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Friday, 17 August 2012

Acheson House Big Dig in August and September

 Acheson House Courtyard COmmunity Garden needs your help

Acheson House Courtyard Community is garden is a Bakehouse Close, 140 Canongate (Edinburgh Royal Mile).  Click here to see a map

It is Door Open Day on 22nd 

September, which is only 5 weeks 

away - in the meantime we have 

loads of work to do.

We need to finish the garden for 

Edinburgh Door Opens Day - putting 

down gravel, finishing shed, 

weeding, putting net up over the 

brassicas and more planting. Also

 we want to finish the herb hill :-)

Can you come even for one 


The dates are 

Saturday 18th August 1 -4

Sunday 26th August 2 - 4

Monday 27th August 3 - 5

Sunday 2nd September 1- 3

We will confirm dates for September in a couple of weeks, obviously gardening is weather 

permitting - please feel free to text to double check that gardening is on if it is a rainy day. 

Please come along we need all the help from young and old.

Bring gloves and a wee trowel (if you have any).  If you are concerned about the weather text Catriona on 07717 204426

Catriona Grant

07717 204426

Friday, 13 July 2012

Fashion Mash, Serenity Cafe, Canongate, 14th July 2012

Reuse, reduce, recycle your clothes, shoes, handbags and accessesories at the Serenity Cafe, 8 Jackson's Entry, Canongate.  It's a bit like a jumble sale meets Car Boot Sale.  There is a £2 entry,  From 10 am to 4 pm.  Come if you can.

Find it here

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Summer gardening at Acheson House Courtyard

Gardening at Acheson House Courtyard, Bakehouse Close, Canongate

 Gooseberries at Acheson Garden Courtyard

Our first apple in the garden

We will be gardening with Chris from Brigend Community Alotments on 29th July 2012 from 12 to 4.

There will be gardening at Acheson House and Canongate Kirk on 

Monday 9th July 15:00 to 17:00
Monday 16th July 15:00 to 17:00
Monday 22nd July 15:00 to 17:00

Thursday 12th July 17:30 to 19:30
Thursday 19th July 17:30 to 19:30
Thursday 26th July 17:30 to 19:30

Of course given the awful weather this summer, the above is weather permitting.  

Please email if you are coming or thinking about coming so you can be added to the contact list, just in case times or dates change.

You can also join our facebook group on

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wild Flower Planting at Granny's Green Saturday 2nd June

Wild Flower Planting at Granny's Green on Saturday, 2nd June from 12 to 4.  Everyone is welcome

Granny's Green is coming on, there have been hundreds of herbs planted, the turf down and now we need to plant the wild flowers.  We will be putting in wild flower plugs rather than just seeds.  Everyone is welcome.

Granny's Green at Grassmarket (westside on King's Stable Road)

Find Granny's Green on google maps here

Bring a picnic, bring the kids and join in the wild flower planting.  Bring Granny's Green alive with colour.  If it is raining bring waterproof clothing!!!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

A celebration of active Fatherhood at The Storytelling Centre - Saturday 16th June

A celebration of active Fatherhood at The Storytelling Centre

Storytelling, fun activities, music and a chance for dads to meet

Saturday 16th June (the day before Father's Day)

starts 11am till 4pm

at The Scottish Storytelling CentreRoyal Mile, Edinburgh

open to all dads and their children

And it's all free!!!

Find the programme for the Storytelling Centre here

Monday, 30 April 2012

Supermarket knocked back due to public health and order concerns

On 23rd April Catriona Grant (Old Town resident) was invited along to the Licencing Committee after putting into an objection in about another supermarket express opening in the Old Town, there are >2.5 miles of alcohol on sales in the Old Town.  Much to her surprise the Licencing Committee agreed with her after hearing damning evidence from the NHS about the rates of hospital admissions from the City Centre are due to alcohol use.  Read the article here

