Thursday, July 09, 2015

Summer is here :-)

Summer is here - well, the holiday period anyhow ;-)

So; absolutely no blogging now for a few weeks; and I also intend to completely (and I do mean completely!) lay-off twitter, facebook and blipfoto as well ...

... and I'm afraid e-mails won't be read directly by me, but Staff will pick them up and respond accordingly.

My mobile will be on, in case anyone needs to get me by phone/text urgently (signal permitting!) - but, in the nicest possible way, I hope not to hear from too many folk ;-)

Normal service will resume around Monday 27th July.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Edinburgh Labour Selects Candidate for Leith Walk By-Election

News from Edinburgh Labour
Immediate Release
Tuesday 7th July 2015

Edinburgh Labour Selects Candidate for Leith Walk By-Election

Marion Donaldson has been selected as the Scottish Labour Party candidate for the upcoming City of Edinburgh Council by-election in the Leith Walk ward on Thursday 10th September 2015.

Marion is a team leader for a local Food Bank and a member of the Leith Central Community Council. She lives in Leith Walk Ward with her husband and children.

Marion said:

I have witnessed first hand the issues that affect our community, I know what has made a difference and what still needs to be done. People with very little money are having their dignity removed by the so-called sanctionsbrought in by the Tory government.  These have a severe and personal impact on the poorest families and the poorest children. Its these families local food banks try and help."

If elected, I will work tirelessly to represent the people of our area and to help continue the positive work we have seen from the Labour-led Council."

Over the past three years, Labour-led Edinburgh Council has protected services, doubled investment in roads and pavements, provided record support to get young people into employment and helped the lowest paid by introducing the Living Wage, at £7.50 per hour, for all Council employees."
Edinburgh City Council leader, Andrew Burns said:

I am delighted Marion has been selected as our candidate for the upcoming by-election. I believe she would be an outstanding representative for the people of Leith Walk and would be an asset within the Chambers as we continue to try to work with local residents to act on the priorities for their area."


The official campaign launch will take place on Saturday 11th July at Northern and Leiths Campaign Headquarters,  180  Easter Road at 4pm. 



Sunday, July 05, 2015

Allotment update!

Spent a few hours down at our Saughton Mains Allotment earlier this afternoon ...

... with all the recent sunshine & rain, everything is growing rally fast - and, as you can see from this snap, the flower-beds are an absolute riot of colour!

Pleased to report that all the veg/fruit crops, are also coming on well, and we've now got our first batch of allotment-strawberry jam bottled-up :-)

Saturday, July 04, 2015

2015 International Day of Co-operatives

As mentioned earlier, today is the "2015 International Day of Co-operatives" ...

... regular readers will hopefully be aware that the 'Cooperative Capital' agenda features strongly as part of the Council's approach - some background information available here and here --- and immediately below I'll embed a short video, from yours truly, explaining the approach a bit further:

--- and here's a short article I've penned, to note the day, the progress made, and acknowledging the work still to do:

Towards a Cooperative Capital

The ‘UK Cooperatives Fortnight’ draws to a close this weekend, culminating with Saturday 4th July being the 2015 International Day of Cooperatives. The fortnight has provided an excellent opportunity to showcase how Edinburgh has been working with citizens and communities to encourage greater cooperation and collaboration.

As part of a wider programme of events, I was delighted to speak about the importance of cooperatives at an “Edinburgh Partnership Conference” last week. This was the first time that we have hosted an event as part of the annual Cooperatives Fortnight, which celebrates the economic and social impacts of the sector, as well as the cooperative potential of communities.

Following the elections in 2012, the Council’s Capital Coalition set out a clear vision to become a Cooperative Capital, where public services work better together, and where communities have more influence over the services they use. We pledged to be a Council that does things ‘with people’ rather than ‘to people’.

We have been working on this in a range of ways, such as encouraging specific initiatives in energy, housing, childcare and adult social care. And since May 2012, communities have helped to set up 14 co-ops, some of which have asked for and received Council backing. This is great news for local communities because it shows that people are feeling empowered and want to have a stronger say in the services they access.

An example of this can be seen in talks between the Council, Castle Rock Edinvar and students from the University of Edinburgh, which led to the Capital’s first student housing co-operative, which offers quality and affordable accommodation. The students initially approached the Council to talk about their ideas as they knew that we were keen to support this type of structure.

