Category Archives: Local Economy

Portobello Market, Saturday 6th May

A chilly start to spring but there’s always a warm welcome at the Portobello Market. The next one is on Saturday 6th May. Gates open at 9.30am and the market runs until 1.30pm in Brighton Park, Brighton Place, Portobello.

Pop over to the market page to see the full list of 25 traders attending.

Please Like & Share our Facebook page, PortyMarket.

Next market is on Saturday 3rd June.

Join PEDAL’s (FREE!) Trip to West Kilbride – 30th May


We’ll be leaving at 9.30am and returning by 5.30pm. Places must be booked – there are ten left: first come, first served, so hurry, hurry.  Email info [at] pedal-porty [dot] co [dot] uk to book your place. Hope you can join us!

We’re hiring a minibus to go and visit one of Scotland’s real success stories! A small community which has turned its fortunes around and re-vitalised its High Street, buying up empty shops and establishing itself as Scotland’s Craft Town.

We want to hear first hand how they did it.

Our High Street is a very important part of our community and we want to see what kind of things we could do to make it more resilient and responsive to local needs, including buying properties and starting social enterprises. West Kilbride Development Trust has a lot to teach us about all this.

See more of their story below.


West Kilbride was once a thriving coastal town, with a boast that the needs of residents could be catered for from the cradle to the grave.  A popular holiday destination for Glaswegians holidaying ‘doon the water’, at its peak local bus companies had to lay on additional buses during the Glasgow Fair.

By the mid 1990’s the town’s fortunes had taken a serious dip, with 21 out of 40 retail businesses having ceased trading.  A local tragedy galvanised West Kilbride residents  and politicians alike, a public meeting was organised  in 1996 by the area’s MP, local independent Councillor  and other local activists.  The area’s assets were explored and, as tourism was a key industry in the area, it was agreed that the town would add to this by developing a specialised theme to help revitalise itself.  Since the idea was first developed and WKCIL was formed in 1998, the creation of Scotland’s only designated Craft and Design town has underpinned a remarkable renaissance in the retail and community hub of West Kilbride.

Despite limited resources and against a national tide of town centre decline, the retail heart of the town has been preserved.  To date, this has been achieved at a relatively low cost to the public purse and a significant amount of community fundraising.  Recognised nationally as an exemplar of enterprise, the pivotal role of the craft and design studios as West Kilbride’s “unique selling point” has been the driver of the town’s economic regeneration.

This innovative community led project is an inspiration to North Ayrshire and its people because the creation of Craft Town Scotland has managed to turn local economic problems into positive enterprising action. It may not be a huge commercial project, but the Craft Town has added real artistic and cultural value to the area, bringing long-term and deeply felt changes to the local economy.  Jobs have been created and secured, and the quality of life for the people of West Kilbride is better.

Bill McKibben is talking on Fossil Fuel Divestment in Edinburgh, 30th October

 If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.

We’re all connected to institutions that claim to be looking out for the public good, from local councils and governments, to universities, public banks and religious institutions. Many of these institutions, however, continue to support the fossil fuel industry whether we know it or not. Given that we have to leave 80% of the proven reserves of coal, oil and gas in the ground in order to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate, these institutions have a responsibility to stop supporting an industry whose business model is based on wrecking our future.

This autumn Bill McKibben, the crew, and a wide range of climate leaders will hit the road to help build a movement strong enough to change the terrifying maths of the climate crisis. The Fossil Free Europe Tour isn’t your typical lecture – it will include speakers from across social movements, powerful videos, and music from the ground-breaking artist Filastine. Grab a ticket and be part of a unique and complete experience, unlike any talk you’ve been to before.

7-10pm, 30th October, 

Asembly Hall on the Mound
Mound Pl 

Here’s the link to book a ticket:

Get your Porty branded T-shirts!

A must-have for Porty fans near and far!

Home sweet home t-shirtPrice £12.50 for adults, £9 for kids.

We have 2 styles both made from Fairtrade cotton, I Love Porty and our popular Home Sweet Home design complete with grid co-ordinates for Porty Prom.

All sizes available in festive red or white — S–XL standard fit and 10–16 lady fit plus 4 children’s sizes to suit age 5–13. We also have some in Porty pink, royal blue or grey for the ladies.

