The Welcoming returns

A heartwarming glimpse of multicultural Edinburgh

There is a sound people make when they are pleased to be with one another.  Stan Reeves called it “the difference between false gregariousness and authentic comradeship” and this tiny clip of film gives you an idea of what that sounds like.  As you can hear, there was plenty of authentic comradeship when The Welcoming celebrated the confirmation of new funding which  secures a new programme of events starting in January 2010.

It’s been a long hard year of uncertainty for the community project which  now has financial security until March 2011 and The Welcoming team obviously intend to make the most of it.  In an upstairs room at  St Cuthberts Church, there is a heartwarming glimpse of multicultural Edinburgh in action as students and tutors and friends of The Welcoming gather for lunch with music, home made soup and several different kinds of Christmas cake.

It seems to sum up exactly why The Welcoming began seven years ago literally as a place to welcome newcomers to the city.  As Stan Reeves put it, in a short but pithy speech, “The Adult Learning Project (ALP), saw the way society was going, we were definitely moving towards a multicultural Scotland. We decided adult education should take that on board.”

Since then The Welcoming, under the ALP umbrella, has developed a creative programme teaching English and exploring the legal and social intricacies of  the Scottish way of life. Weekly classes and workshops include art, music, drama, film but perhaps the most important aspect of these  multicultural meetings is providing an opportunity for people to share ideas and food as they learn from one another.

“I love this work,” Stan Reeves said in the interval between lunch and music (he had put away his accordion for the time being), “The people who come to us are on a journey, they have left their old lives behind, they throw themselves wholeheartedly into whatever we offer.”

The journey continues in January when The Welcoming begins a new programme (see the ALP and Welcoming website for details). Many of the projects are very much in line with the aims of Leith Open Space (especially Opening Doors and World Kitchen ) so we hope to drop in on the Welcoming to share more ideas in the new year.

This would be a great place to start!

Democracy and Active Citizenship

These days we are all being encouraged to be ‘active citizens’, but what does this really mean? For some, It’s about volunteering – helping at local playgroups, organising jumble sales, for others the emphasis is more on campaigning on specific issues through lobbying councillors and parliament, etc, or does it simply mean turning out to vote when required?

Monday evening 7.15-9.15pm. For more details contact Colin or Stan at ALP

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