Author Archives: charlotte

Sustainability courses for communities and organisations

Changeworks has just released 26 new dates for 14 dif­fer­ent train­ing courses that can help com­munit­ies and organ­isa­tions become more sustainable.

They range from prac­tic­al tech­niques such as Communicating Climate Change, to tech­nic­al issues such as an Introduction to Hard to Treat Homes. Take a look at the Changeworks web­site for a full list of courses and dates.

Courses cost from £99 + VAT, but if you apply for sup­port from Skills Development Scotland or the Low Carbon Skills Fund, you can get 50% refun­ded (see below). Please note that the dead­line for both funds is 31 March 2011.

1. Flexible Training Opportunities funding from Skills Development Scotland

This fund­ing gives organ­isa­tions with under 150 employ­ees the oppor­tun­ity to apply for up to £5,000 towards employ­ee train­ing costs. Funding is avail­able for up to 10 employ­ees per busi­ness and the money is not a loan so there’s no need to pay it back. SDS will refund 50% of the cost of up to 10 train­ing courses with a max­im­um value of £500 per course. And it’s flex­ible, so 10 employ­ees can do one course each, or one employ­ee can do 10 courses, with any com­bin­a­tion in between.

Click here to find out more. For advice on how to apply, call free on 0800 783 6000

2. Low Carbon Skills Fund from Asset Skills Scotland

The Low Carbon Skills Fund is avail­able to any employ­er with few­er than 250 staff with­in Asset Skills’ foot­print, which includes hous­ing, prop­erty, facil­it­ies man­age­ment, sur­vey­ing and energy advice, to access a 50% refund against the cost of train­ing in any aspect of low car­bon technology/energy efficiency/microrenewables. Up to 25 train­ing ses­sions can be fun­ded per employ­er. The train­ing must be com­plete by 30 June 2011 and applic­a­tions must be received by 31 March.

For fur­ther inform­a­tion about the Low Carbon Skills Fund, click here. In order to apply for the 50% refund, please in the first instance con­tact Tim Pogson.

Disappointing News

Unfortunately we have just heard that PEDAL’s bid for Climate Challenge Funding for the com­ing year was unsuc­cess­ful. The cur­rent fund­ing ran from last April to the end of March this year, and des­pite this year’s pro­jects meet­ing and exceed­ing tar­gets we were not gran­ted fur­ther funds for April 2011 – March 2012.

It is very dis­ap­point­ing news, as we were hop­ing to build on the suc­cesses of this year and devel­op sev­er­al new pro­jects, but we under­stand the com­pet­i­tion for this round of CCF was very high.

We would like to take this oppor­tun­ity to thank every­one who has con­trib­uted and taken part in our pro­jects this year, and made them such a success.

PEDAL will of course con­tin­ue on a vol­un­tary basis, and aim to carry on devel­op­ing loc­al grow­ing, redu­cing fossil fuel use, low car­bon travel and work­ing towards zero waste.

To work towards a sus­tain­able Portobello we need as many people as pos­sible to get involved, so please get in touch if you have ideas, time and energy to contribute.

Free orchard management course

Fruitful Skills for a Fruitful Scotland

Interested in setting up or running a community or school orchard?
Want to know more about caring for trees in an established orchard?

Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust is offer­ing a free com­munity orch­ards man­age­ment course on Saturday 26th March, 10am — 4pm

Aimed at people already run­ning or think­ing about set­ting up a com­munity orch­ard, for more details see ELGT’s web­site

Bike route Ambassadors needed!

The Bike Station is look­ing to recruit ten volun­teer “bike route ambas­sad­ors” for a new social media pro­ject in Edinburgh. The ambas­sad­ors will help to pro­mote a new map of Edinburgh’s extens­ive off-road cycle routes and walk­ways, many of which are based on old train lines that once ran through the city.