Get your orders in quickly in time to catch the Xmas post! Call 0131 669 1124 — we can deliver locally…

Pedal powered cinema at Occupy & Transition films, 5th and 12th December

Two films over two weeks re-launching the Transition film evenings (note different times and venues);
*Please keep an eye out for this monthly regular event starting Jan 2012*

Mon 5th Dec. 6pm : Pedal-powered cinema!! with Occupy Edinburgh and Powerpod
Venue : Occupy, St Andrew Square
Screening : Money As Debt

Please come ready to cycle power the film keeping you warm at the same time!!

Money as Debt is a short animated documentary by Paul Grignon about the monetary systems practised through modern banking. The film presents the process of money creation by banks and warns of the economic system itself being the root causes of monetary instability.

* If anyone can bring their bike along to help power the film, we’d appreciate more bikes (with flat surfaced tires)!! Please let Roland know on ; rolandplayle [at] yahoo [dot] com

Mon 12th Dec. 7.30pm
Venue : Brass Monkey pub, 14 Drummond St.
Screening : Age of Stupid

Age of Stupid – film/documentary narrated by an archivist in 2050, looking back and asking `Why didn’t we save ourselves when we had the chance? Director Franny Armstrong (McLibel) used the “crowd-funding” model to finance the film, and then spent four years following seven real people’s stories from around the world to be interweaved: an Indian entrepreneur struggling to start a new low-cost airline, a Shell employee in New Orleans who rescued more than 100 people during Hurricane Katrina, an 82-year-old French mountain guide watching his beloved glaciers melt, two Iraqi refugee children searching for their elder brother, a young woman living in desperate poverty in Nigeria’s richest oil area and a windfarm developer in Britain battling those who don’t want his turbines to spoil their view.

! Help needed !
We need some help promoting and flyering this event which will be a regular monthly gathering from Jan 2012. If you can take some flyers / posters away to put in public places, we’d be grateful for any support. Likewise anyone who can spend an hour or two taking a stroll around your local shops, cafes and libraries to put up posters, will be much loved by many !

Exciting dates for your diary!

Saturday Aug 27th 2-30-4.30 – Local Currency Event

Join us at Old Parish Church Hall, Belfield Street, to discuss how to get an Edinburgh-wide local currency in place by this time next year (for more information, scroll down to the earlier post on the subject).

Saturday Sept 3rd – Next Organic Market in Brighton Park

This will be the 1st anniversary of the market and – as well as the wonderful stalls – will include:

– a series of brief inspiring films from 10.30 and an organic picnic (bring your own food or buy at the market) from 12.30 as PEDAL becomes one of 12 communities across Scotland hosting a ‘Blasta’ event celebrating Local Food. (Blasta is Gaelic for ‘tasty’).

– a Big Things On The Beach public art event from 10 called TOXME which you are invited to participate in, an event which highlights the toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our daily foods and lives.

Sunday Sept 4th – POD’s Portobello Village Fair (2-5)

As well as contributing to the light-hearted home grown vegetables competition, PEDAL will have  two stalls: one for the Orchard and bee keeping group, and one to enable people to ask questions about our proposed community-owned Turbine.

Saturday Sept 24th – Car Free Day (set off at 2)

– Meet at 2pm at the Cake Stand at the bottom of Marlborough Street to cycle along the Prom to the beach below the proposed Turbine site at Seafield, or join  us at the orchard anytime after 10 for the monthly work day and Equinox celebrations and then cycle down to join everyone for the 2pm start.

– This year kids are going to need to persuade their parents to help them dress up their bike beforehand, and we will be encouraging rowers, canoests and sailors to join us in demonstrating fossil fuel free travel! We may even stretch to a time trial: seeing how well a car, a bike, a skateboard, a skiff do racing against each other if none of them are fossil fueled!

The end of economic growth?

In this straightforward 5 minute film – ‘Who killed economic growth?’ – Heingerg argues that the end of growth started in 2008 and that the so called “recovery” is only a sleight of hand to mask, for a while, the unavoidable decline.

Even more reason to focus on rejuvenating our local economy in a way that can help us to meet our real needs for food, energy, warm homes, and a thriving community.

As this (completed unrelated!) ‘dreaded stairs’ 2 minute video demonstrates, the best way to encourage people to make positive changes is to make them fun!

