It Is Finished

Do you remember the warehouse we visited earlier in the year? It was given to a Leith charity to help with their work distributing food parcels, decorating local homes and providing support for vulnerable woman. The good news is after lots of work by volunteers to fix up the warehouse, The Destiny Angels Centre opened on Friday!

There was cake:

And proud volunteers:

It’s amazing to see how different it looks. We took a few pictures after the party. Here’s Judith and Hazel in the main lounge:judithhazel

This is the kitchen:kitchen

The food store is full:foodstoreHere are leaflets for some of the projects operating out of the centre:


Here’s Judith office:judithsoffice

And Hazel’s office:


If you missed our last blog post on the warehouse, you might enjoy the video tour with Judith – just after the warehouse was donated to Destiny Angels Edinburgh. Watch the video on Youtube here.

Read about Destiny Angels and the Warehouse on our blog here. Find Destiny Angels Edinburgh on twitter here

Blog of the Week: Edinburgh Cycle Chic


Our blog of the week is Edinburgh Cycle Chic.

Three reasons why we love it:

It’s celebrating normal people using bikes. Because we don’t have to wear lycra and cycling is a great way to get around.

It’s mysterious. Who’s that in the picture? Who takes the pictures? Which part of Edinburgh is in the background?

It’s visual and thought-provoking. You’ll find pictures with a title description and occasionally a comment. For example in this post ‘Red Jumper‘ (you guessed it, a cyclist wearing a red jumper) there’s an added comment:

Another single speed, who says Edinburgh is too hilly for cycling?

Or in this post, ‘Taking Shopping Home‘ there are photos of different cyclist with shopping bags dangling from their handle bars. It simply states:

In many places in Europe this sort of behaviour is considered normal…

Find the brilliant Edinburgh Cycle Chic blog here. Follow them on twitter @EdinCycleChic. Add your photos to the Edinburgh Cycle Chic group on Flickr here.

Blog of the Week

We’re looking for creative, quirky and brilliant blogs. Blogs that serve common interest communities and celebrate life in and around Edinburgh.  If you know of an Edinburgh blog that fits that description, email us at or tweet @EdinCG (and let us know why you love it in less than 140 characters).

Play-Doh Poet in Pilton

We’re delighted to bring you our first guest blog post, from poet Elspeth Murray

I am lucky to work sometimes as a poet in schools and other times with Puppet State Theatre Company. So I was delighted to be invited to work on a project that combines my love of poetry with one of the most fabulous puppetry productions EVER, War Horse.

So how do poetry and Play-Doh come together? Rather than involving rolling pins and nursery rhymes, this is about using cutting-edge technology to put war poetry at the fingertips of 10 and 11 year olds in some of the least privileged parts of Edinburgh.

War Horse came to Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre in February 2014 and among the many thousands who packed out the theatre for the sell-out run were twelve classes from four primary schools in Pilton and Muirhouse.

As well as the live performance, each of these mostly P6 and P7 classes also had the benefit of follow-up workshops from professional arts practitioners in song-making (Dave Boyd), movement (Skye Reynolds), shadow-puppetry (Arran Howie) – and poetry (me, Elspeth Murray).

My input came more or less at the end of the project. The magic of the story and the variety of activities that they had already done in response made my job a lot easier. I have rarely worked with young people who were so enthusiastic about a project.

I encouraged them to write concise descriptions of things they saw and heard in the story: the horses, the battlefields, the hospitals, the farm, and the seasons that passed as the tale of friendship, loss and survival played out. They then wove these descriptions into graphic images – shape poems or calligrammes as Guillaume Apollinaire, a French poet of the First World War, called them.


Joey and Topthorn as sun and moon

image2bFast galloper, tail swisher, pouncing machine

But where does the Play-Doh come into it? Hold your horses! first we have to record the words.

Turning a classroom into a recording studio to capture the pupils’ voices meant achieving pin-drop silence for spells of up to a minute. A pretty satisfying achievement! I used free Audacity software and my laptop’s built-in microphone and cued the kids by tapping their shoulder.

Image 3 Exact moment

Say it at the exact moment that she taps you!

What about the Play-Doh? There’s a glimpse of some here during the editing phase where different parts of the recording are attached to different keys in a programme called Soundplant.

Image 4 Curious-1

Lots to be curious about

The idea is that we can enjoy the poetic effect of listening back to a range of descriptive phrases in the same or a different order, played one at a time or layered on top of each other. In a ‘traditional’ hi-tech world, these sounds could be triggered by the computer keyboard but with a little gadget called a (drumroll please!) Makey Makey we can make soundscape poetry simply by touching – yes you guessed it – Play-Doh!

Image 5 Circuit

Becoming part of the circuit

I tried out this technique first at a War Horse family creative writing workshop at the Festival Theatre Studio and was delighted that it transferred to larger groups in schools.

Attaching wires to a small circuit board means that you can turn all manner of objects into switches to make things happen. Play-Doh is conductive but so are apples, carrots, blobs of mashed potato and … human beings. We experimented with circuits made of wires, Play-Doh, and one or more people in contact with each other.