We all know that many communities feel disengaged from local democracy at the moment; Councils can seem like distant bureaucracies; and, as organisations, we are struggling to manage significant funding reductions just as local people are putting more and more demand on local services.

If Councils are going to meet this challenge, and if communities are going to thrive, then we all need to start doing things differently. We need to work together, in genuine and equal partnership with local people and organisations, to make the most of the strengths that lie in our communities. Most importantly, we must drive real innovation, with services shaped around the needs of local people.

We have numerous local examples of this taking place, such as the South East of Scotland energy switching project, which was funded by the Energy Savings Trust and helped communities to collectively buy power to get a better deal on energy bills. In Edinburgh, 116 switches took place, saving participating households an estimated total of £16,000 on their energy bills. Other examples include the Edinburgh Guarantee, the After School Clubs Cooperative Charter, the Edinburgh Alcohol and Drug Partnership Commission, the Tenant Participation Strategy and the Homelessness Prevention Implementation Plan.

And within the Council, transparency of decision-making has also improved with the introduction of web-casting, a petitions committee, revised scrutiny – with new governance, risk and best value oversight. The Council’s 2015-16 budget process has also benefitted, with proposals only finalised once three months of public engagement and consultation were carried out.

Cooperatives are simple to set up, easy to join and more effective than working alone. This type of working will help enable Edinburgh to continue to move towards its long-term objective to become a Cooperative Capital. I firmly believe that the cooperative principles of empowerment, equal partnership, and collective action offer a positive route not simply to survive through tough times, but to enable local communities to thrive, supported by relevant and meaningful local public services.

Indeed, Edinburgh is now seen as a leading centre for cooperative working, and we currently Chair the Cooperative Council Innovation Network (CCIN) – a collaboration between local authorities across the UK who are committed to finding better ways of working for, and with, local people for the benefit of their local community.

Now more than ever, I see Cooperative Councils being at the forefront of innovative partnership working across sectors, tackling the serious challenges that lie ahead together with local communities.

Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader, City of Edinburgh Council

Friday, July 03, 2015

Co-operatives Fortnight 2015

Cooperatives Fortnight (some details below - and via this additional link) draws to a close tomorrow (4th July); which is also the 'International Day of Cooperatives' ...

... I'll post some more on this tomorrow - but, for now, further general background available here.




Co-operatives Fortnight 2015 

Saturday 20 June - Saturday 4 July

Co-operatives Fortnight is an annual awareness campaign to help people become more familiar with co-operatives in their local area and is organised by Co-operatives UK.

Co-operative businesses are not limited to the food stores, pharmacies and funeral care services that most people are used to seeing on the high street. The sector is truly diverse covering everything from bakeries to bicycle stores, childcare providers to cheese producers, and farms to football clubs.

Click here to find out more about Co-operatives Fortnight and how to take part.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

National Railway Museum

Actually been back down in Yorkshire during this week - but for work-related purposes this time!

Was attending the Local Government Association conference in Harrogate - speaking at a Cooperative Councils Innovation Network  fringe-event, amongst other tasks - and very luckily had a couple of spare hours in York on the way home:-)
And, from the pictures, you can probably guess that I spent the time at the National Railway Museum ...

... the Mallard (above), and a replica of Stephenson's Rocket (right), were my two highlights --- but the whole museum (which I hadn't been to for several years) is just a complete joy.

Back in Edinburgh now - and no more imminent Yorkshire-visits planned!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ingleborough, Yorkshire Dales

Down in North Yorkshire over this weekend and today's weather (Saturday) was indeed rather pleasant, and we managed a group-walk to the top of the second highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales - Ingleborough!

Thought that even this quick snap on the i-phone (looking back from the hillside to the valley below), clearly showed the  sheer scale of the local limestone pavement? A very impressive sight.

Tragically; the days walking-efforts just happened to end here ;-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Leith Walk by-election to be held this September

Local by-election now just a few months away - details in today's News Release here ... and I'll re-produce the full text below.

UPDATE - this is now Scotland's first, post-STV, double-vacancy by-election; with my Green colleague - Maggie Chapman - also having announced she is standing down!

