Monday April 11 2016, at 7pm

The Gray Room, Nelson Hall, 5 Spittalfield Crescent, Edinburgh


Present: Philip McDowell (PMcD, chair), David Benyon (DB), Joan Carter (JC), Deborah Charlesworth (DC, Secretary), Kaaren Haughton (KH), Robert Hodgart (RH), Theodora Lola-Luz (D L-L, Southside Association), David Wood (DW, Causey Development Trust), Councillor Orr, and three members of the public.

Apologies for absence:  Nicholas Oddy, Svetlana Repanova (SR, Treasurer)


Police Report

Ward Office Ross Stewart (ross.stewart2@scotland.pnn.police.uk) reported that crimes are greatly decreased across many parts of the city, and it is thought that this is due to the decrease in sales of “legal high” drugs. The police are continuing checks of stairs, to maintain the improvement. He explained that, from April 6th, our area will be part of a larger area that includes the city centre, with better coordination between the police in the two areas. It is hoped that this will help avoid our area gaining beggars and others who will be excluded from the central area under new arrangements to be introduced soon. The problem of begging was discussed, and of aggressive begging, and there was a discussion of the use of churchyards and other undisturbed areas by drug users. The police monitor these problems, as well as the beggars, and it appears that there is little that can be done to prevent them.

The minutes of the Community Council meeting held on March 14th 2016 were approved after minor corrections and the addition of text provided by RH concerning the discussion of his paper.

Matters arising

Councillor’s report: A written report was provided.

Greyfriars Charteris Centre (Kirk O'Field): Dan Rous, Development Manager of the Church of Scotland Centre (email:charteris@greyfriarskirk.com) outlined the plans for the renovation of the building, including renaming the complex of buildings the after the Rev. Archibald Charteris, making it more accessible to disabled users, and plans for its future, which will include continuing the present range of activities, including work placements, opening a new café, and developing involvement of Edinburgh University students in some of them, such as help with skills needed for self-employed people developing businesses (more details were described in a handout). There will be a launch event in June.

Chair’s report:

1. It was agreed to support, in principle, subject to the practicalities being suitable, the proposal from Cycloc to decorate lampposts with bicycles during this years Edinburgh Festival of Cycling.

2. It was agreed to accept the offer from Logan Vaughn, a volunteer for the charity Health in Mind, to come and speak to the SCC. They run programmes to combat social isolation in older people, and other activities, including befriending as part of a homelessness prevention initiative. Web site: http://www.health-in-mind.org.uk.

3. Information has now been provided about revenue from the Festival events on the Meadows (see file “Meadows Revenue”). As pointed out by Cllr. Orr, the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee passed a motion stating that they will invest any additional income received into the infrastructure, features and facilities of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links. The Secretary will write to the committee to request that they honour this decision and employ more park rangers to work in the park on summer evenings, particularly to discourage people from burning the grass with barbecues.

4. There was a discussion of the request for support Common Weal South Lanarkshire for a campaign to encourage public authorities to invest ethically, i.e. not in the arms trade. Some SCC members support this idea, but others were unconvinced. It was agreed to request more detailed information.

5. It was agreed that, in response to the letter from Scott Wilkins, the Community Learning & Development Worker at the Southside Community Centre (SSCC), that the SCC would wish to be considered an interested party in discussing how to work together to secure the future of the Centre, together with the Nelson Hall, and that the SCC would like to send a representative to a future Management Committee meeting to discuss possibilities. The secretary will reply to this letter. However, great concern was raised about the idea of volunteers being expected to run such important community assets without the assistance of contributions from the City of Edinburgh Council to the major running costs. The main argument in favour of changing the system to one run by volunteers is that they would have access to funds that the council is barred from applying for. However, volunteers could not be expected to undertake such major fund-raising work.

Secretary’s and Treasurer’s reports: Written reports were provided. No money has yet been transferred into the bank account, and the costs of the web site, and of printing materials for the community day have so far been paid by the chair.

Communications Group: There was a discussion of the flyer to be handed out on the day, and the poster to advertise it ahead of the day. It was agreed that a smaller poster, that can also be used as a flyer that can be distributed to local coffee shops, pubs etc., would be preferable to an A3 poster. SR will re-design this poster/flyer.

D L-L will ask permission to distribute postcards of the mural (with SSA and SCC information) at E. Preston St. school.

Meetings attended: B O’L went to the NHS Scotland meeting concerning the Review of Children's Hospital Services, and provided a written report. The review will publish its findings in the summer, and the SCC may then wish to respond.

Any other business: The organization of the meetings was discussed, including whether it is necessary for the police to send someone every month (possibly every other month would be suitable). The chair was told that crime figures are available online, but they are not easy to find and he will ask for help in how to see this information. The police are unwilling to provide written reports. It was suggested that members of the public could be made more welcome, possibly asked to introduce themselves, and perhaps to sit at the table with the SCC members, if they wished, and to indicate whether they are attending because of a specific agenda item, and, if so, whether it would be helpful to deal with this earlier in the agenda,


Date of next meeting (Annual General meeting): May 9th 2016