Councillor’s Report from Cllr. Donald Wilson, February 2021

Image credit: Donald Wilson

At our December 2020 meeting, Gorgie Dalry Community Council agreed to post written reports submitted by our local ward Councillors for those residents who cannot make it to Community Council meetings. Gorgie Dalry Community Council is an impartial organisation and publishes information provided by any of our local elected representatives regardless of party allegiance, with the exception of explicit canvassing material. The opinions and positions expressed are those of the representative and not of GDCC.

“I started last Months Newsletter by hoping for a speedy end to this terrible pandemic and better times ahead. We are not there yet but the light at the end of the tunnel seems a little nearer with the success of the vaccine rollout. We must still follow the rules of course but I look forward to being able to see you all face to face soon.  

As far as the Council is concerned February is dominated by the Budget Meeting all be it virtual this year. 

For my own part in Culture and Communities I was pleased to welcome a total of over 6.25 million for Parks and Green Spaces. We have always valued our parks, cemeteries, playparks and greenspaces but the pandemic has showed us in even more detail how much these are needed for our health and wellbeing.  Cafes and toilet facilities like those at Saughton Park have been very well used and we see this as a model to roll out into our Premier Parks across the City. Once again Gorgie Dalry leads the way!

I took the opportunity to reiterate that it is our intention to open all our Libraries as soon as it is possible to do so. Our Libraries have been sadly missed but in the meantime they are doing great things online … 

  • Edinburgh Libraries awarded Most Newspapers Read Online Worldwide in 2020 by PressReader (1.9M issues from a choice of 2155 different titles).
  • In partnership with Scottish Book Trust Bookbug programme, Edinburgh Libraries delivered 18,559 free Bookbug packs to early years and school establishments, including childminders, across Edinburgh. Bookbug packs contain age appropriate books, literacy and parenting resources and are freely available to all children at 3 stages of their pre-school life.
  • As part of the Covid-19 response, Libraries continued to work in partnership with Scottish Book Trust and local partners to gift books to vulnerable communities: Craigmillar Books for Babies literacy project (500 books), Royal Hospital for Sick Children (300 books for children released from care and self-isolating), books given to food distribution team during lockdown to accompany food deliveries to most vulnerable families (330 books)
  • Libraries have acted as local authority partner with SCVO in administering Connecting Scotland community programme in Edinburgh: two phases of Connecting Scotland and a related Winter Support Package, have resulted in over 1000 devices being gifted to individuals in Edinburgh with support. (Connecting Scotland is a Scottish Government programme set up in response to coronavirus. It provides iPads, Chromebooks, connectivity and support to develop digital skills for people who are digitally excluded and on low incomes).
  • During Covid-19 the programme of activities, author events and campaign events also moved online e.g. during Book Week Scotland, Edinburgh Libraries hosted the interactive Dreams We Dream Of Dreaming poetry event on Twitter with introduction by renowned poet Michael Pederson; also a targeted City Reads e-book promotion with unlimited downloads of A Dark Matter by Edinburgh crime author Doug Johnstone, which resulted in 863 downloads of the book and hundreds of reservations on other e-book and audiobook titles by Johnstone.

If you have not joined the Library yet I would encourage you to do so and get totally free access to everything from e-newspapers to e-books. https://yourlibrary.edinburgh.gov.uk/web/arena/home

Prior to the pandemic the area was on the point of a Cultural renaissance with the movement of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival into St Brides, the massive investment in Saughton Park and the reopening of Gorgie Farm by Love Gorgie (now looking to expand). The challenge now is to build on these achievements and ensure people in this area have the same access to culture and services as any other part of the city. 

Ongoing local issues include the Community Council’s fly tipping initiative which local Councillors are working together to support.  

Vandalism in Saughton Park has once again become problem jeopardising the 6 million of investment that has gone in there. Installation of the planned CCTV was delayed due to the pandemic but (hot off the press) being installed as we speak! Hopefully this will finally solve a problem that keeps recurring. 

Finally I would take this opportunity to state that after thorough investigation, Cllrs Dixon , Fullerton and myself have established that there are no plans to sell off the Bowling and Croquet Clubs at Balgreen for housing. Any plans for the surrounding area do not affect the Clubs . These Clubs are very popular and more needed than ever at this time.”

Residents can contact Cllr. Wilson via email to: donald.wilson@edinburgh.gov.uk or by calling 0131 529 4715. Correspondence address: The City of Edinburgh Council, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ


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