Leith Walk by-election to be held this September

A by-election will be held in the Leith Walk ward following the resignation of Cllr Deidre Brock.
Deidre Brock stood down from her role as councillor after being elected as a Member of Parliament for the Edinburgh North and Leith constituency in May’s General Election.
The by-election is to be held on 10th September, when voters in Leith Walk will choose another councillor to represent the ward.
Sue Bruce, Returning Officer and Chief Executive of The City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Deidre Brock has served as an elected member for more than eight years and I wish her well in her new role as a Member of Parliament.
“I now look forward to involving the public in the democratic process to elect a new councillor for the Leith Walk ward.”
To register to vote or apply for a postal vote contact the Electoral Registration Office (external link) or phone 0131 344 2500 by 25 August.
Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on 10th September. Details of where these are will be announced shortly.
The election will use the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system where voters can rank candidates in order of preference rather than using a single cross. Voters can give a rank to as many or as few candidates as they like.
Find out more about elections in Edinburgh.


Friday, June 19, 2015

June Leader's Report

June 2015

If the case fits

I'm pleased to report that Council officers are making good progress on the business case for the possible extension of the trams in Edinburgh, which already shows the clear economic benefit it could have on the city.

In the tram's first year of operation we have seen passenger numbers surpass their target, demonstrating a growing demand for public transport in Edinburgh and making the case for extending the tram to benefit people elsewhere in the city.

That said, it is essential that we learn from past experience, and we won't be making any snap decisions about the future of the project. That's why we've appointed a third party to verify the figures and are carrying out a market consultation to gauge the interest of contractors who may potentially bid to work on the project.

I look forward to receiving the updated business case in the autumn, which will put forward thoroughly researched and independently scrutinised options for an extension.

Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the City of Edinburgh

Positive destinations

Great news: figures published by the Scottish Government this week show that more Edinburgh school leavers than ever are moving into work, education, or training.

Since launching the Edinburgh Guarantee scheme four years ago, our positive destination figure has risen to 93.1%, an increase of 10%. The Capital is now the best performing city in Scotland and is 12th out of all local authority areas, which puts us well above the national average. Hear more about the figures, and the people behind them, in this short video.

We must acknowledge, of course, that there is still a lot of work to be done to drive this figure even higher through targeted support for areas of the city with deprivation and high unemployment.

A leaner, more agile Council

We must change the way we work to meet the needs of Edinburgh's growing population and address the significant financial challenges we face. To this end, councillors have been asked to consider proposals that will transform our services and help us to make essential savings of at least £107m over the next five years.

This includes streamlining the council structure to become more efficient and deliver more services locally to those people who need them the most. It will also involve a more joined up approach to how we work with partners like Police Scotland and NHS Lothian.

Of course, changes on this scale can be unsettling for staff and we are looking at what support we can give, including the development of a new Career Transition Service. We will also continue to engage with both staff and trade unions as the proposals develop.

City Region Deal

I've periodically mentioned progress towards an Edinburgh City Region Deal, and I'm pleased to report this month that we have now had constructive, initial engagement with both the Scottish Government and UK Governments.

The next stage towards delivery has been commissioned, and our development partners are now in place. Further, a recent University of Edinburgh event also saw significant interest in our recent progress from ResPublica who have extensive experience in assisting the development of City Deals across the UK.

These are all early positive signs, with a lot of work still in front of us, but all six local authorities involved are continuing to focus hard on the aim-at-hand: delivering a Deal that will help ensure continued economic growth and a reduction in inequality across the whole South East Scotland Region.

Trusted Traders

A new online directory, Trusted Traders Edinburgh, launched this week to help residents choose contractors with confidence.

After being carefully checked out by our Trading Standards team, contractors are accepted as members and their details added to the website. Around 40 traders and businesses have already signed up, creating a new 'go to list' for people looking for services such as home repairs. Customers can use the directory to find local contractors' details with the reassurance that they are reliable and have been fully vetted.

Edinburgh's scheme was created after a public consultation found that many home owners are hesitant about organising shared repairs in common areas as they don't know how to find a trustworthy trader.

Compact volunteer framework

The Lord Provost has just hosted the City's Annual Volunteering Awards ceremony, recognising the contribution of over 100 outstanding volunteers, including his Inspiring Volunteer of the Year 2015, Malik Masood, who has campaigned over many years for older and ethnic minority people. Very well deserved.

You may not be aware that Edinburgh is home to 2,630 charitable organizations, which make an annual economic contribution of £2.7bn, employ 15,000 people and are supported by over a third of residents who regularly volunteer.

I am delighted, therefore, to report that the Compact Partnership, currently in its tenth year of operation, has recently agreed an ambitious new Strategic Framework that will continue to guide public and voluntary sector relations over the next five to 10 years.

