by Terence Airlie, Secretary of QDCC.
The last twelve months have been extremely busy for Queensferry and District Community Council. Not only have the usual subjects needed to be addressed, but in addition there has been the matter of the Forth Replacement Crossing. This has called for careful study of the plans, for comment and the placing of considered objections before the Forth Crossing Bill Committee. An ongoing dialogue with Transport Scotland has helped to resolve some of the objections, but a number of areas remain in disagreement and QDCC is currently pursuing these through the Parliamentary process.
QDCC met regularly with representatives of Evans Property Group to discuss the Ferrymuir Phase Two mixed use development plans and has worked closely with the developer to secure the best solution for Queensferry. QDCC also met with Agilent Technologies following the decision to close the Scotstoun facility and have further meetings planned to discuss mutual concerns and how the site might be developed in the future.
QDCC organised a tour of Queensferry for the Director of City Development and Council planning and transportation officials to see the main development sites in Queensferry and areas for potential new parking facilities. A follow-up workshop with the planning department took place to ensure a joined-up approach is taken in local and regional strategies for these development sites.
Transport remains a major issue for Queensferry, and in the past year the main initiative has been the development of a proposed traffic management scheme for Queensferry High Street, which is narrow and cobbled with traffic calming pinch points and suffers from congestion at peak times. The results of a public consultation were provided to the Council with options such as weight restrictions, part-time pedestrianisation or one way systems under consideration. Representations were also made regarding the extension of traffic calming schemes, public transport information, pedestrian facilities and road signage.
New social networking were launched, www.facebook.com/queensferry and you can follow us on Twitter @qdcc
As well as the City of Edinburgh Council, QDCC has continued to work closely with other organisations, including Lothian & Borders Police, business and community groups, developers and youth groups, to maintain and improve Queensferry as a good place to live, work and visit.
The Greens are looking ahead to major gains in 2011.
Alison, who is also bidding to be Green MSP for Edinburgh and the Lothians next year, told the Edinburgh Reporter:
“We live in turbulent times and in such times normal party loyalties no longer count. The Scottish elections are only six months away and I sense a real appetite among the public for politicians who can recognise the stark reality of economic gloom but can also map a positive way out of it. Over the weekend we’ll be hearing about exciting ideas on green jobs and investment, on housing and on Scotland’s future.
“There are good foundations to build on. Here in Edinburgh, the group of Green councillors has had real influence over vehicle pollution, planning, energy efficient homes and social care, to name only a few. Thanks to the Green MSPs’ Climate Challenge Fund, over £3 million has been invested in the city on community projects which are transforming neighbourhoods in ways that are good for people and the planet.
“That is why I am so optimistic about the six months ahead.”
The conference also features Caroline Lucas, the Greens’ first MP in Westminster and Robin Harper, giving his last conference speech before standing down as an MSP in 2011. Dozens of Scotland’s best known charities and representative organisations are also taking part.
You can get more information about the conference on the Scottish Greens website.
“I didn’t get involved in community journalism until after the birth of my first child. In the course of a few weeks, I stopped seeing Edinburgh as a scenic playground and realised queasily that it was a gigantic conspiracy bent on ruining my family’s life and prospects. Helping out with The Broughton Spurtle seemed a good way of discovering what was going on and magnifying local voices in response.
That was in 1996, two years after the paper first emerged out of a successful anti-Poll Tax campaign and an unsuccessful battle to preserve London Street Primary School. Since then – always produced by volunteers and not for profit – it has appeared almost every month, researching and sharing hyperlocal news in an area roughly bounded by Leith Walk, Pilrig Street, Broughton Road, Canonmills, Dundas Street and York Place. Our readers and interests occasionally stray wider, but the nuts and bolts of our coverage comprise Broughton’s planning, transport, environment, culture and history.
We also report the fascinating minutiae which interest locals and do not concern remoter organs. I would argue that such shared hyperlocal experience – however seemingly trivial – binds communities together, makes neighbours more mutually accountable and willing to stand up for each other. Take graffiti, for example. For the last few years, Spurtle has bucked the trend of endlessly lambasting young people who scribble on buildings. We are as heartily sick of tags as anyone, but we celebrate creative, well-executed, daring graffiti which comments upon or beautifies odd corners in this part of town. In recent months there has been a mysterious proliferation of high-quality works here, which we have gratefully featured. The Scotsman doesn’t care about Audrey Hepburn appearing on a wall; locals do – it reminds us that we’re from Broughton.
