Our Rodney Matthews with Kaye Nicholson for STV

An STV item about our plans went out on the 6 O'Clock news bulletin on Friday 11th September.
 It included an on-site interview filmed outside Victoria primary School and was very upbeat.
Please pass the word around so that those who haven't seen it can watch it on whatever catch-up services they have available.

Anyone under the impression that it’s all over bar the shouting must think again. We’ve barely started! In my last Update I was delighted to confirm that the City of Edinburgh Council had agreed to our request for the Community Asset Transfer of Victoria Primary School. But that word request is crucial. Without the Council’s agreement under the Community Empowerment (2015) Scotland Act no one could do anything. Now no one can prevent us succeeding unless we ourselves fail – and we certainly don’t intend to fail. The important word here is WE because that includes YOU.

Why has the Council granted our request? The official statement on their website says:

  • The community benefit is substantial compared to the value of the asset.

  • The request will make a significant positive contribution to The City of Edinburgh Council’s aspirations and values.

We can now reveal “the value of the asset” - £785,000. But the Council can’t give it away. They need money from its sale to build the new school in Western Harbour. However, before they could put it on the open market they were required by the 2015 Act to offer it first to “the community”. If we could show we would use it to meet their aims they would give us a discount. So they reduced the price by £85,000. 

The £700,000 we will pay will help build the best Primary School in the Edinburgh whilst we go on to create Scotland’s first specifically dedicated Multigenerational Community Hub. 

That should make YOU feel very proud

and very determined to succeed in the huge challenge ahead. 

We’ve already started fundraising. We had to begin our Business Plan long before we succeeded in our CAT application – and before the challenge of a global pandemic. Our charity, The Heart of Newhaven Community SCIO, has already applied to the Scottish Land Fund for the entire cost of purchase and fees. This Fund is provided by the Scottish Government to make grants for exactly the kind of thing we are doing. But it is not a bottomless purse and there are many applications. We will know the degree of our success before the end of November but in addition to buying the site we need money for changes – including a lift to make the imaginative Heritage Suite more accessible. 

We are working NOW so that if by next March the purchase is complete, an arrangement can be made for the children to continue to use it until their new school is ready. Every stage needs planning, so we are preparing ways for the Heart of Newhaven Community to grow together, supporting each other to create that Better Normal that is going to characterise life after Covid19.

You will shortly receive a personal invitation to become closely associated as a MEMBER of our dedicated SCIO SC04419.  But you needn’t even wait for that. A growing number of people are volunteering and asking “Is there anything I can do now?” You won’t be left waiting for long for an answer. In fact, you could answer the question for yourself and tell us what you would like to do. Look at our developing website heartofnewhaven.co.uk to get a bright idea and tell us what you think.

Rodney Matthews
Chair and Vision Facilitator, 
The Heart of Newhaven Community


❤️ Important Announcement ❤️

The City of Edinburgh Council has officially approved the Application by

The Heart of Newhaven Community SCIO SC049919

for the acquisition of Victoria Primary School by Community Asset Transfer (CAT)


The City of Edinburgh Council has officially approved our application to buy Victoria Primary School and the necessary contract is about to be drawn up for the whole site to be owned by our registered charity on behalf of the Newhaven Community. I hope we’ve got to you first with this wonderful news, but the speed of the modern media bandwagon is such that you may well have heard this somewhere else already! However the news is still wonderful. The contract with CEC will happen no later than 31st March 2021, and will include a clause providing lease-back to the Council until the new school being built in Western Harbour is ready for occupation.

When we take possession of this “Asset”, the Anchor Building will primarily house assessed and much needed nursery care and the whole site developed according to the imaginative plans of The Heart of Newhaven Community that have now been approved.These include the layout of the Victorian Building to house a comprehensive heritage suite in which we hope Newhaven Heritage and other organisations devoted to interpreting local history will have a share and include a Victorian Schoolroom and Wee Museum.

At the beginning of last year we launched The Heart of Newhaven Community when it was clear that a wish to turn the school into an enhanced museum did not qualify to meet Council requirements for such a transfer. The Council looked for an organisation that would represent the interests of what is technically called “the area of benefit”, which embraces the increasing population of Newhaven far greater than the traditional village: we know how big because we have delivered over 7,000 postcards to every household and business.

