Families in danger as Edinburgh fire station forced to close over staffing crisis

Fire stations are struggling to stay open.

Marionville Fire Station closed on Saturday due to there not being enough staff to man one fire engine, a union warned.

The fire station, which covers the Restalrig and Craigentinny areas of the city is only one of the many fire stations which have been affected by the staffing crisis.

Fire stations across the city have had their fire engine numbers halved, and specialist roles such as water rescue and major crash response have also taken a hit.

Emergency services are vital to the safety and security of the people living in the community and are at risk due to the lack firefighters.

Ex-Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale blamed the SNP for the staffing problem:

Edinburgh residents have also expressed their disappointment:

Beating the boobie blues

Three local artists help to raise awareness of breast cancer

Left to right: Kathleen Moodie, Jennifer Colquhoun and Beth Lamont.

Step 1: Touch. Step 2: Look. Step 3: Check. T-L-C. While there is no definitive method for checking your breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, UK charity Breast Cancer Now are asking you to try a little TLC. Early detection is crucial in treating and beating the disease – most cases of breast cancer are first found by women themselves.

This October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and fundraising events have been taking place across the country to support this issue. On 19th October, three Edinburgh-based artists got together at Custom Lane in Leith to raise money and awareness for a disease that one in eight women in the UK will develop in their lifetime.

The collaborative project, Boobzapalooza, headed by knitwear designer Kathleen Moodie is a ‘month-long celebration of all things breast’. Together with scientific illustrator Jennifer Colquhoun and ceramic jewellery designer Beth Lamont, they have designed limited-edition boob-related art that will be sold throughout the month with 40% of the proceeds going directly to Breast Cancer Now.

The Boob Arc Necklace, K.Boobs Booble Hat and The Boob Print are all for sale throughout October.

What made you choose this particular breast cancer charity?

Kathleen Moodie: “I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 24 and she’s an ambassador for Breast Cancer Now and she suggested to go for them. Partly because they are registered in Scotland as well, so the money is coming from Scotland and staying in Scotland, that for her is something that is really important. It was something that none of us had thought of. We just thought, ‘oh, yeah we’ll pick a breast cancer charity and it will be great’, and Victoria said, ‘you’ve got to make sure it’s a Scottish one’ and it makes so much sense.” 

Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity.

The event is about making breast cancer less scary and approaches the disease in a fun and direct way. Why is that important?

Jennifer Colquhoun: “Last year, I found a lump in my own breast and I was terrified. I thought that was me because a few years ago my aunt died of breast cancer, so it was in the family. But it turns out mine was a fibroadenoma which is a benign tumour. It’s also commonly known as the breast mouse which I thought was hilarious. I really wanted to do a picture of the breast mouse but nobody really knew what I was talking about.”

A customer tries on Kathleen Moodie’s Booble Hat.

Why do you think the arts is a good way of talking about and addressing big issues such as breast cancer?

Beth Lamont: “I guess it just gives it a tangible thing. You can still donate money, but you get to take something away. The next time someone is wearing their pink necklace someone can be like, oh I like that’ and you can be like, ‘oh it was actually for this charity’ and you talk about it again. Though they are only on sale for the month that conversation will hopefully keep on going because of that product, that piece of art, that hat, is not going to go away.”

The Boobzapalooza event held at Custom Lane, Leith.

The limited-edition pieces are available throughout October and can be purchased online here.

 

Consumer confidence in Scotland lowest in over a year

Consumer confidence levels in Scotland have dropped to the lowest it has been in over a year, and below the UK-wide average, new research indicates.

According to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker, Scotland’s consumer confidence results have dropped to a net balance of  -9%, which is lower than the UK average of -7%.

Scotland’s result has dropped a whole four percentage points since the last quarter. This is the lowest it has been since the second quarter of 2017.

Some local business owners in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh responded to the research, and were surprisingly optimistic about their customers, despite the recent findings.

Gavin Elden, A La Carte owner, said: “Even when times are tough, people just want to have treats, so we haven’t noticed too much of a change.

A La Carte on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“However, there has been a huge change around here, and lots and lots of shops have changed hands.

