Head out on the highway

Harley Davidson

We’ve got the basic job description for the contract Development Manager funded by National Lottery Awards for All funding. 

The core Porty Central group will be finalising it and getting it issued. Now to assemble an interview panel and work out how the interviews will be done. 

All exciting background work for a board of Trustees. It’s been a long time coming but it feels like this is moving. Our road trip begins? All aboard!

You know any good candidates? Watch this space for the advert coming soon?

Jennifer’s blog #66

Positive and Negative

Only thing that really moved today and it moved in a negative way was that the weekly meeting was cancelled due to 50% of our group being away with Monday being a bank holiday. 

At least tomorrow we’ll get the description of the work to be done by a Development Manager out. That needs issued promptly for us to have a chance of someone being in post by Autumn. 

Jennifer blog #65

Talk, Walk, Move


Did you catch the Porty Podcast yesterday? David Calder has a new podcast partner  – Hazel Darwin-Clements helping him out and this is her debut. I think she’s done a great job.

This week it’s about the ‘Porty 2025‘ community consultation I was at on Tuesday. Porty Central’s own Jayne Saywell spoke to open the event and, as ever, set the tone brilliantly. This event was the first in a series of discussions aimed at imagining the future of Porty – Heart Talk Porty – so just because you missed that one doesn’t mean you can’t attend or join in and we hope Porty Central supporters will get stuck in to the conversations as you so brilliantly did in our 300 Conversations in 30 days last summer. 

There will be an online opening event and conversations too.


Have you been to Porty Art Walk hub yet at 189 Portobello High St? I dropped in on Saturday. It really is worth a visit and a look as the programme is jaw-dropping. Rosy Naylor and team have built an absolutely wonderful, jam-packed event. 

I’ve been rehearsing for @Deirdre MacLeod’s  ‘Future Value’ Performance. Way back in blog #21 I’d shared her call out for participants and knew it was a very tempting project. In the end, I couldn’t resist the pull and signed up. Despite missing rehearsals due to visits to Mum, I am still in. It was the exploration of public and civic space and our relationship with it that (intellectually) hooked me in (how could it not given my involvement with community spaces?) but then the fun and chance to move deliberately in a group won me over.

Having been a fan of Strictly for years but never formally dancing I had known for a while I wanted movement or dance in my life. This project is more movement than dance but who knows, maybe a class at Porty Central’s Miss Morag’s Lothian Dance Academy will be on the cards when she expands her adult classes into Porty Town Hall….. 😌. *

The ‘Future Value’ performances are free on the evenings of Sat 4th and 5th Sept. No booking required. See you there?

Jennifer’s blog #64


* I have no idea if Miss Morag has such a plan. I’m just planting a seed. 

Catching Craigmillar

Cycle by the Sea

Fridays I’ve mentioned before, are full work days but as a Porty Central task, I did follow up with the manager at Craigmillar Now . This is a venue I finally went to during the Craigmillar and Niddrie Community Festival. I’d seen pictures of the wonderful inside on Facebook, knew it was a community venue but had never connected it to the grey, run down church across the busy junction at Fort Kinnaird Retail park. Despite that description it it a long standing community venue with a long history of art works and I was glad to finally visit. 

During that festival I’d managed to catch the art exhibition in there (lovely) and got chatting to the venue manager. She mentioned they lease the building from the Episcopal Church I wanted to follow up with her to pick her brains on that specific topic given Porty central will likely have the same or similar but also to share venue ideas and concerns. 

Mentioning that Festival remains me that the organisers are looking for feedback. If you made it along, please give them your thoughts here.

Apart from sharing a photo of our beautiful seascape from my cycle home, that closes of Friday. 

Jennifer’s Blog 63

Ticket to Ride

Thursday kicked off with an early start to get back to Edinburgh from my parents’ house in Bearsden to begin work at 11.00am. Was a bit nervous leaving Mum and Dad alone with Mum just out of hospital but I do have to work and she was home and settled. Dad got me on the 8.30am bus from Buchanan St, Glasgow and I made it to the client’s house for a minute past 11.00am. 

That was me for the day through to an Action Porty board meeting that night. Nothing happening from me today regarding Porty Central but work was done by Geoff on the Membership process and Jayne started on setting an agenda for the coming Monday night meeting but that might be cancelled due to folks away for the bank holiday…..

Jennifer’s blog #62


Wednesday: We had a brief zoom meeting of the SCIO Trustees to agree a Membership process for the SCIO so soon enough that will be shared and the recruitment drive will begin. Focus now for the team is to get the description of the work to be done by the Development Manager (if that ends up being the title) finalised and made public. It is top of our list, honest!