The Council is required to address many social needs, from the youngest to the oldest and including the marginalised. From the outset we consulted widely and produced a Business Plan with local partners, organisations and charities, to help meet the Council’s obligatory targets.

In the last Update I indicated that the Councillors representing the Wards in our catchment area unanimously approved our plans and recommended to the Policy and Sustainability Committee that our Application be approved. That was done at a meeting held on 20thAugust.

Well done and thank you everyone for helping get this Application across the line.


Scottish Land Fund

The next stage, for which we are prepared, is to apply to the Scottish Land Fund for a major grant to help our capital commitment. SLF has already awarded funding that enabled us to employ a professional Business Consultant, SKS Scotland, to draw up a Business Plan that would be sustainable even in the event of the kind of challenge we are now meeting because of Covid 19. We have now demonstrated that our figures are still viable over the next five years. But the SLF also need to know that what we are proposing is supported not merely by key interest groups but by the whole community across the entire “area of benefit”.

That is why it is important to increase the number of people prepared to sign up to say, “Yes please, this is what we need for the future”. The key is the development of a vibrant Community Hub, or as we put it, the beating Heart of Newhaven Community.

Please keep building up numbers by spreading the word of success, developing plans for a Better Normal with an emphasis on care within the community leading to the Well-being of all, and especially those most in need. And continue to volunteer your own services – some particular expertise or flair, a bit of time, an idea you think will help, either now or at some stage in the future as plans develop. This is your Community. You are included.

The first task is accomplished and the next beginning.

The show is on the road. It will be as good as you make it.

Rodney Matthews

Chair and Vision Facilitator,

the Heart of Newhaven Community

August Update 

SUCCESS  ♥️ ❤️ 

Well done!  We are pleased to announce that our plans for the acquisition of Victoria Primary School are on target, thanks to your help.   

Critical Meeting

Last week, we appeared before local Councillors on what is called a Community Asset Transfer Stage Two Panel.  It was confirmed there that ours is the only application they are considering.

We mounted a sophisticated presentation using a wide range of colourful photographs and graphs, with critical links to an impressive number of local groups from professional firms to key charities, all involved in our three interconnected intergenerational themes that some of you now know off by heart:

Culture & Heritage 
Learning & Enterprise 
Well-being in the Community

We passed the test!

We demonstrated both the viability of our long term Business Plan and that what we propose is in the interests of the whole community, by honestly answering questions put to us by the various councillors.
Crucially important was to demonstrate how – Well-being – has, during “lock-down”, embraced the other two themes. 

Learning & Enterprise is attracting novel ideas of helping each other face an uncertain future that with imagination has great opportunities for innovation, including awareness of environmental challenges.

Culture & Heritage has a key part too. The iconic Victorian Building will not be mothballed or converted into flats after 176 years of history but will tell the story of Newhaven over the past 500 years while looking confidently forward, using imaginative interactive techniques.

The modern Anchor Building will primarily meet the urgent need for nursery care.  We expect that other compatible enterprises might well be accommodated in a flexible use of the space.   The surrounding attractive garden and playground areas will help showcase this as the beating Heart of Newhaven Community.♥️  ❤️ 

The Panel was impressed and we have been encouraged

to move forward with our plans.

And you have helped:
either because you were already part of the Heart of Newhaven Community ❤️ or because through our recent postcard delivery you have just joined us, boosting support.    Keep the numbers growing.   Representation of the whole community across what is technically called “the area of benefit” is essential to meet the City of Edinburgh Council targets for the ways in which they are required to provide for important needs from the youngest to the oldest in an area of growing population. 

If you live in this area – as nearly all of you do – you should have received an attractive postcard designed to encourage more people to join us.   

We have delivered nearly 7,000, which gives some idea of the population. We’ve still not quite finished (in case you haven’t got yours yet) but the results, together with our modern media contacts, are very encouraging.  

It is now even more important to
make sure your friends have signed up too.

Ask them. 
Nudge them.
Tell them how good it will be for them too.
Why not display the postcard in a window for the world to see?

Imagine Newhaven’s beating heart on display together with the rainbows of hope! What a combination! ? ? ❤️ 

Rodney Matthews
Chair, Heart of Newhaven Community 

July 2020

As you see work going on to build the new school, this brings closer the date of our vision to create 

  • a place everyone in the Community feels belongs to them – 
  • a hub of activity but also an oasis of calm where you can be yourself – 
  • somewhere to find all you need, whatever your interest, ambition or just want of contact – 

How much are we all feeling in need of friendship and support after enforced isolation!

