Heart of Newhaven - Update 13.09.2019

You’re Telling Us!

The last update 20 days ago included a direct appeal for your help in

creating a beating heart for our community

I asked you to encourage others to sign up as a member of the Heart of Newhaven.  We have to show City of Edinburgh Council that our bid to acquire Victoria Primary School when the pupils move to their new school is not just the wish of a few people but the determination of the whole Community – to which you have declared you belong.    Many others have now said, “Yes, me too.”  Our membership is soaring towards 500.  Well done!   Here’s an example I hope will lead to others.

On Sunday 1st September the sun shone on Dudley Grove Street Party.   This was a good example of community and our website heartofnewhaven.co.uk should soon have graphic pictures of the event in our photo gallery with all its exciting activity.  

I talked to families as they ate, drank and played together.  Several had already signed up with us and I gave them the latest progress report.   Many others had not heard anything at all yet but now signed up enthusiastically.   This will be their first “update letter”.

The next step(s)?

We have just chosen a professional Business Consultant to produce a plan to take up ideas co-ordinated by Planning Aid Scotland, about to produce their final report;   building on a wish to help each other across the ages from 0 – 100, making sure we include those who are most important precisely because they are often overlooked.

Do you know of “forgotten people”?  If you haven’t forgotten them, please tell us.  This is an inter-active project.   Your thoughts and questions matter.   Some at the street party added their own ideas – not too late as we instruct our consultants about what we need.    

This important stage will begin once we have secured a grant from the Scottish Land Fund for which we have applied.   The next update may announce the go-ahead.   It’s just possible that by then the bulldozers will be on site preparing the foundations for the new school on which our plans hinge. 


The Steering Group – see “Who are we?” on heartofnewhaven.co.uk – is yourteam working out the best way to cover all the ground in a fast moving enterprise:  news on the website to inform;  other ways to communicate;  processing creative ideas;  seeing what other communities like ours have achieved, with as many links as possible;  preparing all the legal ground, making sure our sums “add up” about space and cost; and that we have a viable plan for the next five years and more.  Quite a list.

This is a huge undertaking.  But the more people who are part of it the more realistic are our chances of success.   You are helping us to do just that.  Thank you!

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

Heart of Newhaven - What Can I Do?

YOUR PARTICIPATION is vital in our bid to acquire Victoria Primary School.  180 who turned up at the school last Saturday (17th) for a TASTER DAY not only enjoyed themselves in various activities with conversations over good food;  they provided evidence of what is happening now and what is needed for the future.  Their action was important.   

Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) have been helping seek the views of the community.  Display boards attractively setting out a range of ideas (now on our website) show progress so far and invited further comments from those attending.  These are being added to the growing evidence we are providing in support of our application. 

This is indicating WHAT is needed.   PAS, whose professional work has been made possible through a grant, have helped interpret views expressed so far.  PAS Reports Now must consider firm proposals and options, all costed.  We are about to apply for a substantial grant from the Scottish Land Fund  to help us formulate a business plan for the next few years.

On Wednesday 28th Business Consultancies who have tendered to help us shape possibilities for the future will be interviewed, leading to the next professional appointment.  For this we are applying for a grant from the Scottish Land Fund to establish our case:    

HOW the building and site might be developed for the whole of the growing Newhaven Community without missing anyone out:  

All generations working together, including those often forgotten.   

It raises a vital question about WHO?  The next challenge is over to you. 

We must show we represent EVERYONE.   So far we can confirm 400 people want this to happen.  Not nearly enough.   The current population, including the newest properties, is around 6,500 and rising fast:  not long before it pushes through 10,000.  The rule of thumb for proposals like ours is support of at least 10% of the population.  

The maths is easy but the challenge hard – to close the gap between 400 and 1,000.

Please encourage your friends and neighbours to join. 

Don’t they also want this to happen? 

If so they must say so.  It’s too vague to put on a form “lots of people have told us….”   

If people can’t be identified it won’t happen.   Of course this is for them too.  Isn’t it?   

Help in creating a beating heart for our community

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

Website Update 04.08.19
No time wasted

As I’ve said before, much can happen in 20 days – and has! In my last update I invited you to take part in a survey to express hopes for the future of Victoria Primary School. Within 14 days 250 of you have responded, some in considerable detail – which is an astonishingly high percentage for any survey in so short a period. Well done! It demonstrates a vital commitment by the Community.
Your responses are invaluable to our ‘bid’, because they show this is not just the idea of a handful of enthusiasts but is actually “….creating a beating heart for our community…” Not just a place on the map which happens to be the centre.

The hub of thriving activity. So this leads directly to the next big event inside the next 20 days – a TASTER DAY right at our heart on Saturday 17th August from 10 to 3 – as you can see from the flyer.