Jennifer’s blog #61

Usually my blog post is written at the close of the day and is posted early the next morning by Geoff, our early bird.

Tuesday: Having got home after 10pm from the Porty 2025 consultation (which was fun and inspiring) I didn’t have the energy to write a reflection so I’m cheating a bit here and merging Tues 24th and Wed 25th. 

The good news of Tuesday was that we got confirmation Mum could get out the hospital on Wed if we could get the house ready i.e the bed moved downstairs. A series of good fortune and help meant we could get a bed moved downstairs for her. Getting her home on Wed did mean me setting off at 7.30am on the bus for Glasgow and somehow today (Wednesday) has disappeared in a non-stop but not too manic series of tasks and jobs to get Mum home. She is now sleeping back at the family home in Bearsden as I hope to soon. 

Jennifer’s blog #60.


I’ll write that down

Had the first regular Porty Central meeting on Zoom last night for a good few weeks – a bit like the kids and teachers returning to school. 

Almost all the group reconvened (apologies received from those unable to make it), metaphorical uniforms a bit too big, we were excited and anxious about the year ahead. The new Chair, Jayne had put in a huge amount of effort on agenda and also thinking about group dynamics. We had some healthy reflection about ways of working and took some proper decisions after scheduled discussions. Ah, living the meetings dream. Joking aside, good meetings are no laughing matter as the ‘Jackie Weaver’ clip revealed (she’s a hero of mine). Good meetings take work from all and we were back on form last night- not perfect but back as we have been, should and can be. Our Secretary Geoff has already got the minutes out. I’ve not read them but will before I sleep tonight. 

Before I sleep tonight it is the first meeting to start the Action Porty ‘Porty 2025‘ community consultations.  

See you there? If not don’t worry. There is the Oct session and I’m going to push for some Zoom sessions too. 

Jennifer’s blog #59


On Monday Evening the Porty Central Team reconvene and I expect writing Monday’s blog will not be too hard. Sunday can be a slower day (but not always).

Today all I’m going to post is the Porty Community Energy news letter. It came in to my Porty Central email so I must have signed up on a Porty Central angle. Certainly if you read the newsletter below you’ll see there are many areas this group focus on which will be relevant to Porty Central. They have been very helpful at Action Porty with regards to Bellfield. 

This is their first newsletter to members and they ask recipients to share it so here goes:

Hi Jennifer

This is our first member update, so welcome, and please feel free to ask questions!

Public Meeting – April 2021

If you came to our meeting on 29th April 2021 thank you! We hope you enjoyed it, and found it interesting and informative. If you didn’t manage to attend, you can listen to a pretty good summary on David Calder’s Porty Podcast. At the meeting we used some polling questions to help us create a more detailed local transport survey (more about this below). Thank you for taking part.

Porty Car Club

We have been working with Co-Wheels car club, who are planning to come to Portobello soon. This means we will have a second car club in addition to Enterprise. Co-wheels are different to Enterprise. Their ethos is all about providing an environmentally friendly, socially just, community-based alternative to car ownership. They are a ‘Community Interest Company’ and we believe their philosophy is a close fit with ours. Initially there will be two hybrid cars, and EVs will be brought in just as soon as we have reliable rapid charging facilities nearby. The council are installing 22kW ‘fast’ chargers in the Kings Road next year, but a rapid charger of at least 50kW is needed for the shortest possible time to recharge. Should you or your friends and family be interested in joining Co-wheels, they are currently offering a promotion code: PORTYCE25 which provides life membership for £1, i.e. no monthly charges (saves £60 a year) plus £25 free drive credit to get started!

Transport Survey

Reducing our reliance on fossil-fuelled transport, car ownership and congestion is one of our main aspirations. We want to get to know our community better in this regard and have prepared two surveys on all things to do with transport. One will be addressing local residents, and the other is for shops and businesses mainly along the High Street. We will be including you in the survey and hope you will be able to complete it and pass it on for your friends and family to complete also. The more people and businesses who take part, the better our understanding will be. We are hoping to launch the survey in the next few weeks.

Clean Heat

We have a long way to go when it comes to clean heat (heat from renewable sources), as 93.3% of heat in Scotland is generated using gas and oil. We are a member of the Edinburgh Clean Heat group, led by Transition Edinburgh. The group consists of sustainability activists, renewables/clean heat specialists, (ex-) council members, energy consultants, and community representatives, who have been meeting regularly since November 2020. This group has been meeting with senior council members to discuss the development of heat networks across the city as well as looking for ways to increase community engagement and participation in clean heat schemes. With Porty Energy we are also hoping to organise a clean heat event in the future, discussing some of the options available to people. Let us know if you have installed clean heating (eg heat pump) into your home and would be happy to share your experience.