Not normal or even new normal but


Although it will be some time before the site is vacated by the children, we are refining our Business Plan, checking with “Stakeholders” and friends  to see what effect Corvid 19 will have on how they operate.

This is the PLACE and YOU are the COMMUNITY, together with all who want to build a future out of the lessons of the past and the experience of the present.

“Can I help?”  

 “Yes please!” 
“What can I do?”


“Make sure your local community is aware of your plans
 and have the chance to have their say and get involved.”

so says the Scottish Land Fund,
who want to help us buy Victoria Primary School 


As we apply for funding to help us, we must be able to show:

  • Existing volunteers,   including those whose details you can see on our website “Who We Are”
  • New volunteers – those ready to help NOW to deliver leaflets – see below
  • Future volunteers in the pipeline once we have the “show on the road”.

On the simple Volunteer Form provided here you can fill in as much or as little as you wish.  We have divided our catchment area into small squares to make the mass distribution of leaflets and posters manageable. It is a good way to get closer to the action.  
 If you don’t tell us you are willing we won’t know what help there is in the Community to make a dream become a reality.   

If you want to ask me a question first then go ahead and do that.  
I’m here to help too. chair@heartofnewhaven.co.uk

This is your chance to come out of lock-down. 


Newhaven by Night by Lewis Bergen,

As well as the imminent distribution of leaflets and posters, we also need to know how you could help in the future once the Heart is up and running, so do please go to the link and fill in the form you will find HERE where you have a large choice of ways YOU can help YOUR  COMMUNITY. 

And finally, apologies for the lack of a newsletter on the 18th June. We had some technical issues (which are now resolved) but it did go up on the website so if you have not already seen it, please do check it out here,  and it will bring you up to date.

Rodney Matthews
Vision Facilitator

Back by popular demand – a 20 day Update! June 2020

The Update timing was originally part of a 20/20 vision when we hoped Victoria Primary School would become the Heart of Newhaven Community in the summer of 2020.

Dates may have changed but the Vision has not.

Work on the new school has resumed.


Work to acquire the Victoria Primary School site in its entirety for the benefit of the whole, wider community has not stopped.

That’s what the Newhaven Community SCIO is all about.

The Heart of Newhaven Community SCIO SC049919

Its purposes are to benefit the Community of Newhaven and surroundings with the following objects:

4.1 the advancement of education and social welfare principally within the Community;

4.2 the provision of recreational facilities principally within the Community;

4.3 the advancement of arts, heritage, culture and citizenship, principally within the Community

4.4 to promote, establish, operate and/or support any other charitable projects or initiatives for the benefit of the Community; and

4.5 to foster a community spirit for the achievement of these aims and other similar aims as may by law be deemed charitable, but only to the extent that the above purposes are consistent with sustainable development.

Yesterday your Steering Group took further steps along this road, as we prepare for further engagement with the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) and with the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) for major funding to help our project. We have to show we can meet two major requirements:

1 Our Business Plan is still viable.

2 We have the full support of the Community as stated in our purposes.

Look at two sides of a coin: on one side, the amount. This coin needs to be sufficient to buy what we need.

That’s the Business Plan. 


But to be valid the coin must show the sovereign’s head.

Whose currency is this and will it be accepted?

Make sure your community have their say and get involved.

You are helping to show this project is yours, the Community’s.

Please nudge your neighbours, friends, colleagues, fellow parents or co-workers to sign up as you have done.

Numbers really matter. (share this link please)

More information on this website  as usual – but notice how it is beginning to change as we move forward. Check out the Young Hearts

In 20 days time I’ll give you another progress report towards realising our vision to foster a community spirit.

Rodney Matthews Vision Facilitator

May Update 

Good things to come


You may wonder what has happened at the Heart of Newhaven since our last update.

Progress  continues, and although we needn’t bore you by trying to explain complicated technical matters, rest assured that we have all sorts of exciting projects in the pipeline that the whole community can enjoy.

