Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Scorescotland's Commonwealth event and Sir Geoff Palmer

Prof (now sir) Palmer (right)
Had a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the Scorescotland Multicultural Commonwealth event on Saturday at the Corn Exchange. Primarily aimed at children and young people from different cultural and ethnic groups across Edinburgh it was an evening packed full of fun for children, music, singing, dancing and wonderful food. Great atmosphere and good to catch up with friends old and new, including Professor Geoff Palmer, renowned human rights activist (and brewing expert) who unbeknown to us at the time had been recognised in the New Year's Honours.

MC Fred & Cllrs Dixon & Henderson

Professor Palmer, who became Scotland’s first black professor in 1989, has been awarded a knighthood for services to human rights, science and charity. He was named one of Britain’s 100 “great black Britons” in a poll six years ago and is an interesting and thoughtful speaker. He made a brief contribution at the event but graciously accepted defeat to the exuberance of youth who weren't perhaps in the right frame for serious thoughts while busy enjoying themselves.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Soggy Santa Run

Made my annual outing with the Currie and Balerno Round Table  Santa Run in Baberton Mains this week. Each year C&BRT, Santa and Rudolph head out around the local community on 15 separate runs, raising money for local good causes and charities. Of course Santa needs a bit of help from his elves. That's where I come in. Myself and a dozen or so other willing volunteers knock doors and shake collecting cans while Santa and Rudulph blare out the Christmas songs from the sleigh and hand out sweets to the young and not so young and get a few photos taken along the way. It was wet and cold for this run but that wasn't going to put us off so we soldiered on for a good three and half hours and raised just over £1100. A great joint effort and it made the venture very worthwhile. Right, I'm off to roast my chestnuts over an open fire....

Friday, 20 December 2013

New Balerno Pitch Funding Welcomed

Was delighted to attend a media event earlier this week at Currie Rugby Club, Malleny Park, Balerno for the formal announcement that the Government's Cash Back scheme, which recycles money retrieved from convicted criminals, is providing £300k towards the costs of a new all weather pitch at Malleny Park. The existing pitches and land here are shared between Currie Rugby Club and Balerno High School and frankly there just isn't enough space to cope with the demand. The rugby club have a very successful youth development scheme as well as their other fixtures and the school of course needs access to decent surfaces for delivery of the curriculum. It would be fair to say that these competing demands have created a little tension over the years....

I remember lodging a Council motion on this a few years ago and the subsequent report confirmed that facilities did need to be upgraded but there wasn't any funding to do so. It's brilliant news that at long last a funding package has been secured for the new pitch which can be used for matches and training. One of the conditions of the funding is that the new pitch must be shared between Balerno High School, Currie Rugby Club and Currie Star FC. Hence the event was attended by reps from all the above plus the Council, the Scottish Government, the SRU, the SFA and the local community who all welcomed this much needed investment.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Christmas is coming, Ho Ho Ho...

Balerno Christmas Trees
After a mega busy week which included the "Meet the Politicians" public event in Currie, a meeting of the Welfare Reform Working Group, opening a new housing development for Port of Leith Housing Association in Magdalene Drive, Full Council, a budget consultation briefing with homelessness prevention service providers and interviews for BVT, yesterday saw some light relief at the Balerno Christmas Farmers Market. Serious business had to be conducted though as myself and Alistair Darling were asked to judge the annual Balerno Christmas Tree Festival. We carefully inspected more than 40 beautifully decorated trees in the Scout Hall and the Church Hall then retired to deliberate. After much soul searching and heated debate we reached a verdict. Much to my surprise I was thrust forward with a microphone in hand to make the official announcement to the packed St Joseph's cafe that ; Jigsaw Nursery had won the second prize and the winner was - *drum roll*...... Dean Park Primary ! By pure coincidence Dean Park Primary's choir had just been entertaining the audience with a medley of their Christmas hits so our decision was greeted with broad approval. 

Santa is at home
Also managed to drop by Wester Hailes Shopping Centre where Santa has taken up residence and doing a brisk trade in " don't be naughty and you might get something nice for Christmas". Then managed to meet some mates in the Tynie Arms to watch the Man City v Arsenal game which was quite outstanding. Then on to the Hearts game where the Christmas spirit was well and truly blown away in the gail and rain and another disappointing defeat.