Nothing On

Granton Gas Holder

Thursday started off slow, in a nice way, with nothing on in the morning till my usual work shift at 11am. Sun was shining and it was a lovely day. I delivered a birthday present to a friend’s son who somehow has turned 16. I saw him when he was just newly born. Then to work and back for my son to have some pals round in the garden after school. I had an Action Porty meeting that night but before that I walked round to Geoff, with a letter from Companies House, so he could get the returns paperwork done for Portobello Central Ltd (not the SCIO) started. Work on the agenda for Monday’s meeting has begun but I’m going to miss it because husband and I are going to see Nick Cave at the Playhouse. Exciting. 

One of the group from the Future Value project I’ve previously mentioned shared a link to Hidden Door Festival taking place at Granton Gas Works this weekend. Looks fab and seems like there are free bits of the festival and ticketed bits in the evening. Have a look at the link and see if there is anything you fancy

Nearly the closing date for the Portobello Central freelance post. Another step forwards.

Jennifer’s blog #83

Three Long Hard Journeys


Twas a Bearsden day today. Got mum doing her physio several times today. That is the only route to her recovery. Long hard journey ahead but will be worth it! 

Didn’t really do much Porty Central business today but late tonight an email came in to say we had not been successful with the Regeneration Fund Grant application. That is a shame but we learned from doing the application. We have a lot of learning to do in the next few months and years – a long hard journey ahead but will be worth it!

Went to my pilates class this evening. Was lovely but it has been a long, hard, weekly journey to get some muscle tone back and to discover my ‘core’ from a position of real pain about 4 years ago when my back went. That has been so worth it! 

Only other point to raise is we added an additional info pack to the job advert – because you’re worth it! Tell us what you could bring to the role? 

Jennifer’s blog #82

Routes and Roots

Spent the early morning walking round Porty with a PhD student who had been introduced to me by Lynn of our group. Her blog about her study project is here .

I didn’t take her to the Town Hall or Bellfield, although both came up in our hour long conversation. Instead I got her down to Porty for 8am to walk the route my kids take to school, the bridge over the Harry Lauder Road and up to the new school. It always strikes me as quite a threatening space, yet the kids walk it each day and it is a key link route between Portobello, Magdalene, Craigmillar and Niddrie but it’s not a very friendly link route. We still managed to take some time to smell the flowers. Turns out she is Brazilian and knew the town, Franca, which I lived in when I lived in Brazil back last century. Small world (cause it’s a very small town, of over 300,000 people)!

The theme of 20 minute neighbourhoods came up and that reminded me I should follow up with the council on that subject that was getting us all excited a few months back. Where did all that noise go?

Jennifer’s blog #81

Dogged Blogger

Bridgend Farmhouse

I remember blog #40 being a sticky one. I’ve prevaricated and avoided today’s blog all day and realised it was #80. Something going on with the multiples of 40 in my head. 

Only twenty more blogs to go. 

Must try and use them carefully. It is an interesting daily discipline. Without daily effort, days slip away. It is the act of doing that is important. Those who started the original project and didn’t skip any days have completed their 100. I’m not beating myself up about the missed days. Sometimes rules need bent. I will complete it. We’ll have 100 blogs tracking our early days. But I was having a hump blog day. 

Then Lynn in the Porty Central group shared this lovely video from Bridgend, who way before we tried to do what we are doing, did what we are trying to do. Of course there are differences in the details, but sit back and enjoy the telling of the tale .

I find myself wondering, when 11 years of history is told in 6 minutes, about the daily battles and triumphs. How did things get done? What was each day like? Yet it kind of doesn’t matter, cause the years have passed and the result has been achieved. Certainly an inspiring video. 

The team had a good Monday meeting last and matters progressed. Our Treasurer, Stewart will give his 1st official report next Monday. 

Jennifer’s blog #80

Generating Regeneration

Sunday seems quiet too at least on Porty Central matters, so going to take a gamble and mention the Regeneration Fund application we made in conjunction with City of Edinburgh Council. This went in about June/July if memory serves me well.

I had in my head it was due to be announced in Aug/Sept so sent a little chaser to our Council contact. Got this back:

‘We haven’t had any update yet but I would expect it to be sometime in September, with a deadline for round two in November.’

Keep your fingers crossed for us. This application was all about finding alternative heating systems to replace the existing, aging boilers! 

Jennifer’s Blog #79

Send me a letter


Lots of themes running on our Basecamp chats but nothing conclusive to mention here so going to be a short and sweet blog. 

I’m just going to re-share the Development Manager advert and add some flesh to the bones of the contract value as that is the main question we’ve been getting back. 

We see this as an £8K contract for 40 days work (about 5 days or 40 hours per month at £200 per day). 

Hope the right person is working on their covering letter this weekend. Good luck!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Jennifer’s blog #78.

Baths and Beards

The Baths – new in 1904 – renewed in 2021

Friday was mainly spent with emails back and forth setting the agenda for our Monday meeting. 

I had expected big news at the Town Hall visit and when that didn’t come I was a bit thrown/down as you could read yesterday. However the sensible response to that visit and meeting with the Council guys is the Council are doing the dull, necessary right things to make the building good to reopen, we have the funds and they are keeping us in the loop. 

Realised another Porty building was looking all shiny and new. On Tuesday I was out walking the Prom because it ended up an absolute beauty of a day I turned behind me and snapped the baths, thinking how grand they looked. It is only a few days later that I realised the baths looked so good because the scaffolding is down!

Porty Baths 2021

This is possibly a bit like when my dad in his 70s grew a beard. It was a nice snowy white beard and he looked good. He kept it for more than two years and was a bit upset that when he shaved it off, nobody noticed – even Mum! Problem was that he just looked like himself again. Rather than notice the lack of beard, we’d all been noticing the beard for two years. 

