Housing and care services are in crisis. Can local community co-operatives help to meet local needs?

These are questions for a radical new community project in Edinburgh Northern and Leith. Side by Side aims to explore how we can learn from each other and work together to create positive practical change in our local neighbourhood. 

Housing, environment and care of the young and elderly were the top concerns to emerge from two community Open Space events in the last 12 months.  The first event identified the needs; the second came up with bold ideas to fill gaps in local services -; including housing and childcare co-operatives 

 Now Side by Side, aims to take the next step with The Gathering, at Norton Park Conference Centre on Saturday 3 December.  And this time the event will start by celebrating the successes and achievements of local groups who are already changing lives.     

 ‘Through our events we discovered fantastic creative enterprises in Edinburgh Northern and Leith,’ says Fay Young, one of the organisers, ‘But not everyone knows about them. We hope to learn from each other to build on what is here already and generate new ideas to enhance quality of life in our area.’  

Keynote speaker, Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, will set the tone of an event which seeks to ‘share best practice and build on local achievements’. A panel of experts from Pilton Community Health Project, Port of Leith Housing Association, Shrub Swap and Reuse Hub and North Edinburgh Childcare will also provide first hand accounts of successful community enterprises and projects. Janine Matheson from Creative Scotland will be a panellist and will talk about the valuable contribution to city lives creative individuals and businesses make.

 Workshop discussions and outcomes will be led and decided by the audience and facilitated by Judith Chivers. Proposals put forward by The Gathering will contribute to a community manifesto for our neighbourhood in time for the local authority elections in May 2017. 

 Side by Side has grown from two Open Space community discussion events hosted by Councillor Lesley Hinds, in December 2015 and April 2016.  Local organisations and residents were invited to explore how we might make use of new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament to improve life in our part of Edinburgh.   

 Councillor Hinds who is standing down after 33 years on City of Edinburgh Council said ‘I promised to turn words into action and that is what The Gathering aims to do. My colleagues will ensure this is taken forward”.

 Side by Side is a community project open to all. The Gathering will be introduced and hosted by Labour Councillors for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, and is supported by Leith Open Space, an intercultural community discussion group formed in 2005.

 Edinburgh based Selah Corbin, a cinematic songwriter and multi-instrumentalistwhose work has been likened to “paintings that come alive” will provide the music and a light lunch of delicious food from Punjabi Junction will be served.

 To take part, book now on   Eventbrite  

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