Spring air!

Welcome to your March newsletter


First of all, sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed to our first Crowdfunding campaign. We have almost achieved our initial target which will enable us to pay legal and design fees and allow us to move forward with our ambitious community plans. If you have contributed, thank you. If you have not, then please consider doing so. No matter how small, the donation will be appreciated. The campaign ends on 13th March. Let’s make one final push and remember that any excess over the original target will be spent on costs pertaining to other parts of the project such as accessibility plans. It will not be wasted.


Now, following the success of our digital appeal earlier in the year, which helped so many families with children at Victoria Primary School access online learning, we are preparing to launch a new digital campaign.


This time it’s to help the more elderly in the community who are feeling cut-off and isolated because they cannot keep up with the online communications necessary in these difficult times. They may have no digital access or no knowledge of how to use it if they have.

We will be working once again with the Pilmeny Development Programme (PDP) this time recruiting both older and younger members of the community and helping organise digital learning and support sessions in line with COVID-19 regulations. Can you help us to develop a sustainable, community-based, skills-sharing network? Bringing generations together is what we’re all about! Get in touch through the volunteering page on the website.

Volunteer Page

If you haven’t already done so, please fill out our membership application form and send it in as soon as possible. Once your membership status has been verified, this will ensure you have a say at our forthcoming AGM, which must be held before 4th May. The date and details will be given out shortly.

Apply Now

Meanwhile, good news on the environmental partnership initiatives some of our volunteers have been helping with. There’s been no public fanfare because of Covid, but the Little Birdhaven at Western Harbour, a collaboration with The Shoreline Project and a mini orchard for Victoria Park in collaboration with Friends of Victoria Park, have both received funding and support because of the hard work put in by the volunteers.

You can inspect the new information banner (illustrations courtesy of pupils from VPS) at Western Harbour (between the wilded plot and the John Lloyd Centre) and watch the currently tiny trees growing steadily.

Over in Victoria Park, funding has been secured from the Alpkit Foundation to expand the mini orchard by the beech hedge with suitable fruit trees which will be planted by pupils from Trinity Academy and Trinity primary School in the autumn. You can read more about all this on our social media pages.

Social Media

Special thanks to volunteer Lucy Metcalfe for leading the way on this.

If you would like to join in with any of our projects, sign up on the volunteering page of the website and watch out for further news of yet more greening projects coming up soon. Finally, as always, a reminder to watch the website for news and blogs and don’t forget our social media platforms.

Check out Instagram for example, where there’s a “new” picture of “old” Newhaven posted every week.

February 2021 

First of all, we have had a magnificent response to our digital appeal which we launched so recently on 25th January. Thanks to all who have very kindly donated old laptops or tablets to help families in the community who needed help to access online learning. We have already dealt with around a dozen such items, some of which are being wiped and processed while others are awaiting collection and soon they will all be winging their way to Victoria Primary School. Please continue to get in touch.

We understand that others have been delivered directly to the school following our appeal and if you would still like to help but have no old machines you no longer need, you can also donate funds to enable the school to buy more.

An average laptop or tablet suitable for home-schooling could cost around £200 but any smaller contributions that could go towards that would be most welcome. 
You can contact the school directly below 

This is such an encouraging example of the community helping each other, just what Heart of Newhaven proposes to expand on once we’re fully operational.

The main news for you this month however is about the launch of ourCrowdfunding Campaign. This will go live on 14th February. It’s all about the Heart of course - it seemed a very suitable date for obvious reasons.

While we have applied to the Scottish Land Fund for the purchase cost of the site, we still need immediate funds to pay our legal advisers, currently working on the contract with CEC. Then there are the essential repairs to such things as windows and the roof, as well as fire and safety features. There is also the preparatory work we have to do in the way of design costs to enable us to move into the buildings and get them going with our “meanwhile use” plans to bring the centre “online” stage by stage.
The campaign will go live on Crowdfund Scotland and there will also be links from our website and social media channels.

Please consider donating something, no matter how small, to enable this ambitious project to go ahead - and don’t forget to spread the word among neighbours and friends!

Finally, may we remind you to visit our website regularly. There’s always something new, including several blogs being posted on the different pages, that you might enjoy.
This month for example, the Culture & Heritage page is hosting a contribution from one of our many volunteers, who talks about the Hispanic community in Newhaven and how they’ve adapted and settled in to the local community.