“It is hard to tell with Brexit. I think the whole country is just uncertain at the moment about everything. It could be fantastic or it could be a disaster.”

Clementine Home and Gifts worker, Monica, said: “I would definitely think Brexit will have an effect. Everyone is talking about it and I will probably be affected because I am from Poland.

Clementine on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“My friends are all concerned and it definitely has an impact on how people view their future here and spending as well because people are saving instead of spending just in case.”

Cat Anderson, Edinburgh Bookshop worker, said: “I was talking to the boss the other day and she is really impressed with how much people are shopping and she puts it down to Brexit.

The Edinburgh Bookshop on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“People are just like we don’t care anymore, we are going to live regardless, we don’t know what is coming next so we might as well just enjoy ourselves.

“I have certainly seen a massive increase in food prices and have changed my shopping habits accordingly. Brexit is definitely having an impact.”

In Scotland, five out of the six measures of confidence dropped compared to the last quarter. The measure which grew in confidence was regarding job opportunities and career progression which rose by four percentage points to -4%.

The main reason for the downfall in consumer confidence was plunging levels of optimism regarding general health and wellbeing. This category dropped 18 percentage points down to -16% since the previous quarter. This was closely followed by a steep drop in levels of confidence around household disposable income which fell to -24%.

Levels of confidence fell in all six categories for the UK-wide results. The sharpest decline was in the category regarding disposable income and personal debt.

Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart, related the downfall to Brexit and said: “The reality of higher inflation and August’s interest rate rise has dented optimism about spending power.

“Meanwhile uncertainty and the manner in which the UK exits the EU in less than six months’ time is creating an additional headwind for consumers.

He added: “That such consumer-friendly conditions have failed to boost confidence testifies to the headwinds from inflation, interest rate rises and Brexit.”

 The survey was carried out between September 21 and 29 and involved 3105 consumers across the UK, with 371 being in Scotland.

 

Scottish Vegan Festival back for another year at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange

 

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The Edinburgh Corn Exchange was packed with activity on Saturday. Photo by Olivia Hill.

The Corn Exchange was full to the brim on October 20 as visitors flocked to the many stalls available at this year’s Scottish Vegan Festival.

The festival has been successfully running for the last two years and is the ideal event for vegans or those eager to learn more about veganism. Organised by Farplace Animal Rescue, an animal sanctuary and campaigns group, the Scottish Vegan Festival hosts a series of stalls including many hot and cold vegan eats, cosmetics, clothing and animal rights charities.

There are currently around 600,000 vegans across the UK and as the number of vegans increased by 350% in the last decade in Scotland alone, it seems to be a trend that will continue to rise in popularity. Whatever reason it may be — for, ethical, dietary or weight loss — there is a growing interest in how and why people should adopt a plant-based diet.

This rise in the number of people taking on a vegan diet means there is an increase in demand for vegan options, not just at restaurants, but in other public places such as schools and hospitals. ‘Go Vegan Scotland’, a group of volunteers who spend their time away from work trying to encourage others to see the benefits of veganism, was at the Scottish Vegan Festival campaigning for the introduction of legislation which would guarantee plant-based options on every public sector menu.

Barbara Bolton, a volunteer for Go Vegan Scotland, spoke about how the group approaches conversations about veganism with those who may be interested in or unsure of adopting a plant-based diet.

”We have information stalls where people approach us, ask us what they want to know about veganism and we try to have conversations with them to bring out what they think about other animals and whether or not they are truly comfortable with killing them when we don’t have to,” she said.

”Every time we buy a product that has come from an animal, whether it’s from their body or we have taken their eggs or their milk, what lies behind that is animal exploitation. So we tease out from people whether or not they’re genuinely comfortable that they’re spending their money, paying people to use and kill other animals for them.”

Barbara also emphasised that it’s important to approach veganism in a certain way in order to stick to it:

”If you think of veganism as a diet or a lifestyle, then you may find it challenging but when you understand what veganism really is, when you understand veganism is simply living in a way that respects other animals’ right to exist and that it’s about not exploiting and killing animals, then it will become much easier.”

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Lots of vegan treats were available on display including these Halloween inspired doughnuts. Photo by Olivia Hill.

The festival also provides small businesses with an opportunity to showcase their products in a suitable environment.

