Be a Star: Help Us Soar

There is only one piece of Porty Central news today. Portobello Central SCIO seek a contract Development Manager! 

You can read all about it here .

If you know someone right for this role, please share this on. Are you that person?

Applications close by end 17th Sept. 

This is a great opportunity to shape something magical and be in from the start of the project. Exciting times. 

Choreographer, Monica and originating Artist, Deirdre

Or in other more personal Porty news, Future Value debuted last night. An audience even turned up and seemed to enjoy it! I did too. 

What I took from last night, is that a group of self-selecting randoms can, as individuals, come together and create a ‘whole’ of beauty and structure. Sounds just like a committee, eh? There was a huge amount of focus in rehearsal on being aware what all of us were doing. Part of the ‘score’ – yes a written down score was created for piece – is that if one person stops, the group comes to a stop and restarts together. I can’t claim to be good at being aware of the whole group but that was one of my learnings – opening my gaze and my awareness. It wasn’t about being lost in the moment. It was about being part of something and present in the moment. And moving with purpose, to a score we had created. Our Choreographer, Monica and originating Artist, Deirdre (see Jon Davey’s lovely photo) had created conditions for this to form. It was also playful. I was reminded how intense playing is. 

Jon Davey was working hard to capture Day 1 of Art Walk and has some pictures of Future Value.

Tomorrow it will all be over. Better enjoy the moment. 

Jennifer’s blog #71

Two Birds

Today started with an early morning dunk with Jayne (Chair of Portobello Central SCIO). Was more an excuse for a swim but we chatted a bit of Porty Central stuff too. I thought it was my last of the season but it wasn’t as cold as I feared/expected, so maybe I’ll dook in 2021 yet. 

Late Thursday the Art Walk photography exhibition led by Porty Central core group member, Jon Davey of Jon Davey photography went up on the fence at the sailing club by The Beach House

Last year the exhibition involved pairing Porty people with partners from an Icelandic photography club. This year the participating Porty people have picked friends from around the world to work with. The exhibition link  was shared with the participants on Thursday, so I’d had a chance on Thursday night to review it, but it was only Friday morning before I got to see it for real. Loved it and really touch by it and thrilled to be a part of it. Bravo Jon for pulling this together again!

Saeema from Bridgend has asked me to flag up their clothes swap happening on Sat 4th.

I ♥️ a clothes swap! 

If you can’t make that, hope to see some of you at Porty Market  in Brighton Park tomorrow or at various Art Walk Porty events. It’s a big local weekend. Hope Porty Town Hall can be part of it next year.  

Jennifer’s blog #70

Pals and Pleas

The few monthly donations landed in our PayPal account at the start of the month, pinging an automatic email notification to

We are hugely grateful to all and anyone who sees their way to make a donation but monthly ones are particularly valued as they allow for some planning. 

Should you wish to send us hope and encouragement in the form of cash donations our PayPal account is here .

Another request to use the halls in October came in today. We fairly often get these sorts of requests sent to us. Guess we are becoming the visible face of Portobello Town Hall which is great. We find ourselves in the slightly odd position, however, of not yet having any rights or access to the hall. We expect the lease to come after the £350K works are done, more in March-April 2022. 

It is lovely we are asked and we do have good relations with the Council Facilities team and can make requests on your behalf. 

The email address for any queries is either Hello or; they both end up in the same inbox.

Keep talking to us.

Jennifer’s blog #69


Book on Eventbrite!

Wed was spent in Bearsden until I rushed back to Porty for a ‘Future Value‘ rehearsal in time to return car to husband to take son and pals to rugby practice.  

The main Porty Central, or specifically Town Hall, news came from one of the Council officers saying: 

‘Just a quick update, JB Bell & Co. are due to visit the site tomorrow morning to undertake a drainage survey. Apologies for the short notice, but it has only been confirmed this afternoon.’. 

Wave if you see them!

Other than that we’re just bouncing the contract spec for a Dev Manager back and forth, finessing it. Should be okayed for release any day now.

Jennifer’s blog #68

Teak and Trustees: Boards

Forgot to report in Monday’s blog that I’d attended the Portobello Community Council meeting on Monday night. No Porty Central business on the agenda but the topic of community groups having a seat at the table did come up in a discussion on membership. I think this means Porty Central could have a place. Maybe one to consider…..?

The main debate in the team today was around insurance and if we’d need it if we contract a Development Manager rather than employ one. This initial post will be a contract. Think we are tending to position that they’d have it and we’d not need it yet. See the right riveting stuff Trustees wrestle with?

Meanwhile spent the evening physically wrestling with the sideboard in my parent’s dining room. This room has been converted into a downstairs bedroom for Mum as she recuperates. The room was just too busy (unsafe!) with bed, table and sideboard, so I’ve wrestled this late 1960s piece of furniture to the backroom. A quick search on the name written on the back ‘Tyrells Motherwell’ suggests the shop, or an iteration of it still exists in that area  (although it now has a double ‘r’). Unless it says ‘Tykells’ but that brought back less in the internet search. 

Sitting empty now, having held the booze and good glasses, it made me think of the Town Hall sitting empty. I may need to find new life for this lovely, but no longer serving the purpose it was bought for, elegant sideboard. 

Jennifer’s blog #67 

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