I say ‘we’, but there is no permanent or closed panel of authors/editors with a fixed agenda. Spurtle is the sum of its parts, with a wide variety of people coming and going, contributing time, expertise, ideas, articles, and contrasting opinions.
The paper’s self-imposed contentious brief quite often makes waves. We have, for example, irritated swathes of New Town readers by putting the case for wheelie-bins. In the last few days, we found positive things to say about redevelopment at Canonmills. We have more than once enjoyed prickly relations with residents associations and community councils. Spurtle’s usefulness lies in causing debate, in occasionally being awkward, ‘generally stirring things up a bit’.
The paper tries to make engaging with urban life, civic processes, the general hurly-burly and argy-bargy of shared spaces as accessible and enjoyable as possible. We are pro active citizenship. We are against passivity. We dislike the negative, opportunistic, too-often inaccurate and derivative cynicism of a certain evening newspaper. And if all that sounds smug, I should also point out that we’re also pro having a laugh. We laugh often and loudly at pomposity, including our own.
In October 2009, the paper launched a website carrying back issues and additional articles to those appearing in the printed edition. The site has mushroomed, greatly increasing our circulation and streams of revenue, and introducing us to a new audience seeking online sources of news and entertainment.
Most of these new readers live or work locally, but our impression is that they are predominantly in their 20s and 30s and negotiating adult relationships with the political and social city for the first time. Online social and news media allow them to do so selectively, across new pathways of time and space which have not been explored before. I find this a fascinating environment – a 21st-century agora in what Cllr Dundas memorably describes as ‘the mind hive of the Edinburgh people’.
Spurtle aims to be at its centre. It is ‘Broughton’s free, independent stirrer’, and remains the city’s only publication to rhyme with turtle.
[Issue 188 of the Broughton Spurtle will appear in print (pubs, clubs, cafés shops, galleries) on Monday 1 November.
It is also available online by clicking here And you can follow it on Twitter @thespurtle.]
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, had the unenviable task of doling out the bad news to the UK on spending cuts in The Commons on 20th October 2010. In the short time since then many comments have been made in different quarters of business. Here is a round-up of some of them that we have found. What do you think? Will it make a difference to you?
Commenting on the impact of the spending cuts on the public sector, partner and public sector specialist, Paul Brewer, at PwC in Scotland, said:
“Finally, after weeks of well trailed inevitability, we have the clarity we need to move forward. The public sector recession is now well and truly in full swing and the effects will be felt for years to come – not just by the public sector but by businesses, communities, the third sector and individuals.
“The severity of the cut in DEL allocation to Scotland will undoubtedly have far reaching impacts. Scotland simply cannot afford the current level of public expenditure and it can no longer afford to be wasteful in any aspects of public service delivery.
“While cuts of the magnitude may be appropriate for the UK economy as a whole, Scotland will undoubtedly suffer more due to its heavy reliance on the public sector. Job cuts will be inevitable –we now anticipate between 71,000 to 86,000 public sector roles could go by 2014/2015* – however, we cannot rely on this means alone.
“Scotland must be brave. The challenge for the Scottish Government over the coming weeks will be to ensure that resultant cuts are made in the right places in order to preserve our vital front line services and free resources in order to build and invest in sustainable infrastructure and job creation which is crucial to economic growth.
“With a 38% cut in the capital budget there is a real and present threat to programmes such as schools and roads. As we endeavour to grow the economy out of recession, however, it is crucial that we continue to focus our attention on maintaining this investment rather than sacrificing it for short-term spending.
“Local government leaders also need to grasp the nettle and act now to not only innovate service delivery and redesign front line services but reorganise back office support functions to ensure that those essential services needed by our vulnerable communities can continue to be delivered with fewer resources. Indeed, research by PwC has shown that savings in the region of 40% can be made by standardising, simplifying and sharing back office functions.
“We believe that, with the right approach, Scotland has the potential to meet these challenges head on and become a stronger, more dynamic economy.”