Article in the Evening News

SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s and two independent retailers have been hit with a booze ban after health chiefs were able to make official objections for the first time.
NHS Lothian specialists warned Edinburgh Licensing Board that granting the licence for the supermarket – being planned as part of the redevelopment of the Cowgate fire site – went against attempts to protect public health.
Two other independent retailers also saw their applications to sell alcohol refused for the same reason.
Sainsbury’s has been forced to halt plans to open the Local store at 80 South Bridge and is likely to launch an appeal which will be seen as a test case for the new policy.
Health boards have recently been handed the same powers as police to object to new licences but this is the first evidence of them being used, representing a huge shift in licensing policy. Edinburgh brought in strict guidelines on overprovision in February, which in itself equates to a near blanket ban on new licences.
In the objections to the Sainsbury’s application, NHS Lothian produced a report which showed the Old Town already had among the highest number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in the city.
Today the Scottish Government welcomed the stricter approach, while Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said the move “advanced the public good” and paved the way for a tough new approach.
Councillor Cammy Day, a member of the board, said: “Until now the only evidence we’ve been given when considering applications is related to crime and disorder.
“Now we’re getting hard evidence from NHS Lothian professionals on life expectancy and alcohol admissions to hospital. This reflects how alcohol has become one of the biggest social issues Scotland faces – and we need to do something about that.”
The city centre currently has 2.5 miles of shelves of alcohol. It also has 20 licences per 10,000 residents, which is double the city average and does not include tourist stores.
Global News, also on South Bridge, was refused a licence for the same seasons, while a new convenience store on Dalry Road was turned down for being in an area which scores highly in hospital admissions and police crime reports.
The Evening News has already reported how some retailers have managed to argue against the licensing board’s strict new approach. Tesco suggested that upmarket Roseburn was so far removed from areas of deprivation that another licence should be allowed, while Adam Pietrzak, who runs a Polish deli, managed to secure a licence on the condition that he only sold imported alcohol from his own country.
Another board member, Eric Barry, said they had been too lenient on applicants in recent years. He added: “I was very disappointed when Sainsbury’s at Longstone came to us asking for 600 metres of alcohol display – a huge amount – then after they came back again they asked for 300 metres.
“Cheap alcohol is the source of the cheap drinking problem we have in Edinburgh and Scotland. Now the board is waking up to health implications that licensed premises represent.”
Prior to the decision on Sainsbury’s, police also supplied evidence to the board which showed there had been 85 crimes within a 50m radius of the proposed store between last month and the previous March, including 32 assaults.
Officers said almost all occurred at night or in the early hours of the morning and suggested most were linked to excessive drinking.
Catriona Grant, who lives in the Cowgate (sic, its the Canongate) and submitted a public objection to the board, said she and other residents are deeply concerned about availability of alcohol in the area.
She wrote: “There are currently issues with street drinking, stag and hen nights blighting the area – another supermarket selling cheap alcohol is not conducive to public safety and public health.”
Having health experts consult with decision makers gives licensing boards a stronger stance against major operators.
Two years ago the Glasgow Licensing Board refused a number of major supermarkets permission to expand alcohol display areas on the grounds it could be detrimental to the wellbeing of the city.
However, they had to make a U-turn when threatened with potential legal action, which would have claimed that councillors did not have enough guidance to refuse the bids on health grounds.
Jim Sherval, specialist in public health at NHS Lothian, who now advises the Edinburgh board, produced a report highlighting the different levels of hospital admissions due to alcohol across the Capital in response to the new applications.
He said: “We welcome the opportunity to use local health information, such as alcohol-related hospital admissions, to assist the licensing board to fulfil their role to protect and promote public health.
“NHS Lothian has been working closely with the licensing board to better understand the link between licensing patterns and the effects of alcohol on the population of Edinburgh.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “It is essential that our licensing process works in the best interests of protecting and improving public health.
“We recognise there is a role for health boards in that process, which is why we amended the Alcohol Act to give them a clearer statutory role. We welcome their engagement with licensing boards.”
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “Sainsbury’s is disappointed with the licensing refusal for the South Bridge store.
“Sainsbury’s takes its responsibilities as a licensed retailer seriously and it is important to remember the vast majority of our customers buy alcohol as part of a shop to consume responsibly in their home.
“The South Bridge store would be a major investment for Edinburgh and would regenerate this site. We are currently reviewing options before deciding our next steps.”

