Full of doubloons

Our new Treasurer, Stewart has been earning his spurs attending a Social Investment Scotland (SIS) virtual seminar the other day. They are a social enterprise and charity offering loan funding and business support for other social enterprises, charities and community groups looking to make a positive impact on people’s lives, society or the environment.. 

With my Treasurer at Action Porty hat on I was curious to read this and enjoyed watching another Treasurer at work. 

While we have no immediate plans to take any loan funding, it is good to know options are out there. Stewart’s take from the session was that ‘loan funding could be part of our funding mix at some stage. He noted that they’re willing to lend for asset purchase purchase, working capital or bridging gaps between grants‘. 

He also noted ‘we would have to have some kind of trading history before applying for a loan so probably not an option in the early days and that we’d also need to be clear about our social impact and how that impact is monitored’. Important points to keep in mind as we develop our business model and purpose. 

He reported ‘maybe once PTH is reopened, when we have a decent trading record, our thoughts will turn to upgrades / refurbs this might be where a loan might come in’ and closed with ‘of course we might decide that we don’t want to have debt as part of our funding mix and that’s a legitimate position too. It is however clearly an option and SIS would be very happy to have a chat should we want to discuss‘. 

Stewart distributed a slide pack sent out by SIS so we know we have that information as an option for future planning. 

Jennifer’s blog #55

Powered by Flowers


I’m starting today with the photo. I was back in Bearsden yesterday as unfortunately mum’s fall has finally resulted in a previous fractured femur being identified. The mind boggles. 

Boule de neige

She had an operation yesterday to pin her femur and hopefully will soon be on the road to recovery. While Dad was visiting her in the afternoon I was cooking up some meals for him. They have a lovely garden and I cut some wonderful pink hydrangea for one vase and the above crocosmia for another. I put that one in their living room. 

I rather liked the result and it was a pleasing moment in a long, tough day so I thought I’d share it here. I saw mum in the evening and she was sore but fine. I hope to see Porty Town Hall dressed to the nines with pretty flowers in the not too distant future.

Not Pink Hydrangea

Continuing on a gardening theme and in my function as local event sharer today I’m going to highlight the ‘Neighbouring Orchard‘ Art walk Porty Event.   Bellfield have three of the apple trees in this lovely project and I loved the 6 week art class Annie Lord ran so I’d really recommend these (free but must be booked) classes. 


Hope we can soon get back into the gardens at Porty Town Hall as they are needing some TLC. Anyone fancy getting a gardening group together to tackle that? There are a few communal spaces that need gardening volunteers. If you fancy getting stuck in to gardening, email us on and we’ll see if there is something we can do. 

Jennifer’s blog #54

Cosmos “Purity”

Bags of Activity

So there it is. Summer hols are done. The day they broke up we heard we’d been awarded the £350K and I was dancing in the Fish Park. Today it is back to school photos, uniform panics, relieved parents and excited/nervous kids. 

Porty Central team are preparing for our first meeting all together again on Monday 23rd Aug. Holidays meant most things stopped. Even if someone only had two weeks holiday, or no summer holiday (Geoff) the fact holidays spread over two weeks and often involve childcare duties mean things slow down. 

You can hear things are grinding back into motion. Been quite odd writing a blog over summer when fewer things are happening. Ah well I’m only half way through the 100 so plenty to write about yet. 

Today I’m going to highlight the Action Porty ‘Porty 2025’ community consultation kick off event on 24th Aug at Bellfield (Celebration Hall) at 6.30pm to 8.30pm (but you can just drop in) . Even if you can’t attend the event (please book if you can) then there is a short survey in the link to feed into to make your thoughts known. This is part of the community venues trying to work together to serve the community, finding out what the community wants and needs and trying to make it happen. 

In a similar vein, The Wash House are taking forward their youth offering and are consulting on a youth café evening  and a youth club so please comment if you have kids in the relevant age categories. 

There is scope to work together to achieve bigger things. Let’s get back to school!

Jennifer’s blog #53 

Aw, Knorr…

Going to be silly and nostalgic today as I write to you from my parents’ house in Bearsden. 