In response to today’s CSR announcement by the Chancellor, Alan Gray, director and education specialist at PwC in Scotland, commented:
“While the schools budget in England is increasing in real terms, the position in Scotland is less clear. Achieving a similar outcome for Scotland and protecting schools and health from funding cuts will have implications for the other public services where the impact of reduction in spending may have to be greater and deeper.
“Within Higher and Further Education, there will undoubtedly be cuts in core teaching and research funding, albeit the UK Government has given a clear commitment to supporting science. With tough choices still having to be made around the funding of tuition fees, Scotland’s universities and colleges will have to consider options for reducing administration and back office costs in order to continue to maintain a broad portfolio of education, research and knowledge transfer activity.”
The Institute of Directors has made a statement about the Spending Review announcement:
- We very much welcome the Government’s determination to stick to its overall plan of reducing public spending by £83bn over the next 5 years. The key to getting the private sector recovery underway is macro-economic stability. This will only be achieved with sustainable public finances. Opponents of today’s spending reductions need to wake up to that fact.
- Between 1991 and 1997 public sector employment fell by 600,000 – roughly on a par with the falls projected as a result of the Spending Review – but this did not prevent a sustained upturn in economic growth. Similarly, in the late 1990s the sharp fiscal squeeze introduced by Gordon Brown over the 1997-99 period went hand in hand with strong economic growth. Whilst growth prospects are not as good now, they are not as bad as the gloom merchants would have us believe.
- Following the June Budget we stated that the only area of public spending that should be ring-fenced was that for key infrastructure. Consequently we welcome the fact that although transport investment faces an 11 per cent reduction over the next 4 years, it could have been far worse. The spending settlement for transport, energy and ITC investment is better than we had feared.
Commenting, Miles Templeman, Director-General of the IoD, said:
“We strongly support the Government’s determination to stick to its overall plan of reducing public spending quickly. The only way we get a private sector recovery underway is through macro-economic stability, and this will only be achieved with sustainable public finances. Opponents of today’s spending reductions need to wake up to that fact. The alternative is a tax hike which would damage the economy in both the short and long term.
“If today’s spending review is to succeed the Government will have to deliver fundamental root and branch reform which transforms the productivity of the public sector. We need to remember that if the public sector had matched the private sector’s productivity growth over the last decade, the deficit would now be £60bn less than it is. Less can be more.”
Some specific points:
- Additional welfare reform measures are welcome as initial steps to reduce the overall welfare budget and get people back into work.
Public Sector Pensions
- The proposed savings on unfunded public sector pensions are a welcome first step in tackling this economic and political time bomb.
Schools and colleges
- Improving education performance is central to improving the long-term supply of skills into the workforce. But whilst the Chancellor announced a generous overall settlement for schools, ultimately it is radical reform, not additional funding, that is the key to raising standards. We welcome the promise of additional autonomy for schools over the spending of their budgets, and on freeing further education colleges from unnecessary bureaucracy.
- The Spending Review announces that, from the 2012-13 academic year, universities will be able to increase graduate contributions. For the long-term competitiveness of the higher education sector, it is vital that Lord Browne’s recent report into university funding and student finance is treated as a blueprint, not a pick-and-mix.
Skills and Apprenticeships
- Shortages of STEM skills are a particular problem and the prioritisation of science spending will be welcomed by many businesses. The demise of the Train to Gain programme, conversely, will not be widely mourned. However, the decision to increase funding by £250 million a year by 2014-15 on new adult apprenticeships is questionable. The Government should be wary of introducing too much bias in the way it favours, funds and promotes Apprenticeships: they are not a universal training solution and are not suitable for all types and sizes of organisation.
Responding to the Chancellor’s statement, President of the Law Society of Scotland, Jamie Millar said:-”Much will depend on how The Scottish Government responds to the reduction in its block grant. However, there is little doubt that such significant cuts in public spending will impact the Scottish justice system and the public’s access to that system.
“All of us in the justice sector must now work together in the public interest and enter into a mature debate on how best to deliver these required cuts in spending. There are no easy answers but the Law Society of Scotland is certainly ready to be part of that debate.”
