What’s The Plan?

How is Portobello Central SCIO going to re-open the Town Hall?  Everyone wants to know so we thought we should set out our current thinking, which will change over the next few months.

We start with:

The City of Edinburgh Council has accepted, in principle, our plan to take over the Town Hall and put it under community management.

The Council has allocated to the project £350,000 of Scottish Government funding under its Place Based Investment Programme – referencing our proposal.

We have agreed, informally, that the Council should use this funding for repairs to the building, to be decided on the basis of careful and thorough examination of the building.  We expect these repairs to be primarily to the roof, wall heads and some internal plasterwork.  This does not cover all the work identified by the Council in 2019 – for example the heating system needs replacement within a few years.

We have a Project Viability Report funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The Project

The building, repairs, refurbishment, re-thinking.  The imminent repairs are the first step in this, working in partnership with the Council.

The business – creating something that did not exist before: a well-marketed, serviced, venue that brings benefits to all parts of our wider community and is managed in co-operation with other venues in the area.  This is our current main focus.  We have funding for a development contractor to help us design this, identifying markets, users, service providers.

The Community

The core of the project is that it is for and with the community.  We need the community to be properly involved in its development, not just through consultation but in real engagement. Keep in touch – Find us on Facebook and join our mailing list.

When will the Town Hall Open?

Who is Supporting Us?

The work of Portobello Central is bringing people together around a coherent, sustainable idea.  Our core support is from the communities of Portobello and Craigmillar and the surrounding areas, Bingham, Brunstane, Craigentinny, Duddingston, Northfield, Mountcastle

Solid help continues to flow from the City of Edinburgh Council, at all levels: Councillors, Committees, officers at all levels.  We said from the outset that this would be a partnership of community, council and commerce – and that is still the focus.


We have had brilliant advice and financial support and more is in prospect.

Importantly we had a Project Viability Grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund, even before we had the nod from the Council. £6,500 enabled us to bring professionals in to give us independent advice.  This study is still underway by Munro Allison Architects and Rob Robinson Heritage Consultants.

A new boost came from the National Lottery Community Fund, its Awards for All programme gave us £10,000 towards practical development of the project.

We bank with Triodos Bank – ready to take us on with no track record when, under the pandemic, no banks were opening new accounts, even for existing customers.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is ready to help and we used its model Constitution in writing our SCIO Constitution.

The Office of the Scottish Charitable Regulator gave us useful advice and approved our application to set up a SCIO much sooner than expected.


2 ½d

Woke at my parents in Bearsden with my niece and her mum in the house too. So nice to have them visit. Instead of the usual household tasks on a typical Wednesday through there, I got to show them around a bit locally and we had a lovely lunch all together. Upset my father’s routine …

Kit and Kin

Today started with an early morning IT meeting at Bellfield. We’re hopefully getting new kit there and a new local IT support provider. I also delivered a neighbours’ letter round the doors of Bellfield St. Then it was work and through to Glasgow to pick up my niece and her Mum. They live abroad and …