in the Scottish Parliament and could alter their current Budget proposals to avoid these local cuts

To ignore this reality – and to continue to pass on austerity to Local Communities - would be frankly unforgivable

There is an alternative – of course that alternative isn’t necessarily easy ... but the difficulty in making the argument for a radically different course of action, is as nothing – as nothing – compared to the difficulties that the removal of £85.4million from our local Budget is going to impose on local communities here in Edinburgh

Politics is about choice

Do we simply accept and manage austerity

Or do we use all the powers available to us – right now – to combat austerity and invest in our future

So, colleagues – I’m delighted to welcome Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour Leader, and to invite her to set out our alternative – our choice ...

... Kez.