Community Fund – Liberton Primary School Association

The Christmas Fair was a great success – well attended and a very warm and festive atmosphere. We raised over £1500, which will go towards our school library (Liberton Primary School does not currently have a lending library, and the parents’ association are in the process of setting one up), outdoor lighting and sports kit. In addition to this, the two P6 classes also ran their own stalls to fundraise for their P7 camp at Benmore next year. And, in lieu of an admission cost this year, we collected donations amounting to £400 for the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre – University of Nottingham, which is the charity nominated by the family of a dearly-loved P7 pupil who very sadly passed away last month. His memory was very much at the heart of our Christmas Fair this year.

We always try to run a very low-cost, inclusive fair so that all the Liberton Primary families can participate and enjoy it. It means our profits tend to be relatively low compared to some schools, but we’re very proud of the warmth and community spirit of our primary school, and donations like yours really do make a huge difference. Thank you so much, again, for the Vegware cups.

Community Fund – Be Enriched – November update

As rainy days turned into colder days, the sun has been out less and less and the need for our project has increased.

Latest research says there are over 14 million people living in food insecurity with the majority of them being children and the elderly. Our experience and research shows that in reality many of them are missing days without food, as living in a food desert, unable to travel to purchase food and having no funds to by food.

A lot of this is caused by age and delays in benefits compounded by a lack of food knowledge, fuel and in some cases cookers.  So we are pleased to be able to offer at least a small portion of them a meal and show them with the skills to provide for themselves. We’ve been using the Vegware pots over the last few months for soups which people can freeze and defrost at their leisure, ensuring they have a healthy emergency meal.

Community Fund – Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association – November update

This month our main protagonists, Stewart and Robert, led by Janie from the Woodlands Community Gardens braved the ever decreasing temperatures to plant bulbs in our garden which we hope will bloom in the Spring. Activity in the garden has slowed due to the decline in the weather but a few hardy souls can regularly be found enjoying the sheltered areas throughout the day.

Community Fund – COCA – November update

After August’s hectic work schedule of Harvest Party prep as well as the growing/ harvesting, and the ever-changing company of international Woofers, EVS and UNA volunteers, September starts the wind down to the quiet of winter. The autumn days were mostly mild and sunny, so that crops kept on growing really well, especially in the shelter-belt areas. But gradually nights got cooler, days less warm …… and now we know winter is really with us! The farm is quiet, the fields are bleak and wet, but the light, the Pembrokeshire coastal light, can be amazing and sunny days glorious. Today, before the hail storms, the sea was jade green, the sky deep plum purple, the cliff slopes ginger with bracken, slashed with lime green where a grassy path wended through. Lovely to look at, but we were glad it wasn’t a harvest day … it was bitter cold.

COCA’s seventh growing season has definitely been its most productive, and the shares of veggies to our members almost too big each week for folk to cope with. At one stage in late September we were harvesting 15 different crops, from “summer” tomatoes and French beans to “winter” leeks, beetroot, and kohl rabi. The reason for the success? a good season weatherwise, excellent dedication and ability from our two long-term EVS volunteers, new equipment for weeding and irrigation, and inputs of lime and manure and green manure crops following professional soil testing and advice. Plus of course increasing knowledge and confidence by the growing team lead by Caz Miles.

The polytunnel crops of beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs gradually dwindled, and late September and early October saw the “turn over” as the old stuff was cleared and the space planted out with greens for the winter. Now the Oriental Greens are being harvested weekly, following on from the very last of the field-grown lettuce that had thrived in the mild autumn. We dont lack our dark green leafy vegetables here! Out in the field root crops dominate the scene, and carrots in particular have been superb this year, grown on ridges for easier weeding… although the volunteer gangs spent many hours hand weeding as well back in July, and it made a difference.

Dave, Brenda, Paul and the dog picking the Chard … again.

The regular Friday team of harvesters come and pick veg for everyone and weigh and share out the crops around the boxes. Now all the live-in international vols have gone, these are the local folk that COCA relies on, week in, week out.

Community Fund – Broomhouse Health Strategy – November update

We are now in our Winter programme and nearing the end of this term.

Active Groups; Ongoing with our regular sessions of Chair Exercise, Adult Walking Group, Women’s Dance Aerobics and our regular Buggy Gym twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Baby’s First Foods (Weaning Group) is completed for 2017 and DUO will continue until December 11th. All these groups will be back in action again early in 2018.

This term has offered ‘Mindfulness’ at Whinpark Medical Centre and has run for 6 weeks and is now complete, we will continue with our next new Mindfulness Session with GP /Self Referrals starting up again in the New Year at Sighthill Health Centre. We have also had more Adult Cooking sessions , which incluce chatting about health and wellbeing and food choices, a recent group enjoyed making some tasty wraps.

In the shop; Our staff and Volunteers have enjoyed the visits from the local nursery and primary school children who came along to the shop once a week and have a taster of our smoothies and buy some soup and fruit bags.  We are continuing our outreach with the local community at the Baby Clinics and other educational opportunities in the neighbourhood.