We are working to show that the heart is beating even in lock-down and beating faster as we approach a return to more normal life and the crucial council decision on our application to buy Victoria Primary School.  Remember the three sections on our website on our key themes:

Culture & Heritage           Learning & Enterprise         Well-being in the Community

Not only do they relate to each other, they are best explored by those in different age groups interacting to help each other.  Generations Working Together is not only the name of an organisation helping us.  It states what is natural – repeated over and again wherever you get information on many topics. It is an expression of community where we depend on each other.

So our themed sub-groups have been working on loads of projects with some of our partner organisations and finding that the themes, not surprisingly, overlap. The result is tasters of what is to come once we’re on site in the beating heart that is represented by the Victoria Primary School building.

There’s one show-casing some traditional skills anyone can learn.

Head to  Learning & Enterprise, to meet Charlie from the Men of Leith’s Shed as he teaches you how to make a lovely box fit to house treasures or presents.

Send  us photos of your own boxes, to share with the rest of the community.

We’ve also teamed up with one of our key partner organisations, the History of Education Centre to provide fun worksheets for primary school children sitting bored at home.

Remember on our Culture & Heritage page we recommended you get the children on the phone to Granny or older relatives and asking questions about how school used to be ?

Well, you can find the link to worksheets on our Culture & Heritage page.

Do let us know if you complete it. We’d love to know what the interviewers (and interviewees) think about it.

So you see, the heart continues to beat and are plenty more good things to come.

Make sure you continue to check the website regularly.

 As we inch nearer to achieving our goal, whatever the frustrations, there will be more announcements, including the official launch of our SCIO, which will need more members than ever.

We may not yet know “when” but we are learning “how” and communication is vital. 

Please pass this message to others as you try to keep in contact. 

Get them to sign up with the Heart of  Newhaven just as you have – and together we’ll succeed.

                                         Rodney Matthews     Vision Facilitator

Lemon growing in Edinburgh

 Photos by Christine McDerment 2020

April 2020

The Heart is still Beating 


The last news announced the great news that the Council had validated our application for the acquisition of Victoria Primary School by a process known as Capital Asset Transfer.

What a long time ago that seems! It was all systems go……and then everything ground to a halt. You may have thought the heart had stopped beating. 

Behind the scenes however, the Steering Group has been busy, meeting online, working on various projects, doing what it can to provide support for the wider Newhaven community and pursue our aims of inter-generational cooperation and learning.

Despite the crisis, despite lockdown, the Heart of Newhaven is beating –  in some ways beating faster, as happens for survival in a crisis.   We are asking what things are most important in the current situation but still looking ahead to beyond the lockdown, when everything goes back to normal. 

Remember our three themes:

check out our Web Pages: 

Culture & Heritage       Learning & Enterprise     Well-being in the Community

New information is posted continuously so it is worth looking each day to see what’s new.  

And here’s something interesting: as we have been looking for ways to offer support and counter social isolation, we have developed ideas that could easily come under the heading of all three themes. 

Take a look at Well-being in the Community. There you’ll find information on local services to help in the crisis, a helpline to call if you feel lonely and loads of ideas and links that we hope will ease the burden and give you ideas of things to do.

Talking of things to do, head to the Culture & Heritage page if you’re getting bored. There are several projects you can get your teeth into and they can be carried out by adults and children alike. Many of them will contribute to a great exhibition once things are back to normal. That’s called planning ahead!

Meanwhile, Learning & Enterprise has a link to loads of science ideas for the kids to do around the house. No matter what your interests, we have ideas for you to while away a few hours while you’re stuck at home.

Remember though, that this is your community, whether you live in Newhaven or Trinity or Leith: the Heart of Newhaven area includes conservation areas and parks, high rises and Victorian tenements. Just look at the map on the website. This is your community and you can contribute to its wellbeing, to its heritage and culture, so get in touch with us. Take part in the projects and send them in to us when you’ve completed them.

If you have more ideas, get in touch with us at admin@heartofnewhaven.co.uk We’d love to include more ideas from you, whether it’s a new project you’d like to help with or a way of helping your neighbours in the current lockdown. And talking of neighbours, pass this news on to yours. Tell them to check out our website so that they can hear all about what’s going on and what we are doing.

 March 2020 

Victoria Primary School has been saved for the community,

at least temporarily but hopefully for good! 