The Organic Market is a great place for kids to play, and adults to talk – and there were some really useful discussions of the financial meltdown, which led to my posting this video. It also led to an evening of discussion organised by the Dalriada Conversations group – with two superb presentations by Peter McColl and Donald Bloxham, followed by an excellent and spirited discussion. We hope to hold more open discussions of related crucial issues. When we do, we’ll let you know. (Justin)

Help develop a local currency for Edinburgh!

Calling community councils, local action groups, Transition groups, Development Trusts, tenants and residents associations, local traders associations, voluntary organisations, housing associations…

Come and help introduce a local currency in Edinburgh!
Saturday 27th August 2.30-4.30pm
[NOT 22nd August, 7-9pm as stated earlier!]

Portobello Old Parish Church, Bellfield Street, Portobello EH15 2BP

After a successful public engagement event we are now ready to work in several local areas to lay the ground for the introduction of thecurrency. The council have agreed to develop a strategy to support community groups in their efforts to establish an Edinburgh pound. We want to stress that the council are not providing any funding to this initiative of Transition Edinburgh, PEDAL Portobello, Transition Edinburgh South, SEED, Greener Leith and Bridgend.

The proposal is for a ‘Euro style’ currency which would have standard ‘Edinburgh Pound’ features on one side, and a local variant on the other e.g. A Portobello pound, or a Morningside pound…  Local pounds from different areas will be useable in any participating shops around the city, but would also retain a sense of local distinctiveness.

Next steps:
1. Work with local action groups and organisations who would like to take part in the scheme to set a strategy for engaging our local shopkeepers, tradespeople, key organisations and the wider public.  


2. Research how best to implement the scheme by contacting and learning from other local currencies. Including asking them:
(i) Whether traders offered a 5% discount to users of the local currency and what impact that had?
(ii) How much leakage there was (i.e. how many pounds were taken as souvenirs, effectively putting ‘free’ money into the system)?
(iii) How they managed to protect their currency from being copied?
(iv) Whether and how they involved their local authority or other large local players? (e.g. Bristol is aiming to enable Traders to be able to pay their Business rates with the Bristol Pound)
If you are willing to contact other local currencies and research some of these questions before the August meeting, let us know!

3. Explore the possibility of introducing a parallel electronic currencyfor easy payments (Bristol are planning on a sim based mobile phonecurrency).

4. Examine whether there are local issues which could be used to help a local currency to take off in particular parts of Edinburgh.
For example, in Morningside shoppers and traders are very concerned about the possibility of a new Sainsbury’s and so using a local currency could be a way of helping build support for the local economy. Meanwhile in Portobello, the fact that the Local ‘Porty Shopper’ bags – ‘Think Global, Shop Local’ – were snapped up so fast demonstrates that people are clearly wanting to identify with and support local traders.

Hope to see you there!

Cheers! Eva and Justin (for the Edinburgh Pound project)


Further resources:
Edinburgh Pound –
Brixton Pound –
Bristol Pound –
Time Article – ‘Tough times lead to local currencies’ –,9171,1908421,00.html
Worgl experience in Austria in the 1930s –
BerkShares in Massachusetts since 2006 –
Local Money – How to make it happen –


Blow me! An urban wind farm

Great piece on the STV news about our proposed turbine. Also the Evening News has a story on the wind turbine plans. (Thanks to all who’ve registered their support on the Energyshare site – we currently have 227 supporters, and have moved up to 1st place, but we need to stay there, and that aint going to be easy! If you haven’t signed up yet, get on over to The Evening News editorial (bottom of this page, under the ‘Sick Kids’ leader) is also helpfully supportive.

There’s also a fascinating article on local currencies by Steve Burgess (with help from Justin and Eva).


Edinburgh Local Economy Day – listen to Jonathan Dawson’s talk

On Saturday 9th April, a city-wide grouping of community organizations, including Transition EdinburghPEDALSEED (Sustainable Economics), Bridgend Inspiring Growth, Greener Leith and others hosted a day focussing on ways to strengthen Edinburgh’s local economy. Greener Leith’s blog features the whole talk from Jonathon Dawson, international expert on alternative exchange mechanisms, as a 50 minute audio clip. So make yourself a nice cup of tea and have a listen. You can hear the clip at