Leith Chooses funding allocated

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Leith Chooses funding reduced to £44,000 this year (Credit: Leith Chooses)

 

Leith Chooses has only been able to award a small amount of good causes this year after their government funding was pulled, leaving a pool of just £44,000 be distributed.

Leith is the most densely populated area in Scotland with charities and social enterprises based within the community leading the way in helping the area’s most vulnerable. This year, the focus was on ‘food and equality’, with the introduction of the ‘booster vote’, put in place this year to improve the chances of projects that have been unfortunate in previous years.

One of the Leith charities awarded was Sikh Sanjog who received £3,000. They have been actively involved with Leith Chooses since it begun nine years ago and this was the first time their application has been successful.

Their award will go to a girls group which will be breaking down barriers surrounding cultural issues.

Speaking to EN4News, Sabrina Tickle, Youth Development Manager at Sikh Sonjog, gave her thoughts on the current financial situation.

 

Peter McColl, of Nesta, who attended the event referred in his speech to the Participatory Budgeting ongoing in other European cities. He said: “In 2014, the proposal from the Mayor of Paris through her Participatory Budgeting process, which is called Madam Mayor – I have an idea. The proposal was they would spend half a billion Euros over six years.

“The outcome of that process has been massive engagement. The most popular proposal was to have vertical green walls to clean the air in Paris as there is a problem with pollution. You can use vertical green walls with plants growing out of them to cleanse the air and that is the most popular with 21,000 votes.

“They’re beginning to shift the way in which they make decisions at a local level in communities towards this participatory process and what that’s doing is engaging many many more people in the process. It’s engaging people who perhaps can’t vote because they’re immigrants or too young to have the vote in politics and making political decisions and that’s a really important lesson.”

You can listen to Peter McColl’s opinion on how local communities in Scotland can benefit from participatory budgeting here:

 

 

 

Committee approves £128m contracts for trams to Newhaven

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The trams to Newhaven project set for next week’s crucial vote as contractors appointed (Credit: Graham Millar)

Contracts have now been approved by the Finance and Resources Committee for the two contractors for the potential Trams to Newhaven project totalling £128m, should Councillors vote in favour of the scheme next Thursday.

The Committee endorsed awarding a “Swept Path Contract” to Morrison Utility Services Ltd (MUS Ltd) costing £22m and an “Infrastructure and Systems Contract” to Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul Joint Venture (SFNJV) worth £106m. However, this could soar due to the fact that contractors are currently unsure of the actual workload.

Under the Swept Path Contract, the Council is acquiring the services of MUS Ltd to clear all underground obstructions, expected to be around 1200 obstacles. SFNJV will then commence the next stage, which is to carry out the construction work for the tram line.

There were four bids for the Infrastructure and Systems contract during the tender process, however, two withdrew due to “internal governance approval for the responsibilities and liabilities” of the project.

The contracts are subject to the full Council’s final ruling on the Final Business Case next Thursday.

See our infographic video for the key points of the Final Business Case:

(Credit: Jade du Preez)

Both contractors are delighted with the prospective awards. Peter Carolan, Director at MUS Ltd, said:

“Morrison Utility Services are really excited at being approved as the Swept Path contractor and look forward to the opportunity to work with the City of Edinburgh Council and the Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul JV to deliver the Trams to Newhaven project, if it’s given the green light by the Council.”

SFN Project Director, Alejandro Mendoza Monfort, said:

“SFN JV (Sacyr, Farrans, Neopul JV) are delighted at the news to be recommended for full award of the Infrastructure and Systems Contract for the Edinburgh Tram York Place to Newhaven Extension. 

Our teams have worked meticulously through the tender process set out by the Council and we now look forward to a positive outcome at the business case review by councillors on 14 March.”

Despite the Final Business Case being published, a lot remains in the abstract which has led to uncertainty among those who will be directly affected by the potential construction work.

STEC have also called for the project to be halted until the Lord Hardie Inquiry recommendations have been published, as well as understanding the full impact of the £20m dividend from Lothian Buses which is a crucial part of the financial case for funding for the project.

Today’s local News

Emily Hewitt brings us today’s local news from Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. 