The proposal (the crucial Stage Two Community Asset Transfer Application) sent in by the Heart of Newhaven Steering Group has been validated and posted on the Council's public website.

This means our bid has been legally recognised and now takes priority over all others.

There will probably be further negotiation with the Council, but it means that until our application, which includes a fully sustainable business plan based on what you, the community have said you want, has been fully assessed - which will take several months - the Council cannot consider any other application for the whole or even part of the site, submitted by any other business or organisation.  

So it certainly won't become flats or anything else until the proposals are fully examined, complete with an appeal process to the Scottish Parliament if necessary.

Keep checking the HoN website for more details as they emerge and pass on the good news to all your friends and neighbours.  

We’re one very important step closer to making The Heart of Newhaven a functioning reality for the whole community.


In case you had not noticed, 28th January was the first anniversary of the launch of

The Heart of Newhaven Community.  

That night about 80 of you at Victoria Primary School put your hands up –  some with red heart stickers on finger tips – to appoint a Steering Group and signed up to support the vision of a vibrant beating hub of activity on this site right at the centre of Newhaven.  

Exactly one year later your Steering Group, at its tenth meeting, toasted all we have achieved in our first exciting year, whilst taking on an even more demanding programme for the year ahead.   We are very encouraged by the support of more than 600 new names added in that time.  Our membership is about to exceed 700, with more joining every day and we’ve barely started.   Not bad for a one year old!

The highly successful information event at Asda this month gave a boost both to numbers and enthusiasm. Further similar chats over coffee are planned shortly as we continue to show the latest chapter of the story.  We are also looking for a further showcase event “on site” and hope this one may be in the Anchor Building.  


Have you ever been in the modern Anchor Building which, because it is only five years old, offers a range of possibilities of “user friendly” space?   

Just imagine walking in one day and……

….. tasting cakes and biscuits made by older people using recipes their mothers gave them: then taking the recipe home…... your toddler making friends with an older wheelchair user who reads them a story;  and then finding out that person lives just down the street from you and would love to do that regularly…..that toddler and that older neighbour painting a picture together and chatting away.  

That’s intergenerational activity and building community.  It’s the kind of thing we’re planning to make happen in the Anchor building as part of a huge programme of activity because you've told us it's important!

Another day you might say to your friend…. 

“Fancy coming with me to the Heritage Suite in the old building?  Did you know all the museum organisations are now linked together on one floor and there’s so much to see.  

I want to try the Victorian Schoolroom now moved to an authentic setting.  What was school like for my grannie’s grandma?   And there are so many other stories from Newhaven’s past.  How about next Tuesday?”

Or…….., perhaps now you are just catching a glimpse of the detailed kind of work going on behind the scenes as we draw together a fantastic range of “Stakeholders”, many organisations and enterprises all eager to work together in the most comprehensive programme of activity ever seen in Newhaven.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.   

We have to make sure it all adds up financially and long term.    

Lots more to tell you next time and I hope by then - about the end of February - I can announce a further very significant step forward.  

What I am sure of is that there will always be something new worth reading here.   


Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator) chair@theheartofnewhaven.co.uk

Jan Update

It’s hard to keep pace with what is happening.  

The immediate thing is to invite you to join us for a free cup of coffee on 

Tuesday 14th January 10am to 12 noon at ASDA

The eagle eyed among you may already have seen the advert on our much visited website – this particular Update page incidentally visited by an impressive number.  What is this event about and who is it for?  The answer is you and anyone else who cares to drop in for a chat simply to find out what’s going on.

If you happen to be doing some shopping there – and Asda deserves a plug for supporting us with grants as well as this offer of space-with-free-coffee in their café – why not drop in for half an hour?   You will find volunteers with our iconic name badge ready to show you display boards on the progress we are making in applying to acquire Victoria Primary School, a stone’s throw away on the other side of Lindsay Road to become The Heart of Newhaven Community, pulsating with activities that serve the needs of everyone around us – and that means a very wide range of creative ideas.  You’ll see!Of course this is an opportunity to boost our membership still more, as I always encourage you to help by telling your friends about our exciting plans.  You will be better able to do that if you yourself know more about it.     So this morning is also for those of you who are already enthusiastic but have your own questions about the details.      