I went to a dinner for those who’d helped organise the Craigmillar and Niddrie Community Festival on Sunday evening. 

One of the participants, a lady called Heather Henderson whom I’d not met before spoke about the origins of the festival and the involvement of her, her family and a man called Johnni Stanton (who had a poetry award in his name in the revived festival), in the creation of works performed at the festivals. There is great info on the archive in various places so you can look that up if you wish. 

Johnni Stanton

My silly and nostalgic blog today is going to highlight an iconic advert from my childhood. It seems Heather’s sister, Faye, went on to become an actress and, while she had various roles that were mentioned, I was star struck to learn on Sunday night that she was in the Knorr Stock cube adverts!!

There were three of these ads – each a classic. All are available on YouTube. Since the festival meal on Sunday, this one has been playing in my head and making me chuckle. 

For those who know, they’ll know. For those who don’t, this will be an education. All I’m going to say now is ‘pea and ham, from a chicken’ and leave you to finish the sentence…..

Tomorrow I hope normal blog service will resume!

Jennifer’s blog #52

It’s Ours, Just Not Yet

Today I have to start by thanking Keep Porty Tidy for just coming along and weeding the steps of Portobello Town Hall. Thank you guys. It was needed and much appreciated.

I took a walk past to admire the work and it really did look good. As I walked by I noticed we have posters on the noticeboards saying ‘Portobello Town Hall – It’s Yours’ which it is but…..well it could be a little bit confusing. 

We are getting a fairly regular stream of enquiries about getting into or using the Town Hall and after all the campaign and chat on here people would be forgiven for thinking Portobello Central had the building. 

However we don’t yet have any lease or any right of access. We have a good relationship with the Council team and can ask for access but I thought it worth reiterating here the point that we don’t have a lease or a firm date for opening. 

We are working to April 2022 as the £350K Scottish Government funding needs to be committed by end March 2022 but given the heated nature of the construction market it is not guaranteed that the work will be finished then so the opening date might be more like June 2022. We are watching and waiting and steering the project along as much as we can influence. 

We are keen to hear from people with enquiries to use the building. If you have enquires, however tentative, please do get in touch on

Jennifer’s blog #51

Sunshine on Craigmillar

The sun shone yesterday and the Craigmillar and Niddrie Community Festival seemed to go well. It was lively and lovely and so nice to mix outdoors (carefully) and hear live music. 

In the end I was over ambitious with my travel plans and didn’t make the opening ceremony but I’m told it was very emotional and touching

The Lord Provost sets off the Festival

There are many more activities today which can be found here Connecting Craigmillar. I’m going after work this morning.

Another thing to do today ‘in real life’ – there is a  Support The Makers craft market at Dr Bells in Leith today so if the Festival isn’t your thing, maybe a bit of shopping is. 

Lastly, I noticed today that the Scottish Land Commission is running a ‘Land Matters‘ online event on Wed 25th Aug at 7pm which looks good.

There’s no lack of things going on.

I look forward to Portobello Town Hall being part of it. 

Jennifer’s Blog #50

Back to the Festival

I’ve said before that I ought to plan better for Friday blogs – I work a longish day on a Friday and after I finished work on Friday I got on the bus to Glasgow where Mum is still in hospital after her fall. She’s improving, nothing was broken and should be out soon. You can visit any time as all patients have their own rooms. I got there for 10pm and caught up with her for half an hour before her bedtime. I am writing now from my parents’ house in Bearsden. Rarely a spare minute on Fridays. 

I’ll also visit her tomorrow morning sharp with my Dad but want to be back East by midday on Saturday as the Craigmillar Festival parade takes place then and I’m helping out at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra performance at Craigmillar Castle in the afternoon. I’m also down to record vox pop feedback. Despite personal circumstances I didn’t want to miss that and it can all fit together somehow!

I really, really hope Porty can have a festival next year to celebrate the opening of the Town Hall but also to celebrate the people’s culture of the area – we have so much going on. I have been so impressed watching at the side lines of the development of this revived community festival. I’ve been watching and learning as it built up over the months and took shape. There is such a rich and varied programme now. 

