Exclusive: “Lifeline” parenting centre to stay open after fundraiser hits target

A community-run hub for new parents has raised over £30,000 to fund their essential move to new premises – with their current home set to be demolished, EN4 News has learned.

The Pregnancy and Parents Centre (PPC) is primarily a self-funded, donation-run organisation that runs classes and workshops for recent mums and dads. Nobody is turned away if they are unable to pay or donate.

Francesca Dymond, a trustee of the centre, told EN4 News: “It would have been much more of a financial burden if we had to use the income we’ve generated to complete the work. It was essential that we raised that money.”

Their crowdfunding page raised £26,750 and the rest was through direct donations to the centre.

The Pregnancy and Parents Centre is hoping to complete the move to 188 Pleasance and be fully operational by the beginning of March.

“It’ll be spring-time when we get in, and renovation has already started, walls have come down, floors are going in, it’s exciting,” Francesca added.

Nadine Edwards created the group in her living room in 1985, and speaking exclusively to EN4 News, she said how important the centre is to the local community: “I feel very honoured to have been part of something so important in people’s lives. Parents have said it’s been a lifeline, that they couldn’t have managed without it.”

Concept art for the new Pregnancy and Parents Centre (Credit: Pregnancy and Parents)

Francesca first discovered the centre five years ago while pregnant with her first child, and she said, “In parenthood, there’s a lot [of] anxiety, guilt and shame, but you walk in here and you know you aren’t the only one feeling like that.

“The essence of the centre is that we have built this amazing community, through our shared experiences, knowledge and relaxation.”

She said that finding the new location took more than 18 months because they were looking for something special and fairly specific, as well as affordable: “We’re very lucky in that a member of our community who used to come to the centre is an architect; she’s been helping us project manage the designs of the new place.

“It is hard when you walk into somewhere semi-derelict to imagine it being warm and welcoming.”

When asked about the classes on offer, both trustees emphasised the importance of inclusivity at the centre.

“It’s a very multicultural community,” Dymond said, “There’s a course called new arrivals, for people who are new to the city or new to Scotland, it’s run by multilingual facilitators to bring people together.”

“It must be very difficult to arrive in a country where English isn’t your first language and you’re suddenly there with a new-born or a young child.”

Credit: Pregnancy and Parents

The centre is best known for its pregnancy yoga classes and welcomes roughly 450 parents every week. They also offer active-birth and dads-to-be workshops monthly, which are very popular.

“We don’t just support pregnant women. We support parents, dads, whoever, and parents after birth as well.”

She also voiced her fears about childbirth before finding the PCC: “I came here quite fearful about what labour would be like and how I would manage this enormous thing that was going to happen to my body.

“A lot of the narratives that women hear, even before they think about getting pregnant, is that labour is this intensively medicalised thing, I think the great thing about the PPC is, that it presents alternatives. I flipped from fearful to positive very quickly.”

Nadine expressed how the PCC has developed over the last few decades: “If I was suddenly not here tomorrow it would still carry on; for me, that’s the most important thing, that it’s developed its community, it’s on ethos. I like being part of that.

“There’s a lot of pressure to be positive and happy, here you can be who you are, we often specifically say, it’s fine to be a bit down this week or to be worried about something.”

If you are interested in their services or in donating, visit the Pregnancy and Parents Centre website.

Podcast: Let’s talk about period poverty

In an EN4 News Lifestyle Podcast, Heather Miller discusses the trending topic of ‘period poverty’.

With controversy emerging on social media in the last week or two following discussions about women’s sexual health, and the taboo subject of periods, there has been a boom of interest in the subject. The term ‘period poverty’ is based around the lack of basic sanitary products, waste management and general menstrual hygiene education

Heather is joined in her exploration of the topic by EN4 News reporters Caitlin Gallagher and Darren McConachie, as they examine the stigma and controversy surrounding it.

 

Is it possible to balance raising a baby with saving the planet?

Raising a baby while striving to be sustainable is not something that typically goes hand-in-hand. Where babies are concerned, much waste is produced just from everyday life whether that be from nappies, dummies or clothes they have outgrown.

Climate change has become increasingly prominent in the minds of people throughout the country, so it should come as no surprise that many parents have turned to eco-friendlier ways to raise their children.

The environmental cost of having a child is significant and as a result, more parents are taking the initiative to try and limit the impact their child has on the the planet’s health. Being environmentally conscious is not an easy feat – but it is possible.

Credit: The Bebe Hive

Mum of one, Fiona McKay, has bought most of her daughter’s essentials second-hand.

“I want my daughter to grow up in a world better than the one she came into. I’ve been pretty aware of overconsumption and climate change for a long time, but getting pregnant really focused me.”

