Sunday, 28 July 2013

Wickerman Highlights

Just back from a great weekend at the Wickerman Festival, south of Dumfries. Brief highlights for me as follows - Bombskare - Scotland's Ska Juggernaut rolls on, great set guys. Chic, featuring Nile Rogers, one last chance to wear that white suit and boogie on down to disco hits of the 80s.  Primal Scream - the Scottish Rolling Stones ? Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire, superb, has to be the next big thing in Scottish music and a good looking laddie too, according to my missuss. Amphetameanies, Dumfries based Ska outfit. Anti Nowhere League - old fashioned, in your face, kick in the balls, punk rockers. Dexys - bit pretensious and self indulgent but at least he did versions of Gino and Come on Eileen both of which went down well with the crowd. Rezillos - headlined in the Scooter Tent, absolutely timeless and a new album out in September apparently. Loads of other stuff, acoustic, reggae, poetry, new music, and almost enough bars to satisfy demand. Met up with my youngest and her pal who were working at the festival and heading up to Belladrum for next weekend. I'm soooo jealous !!!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Visiting Time

Corstorphine Hospital, a few years ago...
As mentioned in the post below summer and less meetings presents an opportunity to get out and visit services and people. On Friday as part of the programme for the new Health and Social Care Partnership we visited Corstorphine Hospital which provides nursing care to frail, elderly people and then the newly opened Drumbrae Care Home. Both venues provide a good standard of care, obviously to different categories of service users, based on need, but in hugely different settings. Corstorphine is an old, traditional hospital (Florence Nightingale wards, I was told) and Drumbrae is brand new, state of art and feels quite luxurious, a sign that accommodation standards are improving and expectations, quite rightly, increasing. The challenge is to find the funding to deliver more new facilities.

This morning saw an organised tour of three voluntary sector organisations delivering services in the city centre. First the Canongate Youth Project which works with youngsters between the ages of 5 - 25 although today we focused more on the support to school leavers who don't go into employment or further education and need to be equipped with the skills to put together a CV and handle the trauma of a job interview. More info on their excellent website.

Then a wander up to Guthrie Street and the new home of Remade Edinburgh (website/blog link) which works to support people (all of us) to reduce waste by reusing and repairing items that all too often end up in land fill sites. Everything from toys and fabrics to computers and furniture can be repaired and reused and Remade is part of a growing international movement as people become more aware of and dissatisfied with today's consumerist and disposable society. They also gave us chocolate biscuits and strawberries !!

Finally, another short walk to the Serenity CafĂ© and a meeting with Comas, who work with people recovering from addictions and the numerous issues confronting individuals and families who are affected. A really interesting discussion about these services and the role of the third sector in their delivery and ability to sometimes be more innovative and imaginative than is sometimes possible through traditional methods. More about them on this link. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Joys of Summer

One of the joys of the summer season is that most formal Council committees don't meet and given that many colleagues are on holiday its a chance to shake off the dust of the City Chambers and spend more time in the local community. Monday night's Ratho Community Council meeting went ahead as scheduled and we managed to conduct the business without any undue difficulties. Tuesday, sandwiched between two constituent visits in Clovenstone and Balerno, I accepted an invite to visit the new Bridge 8 Hub at the Calders. A social enterprise initiative led by Sean Barry the idea is to create an outdoor activities centre that can be used by young and old from the surrounding communities and also tap into the commercial possibilities presented by the corporate market seeking team building opportunities. Canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, archery and a community garden are the initial offerings but Sean and his colleagues have big plans for the future and seem to have done their homework in terms of potential custom and other sources of funding. It's certainly a great idea and nothing similar exists on this side of the city so I wish them well and if you want to read more about them there's info here on their web site.

Tuesday evening was the latest meeting of the South West Communities Forum, basically a forum for local community councils to come together to discuss a collective response to the ongoing process of the Local Development Plan and the increasing number of attempts by developers to breach the Green Belt in our area. Excellent discussion and a good chance to discuss future strategy and how we should attempt to shape policy decisions.