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD, says that excellent people management will be crucial in determining whether public services can survive the cuts
The unprecedented scale of change set out in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) cannot be delivered without a concerted and committed focus on supporting, bolstering and improving public sector management capability, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Although employee morale and engagement is bound to suffer in the face of this scale of cuts, the CIPD is urging those with responsibility for public sector management – up to and including ministers – not to lose sight of the possibilities and opportunities to genuinely engage and enthuse public sector workers about new ways of working and to secure buy-in to new means of service delivery.
Research published by the CIPD on Monday, exploring public attitudes to possible post-CSR industrial action in the public sector, highlighted that striking workers would quickly lose sympathy amongst the wider public. However, Mike Emmott, employee engagement adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) warns that ministers cannot afford to take solace in these findings if the end result is a demotivated and disengaged public sector workforce:
“Our research shows unions cannot rely on public sympathy to face down the Government’s cuts through sustained strike action. But equally, ministers cannot rely on limited enthusiasm for strikes to deliver their vision of reformed, streamlined and diversified public service delivery. The reality is more complicated. Front-line commitment and industrial harmony can only be delivered by persuasive messages about why the cuts are needed, and an unswerving focus on excellent day to day management of the ‘survivors’. Effective and sustained change will only happen in organisations where senior leaders show a sustained commitment to building staff engagement to ensure there is buy-in to change and new ways of working.”
Warning that the way people are engaged and managed will be the critical factor in determining whether the scaled back public sector set out in the CSR is still capable of delivering on ministerial and public expectations, Mike Emmott, says:
“Proposals to improve the autonomy and empowerment of front-line service workers will fail if front-line managers are not equipped with the skills to support these behaviours. Radical plans such as employee-led public sector co-operatives and a step-change in co-ordination and collaboration between local public service providers can only succeed if there is a sustained focus on building management capability. Our research consistently shows a high degree of loyalty amongst public service workers to the services they seek to provide, and the people they provide them to. That loyalty cannot be taken for granted over the next five years. Instead, it will need to be carefully nurtured and harnessed by inspiring managers, focused wholeheartedly on their management responsibilities if the promise of wholesale changes to methods of service delivery is to be realised.
“As an example, the success of government plans to transfer health service commissioning powers from Primary Care Trusts to GP consortiums in the face of 45% cuts to management will hinge on whether GPs are equipped with the leadership and management skills that will be so important to their new roles. GPs will need to have leadership skills to take charge of service commissioning, as well as the people management skills to manage and motivate employees and partners in other services to work collaboratively and deliver for patients.
“How these changes are managed and the extent to which employees feel they are consulted and have a voice will also be fundamental to whether they understand and buy-in to new ways of working.”
Tom Clougherty, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute gives his initial reactions to the spending review:
“I’m delighted that the Chancellor has stuck to his guns, and laid out plans to eliminate the structural deficit by the end of the parliament. Politically, this may be difficult, but economically, it is absolutely vital.
“It is important to remember though that severe as some of these specific cuts are, the overall impact of the spending review is modest. Health spending is protected, while areas like social security and debt interest payments – which the review’s cuts will not affect – are set to surge.
“In cash terms, government spending will continue to rise over the term of the government. In real terms the overall cuts only amount to a couple of percent.
“We need to realize that this is just the beginning. It is vital that the government goes on from here to carry out a radical, comprehensive reform of the public sector, since only that will make cuts sustainable in the long term.
“We also need a hard-headed, positive agenda for economic growth. Now the spending review is out of the way, the government’s attention must turn to these issues.”
Commenting on the impact that the Comprehensive Spending Review, as announced by Chancellor George Osborne, is likely to have on the architectural profession, Christopher Littlemore, CEO of Archial, one of the country’s largest architectural practices, said:
“Every architecture practice undertaking public works in the UK will be affected by the CSR Review. Those aspiring to continue to find work in the public sector will have to think creatively to identify innovative ways of achieving clients’ goals and seeking solutions to their various challenges. At Archial, for example, we have been focusing on identifying alternative funding sources and developing dual-use (public and private) buildings.