Emma Lean, from new independent clothing company ‘East Coast 88‘, said the festival was a great place to introduce people to their products:

”All of our t-shirts are organic, they’re all printed using water-based inks and they’re all  Fair Wear Foundation certified as well which means the people who have made them have been paid a living wage, they’re in a safe environment and they’ve got workers rights as well.”

”We wanted to get our name out there and we wanted to meet people who would be interested in buying the t-shirts. So we started coming along and I think this is our 3rd festival so far and it’s been the best one. The atmosphere here has been really nice, it’s really cool.”

The festival was heaving with ticket holders who had come along to try delicious vegan eats and buy the latest vegan-friendly clothes and cosmetics. But there were also a number of animal rights charities present, including OneKind, Scotland’s largest animal campaign group.

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OneKind sells vegan-friendly t-shirts to help fund their campaigns. Photo by Olivia Hill.

OneKind has held a number of successful campaigns including Scotland’s ban on the use of wild animals in travelling circuses. Sarah Mackenzie, the events and volunteers officer, discussed its latest campaign.

”The campaign we’re running today is to stop the growth of the salmon industry in terms of salmon farming in Scotland. At the moment the welfare issues within the industry are unacceptable and we’re asking the Government to put a stop to the plans for growth before these issues are dealt with.”

There is a significant problem with sea lice (parasites that feed on the scales and flesh of the salmon) on Scottish salmon farms and mortality rates are extremely high; 11 million salmon died last year alone. If you would like to learn more about this campaign, click here.

The Scottish Vegan Festival will be back on April 7 and October 20, 2019. To keep up to date with the latest news, take a look at their website here.

 

 

Free Lunch Cancelled for Councillors

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They say there is no such thing as a free lunch. Well, not anymore. Local councillors have been informed that they will no longer be getting free lunch at noon, as they are finishing their work too early.

The decision has led to complaints that councillors are not doing enough work, as the coalition winds down in the run up to the local elections in May.

Conservative councillor Dominic Heslop explained: “Some of the longer-serving councillors will tell you the lunch was necessary when the meetings when on until 7pm or 8pm. But when they can be over by 11.30am can it really be justified?”

Instead councillors will be offered a buffet on full council days, otherwise they will have to pay for their own lunch.

Man Critical after deliberate collision in Glasgow

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Jamaica St is expected to remain closed for most of today

A 32-year-old man is in a life threatening condition in hospital after a car was deliberately driven at him in Glasgow city centre.

Police said the incident happened at about 1 am in the city’s Jamaica Street and involved a Volkswagen car.

The man was taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where he remains.

Police have appealed for witnesses to the incident, which has resulted in the closure of Jamaica Street.

They are warning commuters that the road will be closed for some time and to expect disruption.

The road has closed from Argyle Street, with nearby Howard Street also affected.

A police spokesman said: “At around 00:45 on Wednesday 11 January a 32-year-old man was seriously injured after a Volkswagen car was deliberately driven at him in Jamaica Street.”

“He was taken by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where he remains for treatment.”

“Hospital staff describe his condition as life threatening. Jamaica Street is closed while officers carry out inquiries.”

Iconic Leith Sports Shop blows the final whistle

Footballers flood to Leith to pay tribute as local shop will take to the bench permanently.

23072610Leith Athletic Ltd will close next week after 45 years of business. The ‘local landmark’ has been visited been numerous ex-football players as they pay vigil to the shop that stores many memories.

The shop has provided generations with football strips and boots. Ex-footie stars such as John “Yogi” Hughes, ex Hibs manager, and Allan Preston, ex Hearts player, have posted emotional farewells on social media saying “It was a real Leith icon and will be sorely missed.”

Shop owner, Ian Ireland, 79, has decided it’s match time finished. The owner tells the Scotsman,

“My wife did most of the work but she died around four years ago. I was an accountant but I worked [in the shop] on a Saturday. It was her life, she loved talking to folk and meeting all the locals.”

His wife’s gift of the gab has been reflected as all the locals know the sports shop and will remember it fondly.

All of the sports equipment has been sold with locals buying hundreds of pounds in tribute to what has been a well loved shop in a final farewell.

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