Community Champions

Meanwhile here’s another practical idea: We all do our fair share of moaning about cutbacks here and delays there, especially in providing for the needs of the most vulnerable in our community;  marginalised through no fault of their own but in danger of being forgotten as others around them are busy with their own lives.   Every day there is another sad story of someone who has been affected by some cut or delay in services.    But there are also some astonishing stories of good work being done in communities where people voluntarily pull together.  When you have a moment for a good read just click onto this link to one such encouraging account of good practice. 

We are now working on a programme leading to volunteers becoming COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS: people who may have their own story of good practice to share or who may know of story like this award winning community. 

Initially we are just looking to collect names  (yours?) on a list of those who we can approach to share ideas that may help us gather information from a variety of sources or who may themselves act as representatives of The Heart of Newhaven Community.   

It would be encouraging if you will join us on this exciting bandwagon of emerging ideas:  perhaps especially focussing on one of our key themes Well-being in the Community If you’d like to know more about this or anything related to it then pop into Asda for coffee on Tuesday 10-12. 

Or continue to watch this space as we develop a scheme to identify those who, perhaps like you, are ready to help make our vision come true by being a COMMUNITY CHAMPION.  We want to develop programmes that are “people-led” – your good ideas.  Newhaven is your community.   I look forward to seeing you soon to discuss it.  

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)



Heart of Newhaven Update 19 to 20


Happy New Year! This time next year we will be getting very excited about 2021 when we are on course in our bid to acquire the site of the present Victoria Primary School and begin moving in soon after the children have moved across the road to their new school now taking shape.

They are already excited about what they are helping to design! We are all cheering them on.

In this update I want to “join up the dots” between 20 and 21. An essential caveat is that nothing is certain and dates in particular may slip a bit. But I can report on what has happened since 2018, what is happening as 2019 becomes 2020. What will happen depends partly on you. Read on.

PAST 18…..19

In October 2018 a public meeting at the school produced some “blue sky thinking” – lots of creative ideas of the use to which this place with its iconic Victorian Building, the 21st century Anchor Building and the whole outside area of the playground could be developed by Newhaven Community.

In January 2019 The Heart of Newhaven Community was launched to begin to turn dream into reality. Perhaps you were one of the 80 founder members. During the year Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) helped us with a great deal of research to engage both groups and individuals, gaining the name “stakeholders” asking to be included in the plans. Inclusion is essential: to succeed we must try to include everyone we can, because this is The Heart of the whole Newhaven Community.

PRESENT 19….20

We have been awarded several grants to help us. The most recent – crucially from the Scottish Land Fund as the first stage in our application for major funding for the whole project – has enabled us to appoint professional Business Consultants, SKS Scotland,now finalising their report on what is a viable long term programme we must have in place as we submit Stage Two Application to the City of Edinburgh Council shortly. Here’s a foretaste, the tiniest glimpse, a mere hint of some ideas….

The iconic Victorian building could include amongst many imaginative things a heritage suite to incorporate museum artefacts ranging from the History of Education with its Victorian Schoolroom, Newhaven Heritage and the school’s own Wee Museum. The modern already user-friendly Anchor Building with easy disabled access is an invaluable asset for activities like babycare, early learning and programmes for the elderly among a range of “stakeholders” providing essential income. There will be growing interaction around our three themes of Culture and Heritage, Learning and Enterprise and Well-being in the Community as we develop confidence with each other.

FUTURE 20….21

As indicated in my last update we are in the process of becoming a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), an important step forward. Our membership has soared from an initial 80 to well over 600 and still growing as the word is passed round.

Please share all this good news with your friends, neighbours and colleagues and encourage them to become involved. Share this link 

At the same time you can dispel a myth caused by misunderstanding that The Heart of Newhaven is only interested in the Victorian building itself. Of course that is included (that word again) but so is everything else and everyone else! The circle at the centre of the catchment area map is around the whole site for obvious reasons. And this time next year, as 2020 gives way to 2021 we should be on the cusp of a very exciting future.

Thank you for helping to make that happen. Happy New Year!

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)


Heart of Newhaven - December Update

Hot off the Press!

We have now registered with The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) The Heart of Newhaven Community Constitution as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO).   Once approved this will be submitted to the City of Edinburgh Council with Stage Two of our formal Application for the acquisition of Victoria Primary School by Community Asset Transfer.  

This follows the successful submission of Stage One, since when we have kept the Council fully informed of our progress.    

