Free WiFi in Edinburgh city centre goes live

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures

 

In light of the present and upcoming Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations, Edinburgh has launched it’s new free WiFi service in the city centre. [Read more…]

Scottish councils facing funding deficit

gbp-currency

Source: Pixabay.com

Scottish councils could face a combined funding gap of £553 million by 2018, according to a new report from the Accounts Commission.

The Commission has said that based on figures from 2015/16, local authorities are currently in good financial health but have found that there could be “significant challenges” in the future. [Read more…]

Thousands of new homes set for Lothian

About 60,000 homes are expected to be built in Lothian as a part of the City Deal Programme. It hopes to transform the City of Edinburgh’s housing situation by providing 25,000 extra homes by 2026, according to official estimates.

Last week’s Autumn Statement revealed the UK Government is committed to securing a multi-billion pound investment in the Lothian region, to respond to the growth in population that has recently affected the area.

[Read more…]

Scottish Transport Minister calls for devolution of train services

img_3578

Photo credit: Cormac Rae

The devolution of rail services in Scotland could be a step closer, after a report released today by think tank Reform Scotland harshly criticised ScotRail for failing to deliver an acceptable standard of service.

Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, renewed calls for devolution of responsibility for Scottish train services, to the Scottish Government.

The Minister said:

“Network rail should be devolved to Scotland. That’s a call I’ve made, that’s a call my predecessors collectively have previously as well, and now it seems Labour politicians are making the same case as well.  I welcome that [agreement] from Tom Harris and welcome that [report] from Reform Scotland.”

[Read more…]

“We are not closing”, says Dr Bell’s Family Centre

Community base in Leith will continue to provide services for families with young children despite the funding crisis

Community base in Leith will continue providing services for families with young children despite the funding crisis

Dr Bell’s Family Centre has put to rest claims that the on-going funding crisis could result in closure by April next year.

Fiona Clark, Centre Manager for Fundraising & Strategy, has said that they have been at risk of redundancy since March.

 “Some staff will be made redundant, redundancy is optional for everyone. Other staff will continue in reduced service from January”

However Clark has reassured the community that the centre is not closing, and will continue delivering services.

Dr Bell’s currently employs ten members of staff, with only one full-time employee.

The centre also relies on volunteer support, coming majoritively from people who have used the services in the past and now want to give back.

img_0174

Clare Armstrong, Volunteer Receptionist

 

The centre manager sums up the importance of the organisation:

“We provide all-round family support, we have crèche for children up the age of 8, one-to-one family support, group work, counselling, trauma therapy, healthy-eating cooking classes, Mum’s group, Dad’s Worker, employability advice and tackling money worries”

The services are focused around a community café, which Clark describes as:

“Non-stigmatizing, non-judgmental gateway that encourages people to come in for some healthy-eating food and chat”

Shaani Singh, Kitchen Assistant

Shaani Singh, Kitchen Assistant

A month ago, the centre calculated that they would need £40,000 to stay open till the end of March 2016.

Concerns have been raised that the funding gap could lead to the centre’s closure by April next year.

However, the decision to reduce the services offered, alongside receiving other funding since the £40,000 gap prognosis, make it increasingly possible for the centre to continue delivering its services.

The centre provides welcoming and supportive environment for many families in the local community

The centre provides welcoming and supportive environment for many families in the local community

Dr Bell’s Family Centre is currently the only place in Edinburgh that has a free crèche in the same location as parenting support groups and other services.

 

The impact of the centre’s work on the Leith community is of great significance: they work with over 350 families a year, according to Clark.

“Last year 256 children came to the crèche, we supported 42 families through family support and 70 single mums through employability programme”

The centre is launching a fundraising appeal in an attempt to continue supporting the Leith community.

 

By Iben Revsbech and Alena Yakushova

UKIP leader calls for ‘Scot Free’ House of Commons

Newly elected UKIP leader, Paul Nuttall, called for English devolution in his first speech as UKIP leader after previously suggesting Scottish MPs should be removed from the House of Commons.

Nuttall has replaced Nigel Farage as permanent leader of the party winning over 60% of the vote in the second Leadership election the party has had in the last 3 months.

The last election was labelled a shambles after Diane James, elected in September, resigned only 18 days later, subsequently leaving the party.  Nigel Farage had to return to the leadership role while a new leader was selected. [Read more…]

Sentence appeal for sectarian murder is refused

The appeal to reduce convicted murderer Tamveer Ahmed’s 27 year sentence was quashed today at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Ahmed, 32, from Bradford in Yorkshire, murdered 40 year old shopkeeper Asas Shah in a brutal knife attack which left Shah with injuries similar to those seen in a road traffic accident.