As well as taking the necessary steps in her own purchases, she has also asked her family to do the same when it comes to presents. “We’ve asked for second-hand or wooden toys when people have asked about gifts. We also bought her cot, changing table, buggy, bouncer chair, etc., second-hand.”

“People feel they need to buy presents for a baby and although we’ve been very good at not buying things ourselves,” she admitted, “it’s crazy the number of new things we still received.”

When it comes to the cost of raising her daughter this way, Fiona said that although it might be more expensive to begin with, it ends up working out cheaper in the long-run.

Credit: The Bebe Hive

The Bebe Hive is one shop that has successfully catered to this market since 2017. This online shop is run by mother of two, Lauren Rigby, and works together with many different ethical and sustainable businesses from across the globe in order to bring its customers great, high-quality products to help them become eco-friendlier.

Rigby’s shop aims to allow its customers to shop “consciously and sustainably for their little people” and this is highlighted by the products that they sell, such as: rubber dummies, silicone bibs, and wooden and sustainable-based toys.

 

Laura understands that parenting is stressful enough without trying to be completely sustainable but she stresses that “little changes will make a big difference.”

“I do think if people understood more about the choices they make and the options and alternatives available, then they would be more willing to prioritise the topic of sustainability.”

Adopting a sustainable lifestyle whilst raising your children is not easy but it is definitely possible if you have the means and determination to do it.

Scottish Strings partners with weekly project providing support to dementia sufferers

 

On the first Friday of every month, St Cecilia’s Hall hosts a free event providing activities designed to stimulate dementia sufferers.

“People have the opportunity to socialise and participate in a meaningful, collections-focused talk and activity designed to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome,” Dr Sarah Deters, Learning and Engagement Curator at St Cecilia’s, tells EN4 News.

“Many of the participants have formed their own community, offering each other support, through the programme.”

Nadine, who takes her mother along to the events regularly, said that a lot of the other dementia programmes are too long and difficult for her mum to understand but this one is different.

“Being able to listen to the live music is fantastic,” she said, “they have the most amazing collection of instruments.”

Research shows that musical memory is one of the last memories that sufferers of dementia lose.

“Music has tangible, evidence-based benefits for people with dementia, such as helping to minimise the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, tackling depression and anxiety, and, importantly, helping to improve quality of life.”

This morning’s event began with tea and coffee, creating a social environment, followed by a talk on Scottish string instruments, given by Ms Deters herself.

The main activity was a performance of traditional string music, specifically clarsach and mandolin.

St Cecilia’s joined a partnership in 2017 called Social, a programme created specifically to cater for sufferers of dementia. The hall is the home of Edinburgh University’s musical instrument collection.

Ms Deters highlighted that the programme has demonstrated how cultural institutions and museums can have a positive impact on people suffering from diseases such as dementia.

Edinburgh MP brands Ruth Davidson’s House of Lords nomination “ridiculous”

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson’s nomination for a House of Lords peerage has been described as “ridiculous” by an SNP MP.

Tommy Shepard, the MP for Edinburgh West, told EN4 News he believes the House should be abolished.

“It’s ridiculous that people sit in a position of power over others without being accountable and elected,” Shepard told EN4 News.

“It is outrageous that in this country that says it’s a democracy, a majority of the members of [one of our] parliaments are not elected by anyone.”

It was announced on Thursday that Davidson, MSP for Edinburgh Central, had been nominated Prime Minister Boris Johnson alongside former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond.

Her constituents have responded in a more mixed manner to the nomination.

Tricia Marwick tweets about Ruth Davidson’s nomination to House of Lords

 

Willie, speaking to EN4 News, said he supports the appointment despite not personally voting Conservative.

“She is not my party but I think she’s an excellent politician,” he said.

“She is a good asset for the House of Lords.”

Others were not so pleased.

“It is just payment for what she did over the last 5-10 years in Scotland,” Lynsey said.

“I’m a supporter of Scottish Independence and Ruth Davidson was instrumental in trying to fork that and her reward has been a seat in the House of Lords. It is absolutely a front to democracy.”

The former Conservative Leader is set to stand down as an MSP next year at Holyrood’s 2021 election but becoming a peer could mean an earlier departure.

EN4 News took to the Edinburgh streets to canvas opinion

Test your knowledge of the week’s biggest stories with our news quiz!

 

Walking your way to wisdom

This morning, walkers explored Edinburgh streets in the hopes of finding answers to their meaningful questions.

The event was hosted by a social-enterprise called Street Wisdom as part of this year’s Fire Starter Festival. Street Wisdom are known for their mind-opening walking events which are held all over the world.

