Category Archives: Community

POD need help for the Village fair 2015 to happen!

The Village Show in early September has become a very pop­u­lar event in the Portobello Calendar. POD have recog­nised that they don’t have the capa­city to organ­ise the event this year, unless they find new people to help. If you are inter­ested then please get in touch with POD by mail­ing


Please take a look at this short film.

Electric Bungalow Community Garden


Members of the Electric Bungalow Community Garden would like to thank the wider com­munity in Portobello for all their sup­port and encour­age­ment after the garden on Bath Street was bull­dozed last Thursday.

bath st memorial

Please feel free to drop by and add some­thing (per­haps draw a flower on the pave­ment, weave cloth or wool into the fence) to add to our memori­al just outside.

The group is con­sid­er­ing our next steps and will post plans on the face­book group and the PEDAL web­site in due course.

PEDAL ‘Street Level’ — make it happen on your street!


Would you love to have a street party on your street — but nev­er got round to mak­ing it hap­pen? Or do you think car-shar­ing with a few people who live close by would make sense, but you’re not sure how to go about it? Maybe you think it’s crazy that 10 people in your street have a lawn mower, when you could all just use the same one?

If so, Street Level may be for you.

It’s not com­plic­ated – just the chance to bring togeth­er a bunch of people who’d like to start some­thing good on their street — so they can share a bit of mor­al and prac­tical sup­port. Let’s get togeth­er, share ideas and resources and sup­port one anoth­er to make good things hap­pen on our streets.

The kinds of things we might do are:

Organise street parties

Join Streetbank

Get on-street bike storage

Start com­munity gardens

Build on-street planters/trees

Make or com­mis­sion pub­lic art

Share chick­ens

Start food/solar/insulation co-ops…

… stuff like that.

If you’re inter­ested, email or call Eva

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 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.

Next Steps to New Site for Community Wind Energy Project

Long stand­ing sup­port­ers of PEDAL will remem­ber that we won a UK-wide fund­ing com­pet­i­tion, in part­ner­ship with Greener Leith, to help us build a com­munity owned wind tur­bine at Seafield.

visualisation of how the turbines will look from a local access route.

Visualisation of how the tur­bines will look from a loc­al access route.

P&L Turbine hub-heightAlthough Scottish Water sub­sequently pulled out of the deal, pre­vent­ing us from build­ing a tur­bine at Seafield, we did not give up, and are now pleased to be able to con­firm that we’ve secured a new site for the com­munity tur­bine pro­ject — four kilo­metres south west of Inverness.

The agree­ment fol­lows a year of com­plex nego­ti­ations. The land deal gives us exclus­ive rights to con­duct stud­ies at the site and build two wind tur­bines of up to 800KWp capa­city each.

P&L Turbine tomfat-mapTo take the pro­ject for­wards we have estab­lished a joint ven­ture com­pany which is major­ity owned by PEDAL and Greener Leith. Consultants to the pro­ject, SCENE, own a minor­ity (five per­cent) stake.

In addi­tion, plan­ning per­mis­sion has recently been gran­ted to install a met mast on the site to meas­ure the wind resource, which will hap­pen in the next month or so.

The next step is to meet with the com­munit­ies near to the site.  We hope loc­al non-profit groups will become part­ners in the pro­ject too, and are offer­ing them the chance to invest in, and become part own­ers of it. We want this to be a pro­ject that brings real envir­on­ment­al and fin­an­cial bene­fits, not just to our own com­munit­ies, but to those where the tur­bines will be located.

We’ve already begun this pro­cess and will be present­ing on the pro­ject at Strathnairn Community Council’s meet­ing on 26th May.

The aim is to sub­mit a full plan­ning applic­a­tion to Highland Council some­time in August. If it gets plan­ning per­mis­sion, the pro­ject could gen­er­ate an estim­ated £7m sur­plus over the twenty year lifespan of the pro­ject, to be dis­trib­uted between the com­munity groups who invest in the pro­ject — includ­ing PEDAL  and Greener Leith.

