All posts by colleenreid

Let £eith Decide

By Colleen Reid

£eith Decides

A funding initiative to give power to local people, ‘£eith Decides‘ is an X-Factor style pilot project which sees local groups and charities battle it out for a share of Leith’s Community Grant. £16,600 in total is up for grabs, with the people of Leith to decide where and how it is spent.

Run by Leith Neighbourhood Partnership, the scheme is the first of its type in Edinburgh and could be rolled out across the city if successful.

The principle of the project is simple, each applicant will give a short presentation to Leith residents, which will then be voted on with a top score of five. The top rated organisations will then receive up to £1000 as decided by Leith residents.

Councillor Jenny Dawe, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is a worthwhile project focusing on the local groups in Leith and is a good example of empowering communities by devolving funding decisions to a local level.”

In reality, the project seems to be a mystery to both residents and applicants alike. After contacting several of the groups and organisations who are in the running to gain funding, many were unaware of the X Factor style vote off system and this could spell trouble for the scheme.

Leith resident Emma Milne was not even aware of £eith Decides. She said: “It’s a good idea but I live in Leith and I’ve never heard of it. If it was advertised better it could work.”

A total of 29 groups and organisations are in the running for a slice of Leith’s yearly Community Grant of £48,032. The initiative has attracted a wide range of groups including Families Together in Leith, Out of the Blue Arts and Education Trust and the Bethany Christian Trust.

Dan Reynolds from Bethany Christian Trust said: “A project like £eith Decides means that smaller and local groups can put forward their own case for support and that by involving as many ordinary people as possible, it’s a chance for the community to decide what is best for them.”

The voting event is open to everyone who lives or works in Leith and will take place on the 27th November in Leith Academy. However, with the voting turnout of the recent general elections being just 68.4% for Edinburgh North and Leith compared to 73.8% in Edinburgh South, are the people of Leith likely to come and vote? Incentives such as a flat screen TV and a signed Hibs shirt are being offered in a prize draw to entice residents to participate.

Leith boys Charlie and Craig Reid from Scottish band The Proclaimers are trying to promote the project. They said: “Our very best wishes to all involved in £eith decides, and we are sure the Leithers will be astute judges.”

Grow your mo this November!

By Colleen Reid

Moustache legend - Tom Selleck

Men all over the world are ditching the clean shaven look this month to raise awareness for mens health.

Starting on the 1st of November, hundreds of thousands of men will start bare lipped and grow a moustache for the month to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.

Dubbed ‘Movember‘, the global event not only raises awareness, but essential funds for men’s health charities such as The Prostate Cancer Charity.

According to Cancer Research UK, in 2008 there were 913,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide and it remains the most common cancer in men in the UK.

The idea for Movember was born in 2003 and despite no money being raised, the event caught on. Last year, 255,755 people participated raising £26 million for the cause.

Following last years success as the face of Movember in Edinburgh, barber chain Boom Barbers are just as involved this time, offering free moustache maintenance and advice for men looking to get involved.

Stylist Scott Williams says “I think it’s going to be huge this year. Obviously it doesn’t start til Monday but I think there’s going to be a lot of publicity this year and it’s going to be really big. We’re going into peoples offices, people are coming in here and we’re working closely with the Movember organisers. We’re getting right in behind it at Boom Barbers. Like last year, we’re offering free moustache care for the month and we did a sponsored shaveathon at the launch a couple of weeks ago.”

At the end of the month, a special bash is to be held at city centre club Electric Circus to say thanks to all those fuzzy lipped Scots who took part. Electric Circus say “We did the party last year as well. The event is good fun, people are busy raising money but they’re also having lots of fun! It’s quite an unusual event, good entertainers, DJ’s and obviously we give Movember a charity rate because you’ve got to back charities with a good cause!”

Although they lack the ability to sprout facial hair, women need not be left out. Called Mo sistas, women can help by supporting their Mo bro throughout the month.

Local biology teacher Elaine Reid is supporting her husband and Mo-bro Darren. She says “I will manage to live with his hairy face for a month because its for a good cause but when Movember is finished it will definitely be shaved off!”

Men are urged to be proud of their Mo and help change the face of men’s health.



Second Fire for Kushi’s in Just Two Years

By Colleen Reid

An Indian restaurant in Dunfermline has suffered minimal damage after a fire broke out yesterday afternoon.

The Fife branch of the Kushi chain is the second to catch alight, after a major blaze ripped through the Edinburgh branch in 2008.

Discovered by neighbouring club Lourenzo’s general manager Jim Meenan at 12.10pm, the fire was quickly extinguished and the eatery suffered only minimal damage. Fire officials are said to be investigating the source of the flames and have confirmed that no one was injured.

The previous fire in Edinburgh’s Victoria Street, on the 19th December 2008, was severe in comparison, with the restaurant yet to re-open.

Suffering structural damage, the restaurant closed for repairs along with next-door nightclub the Liquid Rooms. The nightclub recently re-opened for business but the restaurant is still in distress.

Since December 2008 the Mohammed family who own Kushi’s have been in a long-running dispute over the payout to insurance company Aviva. In July 2009 the family revealed that the cost of repairs would be covered from their own funds as lawyers battled for a payout.

Not only is the fire the chain’s second, it is also the second major fire in Dunfermline city centre in a matter of months. Following an arson attack, Thomson’s World of Furniture was ravaged by fire on the 8th of August. Fire fighters from neighbouring districts were called in to battle the blaze in the former furniture store.

Dunfermline Fire Station relocated to Pitreavie Business Park from beside Thomson’s just months before. Three teenage males were arrested and charged over the attack.

