How do we build a Wall of Success?

What do we need to build a Wall of Success?  That’s our challenge this week with the clock ticking for The Gathering on Saturday.  As we start planning, something intriguing emerges from the stories in front of us.


If we were building a real wall we would find most – maybe all – of the essentials right here. From tools, to trades and creative ideas, there’s a wealth of talent in the community enterprises hard at work in our area.

We might start with a visit to Edinburgh Tool Library  – that’s them in the old Leith Walk Police Box at Croall Place on Saturday mornings. The library is the first of its kind in the UK and was set up to promote the sharing of expensive DIY and gardening equipment as a way of reducing our impact on the environment, and saving money. And there’s more to come.

We want to provide opportunities for young unemployed people who are interested in working in the trades industry. Edinburgh Tool Library

For hands-on help we could go to Leith Time Bank. Supported by Pilmeny Development Project, the time bank is a brilliantly simple scheme which matches skills and needs in the local community. It’s helping to reduce isolation among older people living alone and adding to a sense of community in the area.   Everyone has something to give and gain.

Putting pieces together is what we hope to do with our Wall of Success for The Gathering, a new Side by Side community development at Norton Park on Saturday.

Kat Gollock in front of Dalmeny Street mural
Kat Gollock, colouring street life in Leith: thanks to LeithLate mural project

Our wall is just a virtual display – words and pictures on big red boards – but the successes are real and inspiring.  And we’re  delighted that many of the groups will also be taking part in our workshop discussions sharing knowledge and experience.  (See Side by Side Facebook Page for more).  

Crafting a community manifesto

Each successful story is unique but individually and together community projects are making a difference to people of all ages across our area.  From childcare to care of the elderly, from growing crops to colouring street life – many of the best ideas seem deceptively simple but that doesn’t disguise the hard work and determination it takes to get projects off the ground.  They all have ambitions to do much more and lack of funding is probably the biggest barrier to development.

We want to develop local plans with people whose voices are not always heard: Inspiring Leith 

After the keynote speech by Josh Littlejohn of Social Bite (see our last blogpost, he knows all about hard work and determination!) there will be a brief panel discussion with local experts adding insight.  Then on to community participation as workshops explore our four key issues. housing, environment and care of the young and elderly.

Ideas emerging from these workshops will contribute to a community manifesto for our neighbourhood in time for the local authority elections in May 2017.

We will work together to overcome social isolation and lack of funding Pilmeny Development Project

It’s an ambitious project but very much of its time (Upside Down hustings are taking place elsewhere in the constituency). Side by Side has grown from two Open Space community discussion events hosted by Councillor Lesley Hinds in December 2015 and April 2016.  This third event (sponsored by Edinburgh Northern and Leith Labour councillors) is also  a non-party-political community event open to all so we’re very pleased that Ben Macpherson, our SNP MSP elected in May 2016 is able to join us.   

A community manifesto can help to influence policy in both the city chambers and Holyrood – whoever is elected to Edinburgh City Council in May 2017. Working side by side we can share success, inspire and support new community collaboration.  Look forward to seeing you there – be sure to book your place on Eventbrite

Now, we better get back to building that wall.

Using the new (recycled) bench at Edinburgh Tool Library
Hands on – a prized workbench at Edinburgh Tool Library

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