[Read more…]

Scottish footballer alleges abuse

Photo credit: Andrew Smith

Photo credit: Andrew Smith

A Scottish footballer has come forward about his abuse from former football coach, Barry Bennell.

Dougie Gilligan, from Hamilton, claims he was abused on two separate occasions during a coaching camp when he was 13 years old, by the convicted paedophile, Bennell. [Read more…]

Fears for family centre after staff cuts

Credit Alumy

Credit: Alumy

Dr Bell’s Family Centre in Leith has been forced to sack staff members following funding cuts.

The Leith-based support centre for families with young children attributed recent cuts to their crèche services, and staff lay offs to a reduction in the city council’s annual grant from £95,000 to £47,000.

Centre manager Fiona Clark said to Edinburgh Evening News that the deepening funding crisis may result in complete closure by April next year.

Dr Bell’s Family Centre opened its doors in August 2006, and was set up as a partnership between local people, Edinburgh City Council and NHS Lothian.

The centre operates with ten staff members and the help of volunteers. Concerns are raised over the future of the organization after all ten staff have received redundancy notes.

Providing a crèche for over 200 children, the centre also offers cookery classes and other services like family support and counselling for dozens of families, according to Clark.

More to follow.

By Iben Revsbech and Alena Yakushova

 

UPDATE: Virgin Train derailment

Picture Copyright Chris Watt/ Virgin Trains Media Room

Picture Copyright Chris Watt/ Virgin Trains Media Room

Virgin Trains has responded to this morning’s incident and the continued disruption at Edinburgh Waverley station today.

A Virgin train was derailed in Edinburgh this morning, and has left subsequent services in disarray. Customers are being advised to check the Virgin Trains website for live travel information.

Listen to the statement from a Virgin Trains operator, Thomas Thornton, 37,  below:

UPDATE: 75 reported dead after Colombian plane crash, including members of Brazilian football team

UPDATE 14:08- Reports claim another survivor of Colombian plane crash has died in hospital. The Brazilian Government have announced three days of national mourning.

A plane carrying 81 passengers, including members of the Brazilian Chapecoense football team, crashed in the early hours of this morning.

The crash occurred at 03:15 GMT, following an electrical fault reported by the pilot.

Police have confirmed that 1 of the six initial survivors has died in hospital. Survivors of the crash are reported to include footballers and a journalist.

The Chapecoense Football team were due to play the Medellín team Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday 30th November. The match has now been postponed indefinitely.

Brazilian President, Michel Temer, offered his condolences on Twitter:

“The government will do everything possible to alleviate the pain of friends and family of sport and national journalism”

Temer said that all means were being put forward to “help families and give every assistance possible. Aeronautics and Itamaraty (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) are already in effect.”

In a statement The Brazilian Football Federation said:

“Our solidarity and prayers are with the passengers and crew.”

Scottish councils facing over half a billion pounds of funding deficit, Accounts Commission warns

Scottish councils could face a combined funding gap of £553 million by 2018, according to a new report from the Accounts Commission.

The Commission has said that, based on figures from 2015-16, local authorities are currently in good financial health, but have found that there could be “significant challenges” in the future.

Forecasting for the next three years, the report’s analysis found that the deficit between the money that councils raise and what they spend could rise from £87 million in 2016-17 to £553 million in 2018-19.

The figures would mean that a large proportion of local authorities would face a gap in funding higher than the amount currently held in reserves.

The Commission acknowledged that councils face, “increasing pressure from a long-term decline in funding, rising demand for services and increasing costs such as pensions.”

More to follow later.

Scottish Council worries about the impact on front line services funding.

Scottish Council worries about the impact on front line services funding.

BREAKING NEWS: Virgin Train derailment in Edinburgh

Virgin train customers face severe disruption after a train derailment in Edinburgh this morning has left multiple services delayed.

Trains have been trapped in Waverley Station, or cancelled entirely, after the incident this morning.

Customers are being assured they will be able to travel on alternative services immediately before or after their previously selected journey.

Picture Copyright: Chris Watt info@chriswatt.com Virgin Trains Media Room

Picture Copyright: Chris Watt/Virgin Trains Media Room

More on this story will follow.