Evelyn Gillan, Cheif Executive Officer, Alcohol Focus Scotland

Not so long ago licensing boards were mostly concerned with what went on in pubs and clubs because that’s where most of us did our drinking.
But because the way we drink has changed, they have had to rethink, particularly as they are now required by law to protect the health of the people they serve.
The shift towards home drinking has been driven by cheap prices and easy availability of alcohol. In the past there were strict limits on where and when you could buy alcohol. In 1960 we drank just over five litres of alcohol per person annually and had one of the lowest alcohol death rates in Western Europe. Today, we drink nearly 12 litres of alcohol and have one of the highest death rates.
Edinburgh Licensing Board received sound advice from NHS Lothian about the links between harm and availability. They are right to take a decision that will advance the public good. We will see more decisions like this as regulators and public bodies face up to their responsibility to protect the public from alcohol harm.
Dr Evelyn Gillan
CHIEF Executive
Alcohol Focus Scotland
LICENSING applications for premises with on-sales or off-sales go before boards run by each local authority for approval.
In Edinburgh ten councillors, led by licensing leader Marjorie Thomas, hear bids from owners or lawyers who argue their case.
The elected members take advice from police inspector Gordon Hunter, council licensing manager Martin Rich, building standards group leader Muir Somerville, and now NHS Lothian public health expert Jim Sherval, who is well respected for his work in the fields of drugs and alcohol. They then vote to decide whether or not an application should be approved.
Alcohol admissions per 10,000 people
Greendykes & Niddrie Mains: 215.32
Niddrie: 201.28
Restalrig & Lochend: 195.96
Muirhouse: 183.35
Southside/ Canongate: 169.90
Old Town and Leith Street: 168.71
Marchmont West: 44.73
Cramond: 43.61
Craiglockhart: 42.67
Bonaly/ Pentlands: 41.51
Grange: 40.18
Murrayfield & Ravelston: 33.02

Monday, 23 April 2012

Granny's Green Herb Planting on Wednesday 25th April

Herb Planters on Saturday at Granny's Green

More herb planting on Wednesday 25th April from 13:30

Literally hundreds and hundreds of medicinal and culinary herbs were planted on Saturday 21st April at Granny's Green.  Whilst it was short notice that the herbs were to be planted Patrick Geddes Gardeners for the Patrick Geddes Gardening Club turned up and local residents and passers by joined in with council workers from the Parks Department.  

Jocelyn Lockhart from Grassmarket Community Project (who chose and designed the lay of out of the herbs), Fiona Rankin from Edinburgh World Heritage Trust (the Trust has been instrumental in the work at Granny's Green), Sam and Bella. 

However that is not the work done by a long shot, so if you are free on Wednesday, 25th April please come along and join in and bring Granny's Green back to life.

If you would like to come along please email to let us know (just to get an idea of the numbers).

Friday, 20 April 2012

Getting herby in Granny's Green

Granny's Green before the herb beds were put in (herb beds are left of the railing).

Herb Planting at Granny's Green on Saturday, 21st April from 12 noon and Saturday, 25th April from 13.30.  All welcome to join in

The herbs for Granny's Green have finally arrived.  The Parks Department of the City Centre Neighborhood will be planting the herbs on Saturday 21st April from 12 noon onwards (probably until about 16:00).

There will be more opportunity to plant on Wednesday 25th April 2012 from 13.30.

It has taken a long time to turn Granny's Green into a garden.  With support from the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Grassmarket Community Project and  City Centre Neighbourhood the stone steps and wall have been repaired and whole new beds have been designed and created to turn into a herbal garden, there will be over 1000 plants being planted.

Grassmarket Community Project grows medicinal herbs in Greyfriars Kirk

It is hoped that the community will be involved to developing and maintaining the garden, though there are still agreements to be made about this.

Herb beds at Princes Street Gardens (East End) next to the Galleries (read a wee blog bit here about the Gallery Cafe's herbs)

Just come along on Saturday, 21st after 12 noon if you fancy getting your hands dirty and if you would like to help on Wednesday 25th April from 13.30 contact (however if you are passing and fancy getting your hands dirty you would be welcome to join in).

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Fourth BIG DIG 19th February 2012 11 am to 2 pm, Acheson House Courtyard

Geddes Gardeners at the BIG DIG on Wednesday, 15th February 201`2

We have a fourth BIG DIG at Acheson House Courtyard on

 Sunday, 19th February from 11 am to 2 pm. 

