Many hands make the Burns Banner

Give me an ‘n’, give me a ‘y’, give me another ‘n’…  Ok, this is going to take too long. Add up all the letters produced by community groups all round Scotland and it spells two verses of the Burns poem A Man’s a Man for A’ That which will be unfurled as a banner during Edinburgh International Festival at 11 am on 6 August.  And at least two of the letters were created by the Leith group Swietlica.


Ola Kasprzak at the Swietlica art workshop

Continue reading “Many hands make the Burns Banner”

Music without frontiers

It is not easy for world musicians to enter Britain. So Scotland is lucky to be hearing the remarkable music of the Sufi band that survived the Taliban – and overcame obstacles to getting a visa. And we are luckier still to get the chance to hear them on our own doorstep.  Thanks to Swietlica, the Ahmad Sham Sufi Qawali Group will take a detour to play at Fort Community Centre on Monday 25 May at 6.30 pm.  It’s free but money raised from home-baking and books will go to help victims of war in Afghanistan. Continue reading “Music without frontiers”

The shape of things to come


Callum McLeod (on the left) tries his luck at Polish St Andrews night.

What does the future hold? Who will I marry? Will I be rich? No-one really claimed to know the answers but people of all ages had a lot of fun looking to the future through old traditions at a Polish celebration of St Andrews night in Fort Community Centre. Why not try some yourself… Continue reading “The shape of things to come”

A warm welcome in the community centre

At 5pm on Monday night it’s already dark outside but inside the community centre it is warm and welcoming. There are cups of tea and plates loaded with cakes. Children play, mothers chat. Conversations alternate between two languages and I soon discover that while some people come here to improve their English others drop in to brush up their Polish. Continue reading “A warm welcome in the community centre”

Breaking bread and making new friends

‘This is the best ice-breaker I have ever seen.’

On a fairly bleak January morning it’s cheering to take a quick look back to a heartwarming December night when for a few hours Craighall Community Centre in Leith gave a glimpse of a Polish family Christmas with the traditional Wigilia (night before Christmas) celebration. Including a 12 course meal and a visit from St Nicholas!


Breaking bread: oplatek, the traditional highlight of the Polish Christmas celebration, has friends and strangers exchanging good wishes for the coming year. Continue reading “Breaking bread and making new friends”