The Innertube Map is based on the clas­sic London Tube Map, and aims to raise aware­ness of the city’s impress­ive net­work of routes. 30,000 cop­ies of the map have just been prin­ted, and the team behind the pro­ject recently received fund­ing from The People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund to take the pro­ject to a whole new level.

The role of the ambas­sad­ors will be to cov­er dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the route near to where they live for both a group blog and an inter­act­ive online ver­sion of the map.

They’ll be trained to use mul­ti­me­dia 3G phones so that they can blog, tweet, and take geo-tagged pho­tos, videos and audio record­ings of what’s hap­pen­ing on and around the routes, and draw atten­tion to prob­lems like fly-tip­ping and lit­ter where they occur.

You don’t have to be a cyc­list to become one of  the ambas­sad­ors — all sorts of people use the routes, for everything from walk­ing their dogs to horse rid­ing. But we are look­ing for people who are act­ive and engaged loc­al cit­izens, inter­ested in the poten­tial of the routes, and ideally inter­ested in learn­ing about social media.

You’ll also receive bike safety and main­ten­ance train­ing, and will help pro­ject part­ners Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust in import­ant con­ser­va­tion work on some of the routes around the city.

If you’re inter­ested in becom­ing an ambas­sad­or you can email for more inform­a­tion about the role.


Planting Week at Greendykes Allotments

Greendykes Organic Allotments are hold­ing a Planting Week between 4 – 11th March. To kick start things they are look­ing for volun­teers to help plant 200 nat­ive trees on 4th March between 10am — 2pm.

Tools, gloves and refresh­ments will be provided. Bring spades or extra plants if you have them!

For fur­ther inform­a­tion please con­tact Brian Shields on 0131 6613504 (wk) or 0131 6605351 (hm) or

up to £400 towards a new energy efficient boiler!

The Energy Saving Scotland boil­er scrap­page scheme offers owner/occupiers up t0 £400 towards upgrad­ing their inef­fi­cient boil­ers to new energy effi­cient ones. The scheme opens on Tuesday 1st Feb 12.30pm — no vouch­ers will be giv­en or applic­a­tions taken before this time. It will allow upgrades of old inef­fi­cient boil­ers to help you save money and energy. For more details see the EST web­site

Water and Energy Advice

Did you know around 30% of an aver­age heat­ing bill is just for hot water? That’s around £200 a year.

A few simple changes to the way you use your water and energy can help you to cut costs. Your loc­al Energy Saving Scotland advice centre is offer­ing a free home water and energy vis­it or an in-depth tele­phone advice call to house­hold­ers to help them make sav­ings in their home. To book a free home vis­it or advice call please con­tact the Water Efficiency Advisor at the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0131 539 4128.

The Energy Saving Scotland advice centre is fun­ded by the Scottish Government. Itprovides free and impar­tial advice about how to stop wast­ing energy and water at home.

Mushroom Growing Course

Learn to cul­tiv­ate your own mush­rooms, such as oyster mush­rooms on logs (as well as oth­er environments/ sub­strates). 19th February 10am-1pm at the por­to­bello com­munity cen­ter.  The course will be led by mush­room expert Dr Neville Kilkenny. Please con­tact us for fur­ther details.

Solar Porty Scheme launched!

Please see here for more details

Hotspot Insulation Offer launch

The Portobello Hotspot offers fast track sur­veys and install­a­tion for reduced price loft and cav­ity wall insu­la­tion. It is avail­able to any­one in the Portobello area and is run by Energy Saving Scotland advice centre in part­ner­ship with PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town. A let­ter is going out at the end of August, in time for sur­veys and install­a­tion through September.

Loft and cav­ity wall insu­la­tion will be car­ried out by accred­ited installers McSence, a loc­ally-based social enter­prise com­pany with over 20 years exper­i­ence in installing insulation.

For a free no-oblig­a­tion loft or cav­ity wall sur­vey please call the Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centre dir­ect, on 0800 512 012.