Read more on storm Erik here

Waverley Station are preparing for the freezing temperatures

Edinburgh Police issued a warning on Twitter last night saying that some roads and railways are likely to be affected by the weather in the early hours of the morning.

Customer service assistant at Waverly station, Juan, says that there have been no more cancellations or delays than usual, “The weather has been okay and we have not had any cancellations due to the weather, and do not have any issues at the moment.”

“Even though things have been running smoothly, people have asked a lot more questions today. If they don’t find their train on the big screen right away – they come running for help.”

At Edinburgh Airport people travelling to London, Heathrow and Bristol have to wait patiently due to cancellations. It’s uncertain if this is due to the weather, as things seems to be running smoothly at Heathrow airport.

East Lothian town of Haddington and Whitburn, West Lothian were two of the ‘coldest places’ in Scotland with temperatures dropping to -10.

The bone-chilling weather is forecast to continue into the weekend.

Today’s Local News

Emily Hewitt tells us the local news from Edinburgh and the surroundings areas this afternoon.

Today’s Local News

Edinburgh University student jailed for sex attack on fellow student

An Edinburgh University student has been jailed for three years after a sex attack on a teenage girl. Felix Beck, 22, assaulted his victim during a sex act in which he choked her, leaving her bruised and battered.

Beck, then launched a tirade of abused against the teen, labelling her performance as “s**t” and berating her further through a series of aggressive text messages. The student cried in the dock as he was sentenced to three years, with judge Lord Uist branding the attack “callous and disgraceful”, while telling him he “only had himself to blame.”

The victim told prosecutors how the assault has caused her to change universities and how events have left her suffering from PTSD. The attack came just weeks after another woman had filed rape allegations against Beck – allegations which were dropped by Lord Uist during the hearing.

Menzies to acquire aircraft de-icing firm 

Aviation giant John Menzies has been given the go-ahead to acquire Manchester based Airline Services. The buying of the  company, which deals with aircraft de-icing and ground handling projects, was subject to a nine-month investigation due to growing concerns over ground-handling prices, completion of the market and decreasing quality of service.

After a long anticipated assessment, the Competition and Markets authority gave the green light to Menzies, due to a recent surge of contract applications in the ground handling market. The joint-venture is also expected  to extend to English airports including Newcastle, Liverpool and Birmingham.

Community works together to help ravaged charity shop 

The Edinburgh community of Davidson Mains, came together after their local charity shop was robbed by thieves. The Chest, Heart and Stroke Foundation suffered the attack on Tuesday 15th, after the intruders unscrewed the safe and escaped with money.

On hearing the news this week, residents of Davidson Mains organised local donations to the shop with adults, school children and tradesmen offering to help with repairs free of charge. Unfortunately, the shop has been subject to five separate incidents of crime in recent years, including 2013 when thieves made off with £80 and caused £500 worth of damage.

30ft wide sinkhole appears in Midlothian 

A sinkhole has appeared in Roslin, Midlothian, on the former site of a colliery. The 30ft sinkhole developed on the former site of Roslin Colliery, which had operated for over 65 years and finally closed to the public in 1969. It is thought that the network of underground tunnels that form the coal mine have led to ground become unstable and the sinkhole forming.

The area, which is now farmland, has been sealed off and is awaiting inspection from the Coal Authority. If the mine is found to be the main cause of the hole, the Coal Authority have said they will “start ground work immediately to make the area safe.”

Edinburgh mum becomes first woman to win gruelling week-long marathon

Jasmin Paris, 35, has become the first woman ever to win the 268-mile Spine Race with record-breaking time of 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds. Not only did the mum-of-one beat the previous record set by Eoin Keith in 2016, but even made time to stop and breastfeed her 14-month-old daughter, Rowan.

With a massive seven days to complete the track, the Spine Race has been dubbed one of the hardest marathons in the UK but it proved no match for Jasmin. She is well respected in the sky running (defining as hill racing above heights of 2000 metres) community and has previously won several circuit titles, as well as holding the National women’s fell running title for Great Britain.

 

Local News

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Care home work blamed for air pollution rise

An increase in harmful particle matter was blamed on the construction of a care home on Queensferry Road. The council’s air quality annual progress report reveals that “long term trends show concentrations are going down for both nitrogen dioxide and particles.”

