We know you have not seen or heard from us in a while because of this dreaded Corona Virus, but that does not mean we have gone away! We wanted to remind you that although, because of the current COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to meet as a group or have folk into the office just now, but we are still here to support you whenever we can. Even if it is just a phone call to ask a question or report something or if you just want to have a chat, we are very pleased to help if we can. As soon as we are permitted, we will set up safe meetings/events to give us a chance to re-establish the groups again and have a catch up.
What have we been doing?
There were some things the Community Alliance Trust (CAT) and the Neighbourhood Alliance (NA) were able to do this year and we wanted to give you a quick update e.g.
- From April, the Neighbourhood Alliance (NA) came under the CAT umbrella so that it has become the community engagement arm of the Community Alliance Trust which means that the NA benefits from CAT’s charitable status which will hopefully allow us access to more funding.
- Throughout the lockdown until the end of July food parcels were distributed from the White House. We were working with the Bridgend Farm kitchen and Castlebrae Community High School to deliver a day’s food to up to 20 pupils every day. We even gave out easter eggs!
- Sadly, the White House Kitchen Café was forced to close, and the staff furloughed initially, then made redundant once we realised that it was impossible for us to re-open. We were so sorry that it had to close but we are hoping that we may find someone interested in running it as a business in the near future.
- We successfully secured over £63500 funding from the Scottish Government to assist with COVID-19 resilience in the community. It was shared with The Venchie, Sandy’s Community Centre, The Mission, Magdalene Community Centre, and CAT. It was used in a variety of ways from staff wages, food parcels and activity packs for children and even getting an outside meeting space for Magdalene.
- The Neighbourhood Alliance has still been able to offer support to individuals that have either called in to the White House or phoned. We were able to hold a couple of socially distanced meetings and carried out several walkabouts along with a Councillor to highlight issues raised in the community. You can phone 0131 652 6320 if you want to get in touch about any issues in your community.
- CAT/NA were able to distribute £10,000 in Lottery microgrants to local organisations that had applied for them prior to lock down. This was used for a wide range of activities across Portobello/Craigmillar.
- We have recently re-established the Citizens Advice Bureau sessions in the White House on Tuesdays and Wednesdays obviously socially distanced and safe. These sessions are quite busy so if you need to make an appointment give us a call on 0131 652 6320 and leave a message if we are not in and we will call you back.
- We have been discussing an outreach programme with Edinburgh University called IntoUniversity which may be based in the White House and we have also been in discussions with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra who are interested in working in the area.
- The Gardening Project has been able to continue pretty much unscathed because they can be outside and socially distanced. There were loads of produce this year with bumper crops of tomatoes onions, lettuce, and potatoes
- The Niddrie House Neighbourhood Association should be congratulated for setting up a gardening tools library which local people have made good use of and holding a very successful Santa’s Grotto with Mrs Claus and some Christmas Elves giving out presents in the play area in Niddrie House Square.
- CAT along with KITS has been running the all-weather football pitch at Castlebrae High School. This has been the second year and we are busier than ever. We are so pleased that local teams are benefitting from this service.