Culture Vultures

As ever in Edinburgh, residents won't be short of doorstep discoveries this summer. From the biggest ever Fringe programme to a whole host of events and activities at the Council's museums and galleries, there's something to suit all budgets.

At the Museum of Edinburgh, two brand new interactive exhibits have opened. Free-to-enter, they bring the stories behind some of the city's treasured artefacts to life including items belonging to Edinburgh-born WW1 British Commander Earl Haig, who created The Royal British Legion.

Meanwhile, at the City Art Centre, visitors can find sensational Scottish art spanning 350 years and more than 150 paintings, sketches and pieces of sculpture. A visit to Scottish Art: People, Places, Ideas is free.

Stay in the picture

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June Council Meeting

The regular June Council Meeting is coming up - next Thursday (25th) ...

... all the reports are now up on Committee Papers On-Line (CPOL) and you can access the main agenda directly here; and each of the individual reports separately via this link.

Of course - as ever, if you're so minded, you can watch all the proceedings live here ...

... or the meeting will be
archived a few hours after it finishes for viewing at your leisure!

Friday, June 05, 2015

June Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee

June's "Corporate Policy and Strategy" Committee is next week; Tuesday 9th ...

... and the papers/reports are now in the public domain: the main Agenda can be found here.

The individual reports are all on Committee Papers on-Line (CPOL) linked from here.

Several reports that may well attract some attention and debate this month:

Just click on either of the above links for access (as a PDF) to the specific report ...

... and, of course, all the Policy and Strategy Committee meetings are now being webcast live - and thereafter archived!

All available via here --- it's TV; but most certainly not like you've ever seen before ;-)

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Edinburgh Marathon

I promised myself last year, given how great the crowds were, that I would go and cheer-on this year's Edinburgh Marathon runners ...

... well, I cycled from Shandon to Portobello Prom. earlier this morning, met up with a couple of colleagues, and spent the morning supporting the thousands of marathon-runners as they streamed along the Promenade ;-)

I actually arrived just in time to catch a snap of the front three as they charged (literally!) through the 5-mile mark :-)

We stayed on the Prom. until everyone had run through, and it was just great to see such a flow of people all doing something so personally wonderful :-))

Congratulations to each and every one of them!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Gardening Scotland

I'm off for my first-ever visit to Gardening Scotland today :-)

... got some family-interest this year, with high excitement being generated after some 'Show Garden' success yesterday - more details via here :-))

Pictured here is the “Readers Imagination Garden" ...

... which has a focus on how gardens have inspired famous thinkers and writers over the years. Taking centre stage is a winged Chesterfield chair mounted on a turntable. The specially engineered spinning Chesterfield has been used in place of the rotating shed George Bernard Shaw once used to follow the sun.

Looking forward to seeing it all for real!

Friday, May 29, 2015

One year of trams

Edinburgh Trams have been fully operational for a year now ... without diminishing the seriousness of the difficulties in getting to that point, the first 'operational' year has gone well - some details in the Release below:

Almost five million use Edinburgh Trams in first year

Newly released figures show that there were approximately 4.92 million passenger journeys on Edinburgh Trams during its first year of operations, that’s around 370,000 ahead of target set before launch.

Launched on Saturday 31 May 2014 at 5am, Edinburgh Trams is also set to surpass revenue targets set out in its business model by around 3%. Concessionary card holders are currently accounting for 10.9% of passengers which is well within the Councils budget which was set to ensure that Edinburgh’s card holders get free travel on the tram.

Edinburgh Trams received a 95% overall customer satisfaction rating following an independent UK wide survey by Passenger Focus and operated with 99% service reliability. This means that reliability and satisfaction levels are among the top performing public transport operators in the UK.

Tom Norris, Director and General Manager of Edinburgh Trams, said:

“The first birthday is a very exciting day for all of us because it rounds up a hugely significant year for everyone involved. We’ve beaten our targets and we’re on the right path.  The success we’ve worked so hard to achieve is down to the commitment and hard work of everyone involved in delivering the service day in day out. 

“We were absolutely delighted with the initial surge of interest when we launched, but even more grateful that the local and visiting public have continued to give us their support.