“The Chancellor might claim that the 19% average cuts to departmental budgets were less severe than expected, but the reality is that, over a four year period, this CSR will see almost 500,000 public sector jobs cut, the local government budget reduced by 27%, social housing by 71%, culture down 24%, transport down 21%, energy and climate down 18.7% and defence down 7.5%.” Archial is part of The Ingenium Group
Pick up your paper copy of The Broughton Spurtle from 1st November – and the first of any month. Otherwise past issues available on the internet. Usual outlets – more information on their website.
Phil Spencer is coming to The Royal Highland Showground next weekend for the Ultimate Home Show on 6th & 7th November 2010. More information here.
On Thursday 4th November there is to be a public lecture at Edinburgh University in the Medical Detectives series. Presented by Professor James Ironside this is the third lecture in the 2010 Medical Detectives lecture series. James Ironside is Professor of Clinical Neuropathology at the University and Director of the MRC Network of UK Brain Banks. The subject is Prions – the serial killers that attack the brain. You can get more information here.
On 4th November The National Library is holding a Getting Started at the library event. It takes place at 18:00 Book online or phone 0131 623 3918.
On 5th November at the National Library they are holding the Muriel Spark Society Annual Lecture. It starts at 6.00pm and will be a story about meeting Muriel Spark delivered by Martin Stannard who is her official biographer.
Leith, Harbour and Newhaven Community Council meet on the first Wednesday of each month at The Express by Holiday Inn at Ocean Drive at 7.30pm. More details on their website here.
The Scottish Community Foundation is holding a public discussion on philanthropy on Wednesday 3 November 2010 in Edinburgh. Join the BBC’s Sally Magnusson as she hosts Scotland’s Philanthropy Debate 2010, organised by the Scottish Community Foundation, in association with Adam & Company. Lord Smith of Kelvin; Sir Christopher Gent, chair of GlaxoSmithKline; Ann Gloag, businesswoman and philanthropist; Jim McColl, chief executive of Clyde Blowers and Anne Boyd will take questions from the audience on philanthropy and charitable giving.
The debate is a free, ticketed event. To register for tickets, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Edinburgh West End Community Council are meeting on Monday, 1st November. Details of the agenda can be found here.
Edinburgh Corn Exchange are hosting the Wedding Fair and Fashion Show on 5th & 6th November 2010. More details here.
Such and Such have a whole month of pop-up shops in Brunswick Street. On Saturday 5th/Sunday 6th November Such and Such studio will be transformed into a designer boutique by fashion brand Nonchalant. After working with both Giles Deacon and Amiee McWilliams, Gemma Carver began her own label christened Nonchalant, where she could combine her love of garment construction with a passion for other cultures.
Talks run on Monday evenings from 7:30pm-8:30pm, in the Royal Observatory Edinburgh Lecture Theatre. Booking is not required for the talks, and tickets can be bought on the door. Season tickets will be available from the start of the programme.
Tickets: £3 adults, £1.50 children/concessions. Season tickets: £20 adults, £10 children/concessions.
The talk on Monday 1st November is by Bruce Sibthorpe “From Scope to Screen: How Herschel Images the Universe” Astronomy provides such beautiful images, which we all see in the news. This talk will look at the steps which take us from telescope data to eye-catching image. More information here.
Dark Tales at The Scottish Storytelling Centre on 4th November at 8.30pm when you are promised a frightful night of horror and wicked humour.More details on the website. Also an art exhibition starts there on Saturday 6th November of artwork produced by partially sighted children in Russia. All proceeds to be split between The Royal Blind School Edinburgh and School 139 in Perm, Russia.
At The Edinburgh Bookshop Elmer the Elephant will be in The Edinburgh Bookshop to help them celebrate their birthday and meet the residents of Bruntsfield. There will also be balloons and goody bags,
On 3rd November at The Scottish Storytelling Centre there is to be a day conference hosted by the Joint Commission on Doctrine (Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic Church) with speakers including Professor Tom Devine and Rev Dr Alan Falconer, and followed by a service in St Giles Cathedral with guest preacher Very Rev Dr John Miller. Booking here on a first come first served basis.
You can get down and dirty at The Big Leith Clean-up! This week it is being held on 6th November at Pilrig Park and you should meet there at 11am at the entrance to Pilrig School. The clean-up lasts till 2pm. You are advised to wear sturdy boots and outdoor clothing. Children are welcome but must be supervised by an adult at all times. More information on The Greener Leith Social page here.