After yesterday’s wobble (woble?) I find myself returning to a comment put on Porty Central Facebook page way back thanking those who 20 years ago were fighting to prevent these very Porty baths from closing. When feeling disheartened in community work I remembered this wee phrase and I’m motivated again: 

Q: When is the best time to plant a tree?

A: 20 years ago. 

Q: When is the next best time?

A: Today! 

Thanks to, one of our top fans, Maureen Child for a shout out in her inspiring weekly round ups:

The Portobello Central group are brilliant at keeping us up to date on all their hard work and what is involved in taking on our Town Hall. Click here: “

Onwards and upwards!

Jennifer’s blog #77. 


Felt a bit flat after the long awaited visit to the Town Hall on Thursday. 

It wasn’t really any big reveal about the building and, there is no denying, it is looking disheveled through lack of use. There is lots to do, lots of potential, what should be ‘enough money’ to do the work and Morag has already posted some shots of the visit but I left feeling a bit flat, hence I dawdled a little in writing today’s blog. 

The main thing that stuck in my mind was the fact we saw a bat flying around the hall. I didn’t really want to mention that on here and was delaying for that reason too but I see comments have been made already by those attending of the bat’s existence, so the bat is out of the bag, so to speak…

Also delayed writing up Thursday because my husband and I were, as I mentioned yesterday, at Elbow at the Usher Hall. My husband thinks it is hilarious that I danced the night away, enjoyed myself lots, cheered when the lead singer went for a cheer yet confessed I didn’t recognise a single song. Philistine! Happy dancer. The tunes were good but I’m confident none had entered my consciousness before. 

It was actually the audience that fascinated me. I kept turning round and looking, feeling them. Feeling being in a room with that many people. Feeling music going through me. It is special and suggests people are coming back to gigs. We are wired for sound and light and vibrations and company or at least I am. Want to have the Town Hall reverberate to the sound of a whipped-up, happy audience. 

Jennifer’s blog #76

From Zero to XERO

So Wednesday was Bearsden as usual and working with my folks to adapt to their changing circumstances. However I also joined an online meeting in the early afternoon from Community Land Scotland who are doing a gender audit of their members. It’s mainly looking at gender split on panels discussing land matters but also gender make-up of community organisations’ boards and staff. It is funded by International Land Coalition. It’s about having real data rather than anecdotes on the subject. I’m fairly feminist and reckon I have some idea of the issues but it is interesting to hear the data being gathered and discuss possibly policy changes. Apparently by having male company secretaries in both Action Porty and Portobello Central we are unusual! 

I drove to my folks and back. Staying over wasn’t an option as Mr Jennifer Elliot, my long-suffering husband, is away with work for three days, so all the home logistics he does are falling to me. Turns out he does at lot of stuff! Who knew! He and I are out to see ‘Elbow’ at Usher Hall tomorrow night. 

At least in the car as I sweltered my way back to Edinburgh (thermometer saying 29 centigrade!) I had some thinking time. The membership discussions in Porty Central are throwing up data protection and GDPR matters. These are important and not ‘easy’ . We’ll work our way through them. The realisation struck me however that if I was back at the beginning of the set up of Bellfield systems again the one thing I’d do differently is start with a CRM. That might be a bit too jargony for many of you. It stands for ”Customer Relationship Management’. It’s essentially a contact database. I’ve always used it in my sales career but never yet in my community buildings life. CRM is quite a big system to set up, I suspect. I don’t know the right one to go with. We’ll probably want a free or very low cost one to start with. One that integrates with Xero would be crucial. Any ideas or suggestions out there? Anyone done this before and willing to advise? 

Lastly I’m going to do a wee plug for Action Porty’s on going ‘Porty 2025’ consultation. A really good event was held on 24th Aug in Bellfield to kick off the consultation process. Next we’ll be looking for people to host conversations on topics they care about. There will be orientation meetings with the big Heart Talk Porty events taking place in November. It is not an insignificant undertaking by Action Porty and the community. There was a really good turn out and lots of positivity at the in person event but also feed back that not everyone was ready for indoor, in person meetings yet. Or they simply couldn’t do in person meetings yet for logistical reasons like childcare. To solve that Action Porty are holding an online kick off ”Porty 2025′ session next Tuesday .See you there?

Jennifer’s blog #75

Top Hat and Tales

Excitement (and a wee bit trepidation) is building about what we’ll find out when we visit Porty Town Hall again on Thursday with Council officers. I’ve looked out my hard hat. Last time I was in the building was Feb 2020 – pre pandemic! . 

Portobello Central Ltd (the company) will be a year old on 14th Sept 2021. We’ve been a group for a good bit longer than that (as the Feb 2020 pic shows) but it was 14th Sept 2020 when we incorporated. That means some admin points coming up. It means there is a confirmation statement due this month and the company accounts need to be filed for June 2022. Oddly enough however Portobello Central Ltd is now essentially dormant and exists in name only. It was superseded by Portobello Central SCIO as an organisation and for banking. This will all formally be laid out at the first SCIO AGM, likely June 2022, as detailed in the updated, recently published ‘Plan‘. 

I heard back from Rachael at Craigmillar Now and one of her requests in the spirit of sharing info is around finding an accountant to sign off on charity accounts. Always a fun topic. I need to think about that one and get back to her.

Meanwhile, here is a link to a truly fun topic – Portobello Book Festival announced its programme . Get 1st – 3rd October in your diaries and pick an event or two to get your free tickets for. Always a fab festival. 

Jennifer’s blog #74