“We have developed the service over the first year and we’ll continue to improve and adapt to keep our passengers happy, whilst being ready to take advantage of opportunities that come our way. The airport is growing, TFE is developing well, a new tram stop will link us the Fife line and our city is going from strength to strength.  We’re ready to be at the centre of that development and part of the future success of Edinburgh.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Chair of Transport for Edinburgh, added: “To have had nearly five million passengers on board the trams since their launch is a massive achievement – it’s thanks to the support of the public that we’ve had such a successful first year.

“Credit must also go to the team, whose efforts and professionalism ensure Edinburgh Trams provides an excellent service to passengers every day. As it continues to develop as a key element of the city’s transport offering we now look forward to its future as part of the city’s modern, integrated transport system.”

Highlights of the first year included major spikes in passengers heading to Murrayfield Stadium for a One Direction concert, Celtic FC’s Champions League match and Scotland Rugby’s Six Nations games, plus significantly increased passenger numbers during Edinburgh’s summer and winter festivals.

Edinburgh Trams has a fleet of 27 and currently employs 130 staff including drivers, Ticketing Services Assistants (TSAs), control centre operators and maintenance engineers.

Between them, tram drivers and TSAs completed 77,525 journeys over the year covering 674,467 miles up and down the route. The depot was manned for 8,760 hours by staff on a rota system.

The tram line is 14km long with 15 stops (16 once the Edinburgh Gateway is complete) and a journey from the airport to the city centre takes approx. 35 minutes. In 2014 the service contributed 3 million new passengers to the Transport for Edinburgh group with Lothian Buses also carrying an extra 3 million passengers more than in 2013. That’s 6 million more passengers on public transport in 2014 over 2013.

The service carried 21,000 passengers on its first day and 130,000 in its first week.


Notes to Editors

  • Revenue projections include discounted products, meaning that patronage does not directly compare.
  • Transport for Edinburgh is the transport group which combines award-winning bus operator Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams Ltd, the operators of the new tram service.
  • Transport for Edinburgh’s vision is to provide seamless and high quality transport choice for residents and visitors to Edinburgh.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Edinburgh Council backs renting reform campaign

Both myself, and the Council's Deputy Leader, signed up to the 'Make Renting Right' campaign earlier today ... full details in the News Release pasted below:

Council backs renting reform campaign

The City of Edinburgh Council today signed its support for a national campaign calling for fair rent for all.

Leader Councillor Andrew Burns and Deputy Leader Councillor Sandy Howat put their names to Shelter Scotland’s Make Renting Right campaign, which aims to make Scotland’s growing private rented sector fit for the 59,000 households in the capital that rent privately.

The campaign complements existing work between the Council and private landlords, which includes giving advice about what they must do by law, and how they can resolve problems with tenants. They are also legally required to register with the local authority by law and apply and comply with specific licences.

Councillor Andrew Burns, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The Council has given its full backing to Making Rent Right because we are committed to housing people in high quality and affordable homes, which is a vital step in our battle against poverty.

“Renters are entitled to be treated fairly and while the majority of landlords do so, too many people are still experiencing the opposite. This campaign is a great step towards protecting them.”

Councillor Sandy Howat, Deputy Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We are delighted to support such an important and worthwhile campaign. Thousands of people rent in this city for many reasons, with many of them doing so by choice, and ensuring that they can do so safely and at a fair price is vital.

“The Capital Coalition is committed to providing affordable homes and will continue to work closely with our partners in order to do so.”

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We are pleased that the City of Edinburgh Council has joined our calls for a better private rented sector for tenants and landlords.

“Along with the council, we want to see a private rented sector that is fit for families and protects all tenants – a sector that provides long-term homes, not short-term housing.

“Too often we hear of people being moved on, evicted or rents increased unreasonably, forcing people into the disruptive cycle of having to move house - every six months in some cases - preventing them from ever being able to put down strong roots and being part of a community.

“In the 21st century, we need a private rented sector that is modern, stable, flexible, predictable and fair for those individuals and families that call it home.”


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Allotment peas

Managed to snatch a bit of time at our Allotment earlier this afternoon ... more planting (peas in this picture) completed - but still quite a bit of digging/clearing to be finished!

But, nevertheless - now all in:

- potatoes
- broad beans
- onions
- spinach
- peas

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May Leader's Report

May 2015

New Chief Executive appointment 


Andrew Burns
I am delighted to announce that Andrew Kerr is our preferred candidate to replace Sue Bruce as Chief Executive.

It was essential we chose the right calibre of person for this important and challenging leadership role and we ran a rigorous, competitive recruitment process with a strong field of candidates.