Image 6 Collective

Sound poetry as a collective operation

It became a collective operation. Words that a pair of pupils had written together could be recorded by a different person – or people. Choosing the musical loop for the backing was done by the whole class. And then the remix where the phrases (usually five of them) are replayed would involve five people becoming part of the Play-Doh switches. Another couple of people might be joined, holding hands, and operating the ‘instrument’ by touching five hands held out by the Play-Doh touchers. So each piece might involve up to a dozen people. And then we would listen back so everyone could enjoy the finished piece.

Image 7 Forthview

Makey Making at Forthview Primary

The pieces are part of an exhibition of the Festival Theatre’s War Horse outreach Start project at North Edinburgh Arts until 3rd May 2014. They are also online here at Soundcloud. Some of the pieces are effectively reviews of the show, many evoke aspects of the farm or battlefield, of horses, life or death, while others are edited-down remixes of a longer poem I wrote about War Horse.

I’m not suggesting that getting children of this age to engage with poetry, to be silent or to even to hold hands is a doddle but both War Horse and the Makey Makey sure did help!

Thank You

Thanks to support from the Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts, the Festival Theatre’s Learning and Participation outreach programme was able to bring twelve classes from the upper primary years to see War Horse.

In preparation, the workshop facilitators saw War Horse at The Lowry in Salford and took part in some brilliant workshops with the National Theatre’s War Horse education team, galloping with broomstick legs and grazing with balloon heads.

Many thanks to Mel Whitehead, Learning Programme Manager, and Al Nedjari, War Horse puppeteer from the National Theatre and to Lewis Rose, Head of Sound for the War Horse tour for all their encouragement. And special thanks to Ashley Pilling for being intern-on-the-ball, to Aly Wight for the great photos and especially to Cerin Richardson, Learning and Participation Manager for Festival City Theatres Trust for letting me play!

Blog of the Week: All Edinburgh Theatre


Our blog of the week is All Edinburgh Theatre.

Three reasons why we love it:

Edinburgh has so much happening on stage – this blog brings together the latest news (and reviews) from both the amateur and professional scene. It’s regularly updated, with posts most days.

We love the handy column on the right with the coming week’s theatre listings.

There’s a brilliant weekly spoken word round-up from J A Sutherland.

Find the All Edinburgh Theatre blog here. Follow the man behind the blog, theatre critic Thom Dibdin on Twitter @thomdibdin.

Blog of the Week

We’re looking for creative, quirky and brilliant blogs. Blogs that serve common interest communities and celebrate life in and around Edinburgh.  If you know of an Edinburgh blog that fits that description, email us at or tweet @EdinCG (and let us know why you love it in less than 140 characters).

Pray for a Cupboard, get given a warehouse

Destiny Angels is a community helpline offering support to people in need in Edinburgh. They respond to the practical and emotional needs of people affected by poverty, mental and physical ill-health, difficult home circumstances and other life challenges.

The team were continually running out of space for food donations in the church building they operate out of, Destiny Leith. So Hazel started praying for a bigger cupboard. Imagine everyone’s surprise when they got given a warehouse! It’s just past the speed camera if you’re driving through Seafield.

speed cam

Here’s a closer look:


This is Judith Watson, she heads up the Destiny Angels team. She’s about to let us in to the newly acquired warehouse for a tour:


And here’s the video tour of the warehouse:

The warehouse was given to Destiny Angels by a local family who are supporters of the project.

More about Destiny Angels

Destiny Angels has been operating in Edinburgh since January 2008, and since then they have responded to over 2500 requests for support. Activities include:

  • Hardship Relief and Food Parcel Program
  • Practical support
  • Christmas Hamper Appeal
  • Home Improvements Project
  • Emotional Support

Here’s what the website says about Angels:

Working alongside other organisations in the city, they aim to offer short-term support so that individuals and families are empowered to help themselves, giving them an opportunity to break down isolation, see their self-esteem improved and them better equipped to deal with the demands of daily life.

The helpline offers people a listening ear, giving them the time and space to speak freely with a calm individual who is able to offer prayer support, links to our practical support and signpost to other services.

But do they make people go to church? 

In some cases, people who have contacted Destiny Angels for help have ended up connecting with the church community but this is a ‘no strings attached’ initiative. Although the unique aspect of this service is the combination of practical and spiritual support offered, no-one is compelled to attend church or receive prayer.

Want to help?

The work of Destiny Angels Edinburgh is carried out by a team of committed volunteers, trained and managed by our Project Coordinator. All volunteers are disclosed by PVG Scotland.

Volunteering with Destiny Angels provides you with the opportunity to serve your community, and also learn new skills, grow in confidence and experience a positive working environment with a great team of people.

Corporate Responsibility

Destiny Angels is also equipped for Corporate Responsibility days. Teams from RBS and Scottish Water have volunteered with us, as well as small groups from the church.