I plan to work and enjoy this afternoon at the festival. I’ll report back in tomorrow’s blog. 

Watch this space…

Jennifer’s blog #49

Chasing rainbows

Oh my, the people properly doing the 100 days project are on day 73. This is #48 for me. I’ve lost 25 days some where along the way. How careless! 

I love watching the Portobello artists working this 100 day discipline. I’m following the ever joyful Jenny Martin and her prints. Dani at Tribe always commits full to this project and is doing a series of drawings of body parts. There is a photographer, Alicia Bruce doing 100 dooks, a potter, a couple of poets. Impressive company I’m almost keeping up with.

I was chasing rainbows today for a local artist pal. Imagine pinning your project work on something as elusive as rainbows! Found myself calling her as I cycled home about 7pm telling her to get down to the beach fast. Hope she made it. It was a cracking rainbow.

Chasing rainbows…pots of gold at the end. Will the Town Hall be a pot of gold? An elusive dream? A magical reality? Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a land that I dreamt of once in a lullaby…..

We dare dream. And the dream is becoming a reality fast enough. Slowly. Step by step. 

If you have something you’d like to run in Porty Town Hall, a wee rainbow you’ve been dreaming of, a wee pot of gold you have pictured in your mind, get in touch with us on and start the conversation. You never know where it might lead…..

Jennifer’s blog #48

Back in business

Hello folks, 

Hope you are still reading these? Hope you didn’t mind my break for the holiday – was relaxing and lively and sunny 4 out of the 5 days. 

I’d said I’d be back on Sat but a few family circumstances overtook me at the weekend and I’ve delayed picking up the blog gauntlet till today. My mum had a bit of a fall on Sunday and that has diverted my attention and energies. She’s okay, no bones broken but a bit shaken up. She’s sorted out enough for me to turn my thoughts to blogging again so here is #47.  

It feels like Porty Central are moving again after, what the Americans might call ‘summer recess’. The holidays are over, the nights are fair drawing in and there is a faint chill in the evening air! Back to business. 

There was a meeting of the four existing SCIO trustees on Tuesday night to appoint a fifth trustee and make the organisation quorate and hence able to undertake activities. We were able to appoint Stewart, one of the regular team, as a Trustee and then as Treasurer on the basis he had specialist knowledge – as an accountant – to bring skills to bear (and he volunteered for the post!). We’ll soon have a membership from which we can drawn more trustees. You are reading the blog of the newly appointed Vice Chair of Porty Central SCIO. Other office bearer posts will go out in a newsletter any day now. I’m hoping my post as chair will be short lived so that the pool of people running community venues expands in Portobello but I look forward to the role in the coming months. 

On the comms front, I had the pleasure of chatting to my neighbour, a Porty Reporter journalist about the Town Hall project. There should be an article on our project in the next edition and he was gathering info from me. He’d done his research and had a copy of ‘Portobello Direct’ and the latest Progress Report but I hope I added some deeper insights.  I was really pleased to see the our article in Porty Direct and thanks to the Comms team and volunteers for getting that out there. Have you got your copy?  (See picture).

I’m going to be enjoying Craigmillar and Niddrie Community Festival at the weekend and am going to give them another plug here – do check the programme, there is loads of fab stuff and free stuff. Use it or lose it!

It’s nice to be back. 

Jennifer’s blog #47


Just a quick blog today as I pack up for four nights camping with my son and friends at Comrie Croft

I’ll pick the blog gauntlet back up on Saturday with #47. 

Meanwhile I just want to flag up Action Porty’s up coming community consultation. While the organising organisation is Action Porty, a few of us from Porty Central and other local groups have informally fed into this. There is a short survey to start with and the plan is to have some good community-led conversations in September. 

The first public meeting will be 6.30pm at Bellfield on Tues 24th August. The hope is this will be a bit like the 300 conversations in 30 days that Porty Central ran last summer but different too. Details of the project are here.

What would you chose to chat about with your community? 

Jennifer’s blog #46