Currently Chief Executive of Cornwall Council, Andrew will bring a wealth of local government experience and enthusiasm at a time when we face many unprecedented challenges and opportunities. I am confident that his energy and drive will play a central role in shaping the continued success of Edinburgh as a 21st century capital city.

Following approval at next Thursday's council meeting, Andrew will take up his post later this year with the exact date to be confirmed in due course.

Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the
City of Edinburgh Council


Stability restored at Lothian Buses

I am also pleased to announce the appointment of several new non-executive board members to Transport for Edinburgh, Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams, for which the Council is majority shareholder.

While recent issues at management level within Lothian Buses have caused uncertainty, we welcome the results of KPMG's independent report, which demonstrates that the Council acted consistently and in accordance with the proper governance procedures in dealing with the situation.

I am confident that the latest appointments to the board will now allow us to look to the future of public transport in Edinburgh, building on the work of outgoing Chair, Tony Depledge, to ensure stable and effective management, and providing the first-class, integrated service the city deserves.


Election success

I want to put on record my thanks to Sue Bruce, in her final stint as Returning Officer, and her team in delivering yet another slick and efficient election on 7 and 8 May. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to work out that the smooth-running of such an event is a massive undertaking and involves a huge effort by many hundreds of dedicated public servants over a number of weeks and months.

It was a real pleasure to have the count in the EICC for the first time and I have heard many comments from fellow politicians, the media and our own staff about how impressed they were with the facilities.

My congratulations also to my coalition colleague and Deputy Lord Provost, Deidre Brock, in becoming the MP for Edinburgh North & Leith, a constituency I am sure she will represent extremely well in Westminster.


Nepal earthquake

Shortly after my last Leader's Report, Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake followed by a second one, almost as severe, ten days ago.

Since the initial quake and the humanitarian crisis it caused, we have been working closely with our aid partner, Mercy Corps. Our actions have included a candle-lit vigil led by the Lord Provost, turning the Melville monument red (the colour of the Nepalese flag) to promote the appeal as well as work with schools and charitable street collections.

Mercy Corps' hard work continues in Nepal; focusing on reaching people in parts of the country so far overlooked and ensuring they get much needed clothing, food and hygiene supplies. You can read more about the work in Nepal and make a donation to support the ongoing relief effort on Mercy Corps' website.


Housing development sails off with top award

Well done to all involved in The Sailmaker Apartments project in Leith, which was awarded Best Partnership in Affordable Housing at the prestigious Homes For Scotland Awards 2015.

The development, consisting of 145 affordable homes, was built through the National Housing Trust scheme in a partnership between the Council, Scottish Futures Trust, Hillcrest Housing Association, Cruden and Rettie and Co.

Also commended in the same category was Merchant's Court in Liberton and the Greendykes C development in Craigmillar, both of which delivered much-needed social rent and mid-market rent properties.


Volunteering champions

Edinburgh wouldn't be the city it is without its army of volunteers, working tirelessly to support the homeless, vulnerable, young, elderly and disabled.

Every year, we get the opportunity to thank this community at the Volunteer Awards, organised by the Volunteer Centre Edinburgh and presented by our volunteer ambassador, the Lord Provost.

This year's awards will also feature our new Honour Board, a lasting tribute to those who receive the Lord Provost's Inspiring Volunteer of the Year Award each year. This will be unveiled at a special ceremony on 3 June as part of National Volunteer Week.


No place for intolerance

In many countries around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are still subject to ostracisation, imprisonment and execution merely for whom they love. Although Scotland has made progress towards equality, there remains much work to be done.

Last Monday, 17 May, was International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and, to mark this, LGBT Youth Scotland launched a new report on Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People (aged 13-25), focusing on their social experiences and acceptance in their families and wider communities.

While the research does demonstrate progress here, it does also show that many LGBT young people still face high levels of discrimination and experience barriers to feeling included.


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Keep yourself in the picture with our news section online. Watch live full Council and some committee meetings on our webcast. Join the debate on Twitter #edinwebcast

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Friday, May 22, 2015

May Council Meeting

Council business now fully back in post-election mode ... and the regular May Council Meeting is coming up - next Thursday (28th) ...

... all the reports are now up on Committee Papers On-Line (CPOL) and you can access the main agenda directly here; and each of the individual reports separately via this link.

Of course - as ever, if you're so minded, you can watch all the proceedings live here ...

... or the meeting will be archived a few hours after it finishes for viewing at your leisure!