As a SCIO we have had to define our geographical area.   How?

Mapping the Area

No model is without challenges:  postcodes, wards, community councils, catchment areas all overlap.   To combine them produces a large, odd outline.  

Instead we have drawn a simple perimeter as on this map, with GPS co-ordinates for the technically minded.   

Others may find a “virtual tour” helpful – so try this, clockwise from point 1 just north of Corinthian Quay in Lochinver Drive. 

Dive in if you want to swim;  otherwise take an imaginary ferry across the Firth of Forth to just beyond the lighthouse entrance to the Port of Leith 2.    Turn right and scrabble along past the Martello Tower 3.      Right again in a straight line to the bridge at Ocean Drive at the entrance of Victoria Dock 4.  Another turn for the short distance to the edge of Victoria Dock 5.  

Our boundary now turns left (southwest-ish);  this straight line clips the edge of (but does not include) the Scottish Office Building, crosses over Commercial Street into Citadel Place and up the steps into Couper Street until it crosses over Coburg Street to the far side 6.

The next bit is easy:   across Junction Street traffic lights into Ferry Road on the library corner.  Go all the way along to include Edinburgh Tabernacle in Inverleith Gardens on the left 7.   Here turn right into Granton Road, up to the bend 8, and on, still including addresses on both sides to9.  Finally across Granton Square but only the east side, including the Army Reserve Centre, and back to the start.      

Everyone over 16 years at every address inside this line can be a “ordinary” voting member if they wish.   Adults outwith, plus all organisations can be non-voting “associate” members, anyone 12-15 a “junior”.   Of those already on our list well over 300 qualify as ordinary voting members;  perhaps you do.   Details of what this means will be explained in due course but this is a very encouraging start.

For the time being….

…it is very important to increase our current list, (sign up or print for a friend here) as the best way to keep everyone fully informed of each step we take.   We want everyone who wishes to be part of our plans to help form the ideas being developed, with no one forced to join unless they choose.   

So please make this known to those around you.   Don’t let anyone say later, “No one asked me!”  On the other hand if someone says,  “That’s not ‘Newhaven” you can answer “This IS the defined geographical area of The Heart of Newhaven Community”.  

One more thing for now

We will have a stall at Victoria Primary School Christmas Fair on Saturday 14th from 10-12.  Please let me know if you can help us hand out forms – and our trademark heart-strawberries.  That’s an excellent way to pass the message on.  And who knows, by then there may be even more to report.    

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

Email chair@theheartofnewhaven.co.uk              

Heart of Newhaven - November Update

The Bulldozers are in!

This is the news we have been waiting for:  the start of building the new school.  

Every day now, as the children from my part of Newhaven walk along Western Harbour Drive towards Victoria Primary School, they will be able to see the site for their new school being developed.

Those like me, who for years have been used to walking a diagonal line from The Element cutting across the grass to shop at Asda, now have to change our route.  The whole area is fenced off, so no short cut for us with our shopping bags!  

But it’s a sign of progress which we have longed to see.

Meanwhile, on their first visit to Newhaven as our Business Consultants, the three representatives of SKS Scotland Community Interest Company engaged to help us prepare our Business Plan, were greatly impressed by what they saw on a site visit – and had the bonus of witnessing high spirited children getting ready for Halloween;  so the place we hope to inherit from them as the beating heart of Newhaven was throbbing with life.  

Their first impression was of the huge potential of this site and we have been able to furnish them with the results of the research done for us by Planning Aid Scotland.   You may soon find them consulting you to tease out your hopes for the future. Yes, you!

What next?

While these consultants will continue to help us until the end of the year your Steering Committee have been continuing to take other necessary steps, some of which it may be possible to announce in the next update in 20 days’ time – and through this direct contact you will be the first to hear. 

Incidentally, for those literally counting these intervals, I apologise for the slight delay with this particular update.  It has been caused, if you are interested, by the fact that I have been away helping my son renovate an iconic end terrace Victorian house in Castle Donington.   

So, if and when the time comes for some modest changes desired and permitted as the current use of Victoria Primary School gives way to our plans for a hub where

Culture and Heritage                  Learning and Enterprise             Community Well-Being

are the order of the day, I may be able to play a modest part in the Vision for the Future.  