Live travel information can be found on the Virgin Trains website.

Edinburgh Tesco Store denies controversial two-tiered queuing system

by Cormac Rae

zzz

Elliot James (left), 16, Boroughmuir High School student

Parents and students from Boroughmuir High School complained of a two tiered queuing system at a nearby Tesco metro store.

According to reports, private school George Watson’s student were not required to queue whilst state school Boroughmuir students were allegedly made to wait in a line.

Controversy occurred when a parent and lecturer at Edinburgh University, Neil Pollock engaged in a Twitter spat with a Tesco representative. [Read more…]

ScotRail’s Future Off The Tracks

by Stuart Mackenzie and Noemi Distefano

 

Photo credit: Rory Nicolson

Photo credit: Rory Nicolson

 

Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament tomorrow to discuss how to improve the Scottish rail services.

This follows pressure from opposition politicians for him to speak after various proposals to bring ScotRail’s railways into public ownership.

ScotRail, who are currently operated by Abellio, have been experiencing various problems with their services.

Charlotte Twyning of Abellio UK, told to the BBC: “It should be recognised that half of the rail industry is already nationalised in the form of Network Rail and any operator that runs the ScotRail franchise – public or private – does so to a tightly specified Scottish government contract.” [Read more…]

New Taxi Rank Plans For Edinburgh Waverley Under Fire

by Rory Nicolson and Alena Yakushova

Network Rail have confirmed plans for the new taxi rank at the New Street car park for Edinburgh Waverley Station.

The move comes two years after taxis were banned from collecting and dropping off commuters from within the station for security reasons.

Lothians MSP Miles Briggs has been gathering support to re-open the indoor taxi rank. He launched a petition in August and is bringing the debate to Parliament on the taxi rank plans this Thursday. Speaking about the New Street Car Park Taxi Rank plans, he said:

“This is welcome news in as far as it goes but this is only a limited improvement as it is only a pick up rank and not one where passengers can be dropped off.

 “This rank will also be considerably further away from the central parts of the station compared to previous ranks so there will still be real challenges for blind, disabled and infirm travelers.”

[Read more…]

Teenagers drinking “a bathtub full of sugary drinks” each year

sugary-drink-gif

11 to 18 year olds are drinking the equivalent of a bathtub full of sugary drinks every year, according to figures compiled from the latest Government National Diet and Nutrition Survey, it’s been reported.

This is the equivalent of just under 234 cans of soft drink per year, twice the amount of children aged between 4 and 10.

It’s also been said that teenagers are eating and drinking at least three times the recommended limit, and sugary drinks account for most of this added sugar.

Cancer Research UK is calling on the Scottish government to do more to tackle the country’s wider obesity epidemic, suggesting that a proposed sugar levy does not go far enough. [Read more…]

Daily Round-up

Find the daily round-up of today’s biggest stories below.

 

 

  1. Nigel Farage says he’s ‘flattered’, after Donald Trump suggested he should be appointed Britain’s ambassador to the US, despite criticism from British MPs.
  2. The man who is accused of murdering Labour MP Jo Cox, has opted not to give evidence in his defence.
  3. Nearly 150 people who were stranded on a ferry off the coast of Pembrokeshire are now back on land.
  4. NHS patients may need to show ID before being treated in future.
  5. Conditions in rebel-held eastern Aleppo have been described by the UN as having gone from “terrible” to now “barely survivable”.

For regular new updates follow our twitter @napiernews

Rapist sentenced to eight years in prison

judge-gavel-1461291738x4g

 

A 52-year-old man has been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for rape, at Edinburgh High Court earlier today.

Hugh Wade was convicted of having repeatedly raped an eight-year-old girl from August 2008 till August 2011 in Glasgow.

He was given a 10-year custodial and supervision disposal including eight years of incarceration and two years of open release with supervision.

Hugh Wade appeared in court today after having been kept in custody in Glasgow, where the trial took place last month.

When the sentence was read by Judge Maciver a handful of people sitting in the gallery expressed sighs of what appeared to be both relief and sadness.

Geography Higher is cause for high concerns

Student's stress over Geography Higher Exam

Student’s stress over Geography Higher Exam

The association of Scottish geography teachers have expressed serious concerns about this year’s Geography Higher exam.

The association has submitted a letter to MSP’s claiming this year’s exam was set at an inappropriately high level.