We hope to finish the raspberry and gooseberry bushes and the 

pointing there and the pond - we are lining it with clay ( a very messy, but lots of fun, job). 

We also have to prepare some the herb beds.

As you can see from the photos below, gardeners of all ages are welcome.

Also the Herb Afternoon is on Saturday, 18th February from 14:00 to 16:00 at Vocal on 

Johnsons Terrace,north of the Castle.

Hope to see you all soon

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Spring Clean in the Royal Mile 6-8 March 2012

Scotland’s most historic street – the Royal Mile – is to be given a fresh look in time for Spring to improve the look and feel of the area for residents and visitors alike.

The move follows a workshop organised by the City of Edinburgh Council to debate the future of the street, which has a world-wide reputation for its history, architecture and culture. 

Around 100 residents and local businesses and other stakeholders met to agree an action plan to improve the area and a 'spring clean' was one of the actions at the top of the list.

The Council's City Centre and Leith Neighbourhood team are facilitating the event which will run from March 6-8. The team will work with local representatives, including residents and businesses, to identify a programme of work.
Local residents, businesses and other stakeholders are being asked to join in with the work on the Royal Mile from Castle Hill to the Scottish Parliament including some sections of the closes.

The work will focus on making the street 'feel better' to walk in and around, including painting utility boxes and litter bins etc, removing graffiti and weeds and repairs to other property. Volunteers will be encouraged to assist with with some elements of the clean up.

This is also an opportunity for businesses to help add to the impact of the clean up by tidying up their shop fronts where they can.

Cllr Tom Buchanan, Convener of the Economic Development Committee, said: "The project aims to improve the quality of the street in this World Heritage site. We aim to involve as many local residents, businesses and other stakeholders as we can to ensure that the Royal Mile remains a must see destination, and a positive experience for visitors coming to Scotland.  It must also meet the needs of residents who use it every day. This is not just a short-term examination of the street - it will be an ongoing project, with long-term actions."

Other short-term actions from the workshop include appointing a Royal Mile Manager to take the action plan forward for the area.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Ponds and Gooseberries - Big Dig Day Wednesday 15th February 2012

Its the 3rd BIG PLANT day at Acheson House Courtyard

Wednesday, 15th February 2011 from 13:00 to 16:00

at the previous BIG DIG days we have planted fruit trees, about 30 blaeberry bushes and currants.  This BIG DIG we hope to start on our pond and get the raspberries and gooseberries in.


We have lavender and rosemary to plant too.

We are also putting in a small pond/water feature In the middle of the garden.

  So come along and get some fresh air.   If you have gardening gloves bring them along but if not we usually have spare ones.

We will have tea and coffee but feel free to bring biscuits or cakes

Acheson House Courtyard is down Bakehouse Close off Canongate, next to Museum of Edinburgh, opposite Canongate Kirk - see the map here 

Acheson House Courtyard is down the wee close next to the bus stop 

If you want to find out more about the gardening club please email

There are many gardening days coming up (weather permitting)

Please dress warmly and have footwear that is suitable for dirt and digging.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Patrick Geddes Gardening Club Herb Afternoon

Saturday, 18th February 2012
14:00 to 16:00
Vocal, Johnstone's Terrace, opposite the castle.

Julia Cook, Herbalist

I hope you can come to our Herb Afternoon, next Saturday  at Vocal, Johnstone Terrace (opposite Edinburgh Castle), find it on the map here.

Julia Cook will be talking about healing herbs and will take us to Johnstone Terrace Wildlife Garden  owned by the Scottish Wildlife Trust to look for edible and digestive herbs (some just look like weeds and are often treated as weeds).

We also will be finding out out the herbs we will be planting at Granny's Green on 18th March and the herbs to be planted at Acheson House and Canongate Kirk.

The afternoon is sponsored by Comic Relief Scottish Community Foundation and the Co-operative Membership Community Fund therefor is free (though donations to the Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust will be welcome)

Everyone is welcome, if you plan to come please email so we can get an idea of numbers

Please feel free to pass on invitations to this event