James Finally Breaks a Record

By Colleen Reid

James celebrates his new title (photograph from

Dunfermline oddball James Boyd has made his way into the Guinness Book of World Records after equalling the record for the most After Eight mints eaten in one minute.

The record breaking effort comes after an embarrassing attempt on Britain’s Got Talent in 2010 where Boyd failed to equal or beat the record of eight After Eights without the use of hands.

His record-breaking attempts don’t stop there as Boyd was humiliated after downing just four Ferrero Rocher in 60 seconds a year previously on BGT despite host Ant McPartlin wolfing down five.

James said: “I’m very happy that now I’m in the Guinness Book of Records. It was a big ambition for me as I used to watch programmes such as Record Breakers and You Bet on TV when I was younger. I would like to try and beat the record one day but I’m just enjoying getting my name in the book at the moment.”

The contestant has used his new found fame in the hope to raise the profile of his fund-raising for children’s charities, CHAS and Children’s Hospices UK.

Despite being a new record breaker, Boyd warns he will return to the talent show to prove that his previously condemned ‘talent’ is not too disgusting for a spot on the Royal Variety Performance.

Brown and Cameron at war over social services failure

By Colleen Reid

Gordon Brown was attacked today at Question Time by Conservative leader as the case of Baby P unravels

Neglect and systematic failure by the state led to Baby P dying at the age of 17 months after eight months of suffering. Since the first incident, Baby P was on the Child Protection Register in Haringey and despite 60 social service visits throughout his traumatic life, the toddler eventually died suffering injuries such as broken ribs, a broken spine, countless bruises and wounds.

Just days before Baby P’s death he was taken to a paediatrician in Haringey who failed to detect the eight broken ribs and spine. Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat failed the child along with several health workers who continuously ignored the suspicious injuries.

The case, which bares similarities to that of Victoria Climbie who was also on Haringey’s Child Protection Register, has arroused a nationwide attack on these so called ‘systematic failures’ leading to child deaths

The House of Commons was in uproar today as Cameron voiced his anger and disappointment within a system who receives £100 million in funding every year. He referred to the investigation into the case as ‘wrong’ as Sharon Shoesmith, Chairman of the Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board, was left to investigate her own departmental failures.

Brown accused Cameron of making this issue a case of party politics after which The Speaker reminded the Commons of the delicacy of the case and asked for respect to be shown.

Ministers have requested an independent nationwide inquest, led by Lord Laming, into the state’s neglect of this child and of others suffering all around the country.

Wes Cuell, acting chief executive of the NSPCC, said last night: “Even with substantial child-protection reforms, spotting the danger to an individual child remains fraught with difficulty – especially when the child is too young to speak out.”

Scottish Comedy Stands Strong

Colleen Reid

Possibly the snuggest venue for comedy in Edinburgh, The Stand Comedy Club plays host to a weekly night of amateurs known as Red Raw. Expect laughs, unbelievable life stories and heckling all for the cost of a pint.

The ever popular Red Raw gives eight acts the chance to debut on the comedy scene whether for the first time or on a weekly slot. To ease the night along resident comedian JoJo Sutherland has the crowd in stitches from kick off with stories about drinking, middle age life and her teenage sons.

Following her lead, comedy newbies, mixed in with The Stand legends such as Vladimir McTavish, take to the stage to try their hand at tickling the audience. Obviously not always as successful as the acts hope. One fresh act let nerves(and poor material) get the better of him and as he started mumbling on about necrophilia his set was promptly cut short.

Vladimir McTavish
Vladimir McTavish

McTavish’s set however, was as strong as ever as he touched on the issue of the Scots and binge drinking. The crowd was in uproar as the self proclaimed love child of Oor Wullie and Aggie MacKenzie easily polished off two pints and a nip of whiskey in his five minute set. During which, he proved that office workers are to blame for binge drinking when they invite each other out for ‘just the one’ after work

Each Red Raw night is headlined by an up and coming comedian from the UK and last night was no exception with London born Marlon Davis. Davis had the crowd in stitches with a hilarious take on his recent breakup, from falling in love to his final and quite worrying sexual encounter. Previously described as the Chris Rock of Britain, Davis is definitely one to look out for.

The effortlessly funny night was a well craved change from the usual pub scene and is recommended to everyone whether your taste in humour is dry, light or just plain wrong.

Red Raw, every Tuesday from 8pm at The Stand Comedy Club.

Napier Student latest victim of bogus stair cleaning scam

Bogus communal maintenance fees are swindling new renters out of money.

Rachel Watson, Graphic Design student from Edinburgh, was duped into giving a man money for what she thought was a fee to maintain the stairwell of her building. On contacting her letting agent to ask how often these payments would be made, Watson was told this was not a legitimate service and not to part with any more money.

As a new tenant within the building, Watson had no reason to doubt the fee and felt pressured by the mans presence at her door.

Watson said: “I’m shocked. He seemed like a polite, elderly gentleman. It’s not the money that’s bothering me, it’s the principle of the matter. It sounded like a legitimate reason.”

Similar scams have been reported to a letting agent in Tollcross since the beginning of term. June McCain of Capital Lettings has expressed her concern for students in the area. She said: “Scammers tend to target student filled areas as they know the tenants change frequently. A similar thing was reported in our flats in Marchmont just last month. Everything from window cleaning to cutting the communal green should be discussed with your landlord or letting agent before signing a tenancy agreement to help avoid these situations.”

Helen Crocker, Manager of Napier Student Accommodation gives the following advice to ensure Napier students are aware of the dangers. She said: “The general rule for anyone is – do not let any stranger into your flat, ask for proof of identity, do not give them any money or sign anything until you have checked everything out.  If they are genuine they will not mind you doing this and will come back at a time convenient to you both to discuss further. ”