See all the details of timetable and many activities on:


Pass word round immediately to family and friends – even someone on holiday with you that day. Remember the recent Gala Day there? Now see what the future could look like. It will be exciting. Don’t miss it.
We’ll publish our next report on Saturday 24th, one week after this Taster Day.
That’s the first day of the Trinity Gala, another local summer event. This Community buzzes with life. By then we hope to have even more exciting information about our progress.

Tell others what you know already and encourage them to register as you have done as part of the Community, so they too can automatically receive the very latest news hot off the press.
Meanwhile more encouragement to reassure some who may have been a little hesitant about it all.

We’ve just had a creative meeting between representatives of the Heart of Newhaven and Newhaven Heritage, who are about to welcome a new Chairman as Jeff Lister succeeds George Venters. Like other groups, they are sharing in these plans in a way that fosters their own heritage experience and have contributed to the survey being fed into the forthcoming TASTER EVENT: the very place of our heart we are working towards one day making our home.

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

HoN Website Update 15.07.19

Shifting ground

2020 becomes 2021. It was announced a couple of weeks ago that a delay in planning approval for the building of the new school means all timetables are put back – we hope by no more than 20 weeks – from August 2020 to January 2021. How does that affect our 2020 vision?

We circulated this definitive information immediately to those who are already members of The Heart of Newhaven so that instead of picking up a rumour they knew all the details of the revised timetable. Now for the implications.

As far as our funding applications are concerned we have to re-schedule timetables; but The Heart of Newhaven dedicated Steering Group is equal to the consequential issues, with the necessary short-term focus to adjust complicated negotiations, confident of timely delivery in due course. That is its job and its members remain dedicated to what is expected of them.

But the time slippage has produced an unexpected opportunity.

We now have 20 more weeks or so to demonstrate the vibrancy of the Newhaven Community. This must not be time wasted just waiting.

At the last update here I’d just got home from an exciting Stakeholder Event organised on our behalf by Planning Aid Scotland, an organisation working with communities to articulate their vision and develop community-led plans. Presented elsewhere on this website PAS identified from participants new ideas and priorities for a multi-generational centre, especially what is needed in terms of community facilities. It is important to get used to this way of thinking – opportunities for people of all ages from the youngest to the oldest to sense that they belong to a big but closely knit family where we learn from each other.

Gone are the days when children were expected to be seen but not heard. Who of the older generation has not learned something about technology from those to whom the very latest innovation is literally child’s play? That is why it is so exciting that our physical focus is upon acquiring Victoria Primary School so it can continue as a hub of learning and discovery, support and encouragement, not just a nostalgic look back to whatever might be considered was its heyday. Its heyday is always nowand its futurewill be just as important as its past. Our present close-up focus task to ensure that happens means publicising as widely as possible all that is going on now demonstrating our sense of community.

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

HoN Website Update 25.06.19

There and then, here and now Remember our focus on 2020 – the year in which the children of Victoria Primary School will move from the site we aim to acquire as The Heart of Newhaven? Elsewhere on this website is evidence of the 20/20 vision: reports, photos, personalities, forthcoming events; on one hand dreams of what life might be like in Newhaven in the 20 years to come; and on the other things that have happened over the past 20 weeks or even 20 days.

Hot off the press!

I’ve delayed the update I promised for yesterday by 20 hours so I can report what’s just happened – 20 minutes ago! I’ve just returned from an exciting Stakeholder Event organised on our behalf by Planning Aid Scotland, an organisation who work with communities to articulate their vision and develop community-led plans.

More than 20 organisations have registered for this ongoing programme funded by grants from Awards4 and the Neighbourhood Partnership. Many of these were represented at the first workshop today: Aging Well, Forth Children’s Theatre, NHS Lothian, Men’s Shed, North Edinburgh Childcare, History of Education Centre, Newhaven Heritage, to name a few.

We recorded thoughts on uses/activities which have come forward from the community from previous events, identified new ideas and priorities for a multi-generational centre, especially what is needed in terms of community facilities.

Let me simplify.

It’s what happens when all from the youngest to the oldest come together to learn from each other rather than doing things separately; the essence of a good community helping each other. It’s different from a single interest group. It’s not just lots of things happening at the same time in different parts of the building.

The emphasis is promoting a sense of community by offering room for everyone to come together from the youngest to oldest with activities in any of the three themes we have highlighted: culture & heritage; learning & enterprise; community well-being.

Meanwhile a selected number of children from all three primary schools have held their own half-day workshop, producing imaginative ideas from a mapping exercise as they travelled around Newhaven, noting “likes” and “dislikes” and then offering their own ideas about VPS as multi-generational centre.