A spokes­per­son for the pro­ject said:

“Signing a land deal is a huge mile­stone for this pro­ject. PEDAL and Greener Leith volun­teers have worked for years on this pro­ject and both organ­isa­tions remain firmly com­mit­ted to com­munity-owned renew­able energy. Our atten­tion is now focussed on identi­fy­ing poten­tial non-profit com­munity part­ners loc­al to the site who we can work with to help us take the pro­ject for­wards and share in the sub­sequent benefits.

“Although a lot still needs to hap­pen before we can be cer­tain the pro­ject will go ahead, we hope to put in a full plan­ning applic­a­tion later in the year, with a view to start­ing con­struc­tion on site in 2015. We’d like to thank all the people who have got behind the pro­ject, espe­cially our key fun­ders, for their ongo­ing support.”

You can find out more about the pro­ject at the spe­cially set-up web­site at

Apple Festival, 12 – 4pm, 6th October at the Botanics

Apple Festival

From 12.00 noon — 4.00 pm at the John Hope Gateway

An annu­al cel­eb­ra­tion of apples. The Saturday will fea­ture apple advice and iden­ti­fic­a­tion from 10am whilst the Sunday will include apple juice tast­ing. See and taste a wide selec­tion of apple vari­et­ies from 12pm both days, and find out how to grow them yourself.

This event is also run­ning from 10am — 4pm on Saturday 5 October.

With the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

Portobello Market, Saturday 3rd August

Will the heat wave come to the mar­ket!? Who knows, but it does­n’t mat­ter either way because there’s always a warm atmo­sphere and lots of fun to be had at the market.

There’ll be live music and face paint­ing of course.

It’s been a great year so far for Portobello Market, and August looks like a bump­er crop of traders, the most so far this year. We’ll even have a real espresso cof­fee van on site! Woohoo! 

Our loy­al reg­u­lars are there with their organ­ic meats, breads, fruit & veg, oils, cheeses, candles, soaps and garden fur­niture, togeth­er with crafts, out­door garden fur­niture, plants, nat­ur­al rem­ed­ies & ther­apies. The list goes on. Amazing variety!

Check out the PEDAL web­site for more details and for a full list of stall­hold­ers.

So come along between 9.30 and 1.30 at Brighton Park on Brighton Place, Portobello, and join in the fun.

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…

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!

Community Alliance Trust sets up shop

Saturday 9th July saw the launch of the new Green House advice shop in Craigmillar. The Green House helps people save money while help­ing the envir­on­ment, provid­ing a range of advice and activ­it­ies on energy sav­ing, waste reduc­tion, loc­al food and envir­on­ment­ally friendly trans­port. Local MSP Kenny MacAskill atten­ded the launch and cut a green rib­bon to form­ally open the pro­ject and wel­come it to the area.

Anyone can drop in and ask the friendly team of staff and volun­teers for free advice, inform­a­tion about grants for energy-sav­ing improve­ments to the home and courses for learn­ing more. Those liv­ing in the great­er Craigmillar area can also book in a free home vis­it to get more tailored help on sav­ing energy in the home.

Visitors to the shop who com­plete a 10 minute Green House sur­vey will receive a free energy sav­ing gad­get to take home – we now have TV Powerdowns and PC Powerdowns to give away, which can cut between £30 and £40 per year off your elec­tri­city bills.

The advice shop at 64 Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh, will be open from now on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from noon til 4pm, and on Wednesdays from 9 til 1.

The pro­ject is now look­ing for more volun­teers to help out in the advice shop or to help with com­munity out­reach work, and wants to work with loc­al com­munity groups and clubs to help mem­bers save cash and the envir­on­ment – please get in touch to book a talk or dis­cuss ideas for work­ing together.

The Green House pro­ject is fun­ded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund and run by the Community Alliance Trust.

For more inform­a­tion see the CAT web­site or Facebook page, or add your­self to the CAT mail­ing list.