But the findings also show there are still “a number of hot spot areas where legal standards are breached.”

Environmental campaigners have called for an ambitious Low Emission Zone to be set up to tackle the “toxic, illegal levels” of air pollution. The Capital currently has six Air Quality Management Areas – five for nitrogen dioxide and one for particle matter.

 

Free football boots to be given out by charity for kids in Edinburgh

Kids who can’t afford football boots will not be held back from playing sport after Sporting Start charity, launched in memory of passionate sportsman Martin Macari, announced funding for its first two causes. The first project is in partnership with Spartans Community Football Academy and will support the north Edinburgh-based football charity’s “Street Football in a Safe Place” programme. The money will go specifically towards establishing a “boot bank” to ensure primary school children have the opportunity to take part by borrowing appropriate footwear. Cash will also fund a community coach to support Granton Primary School with Saturday morning sport.

 

Edinburgh Fire Station left empty

Families are being put at risk because the fire service has too few firefighters to staff all of its engines, a union has warned. Fire Stations across Edinburgh have been reduced from two to one engines in recent months, while specialist roles such as water rescue and major crash response have also suffered.

On Saturday, long-term sickness meant two firefighters were off work at Marionville meaning the remaining three colleagues had to be redeployed elsewhere, as they were unable to operate the station’s one engine.

 

A rhino was rescued by firefighters after becoming stuck in a tyre at Edinburgh Zoo

Qabid, a two-year-old male rhino, managed to get his head and leg trapped. Firefighters who were called out on Sunday evening used cutting gear to free the stricken mammal.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “One zookeeper said the fire service were their last hope.”

Firefighters from Sighthill attended at around 5.45pm on Sunday and used specialised cutting equipment to free the stricken animal. The young rhino had been trapped with his leg and neck stuck in the tyre since 4pm.

 

Craig Levein calls out referee Bobby Madden after losing to Rangers

Hearts manager Craig Levein took a swipe at referee Bobby Madden after losing 2-1 to Rangers on Sunday, saying “it was like playing against 12 men.”

Levein was upset by Alfredo Morelos’ winning goal, which was scored from an offside position.

He also questioned the treatment of the Rangers striker, who was involved in a number of clashes with Hearts captain Christophe Berra.

Hearts started brightly and got the first goal thanks Gareth McAuley’s own-goal. But Rangers hit back with Connor Goldson equalising from close range and Morelos delivering the decisive goal from a free-kick before half-time.

 

See the front page roundup by reporters Emer Harrison and Liam Mackay here.

 

By Rory Hill

Police launch hunt for robber targeting women in Meadows

The Meadows

Police have launched an online appeal after two robbery incidents in the Meadows area of Edinburgh.

Police believe the two incidents are connected and the robber appears to be targeting young women in the area.

The robber was described as a young adult male and believed to be Scottish.

The first incident occurred on Sunday October 7th at 2am where two females, aged 22 and 20, were threatened by the robber.

The robber stole the 22-year-old’s mobile and made his getaway on a bicycle.

And later that day at around 8pm, the robber made a second attack where he threatened a 23-year-old woman and stole another phone from the victim near the Meadow’s tennis courts.

The suspect was described as wearing a hoodie but described as grey in the first incident and then black in the second. However, he was known to be wearing a balaclava in both cases.

Detective Inspector Bruce Coutts said: “These were shocking incidents which we’re currently treating as linked and, as part of our ongoing enquiries, we’re urging anyone with information which may be able to help to get in touch.

“Other people were in the park at these times and are likely to have seen the suspect. We’d urge these people, or anyone who may recognise the suspect’s description, to come forward as soon as possible.

“I want to reassure the public that there will be an increase in high visibility police patrols in the area and would urge anyone who see’s suspicious behaviour to speak to an officer or call 101, always dialling 999 if you see a crime ongoing or if you believe a suspect is in the vicinity.”

EN4 News spoke with locals in Edinburgh to find out how safe they feel in the Meadows.

Radio Bulletin @ 4pm

Saskia Williams presents today’s news with this weeks bulletin.

Edinburgh Council appeal for people power to help their Tourist Tax Cuts Scheme. Source: Edinburgh Evening News

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