Remember remember there’s a big fireworks event at Meadowbank on 5th November and you can get your tickets here. Also there are fireworks at Hopetoun House just outside town on 6th November. You are promised a programme of funfair rides, fire jugglers and dancers and food stalls. Build up to the fireworks hosted by Forth 1 radio presenter and Big Bad Panto Villain Grant Stott. Gates open from 3.30pm, bonfire at 5.30 and fireworks at 6.30pm.More information on their website.
Send us your photos! And if you are organising an event over the next few weeks then please tell us about it and we will include you in our weekly round-up.
A new University event gives participants 48 hours to build and launch a web or mobile application.
The Launch48 Edinburgh event, hosted at the University of Edinburgh Business School, is open to everyone, from serial entrepreneurs to young professionals to students.
Software developers, designers, marketers, business people, and people with ideas are invited to join the event, which takes place on October 29 to 31.
Attendees will be broken into teams of 15 to 20 people, with the aim of creating a real business idea in a single weekend.
From pitching ideas to final presentations, teams must work tirelessly day and night to produce prototypes, business models and revenue projections.
Companies formed in previous events in England have survived the weekend and become actual firms.
Too late now to register but for more information go to the Launch48 website
Rebecca Difford of LAUNCH.ed said:-
“Launch48 Edinburgh will help those looking for real work experience to building their portfolios, and will given people looking for a new project something to work on. For those running existing businesses, it’s also a great opportunity to extend their networks and meet new people to work with and share ideas.”
The University has a long history of helping staff and students turn their ideas into businesses.
Edinburgh Research and Innovation, its commercialisation arm, created 40 firms in the last academic year, a record for a Scottish University.
Its LAUNCH.ed programme helps student entrepreneurs to form new businesses themselves.
Here are the photos from the Launch48 Flickr site
The following video shows a public lecture presented by Professor Jane Norman on Thursday 21 October 2010. This is the first lecture in the 2010 Medical Detectives lecture series. Jane Norman is Professor of Maternal and Fetal Health at the University and Director of the Tommy’s Centre of Maternal and Fetal Health.
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The University website says:- Birth is the single event that unites us all. There is still much to learn about this process and there are few treatments when birth goes wrong.
Pre-term birth is on the rise. It is the single biggest cause of death and disability amongst babies born in the UK.
Maternal obesity is also increasing with associated problems for mothers and babies including increased risk of miscarriage, caesarean section and maternal death.
This lecture traces the detective work used to understand the process of labour and how we can improve outcomes for mums and babies.”
As we approach winter, TV Licensing and Age UK are urging anyone over 75 in Edinburgh to make sure that they’re claiming their free TV Licence. Budgeting can become more difficult as you get older and so TV Licensing has made it easier than ever to apply for the free over 75 licence. What’s more, if you live with someone aged over 75, their free licence will cover all the equipment in the property, meaning you could also benefit.
Anyone aged 75 or over is entitled to a free TV Licence for their main address. Over 23,600 people in Edinburgh are among almost 3.9 million people across the UK who are already enjoying the benefits of the concession. There are around a further 250 people due to turn 75 within the next year who are currently on a short term licence to take them up to their birthday.
TV Licensing has been working with elderly advice groups across the UK and in Scotland to make sure anyone who is eligible is aware of the free over 75 TV Licence.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director for Age UK, said: “Many older people live on low fixed incomes, so the free television licence for people aged 75 and over is a valuable entitlement and we would urge people to make sure they apply this year. Television offers many older people a vital source of information and entertainment, especially for those who find it hard to get out and about.
“It’s easy to apply for your free television licence today by calling 0300 790 6073 or going to the TV Licensing website.”
Applying for a free licence is easy and once you have done so, TV Licensing will renew it automatically annually for 3 years, cutting down on excess paperwork.
Fergus Reid, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: “Anyone aged 75 or older is entitled to a free TV Licence, so, if you’re spending time with older relatives in the coming months then make sure they’re taking advantage of the concession.