The portfolio of ideas and necessary engagements grows as other important steps are taken in preparation to be ready to turn our accepted notice of intention into a formal bid as soon as Edinburgh City Council permit us to do so. All these and other indications of progress can be seen in fresh information on this web-site.

Finally… …

(“finally” not the end but just the latest up-date on a process launched just over 20 weeks ago) I promised an up-date on membership as The Heart of Newhaven continues to grow: when your Steering Group met again last night to monitor progress and direct the next phase of operation, our membership which started with some of the 80 present at the launch in January, now stands at 373. Not bad for the first 20 weeks but very important for you to encourage others to join if they want the vision of The Heart of Newhaven to be turned from dream to reality for all.

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

HoN Website update 04.06.19 

It’s all happening now!

This website has expanded to take account of the increasing news regarding lots of exciting activity that demonstrates life at The Heart of Newhaven. In my last report I pointed to forthcoming events that would illustrateCulture and Heritage,Learning and Enterpriseand Community Wellbeing. Now take a look at our photo gallery to see what has happened recently.

On two occasions teams of planters have started regreening the coastal area behind the David Lloyd centre in a long term enterprise that will encourage nature in our environment. Several walks have already been held to learn about how Newhaven has developed – “I learned about the Society of the Free Fishermen and enjoyed seeing bits of my street I hadn’t noticed before,” reported 8 year old Tilda Souter. And on a festive day on 1st  June the whole site of Victoria Primary School was abuzz with the kind of well-being intergenerational activity that shows what opportunities we have and how good it is when we come together as a community.

My invitation to those who approached our stand identified by our banner was simple: “If you want this kind of thing to continue to happen after the children move to their new site across at Western Harbour – reclaimed from the sea remember to expand Newhaven – then sign up!” And many people did exactly that on the spot. Check this page on my next account in 20 days time, just after another formative meeting of your Steering Group on 24th June and I’ll report how many people have now declared:

“This bid to acquire VPS by Community Asset Transfer is in OUR NAME. We are The Heart of Newhaven and we believe this belongs to US.”

A huge amount of work is being undertaken by the group working on your behalf. Already we have secured some important funding which will help us build our case to put to Edinburgh City Council next year. More organisations are being added to those who support this enterprise, as you can see. We are about to appoint professional people, experts in their field, to help shape our bid and I will report on that shortly. But a vital (that means “living”) part of the process is to demonstrate by the kind of activities illustrated that The Heart of Newhaven is beating, just as our banner says.

So keep a look out on this website regularly updated for the next date on which there is something that might appeal to you and come along as invited. And – even better – if you have an idea that you think could be explored about a group or a club or a budding enterprise looking for a home then let us know. Just get in touch with admin@heartofnewhaven.co.ukand we’ll add that into the profile in an appropriate way. Let it be your vision for the future– what could happen in 2020 and beyond – that prompts us to focus on what we need to do now to prepare the ground. I’ll do the rest because that’s my job as you can see.

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

HoN Website update 15.05.19 

We are growing The Heart of Newhaven Steering Committee have just had their 3rd meeting and things are beginning to happen.

At every important event in Newhaven you will now see this banner.

Here are some things to get involved in:

Our Environment - Join a team of planters around the Brewers Fayre area on Monday 20th May from 10am to 1pm “regreening the environment”. Bring gardening gloves and any tools you have – or just suitable clothes to get stuck in. lucymetcalfe@msn.com for more details.

Our History Also on Monday 20th at 2pm learn more about Newhaven by joining Mary Kemp Clarke on a free guided walk. Meet at the Habour – to be repeated so watch this space

Our Gala Newhaven’s big day– in which our children inspire us is on Saturday 1st June from 1.30pm with a procession from the Harbour to Victoria School and a fun packed afternoon. Why “Our”? Because all these events, as well as a growing number of organisations active with various interests in Culture and Heritage, Learning and Enterprise and Community Wellbeing all belong to us, which means you too if you are interested in showing that Newhaven is full of life.

The Heart of Newhaven is our umbrella organisation gathering all these things together in a focus on Victoria Primary School. The more we can show we are together in all these things the stronger will be the case we are building up to make sure VPS becomes The Heart of Newhaven Community when the children move into a future across the road into their new premises in Western Harbour in 2020.

We have started to obtain grants to help towards funding this but to get any assistance we have to say “Why?” and “Who?”. If you think we all have a right to this then you need to say so very loudly and clearly by becoming a member of The Heart of Newhaven Community. It’s very important and very, very easy – and costs nothing more than a few minutes. I’m told you can do it on your phone just like that. Or if you’re old fashioned like me, then find me at one of these events and I’ll give you a form and a pen! We already have over 200 members and we’d like to make it 2000 – or even 2020 before 2020.

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)


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