We are offering our lovely fruit plates for sale as Christmas Gifts, you can choose or order the kind of fruit you would like at a price that suits you, they are very pretty, good value and healthy too! And we have a new idea with ‘cookie dough with a cookie cutter’ a gift to give that makes nice celebration biscuits with a recipe and everything you need to make them.

The shop is open for business as usual and is a friendly hub for a chat in the middle of the neighbourhood. We will be taking our Christmas orders now for lots of lovely fruit and vegetables for the Christmas Dinner.  We do take a break for a couple of weeks to ensure the volunteers and staff get a well-earned break. We shall open up again on the 8th January.

Community Fund – Scottish Beekeepers’ Association – November update

Even though our honeybees are in hibernation we’ve been out and about this month, across Scotland chatting to lots of folks about honeybees, their importance and what we can do to help them. We’d great delight in chatting to pupils from Tarradale Primary School in Muir of Ord and they were buzzing afterwards.

After speaking to hobby beekeepers at Nairn Beekeeping Association we ventured south to spend 2 days in Dumfries as part of RHET Food and Farming events. Over 300 pupils from 6 local secondary schools discovered out all there is to know about honeybees and beekeeping, and were delighted to sample a variety of delicious honeys. We were overwhelmed by the commitment and support of pupils from Annan Academy’s Bee Club, who did a fantastic job introducing everyone to the wonderful honeybee hive!

A few of our beekeeping members were honoured to be asked by Kelso Academy to provide some expert advice to groups of pupils at their ‘I Wonder’ Bee day.  A variety of ‘I wonder how’ bee questions were posed, and the experts assisted the teams in exploring the answers and creating some wonderful videos to present them. And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the beekeepers themselves learnt some new things, like how to wire and programme a Raspberry pi.

Kelso High School ‘I Wonder’ Bee Day

Even though December is a shorter month, we’ve still got a packed programme of visits to look forward too!

Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – October update

During October Scottish Waterways Trust‘s Canal Shed in Polwarth packed a lot in! First a planning meeting for our next block of 10 weeks leading up to Christmas… One idea was #upcycling old items of furniture using scraps of wrapping paper, cuttings, etc. (see photo!) Then Alex and Ashley carried on with the “pasta picture”, Rob and Averill did some monumental leaf collecting in the garden, while the rest of us turned our attention to a huge bag of of apples donated by Christine from Polwarth Parish Church. This gift was timely, as very wet weather looked set to wash out our planned berry-picking trip along the canal for cordial making. Still sticking with the autumn harvest theme, however, we peeled, cored and chopped our way to some delicious spiced apple compote which we ate with pancakes – and potted some up to take home.

Or/And come and join us at Canal Shed any Wednesday morning 10.00-13.00 for a variety of #sociable activities, tea and blethers on the #canalside, in local #greenspaces or indoors. Canal Shed welcomes everyone aged 18 or over….

Community Fund – 7 Fundación Fauna de la Amazonía – October update

Welcome, again, to the latest from warm, wet and very humid, Colonia 24 de Mayo – here in the Pastaza region of Ecuador.

Sadly we bade farewell to Geni and Graham this month – however, the very good news is that they are in training for the Edinburgh Charity (Half) Marathon to be run next May (2018). They are planning to raise funds on behalf of ourselves, Fundación Fauna de la Amazonía, and so watch this space for the opportunity to sponsor them. We will pass on details as soon as we have them, for this. Every penny, cent, euro, etc raised for us is put to good use, so please keep this in mind if you are ever thinking of undertaking any sponsored activity, or indeed if you would like to raise funds for us in any other way.

Seen on or very close to, the land this month were:

A Royal Ground Snake (Liophis reginae);

A N Other Ground Snake (unidentified);

A Fitch’s Anole (Anolus fitchi) (Lizard species);

A Coppery-Chested Jacamar (Galbula pastazae) This bird is listed as a ‘threatened species by the International Unit for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is rarely seen;

An unidentified tree frog species.

These were seen amongst the usual wide array of other animal and plant life to be found in the area, which we are helping to protect and are encouraging/assisting the re-growth of native plants to provide food and shelter for such-like species.

This month, one of our neighbours reported seeing a large group of somewhere between twenty and forty Woolly Monkeys (Lagothrix lagothricha) on the edge of the forest not too far along the road from our land. This size of group used to be a relatively common sight here – however, they, like many other endemic species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and hunting. One or two individuals have been seen on the forest edge on our land in the past; it is great to hear that sizeable groups still exist. Indigenous communities have the right to hunt such animals for food, and in doing so often kill mothers with young  – which then, sadly become community pets, and, or, are sold on the ‘black market’ similarly, as pets.

The oil companies are still assessing the area for the ‘trial’ oil well (which, of course will do nothing for the protection of the area!). However, at the moment no seriously heavy engineering works have started, although some ground clearance has begun.

On the land, general maintenance has continued and some paths have been reclaimed from the forest’s self-sustaining prolific regrowth!

And, thanks to Pete and Andreas for the photos this month!