“Some residents in Edinburgh may be contacted to about their over 75 licence in the next few weeks to check that their details have not changed. They don’t need to worry though – it is just a routine check to ensure they have not moved home and there is no need to get in touch unless there have been any changes to their situation.”
Lindsay Scott, Communications & Campaigns Manager for Age Scotland, concluded: “The over 75 licence is an important and valuable concession and we support TV Licensing’s work in ensuring as many people as possible are aware of its existence and also take the necessary steps to apply for it.”
It’s now easier than ever to apply for the free over 75 licence, thanks to a new online application facility on the TV Licensing website. People applying for their free licence for the first time, or those aged 74 wishing to apply for a short term licence to take them up to their 75th birthday, simply need to fill in a short form at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/over75. Alternatively, they can call 0300 790 6073, or write to TV Licensing, Bristol, BS98 1TL, giving their name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.
A whole floor of Edinburgh’s City Art Centre is set to become a willow wonderland this winter thanks to an exciting exhibition by one of Scotland’s most high profile and multi-award winning willow artists.
Spirit of Air, from 20 November 2010 to 27 February 2011, presents a new body of dramatic willow works by Dumfriesshire-based Lizzie Farey, who cultivates the willow for her artwork herself.
The free exhibition on the fourth floor will include a range of new artworks created especially for the City Art Centre show, and there will also be a number of smaller-scale willow pieces available to buy in the gallery’s shop.
Another major piece by the artist, which was commissioned by the City Art Centre earlier this year, has been on display in the Market Street venue since it reopened in July. This piece, Aerie, adorns a large wall space on the gallery’s third floor and will remain on show until Spring 2011.
Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture and Leisure Convenor, said: “Lizzie Farey is an outstandingly accomplished willow artist and basketmaker and we’re extremely pleased to be hosting this wonderful selection of her works at the City Art Centre.”
Speaking about what inspires her art, Lizzie said: “I respond to the events in my life by making aerial and wall sculptures. Using willow as a medium for drawing I find a freedom to let my thoughts and emotions fly. Emerging themes that re-occur are flight, relationships and nature.”
An illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition. Spirit of Air is a partnership project with the Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries, and is supported by Creative Scotland (formerly Scottish Arts Council).
In conjunction with the exhibition, Lizzie will also be delivering two intensive willow masterclasses. Details below.
Expressive Willow Masterclasses
Sat 15 January and Sat 26 February, 10am to 4pm
Led by Lizzie Farey, these masterclasses are aimed at those who wish to explore using willow as an expressive art form. Cost £50 per class, includes tuition, all materials, tea and coffee.
Numbers are strictly limited, so advance booking is essential. Please contact Margaret Findlay on 0131 529 3963 or email: email@example.com
This Halloween charity challenge will aim to help raise funds for an even bigger challenge next year, when the team be cycling 400km from Vietnam to Cambodia to raise money for Genesis Research Trust.
The Genesis Research Trust is a charity set up to research and promote education and awareness in women’s health. In particular the charity specialises in the care of women and their children during pregnancy and the health of the female reproductive system.
Karen Turner, participant in the challenge comments, “We are really looking forward to the challenge in the showroom and already have our costumes prepared! We are really grateful to ESPC for giving us the opportunity to raise money for such a worthwhile cause, in such a prominent location.
Every visitor to the showroom on that day will receive a free day gym/swim pass to any Edinburgh Leisure Centre. Also, if you sign up on the day you’ll benefit from no joining fee (normally £35)!
Michelle Rose, Sales Manger for Edinburgh Leisure added, “We are delighted to be involved in the event. Not only is it providing a fun way to raise money for charity, but we are also encouraging people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. If customers can’t make it into the showroom on the day we are also offering an on-line competition which can be found at www.espc.com/spookyspin where every entrant wins a free one-week pass.”
Edinburgh Leisure has provided ESPC with a 3 month and 6 month Edinburgh Leisure pass to be won, worth £130.50 and £261 respectively. It will give the winner access to swim, gym and classes at all Edinburgh Leisure Centres across the city. Every entrant automatically receives a free one-week pass for the Edinburgh Leisure Centre of their choice.
Pop in on the day to show some Spooky Spin support for Halloween, all in aid of a great cause.