Teachers fear the exam will make pupils choose other subjects instead of geography. [Read more…]

160 youths to endure a night sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh

13501875_10153463943212126_5836002762764591279_n

The sleep out will be taking place on George Street. Source Rock Trust

The Sleep-out for youths, organised by Rock Trust, is due to commence on the 25th November.

12-21 year olds will spend the night sleeping on Edinburgh’s streets in a bid to fundraise for homeless Scottish youths.

The sleep out will be held on George Street, under the watchful eye of Rock Trust volunteers. Rock Trust have been organising the sleep out since its founding  25 years ago, which helps aid the young homeless to find housing.

Last year’s  Sleep Out events raised over £50,000 with the proceeds helping to fund projects around Edinburgh and Lothian shelters.

[Read more…]

Jo Cox’s killer refuses to give evidence

by Cormac Rae

 

The Old Bailey has heard today that Thomas Mair, 53, will not give evidence in his defence.

The victim’s husband Brendan Cox reacted on twitter to Thomas Mair’s decision:

The Labour MP for West Yorkshire was murdered outside a constituency surgery, serving her community and listening to local concerns.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour party posted this tribute on July 15th, the date of Mrs Cox’s funeral.

[Read more…]

In-form Spartans look forward to cup final

 

by Iain Jones

Edinburgh’s Spartans FC will take on fellow Scottish Lowland Football League side East Kilbride FC in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final this Sunday in West Lothian.

The winners will face SPFL League Two club Berwick Rangers in the East of Scotland Cup Final on Tuesday 12th April.

Spartans are unbeaten in all competitions since 2nd January this year and currently sit 2nd in the Lowland League table, 13 points behind fellow capital side Edinburgh City FC.

Spartans midfielder Jack Beesley said: “We’ve obviously had quite a lot of matches quite thick and fast so certainly our match fitness will be good. We’ve got training on Thursday and then the match on Sunday so, yeah, everything’s looking good.”

The Spartans have played the South Lanarkshire side twice in the league already this season, drawing one match and winning the other.

“Over the past few years they’ve probably been our toughest opponents,” said Beesley. “They’re probably as tough a final as you could have at our level so it will certainly be a tough game.”

The East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final kicks off on Sunday 20th March at 3.30pm at Albyn Park in Broxburn.

International News March 16th

Russia withdraws from Syria

The first Russian warplanes left Syria yesterday a day after Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will be withdrawing from the conflict in Syria. Russia will however continue its air strikes.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to visit Russia next week to discuss the situation in Syria, a nation that now faces its sixth year of civil war. Mr. Kerry said the UN-mediated peace talks in Geneva in addition to Russia’s withdrawal may be the best opportunity to end the conflict that has claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million people and displaced more than 6 million people with no end in sight for the nearly 18 million people that are left behind.

LSE merges with Deutsche Börse

The London Stock Exchange is set to merge with Deutsche Börse in Frankfurt in a £20 bn deal. This is done to ward off a potential rival bid from the US, costs are expected to be cut by £354m a year. Deutsche Börse shareholders will own 54.4% of the new company with LSE shareholders owning the remainder.

Trump vs. Clinton?

Hillary Clinton is one step closer to become the US presidential candidate for the Democratic party after defeating Bernie Sanders in the Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri primaries last night.  Meanwhile Donald Trump defeated Republican rival Ted Cruz in the Missouri primaries but lost to John Kasich in Kasich’s home state of Ohio. Marco Rubio conceded his defeat last night to supporters in Miami, leaving only Cruz and Kasich in Trump’s way to become the Republican candidate for the US presidency.

Local News March 16th

Edinburgh flat prices

The introduction of the second-home tax next month are making investors and landlords snap up flats in Edinburgh. While new figures show an overall drop in flat prices across Scotland, prices in Edinburgh have skyrocketed over the last three months.

Most congested city

A8 through Corstorphine has been named most congested road in the UK outside London. A new study suggests that drivers using a 5 mile stretch of road between Princes Street and Maybury Road waste on average 43 hours a year in gridlock. 5pm on Tuesdays has been specified as the peak of congestion. Liberal-Democrat councillor Paul Edie says plans for major housing developments in the west of the city means more traffic for the A8.

Oxgangs primary school closed again

Oxgangs primary school, where a part of the wall blew off during Storm Gertrude in January, has been closed again. Edinburgh City Council said the decision was taken following a safety inspection. The school is set to reopen after the Easter holidays on Monday 11 April.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 441 other followers