Participants of the Street Wisdom Walk have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and step out of their comfort zone in a three-hour exploration of Edinburgh’s streets. Despite sounding rather complex, the general idea of a Street Wisdom Walk is really quite simple.

Mark Brown, COO of Street Wisdom

Mark Brown, the COO of Smart Wisdom spoke to EN4 News about what to expect during a Street Wisdom Walk,

“First of all, each person must choose a question they would like some fresh thinking on. The question could be personal or work-related. The experience then takes place over 3 hours and is made of three steps of equal length.”

According to Mark, the three stages of a Street Wisdom Walk are as follows:

Step 1: Tune up your senses

Group members are guided through a series of short exercises that are designed to allow them to tune into themselves and the world around them.

Step 2: Look for answers

Each person will set off on their own quest in search of insights, ideas, and inspiration. By paying attention to the signs, signals, clues, and invitations received from the streets, they will hopefully be able to answer their question.

Step 3: Gather and share

The group then gather together and share their experience by reflecting on what happened, what they learned and how they might apply the insights and ideas they have gained back to their original question.

A group of Street Wisdom walkers

“It’s a combination of mindfulness and psychology – participants have space and time to slow down, switch off from distractions and switch on their creative, problem-solving skills. The results can be profound, providing deep insights and innovative solutions.”

Each walk is run by volunteers and is completely free of charge. However, due to a high level of interest, it is important to sign up quickly for a Street Wisdom Walk as spaces are limited and there is a very long waiting list.

If you would like to learn more about Street Wisdom or to discover the nearest walk happening near you, please visit here.

Credit for all photographs: Street Wisdom

Podcast – US Politics Special: Trump impeachment trial, Iowa Caucas, and more

Iain Leggat, Andrew McDonald, and Chris Lamb join forces for a special EN4 News Podcast Special.

After one of the most eventful weeks in US political history the trio talk through the Iowa Caucus disaster, the Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump and The State of the Union Address.

How well do you remember Brexit? Take the ultimate quiz!

Test your knowledge of the last four years with our Ultimate Brexit Quiz. It is almost as difficult as the negotiation process.

Brexit transition period “nowhere near long enough”

A former member of the European Commission has claimed that the Brexit transition period will not be long enough for the government to complete negotiations and secure a trade deal with the EU.

Speaking to EN4 News, Emeritus Professor of European Law at the University of Groningen and former official of the European Commission, Laurence Gormley, says that with “difficult” talks on fisheries and regulatory issues, the limited time of the transition period is “nowhere near long enough” to conclude talks both on trade and the future relationship.

“[The progress of the talks] depends on the UK really. So far, they have been enormously dilettante in making known what they would like,” Mr. Gormley explained.
With an 11-month timetable to finalise an agreement on both trade and non-trade elements such as security cooperation and fisheries, both the EU and UK have signified they want to start talks as swiftly as possible.

One of the main promises from the leave camp during the 2016 referendum was to ‘take back control’ of UK fishing waters. However, with EU vessels catching 35% of their fish from UK waters, the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently suggested trading EU access to UK fishing waters for British financial service’s access to European markets.

On what he made of the Taoiseach’s comments stating that the EU had a “stronger team” in the negotiations, Mr. Gormley says: “The EU is infinitely better prepared, both in terms of experience and in terms of objectives.”

The EU’s first priority will be for the European Commission to produce a draft negotiating mandate in early February, setting out its goals for a free trade agreement. After consulting with the governments of the EU27 and gaining their approval, the commission will look to be ready by March.

Regarding the UK government’s readiness, Associate Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics, Stephen Woolcock, told EN4 news that Boris Johnson’s negotiating mandate is “likely to be not very clearly defined.”

Speaking about the pathway forward to talks, Mr. Woolcock said: “Officials might start fairly soon to scope an agreement, but the British government needs to have some kind of mandate from Parliament. There remains a question about the scrutiny that the House of Commons and the Devolved Authorities would have over the negotiations and there is still no Trade Bill that would define this.”

Once the talks begin in earnest, the EU is likely to prioritise safeguarding the stability of the Single Market and what European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen stressed as a continuation of the level playing field.

“The EU will want to ensure that the EU regulatory standards are not undercut by UK suppliers benefiting from lower costs due to changes in UK regulations,” Mr. Woolcock explained.

“The UK can do what it wants [on following EU regulations] but the trade off is less guaranteed access to the EU.”

With the clock ready to start ticking and Boris Johnson categorically ruling out an extension to the transition period, it is still unclear what our relationship with Europe will look like by the end of the year.

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