Need Help?

Contact Destiny Angels at 0131 454 2001

Text ‘help’ to 07533 427700

Email for referral forms

What’s Next?

The team say they are going to be clearing out and decorating the warehouse over the next few weeks. We’ll be back later in the year to see how they get on.

Blog of The Week: Water of Leith Conservation Trust


Our blog of the week is The Water of Leith Conservation Trust.

Three reasons why we love it:

It’s all about a river.  Theming by geographical feature leads to all sorts of interesting posts on events,  people, conservation and wildlife.

It features people making a difference. We love the regular posts celebrating community clean ups with photos and thanks to the volunteers.

It’s crowd sourced. Like this post with photos of wildlife on the river. Pictures were taken by volunteers or sourced from twitter.

Speaking of wildlife, thanks to the water of leith blog we know we have urban otters living the dream on our very own river. They give regular otter updates. Here’s one of the otter videos that was featured on the Water of Leith blog:

Find the Water of Leith Conservation Trust blog here. You can also follow on Twitter @WOLCT

Blog of the Week

We’re looking for creative, quirky and brilliant blogs. Blogs that serve common interest communities and celebrate life in and around Edinburgh.  If you know of an Edinburgh blog that fits that description, email us at or tweet @EdinCG (and let us know why you love it in less than 140 characters).

Behind Hidden Doors


A group of volunteers started clearing out the 24 forgotten vaults of Market Street, Edinburgh last week ahead of the unique Hidden Door arts festival.

The festival runs from Friday 28th March to Saturday 5th April. There’s an impressive line up of 40 bands, 70 artists, theatre, spoken word and cinema. Each vault is a venue so the volunteers are busy again this weekend getting the vaults read for the festival.

So what did they find inside the vaults? There were rusty bicycles:

Hidden Door clear out

Aliens… no, they’re volunteers!

Hidden Door clear out

I love this photo of the team hard at work with North Bridge in the background:

Hidden Door clear out

Get tickets to Hidden Door here. Follow all the action via @HiddenDoorarts on twitter. Hidden Door are also on Facebook. Read more about the vaults clean up on the Hidden Door Blog

Image Credit: James Coltham

Blog of the Week: The Spurtle


Our blog of the week award goes to Broughton’s Independent Stirrer – The Spurtle.

Three reasons why we love it:

It’s Interesting. Local interest stories are so well written you find yourself reading all the way to the end, even if you’re not actually a Broughton resident or had any idea you were in the least bit interested in the topic at hand.

It’s witty and entertaining. Enough to make you laugh out loud at times when you’re reading a description of what you might expect be a relatively dull public meeting. Today’s breaking news headline made me smile:


and below that there’s a story about a request for Bunty’s. Wondering what a bunty is? Yep, me too. That’s why I read it.

It does everything a hyper-local website should. News, reviews, previews and there’s even a free printed version of the Spurtle distributed across central Edinburgh every month. You can pick up copies in local pubs, venues and libraries.

Read more from The Spurtle online, on facebook and on twitter.

Blog of the Week

We’re looking for creative, quirky and brilliant blogs. Blogs that serve common interest communities and celebrate life in and around Edinburgh.  If you know of an Edinburgh blog that fits that description, email us at or tweet @EdinCG (and let us know why you love it in less than 140 characters).

STV covers The Grove and Scran Salon

Just a quick post to say we’re chuffed to bits to have had our launch blog about The Grove Community Garden featured in STV, you can read it on STV Local here.

AND our blog about The Scran Salon featured in STV’s roundup of must read stories, read the roundup on STV Local here.

Massive thanks and a big cheer for STV local!

Speaking of good news, STV have created a funky new news app for Edinburgh. It’s free (so that makes it even more attractive). Find it in the iTunes app store here or in google play for android here.

Blog of the Week: Edinburgh Sketcher

We’ve going to feature an Edinburgh ‘blog of the week’ every Monday. We’re looking for creative, quirky and brilliant blogs. Blogs that serve common interest communities and help us to celebrate life in and around Edinburgh.

Our first Common Good Edinburgh blog of the week award goes to Edinburgh Sketcher:


Three reasons why we love it:

Every Monday there’s an ‘Where art I‘ sketch quiz – we like  to guess where the Edinburgh Sketcher is in Edinburgh…

It’s different and beautiful – the blog uses sketches instead of images so every post is a work of art. Here’s a YouTube video of a sketch being created:

It’s informative and well written. This post about the Mammoth Exhibition at the National Museum Scotland expertly (and visually) communicates science or if you like food, check out this sketched steak and restaurant review.


You can find Edinburgh Sketcher on Facebook and twitter.

Blog of the Week

If you know of an Edinburgh blog we might like to feature as ‘blog of the week’, email us at or tweet @EdinCG (and let us know why you love it in less than 140 characters). Remember we’re looking for creative, quirky and brilliant blogs. Blogs that serve common interest communities and celebrate life in and around Edinburgh. 

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