I am certainly not lacking in enthusiasm for the task and I hope you share that too.

But for now I content myself with the well-rehearsed mantra:  pass the word round to your neighbours, especially any who ask what’s going on with the bulldozers.  

And persuade them to sign up as you have done to make a dream come true. 

It’s getting closer all the time but it does depend on you.

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

Heart of Newhaven update 27.10.19

The Next Step:
The Appointment of SKS Scotland

The purpose of these regular updates is to encourage all who are helping the beating heart of Newhaven by announcing progress being made towards the acquisition of Victoria Primary School by Community Asset Transfer from the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC).  

We have to work on two plans side by side:

  1. to secure sufficient funding not only to purchase but to maintain the premises;  and
  2. to prepare a business plan to demonstrate to the Council that the old school will be properly used in a new guise for and by the whole Community in the medium and long term future.

I am pleased to report that we have succeeded in our Part 1 Application to The Scottish Land Fund (SLF) for a grant enabling us to appoint SKS Scotland Community Interest Company to give us professional help as we prepare our applications both to the Council and to the SLF Part 2, for the major grant we will need to succeed in our objective.  

To get this far we have invited tenders, interviewed, selected and now contracted SKS to help us with our plan.  Their consultants will begin work immediately, visit us again, inspect the school, and also  contact those who have indicated a wish to use the premises in one way or another, building on work already done for us by Planning Aid Scotland (whose work was also made possible by grants);   and over the next few weeks will help us prepare a Business Plan.  

More Progess

A Legal Body for the Heart of Newhaven Community

Even as SKS work alongside your Steering Group, we are also taking steps to set up the appropriate Legal Entity with the Constitution required to represent the whole Community –  see the current Steering Group Constitution on our website heartofnewhaven.co.uk which proposes this action.

Meanwhile you continue to help as you share the vision with those in the Community around you.    We now have well over 500 registered with the Heart of Newhaven and that is in no small part because you have shared all this with your neighbours and friends.  

Please keep up the effort. We have a very easy form on the website, so please point others towards it and look out for more information shortly on various ways to communicate.  

And finally….

….any day now the bulldozers will move in on the site for the building of the new school in Western Harbour.  Once that work begins the clock will begin to tick.

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)


What’s Going to Happen?”

No, this isn’t the latest Brexit question but one many people asked when they were guided round Victoria Primary School by historically costumed children last Saturday on Doors Open Day.  Grasping the booklet celebrating 30 years of free access to historic buildings across Scotland on a September day, people were invited to view the plans for the new school about to be built between Asda and the David Lloyd Centre.   This year Edinburgh’s oldest primary school celebrated 175 years on this site.   Next year at this time the children will probably be in their final term here.  Then what? 

That’s the question.

Display boards – you can see them on the website – illustrated things that may be possible as this building becomes the beating heart of Newhaven, a vibrant hub of new activity in which everyone will be able to feel it belongs to them and they belong to it.   But this will only happen by our joint efforts.  Which is why everyone not already signed up to our plans so far were invited to do just that to demonstrate support, ownership and ideas.  This dream must be your dream, this space claimed as your space, the activities ones in which you want to be involved.  It is not about “them” and what “they” will do but about “us” and what we plan to do as the Heart of Newhaven

The Next Steps

Your Steering Group has set aside 15th October for a special meeting to consider the final report of Planning Aid Scotland and agree our vision of the way ahead.   The work PAS has done for us as on our website has been funded by grants.   Now we have to decide the way ahead to take account of the input from our Community as expressed so far.  

Once we have assessed this and approval is given to our application for a further grant – this time from the Scottish Land Fund, to whom we will later apply for a major grant to help us purchase Victoria Primary School– we will be ready to engage chosen Business Consultants to help us produce details plans.

But it’s not a matter of “watch this space”.   You continue to have a very important role to fulfil as you share the vision with those in the Community around you.   It is still surprising how many people have no idea at all what is happening.   And since it is happening in the name of everyone in the Community that remains a challenge.   Which is why the next steps always include something that you can do.  

Please continue to help.  

Just imagine…

….in two years time this historic building could be throbbing with the new energy of the Heart of Newhaven and you might be proudly showing people round on Doors Open Day 2021 in answer to that leading question about a historic building with a future.    

Rodney Matthews (Vision Facilitator)

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)