On our new Intergenerational page, there’s not only an explanation of what intergenerational means, but a blog from trustee Judy Crabb.

Of course our regular blog from the chairman will be along soon as well.
Keep checking.

Here’s a hand, my trusty fiere and gie’s a hand o’ thine….

What would Rabbie Burns have made of our digital age? He would probably have loved it. He was a philosopher and a rebel  and as a man of humble origins living during the Enlightenment, he would surely have dived right in.

So as we celebrate the birth of our national poet let’s celebrate our digital age as well. We’d like to ask you to “gie’s a hand” in our digital appeal.


Home learning can be an issue for those who do not have access to technology, especially during the unprecedented times we are all living through.

Can you help make significant change in your community?

If you have a laptop, mobile, tablet or any other device that could help us in our mission to help people, we would love to hear from you!

Many local schools are struggling to support families with home learning and children within our community are the future and our hope. They are our next generation of essential workers: doctors, teachers, politicians, engineers, and retail workers. 

Victoria Primary School would be grateful for at least ten additional devices to help tackle these issues and to make sure those in disadvantaged situations are not punished long-term for a situation that is not their fault.

We will arrange safe collection of devices and have them cleaned and refurbished if necessary. After which, the school will distribute accordingly.

As you will understand, due to the current situation, we need to act as soon as possible.


If you can assist, we wholeheartedly appreciate any help you can provide at this time.


So “gies’ a hand”, and as you celebrate Rabbie Burns’ birthday, remember to play and watch our online Heart of Newhaven choir sing Auld Lang Syne.

January 2021

Happy New Year! - Szczesliwego Nowego Roku - Feliz Ano Novo - Un An Nou Fericit -Bonne année - Glückliches Neues Jahr - Eutychismenos o Kainourgios Chronos - Feliz año nuevo -Shuvo noboborsho - Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu - Bliadhna Mhath Ur!

We hope you brought the new Year in in style, including playing our very own version of Auld Lang Syne and by making suitable resolutions. 

Saying goodbye to 2020, let’s look forward with positivity and enthusiasm for what is to come, for this is the year we do it.
This is the year we move in to Victoria Primary School and make it the hub the growing Newhaven community wants and needs.  How are we going to do this and how can you help?

Things to look out for:


The launch of our Crowdfunding campaign.

 Help us kickstart our Heart - Help us create a centre for you! 

The first phase will identify the immediate essential work required to bring the building into use and our appointed architect will be working with the community to design age-friendly spaces to meet the needs of all users.
If you can give even a small amount to ensure our plans for the community go smoothly, then please do so and encourage all your friends and neighbours to do the same. Whether it’s contributing towards the necessary lawyers’ fees or for the installation of a lift to the first floor, everything will be put to good use. You’ll be able to read all about it in the next newsletter.


The launch of our 'gardening and greening project' still to be named - watch this space project, a brand new community project run by our ever-expanding group of volunteers. Several of our volunteers who ticked “gardening” in the volunteer choices, have been busy working on this and we look forward to being able to introduce it to everyone very soon. 

Then there’s our very first AGM as a SCIO. Members will be able to have a real say in what happens next. Watch out for an announcement about the date and time and method.


The next round of the Scottish Land Fund grants. Our application will be among the many to be decided once the new Scottish Parliament to be elected in May gives the go-ahead for the fund to get going again. We’ve already had very positive vibes from the SLF so we have great hopes that our application will meet with success.

That’s just the first half of the year. Imagine what the second half has in store.

Our New Year’s Resolution was to take HoNC from strength to strength and for that, as usual, we need your help. We want to know what you thought of the community initiatives we ran before Christmas. Did you participate in Newhaven Neighbours (still running, by the way), Newhaven Sings or Newhaven Lights Up ?
We want to know if we’re getting it right or, if not, what we could have done better. 

Please can you feed back here

Let us know how we can improve.

Finally, remember to keep watching the website.

There’s always something new, including the View from the Chair, our Chairmans’ blog.


Welcome to your December newsletter.