E-cargo bikes

We support the growing trend to use cargo bikes for last mile delivery and have been endeavouring to borrow one from Sustrans so as to promote this to local shops and businesses. The loan is dependent on finding secure storage for the bike, which has been an obstacle but we are hopeful something will come up. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for (temporary) E-cargo bike storage in Porty.

Solar PV Possibilities

We have identified several sites around Portobello which we believe to be viable for solar panel installations. They are all at an early stage, but we have been in very positive discussion with Edinburgh Palette and their new premises at Stanley Street, which is still in development. More about this next time.

Seafield Road East

In January and February, we took part in a community consultation for the development of the site currently occupied by Peter Vardy hosted by the property company MANSE. The proposal was very much about general policy and outline plans with no detail as yet but we made representations concerning policy on insulation and renewable heat sources as well as public transport and establishment of community car / bike clubs. We hope to keep in contact through the planning stages and possibly through to occupation. More details: https://seafieldroad.scot/https://www.mansellp.com/

Edinburgh Council Draft 2030 Climate Strategy – have your say

The draft strategy outlines how the council will work with citizens, communities and public, private and third sector organisations across the city to deliver a net zero, climate ready Capital by 2030. The Council would like to hear your views in this consultation (closes 12th September 2021).


We are still a small organisation of about 20 members and have limited resources. However we do have members with impressive qualifications so the future is promising. If you know anyone who you think would be interested, please encourage them and pass this on. Similarly, if you wish to get involved in any of the above, or if you have ideas for further projects, please get in touch by responding to this email.

Warm wishes,

Porty Community Energy

Email: PortyCommunityEnergy@gmail.com

Website: Portycommunityenergy.wordpress.com

Twitter: @EnergyPorty

Facebook: PortyCommunityEnergy

Jennifer’s Blog @58

Geoff’s Jumper

Multi-coloured Offices

Today I just have to honour founding member and now Porty Central SCIO’s Secretary, Geoff’s new endeavour. He put it on Porty People so it’s in the public domain. You might have seen the post already. It got a fair bit of chat. He plans to to knit himself this ‘Harry Styles‘ jumper. I’m all for this plan. My mother (who is progressing fine post her op) is a big knitter. I often joke with her that without her knitting ‘the devil would find use for her idle hands’. Maybe this project will keep Geoff out of mischief😂. I look forward to hearing how it progresses. 

Only when reviewing my photos of the day for my previously mentioned Blipfoto did  did I notice the similarity between Geoff’s project jumper and the multi-coloured office structures at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. I decided to do the downpour rain as my blip photo and use the coloured boxes as my blog photo (see above).  Remarkable the echo the offices have with the ‘Harry Styles‘ jumper – all squares and oranges. NB Geoff is colour blind, as I think Harry Styles might be, and doesn’t see the orange connections as orange. 

Found myself remarking on the skills and visions of architects who dream up and create these buildings and all the functions and life events that go on in hospitals and that is how I’ll weave (see what I did there) this blog back to Portobello Town Hall. 

Now the holidays are over the conversations with our architects, Munro Allison are starting again and the Porty Central Group need to decide on an architectural vision to go forward and be costed. I look forward to all the functions and live events of Porty Town Hall taking place some time in the near future. 

Jennifer’s blog #57 

Set Sailing


Today I’m going to share a success for a friend and founding member of what has become Portobello Central, Max Blinkhorn. If Max hadn’t been around at the start it is unlikely Porty Central would have formed. I was thinking about doing it. 

I’d finished my Tribe Women project (now called Keystone and they open for registration on 24th August) and was changing my working life. The closing questionnaire finished with the sentence ‘What is your big hairy goal?’ and I found myself writing ‘To save Porty Town Hall‘ and I knew I’d try. 

I found Max who wanted to get a group of interested parties together and well, the rest is history. The group of interested parties met and something took off.

In the end Max stepped down because his project to set up a sailing club somewhere in the Borders was taking up his time and was where he wanted to focus. Today he shared that after 18+ months, they signed the lease on Whiteadder Sailing Centre today . The Centre is at Cranshaws, between Duns and Gifford. They offer sailing, fly-fishing and SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) and probably more! Well done Max and team. Great to see your progress and know we lost you to a worthwhile cause (and I know we haven’t really lost you). 

Oh and the Council are open again after summer so we’ll hopefully see building work progress soon.  

Jennifer’s blog #56.