Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

August News - Constituency

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August is usually a month that's focussed solely on the constituency. It's the month where my newsletter is a jolly affair telling you about all the fantastic organisations I've visited. And I will do that. But first we have to talk about events in Westminster. Last week the Prime Minister chose to ask the Queen to prorogue parliament, effectively reducing the amount of time available to stop a no deal Brexit.
 
The decision was utterly disgraceful, undemocratic and must be challenged. I'm on my way to Westminster today to do just that. I've been inundated with emails from constituents telling me how angry and upset they are. Let me assure you, I feel that anger, upset and frustration too.

Tomorrow Parliament returns and I promise I'll do all I can to prevent no deal. The SNP will work with others, as we have been doing for months, to stop this outrage. Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP group in Westminster, spoke on the SNP’s behalf at last Tuesday’s cross-party summit. My colleagues and I signed the cross-party Church House Declaration opposing a No-Deal Brexit and any attempt by Boris Johnson to shut down Parliament to force it through. And my colleague Joanna Cherry QC has been leading on a court challenge which will be heard this week. 

I'll do my best to keep folk updated on my Facebook and Twitter pages over the coming days as I imagine things will move quickly. 
 
 
But for now, back to the constituency.  It was great to catch up with the team at The Fruitmarket Gallery at the start of parliamentary recess.  It was really useful to chat through the work they do, including with young people, and to hear about their redevelopment and expansion. I can't wait to go back and visit the new space.
 

What a great tribute to Scotland's youngest suffragette Bessie Watson. Her story is now being shared more widely thanks to those at 6VT Edinburgh City Youth Cafe and their 'Best for Bessie' project. Look out for the plaque (unveiled by the First Minister) next time you're walking through The Vennel.

As a bit of foodie it was great to have a tour of I.J. Mellis Cheesemongers' maturing rooms this month. Thanks to Rory for giving me a tour and explaining the different elements of a fantastic family business.

I popped in to see owner Alasdair Corbett at Easter Greens - the newest shop on Easter Road. All vegan, fresh, loose produce. If you want lovely ripe fruit rather than the brick hard stuff in the supermarket try this.

Beach Wheelchairs Portobello is a cracking organisation that helps people with mobility needs access the beach. Thanks to the team for chatting with me and to Ethan for showing me one of the chairs. You can contact them to book a chair, free of charge, on 0300 666 0990.

 

I spent a lovely Saturday in Bingham and Magdalene. First, I got stuck into the big community day painting the Bingham tunnel, which has been feeling pretty unloved for far too long. Local Councillor, Kate Campbell joined in too. Huge input from the community (especially kids!) and it's now looking a lot better.

Then, it was on to the barbecue and other fun at the Magdalene Community Garden. Great weather and a lovely way to spend the day.

Huge thanks to Rachel and Carolyn from Craigentinny Telferton allotments for showing me round this wonderful oasis in the city - and especially for the giant courgette!

There's amazing work going on behind Bristo Memorial Church in Craigmillar - Edible Estates have moved in and are growing a huge variety of fruit and veg in the church grounds: broad beans, corn, beetroot and potatoes to name just a few. They're keen to get more local folk involved too - find out more here.

I really enjoyed my visit to the Milan Senior Welfare Organisation where I chatted with staff, Board members and service users over a spot of lunch – which was delicious!

Milan offers a range of services for people aged over 65 from the South Asian community living in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Find out more on their website.

 

I spent some time at the Portobello Basics Bank this month where I met staff from Edinburgh City Mission and dedicated volunteers, including Morag and Patsy (pictured to my right) who put together food parcels for families who would otherwise go hungry.

Staff told me that there’s been a huge increase in demand over the last year and that the main cause is the introduction of Universal Credit and delays at the DWP. Basics Banks deserve massive recognition for the great work they do, but all are in agreement that they should not be a vital lifeline for so many of our fellow citizens. We need an end to Westminster austerity.

If you want to get involved by giving time, money or food – pop in along to the Wilson Memorial Church on Portobello Road any Tuesday between 10am and 1pm and ask for Patsy or Morag. Information on your local Basics Bank is available here.

It was great to meet new chief exec of Link Housing Association Jon Turner - and I was delighted he showed me round their brand new development of social and affordable houses at Wauchope in Niddrie, helping deliver the homes our growing city needs.

I was out and about in Craigentinny doing a door to door surgery last week. Folk raised a whole range of issues - and understandably most were keen to speak to me about Johnson's outrageous moves to suspend parliament.

It was absolutely fascinating to be shown round the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation yesterday by the director, Ed Craig. Part of Edinburgh University but working very closely with the Scottish Government and other public sector organisations, like councils, there is nothing else quite like it. ECCI also hosts students to ensure they are close to the research and the opportunities to feed into and influence policy and business.

I was there for nearly two hours and we barely scratched the surface of the work that's going on there on sustainability, climate change preparation, greening the public sector and much more. It was something akin to low carbon speed dating, given the number of great organisations I met in that time. Read more about what I found on my visit here.

Great to catch up with the team at Bellfield Brewery and visit their new Tap Room on Stanley Place. Looking forward to going back one evening so I can enjoy tasting the beers!

Another hidden gem in St Margaret's House is Creative Nations - a joint project between Cyrenians and Community Enterprise. It supports young people who have disengaged from education through art and design. Find out more here

 

 

 

 

 
September News - Westminster
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