Since the last newsletter, your Board of Trustees and their many volunteer consultants and helpers have been busy working on various projects, as we continue to spend most of our lives online. Hopefully by now you have read about Newhaven Neighbours, Newhaven Sings and Newhaven Lights Up. 

The board members have been joined by around three dozen active volunteers to bring these projects to fruition as examples of how we can bring the community together under the Heart of Newhaven umbrella as we continue to work towards acquisition of Victoria Primary School.

However we do have some sad news to share with you. 

We have to report the death of Joan Davidson. Joan was instrumental in helping to launch the Heart of Newhaven Community. Present at the first public meeting at Victoria Primary School in 2018 she preserved the charts produced that night of what was later called “Blue-Sky Thinking”. She introduced them with great enthusiasm when the interim Steering Committee was set up later that year and helped plan the very first meeting.  

Joan continued as a member of the Steering Group progressing the plans and helping to define the area of benefit but then sadly had to step back through illness.  Despite that, she never lost her interest or failed to give her support.   At the outset she was interviewed for a short video which can be viewed at online where her ideas are recorded.  We will miss her but with gratitude for helping to 'get the show on the road’! 


In our last newsletter we told you about Newhaven Neighbours.
Many of you answered the call and are now working together with one of our partners, Pilmeny Development Project to help support the isolated and vulnerable within the community.
Thank you all for your support. Thanks to you, Newhaven neighbours are receiving support in all manner of ways.
There is always room for more of course, so it’s never too late to sign up to help out.  Sign Up here.

Following on from Newhaven Neighbours, we have been working on Newhaven Sings Auld Lang Syne in collaboration with several local choirs and individual singers. Perhaps you have already recorded your contribution but if you haven’t, don’t be bashful. It’s simple to do and will provide such pleasure. The deadline to send in your recording has been extended till Saturday 19th, so there’s no excuse! All the instructions are on the website.

Hot on the heels of Newhaven Sings, came Newhaven Lights Up, created in collaboration with local artist Johnathan Elders and with help from Men’s Shed. You may have seen the delightful light boxes on the railings round Victoria Primary School. Help light up Newhaven by creating your own window display. Instructions for this are also on the website.


So although it may seem that little is happening on the wider front of the purchase - look out for more news on that front in the spring - everyone is still working hard behind the scenes. If you would like to join in and help, or have any ideas for projects you would like to discuss, do get in touch with our volunteering team or any of the trustees via the website.


Don’t forget to check the website too, for updates of all kinds and regular blogs, including from our Chairman, Rodney Matthews.  View From the Chair 


Christmas is only a few days away and New Year of course follows closely after.
May we wish you and yours a happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Remember to bring it in by playing Auld Lang Syne!

November Newsletter 

HoNC continues to work towards acquisition of the Victoria Primary School site and despite the impact of Covid 19, our timetable for completion remains the same: as soon as the children move to their new school, we will move in, hopefully in the autumn of next year, 2021.

To acquire the building, which we have permission from City of Edinburgh Council to purchase, we need to find £700,000.  To this end, an application to the Scottish Land Fund has already been submitted. With the current SLF funds geared towards applications with more immediate needs, particularly those who have Covid-related issues, we have decided to pause our application until the next round of grants which will bring it more in line with our expected purchase date.

This comes on the recommendation of the SLF itself, who consider our application a very strong one but have advised us that such a pause would make our case even stronger. They are continuing to support us and helping us fund our preparation.

So fear not if you see headlines about the next community projects to have gained SLF grants later this month and no mention of HoNC. We are confident we have a strong case, made even stronger by this hiatus. Our plans for purchase and our timetable remain the same. 

To help our case, we need even more members of our SCIO to show support within the community. Numbers are increasing steadily but if you haven’t already applied to be a member, please do so as soon as you can. In this case, size really does matter! Membership is free and it gives you a say in what happens.

Equally, we need volunteers and not just for the long-term. At the heart of our project is the well-being of the community we serve. Covid 29 has not only put the brakes on the construction of the new school, it has affected so many in our community, in so many ways. If you can sign up as a Newhaven Neighbour to help the isolated and vulnerable within our community, perhaps by collecting prescriptions, doing shopping, tidying a garden, delivering Christmas boxes, making an occasional phone call to check on the isolated, then we would welcome your help. Check our website for a form to fill in. Become a Newhaven Neighbour. Get in touch. Add your name. The community will be the stronger for it.

Remember that you can still read our Chair Rodney’s regular 20:20 vision in his View from the Chair which you can find on the website.

NOW  <  ?  >  WHAT

Both words are important in answering that question.

This 20 day Update is always about where we are now.  It is not about where we hope to be one day when the keys are delivered and, like any prospective purchaser, we move in to see what state the previous owner has left us to clear up before we can move our own things in. Don’t worry: that is not being neglected, but it would be boring to describe all the steps that are being taken to get us to that point. You can safely leave the tedious things to the SCIO board, who will make sure all the necessary tasks are done in the right way.   

There are much more exciting things to share now, not least because we know that moving-in day could be around a year away.

So what?  What about now?    What can you be expected to do other than to wait patiently?   Is there a child in your house – or can you imagine a child after being cooped up with nothing to do – saying, “I’m bored!  I don’t know what to do.”    Well be bored no longer:  There is something to do.  It really will make a difference to the future and it will make it better

Autumn sun in Newhaven have you been enjoying it?

There are two things that fit together:   

What troubles you as you cope with Covid 19?

What ideas do you have that are worth sharing in order to help others cope?

As simple as that.   Here is how we propose to match the need with the thought.  It’s about sharing, which is the hallmark of community.  

This Community, as you know by now, has a HEART. ❤️

Not merely a lot of boxes called houses or flats, in which we all keep ourselves to ourselves and suffer in silence.

We are about to launch an interactive programme of questions and suggestions, ideas and activities, encouraging you to become involved NOW with other people like you, helping each other create a better normal around our three themes you may know by heart:

Well-Being     Learning & Enterprise    Culture & Heritage

Health     Business   Leisure   Sport   Puzzles     Gardening    Entertainment   Advice

You can add to the list which is as long as you want to make it, because above all it is about YOU – which is US,  ALL TOGETHER, helping each other.  

Invite your friends to join in as well.  Look out for details about to appear on our website and social media channels. 

And don’t forget:   if you have not already responded to the invitation to become a member of our Charity Heart of Newhaven Community SCIO making all this possible, do that NOW too, using the link here and following instructions.

Also keep checking the website and socials! ( links below) 

In another 20 days we’ll tell you more precisely what we are going to do next.

Rodney Matthews
Chair and Vision Facilitator
The Heart of Newhaven Community

 25 Oct 2020

Dear Supporter 

Where have the past two years gone?  On 4th October 2018 in Victory Primary School there were lots of ideas on what the Community could do here once the children moved to their new school, then still in the planning stages.

We were warned that our dreams would take time and effort and there were delays.  The new school building, first scheduled to be opened last August, will be completed one day despite, like so much else, being affected by Covid 19.  We are working steadily on ways to promote a better normal as soon as we can.    More on that next time.   

Meanwhile the Heart of Newhaven Community with our iconic logo is steadily growing with people like you keen to support our programme of ideas.  

This update comes hard on the heels of one you may have just received about Membership of our SCIO – Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation.   It’s a bit technical, so I’ll try to explain.   

We registered the Heart of Newhaven Community SCIO SC049919, as the first step to qualify for the Community Asset Transfer of Victoria Primary School.  Our SCIO constitution allows different categories of membership and the letter sent recently showed which one we think fits you as you register, as I hope you will. 

Depending on which category you fall into, membership will give you a vote at meetings and so enable you to have your say in deciding what happens.

The “Asset” (the whole of the current school site) to be “Transferred” will belong to the Charity on behalf of the whole community:  so the name Heart of Newhaven Community is apt.  
 But it’s not just a place.  The beating pulse of the whole community already exists in people – YOU! –  living human beings.    A really good way to help create what the name shows is to register on the form you’ve hopefully been sent.

If you have any questions about membership, haven’t had a letter, or think you received the wrong one, then you can find out more HERE on the website. If you’re still in doubt, please feel free to contact me directly at chair@heartofnewhaven.co.uk and I’ll try to help.  .  

I hope the next one will be more exciting but we are definitely not just dreaming the time away and the next two years should be very impressive.

Rodney Matthews
Chair and Vision Facilitator
The Heart of Newhaven Community


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