Any of you that follow my Facebook page will already have a pretty good idea of what I have been up to, but I cannot say enough how amazed I am by the constituency and what we have going on within it.
In the second half of recess I have been to see numerous organisations carrying out invaluable work from Foursquare which helps young people with housing problems, Step Change which helps people with problems around debt, the Trussell Trust foodbank, Hibs
Community Foundation and Carr Gomm which supports people and communities with
addictions, mental and physical health needs or those needing other forms of support. I have been to the Jack Kane Centre for their summer bash, and handed out the certificates for the young people on the Impact Arts, Gallery 37 summer project.
I have had fantastic meetings with Books for Babies which is an amazing service helping to engage babies with language, the Thistle Foundation who offer supported living
across the constituency, the Ripple Project and Restalrig Community Hub which serves the community in all sorts of innovative ways, the Neighbourhood Alliance, Drake Music which offers innovative and cutting edge musical opportunities to people with disabilities and Crew 2000 which was set up by drug users, concerned that the market was being flooded with dangerously cut drugs.
I met Ewan Aitkin at the Cyrenians who work to prevent homelessness in a plethora of ways, Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home which probably was my highlight, and a tea dance at
the beautiful White House in Craigmillar.
Alongside all the charities I have been to Holyrood High School, Castlebrae Community High School and I am working on getting around all the secondary schools in the constituency. I have also been to visit the East Neighbourhood Centre where most of the council functions for East are run, Castlerock Housing Association which is responsible for a huge amount of housing stock around the city and met Parc EDI who are responsible for a lot of the regeneration going on in Craigmillar at the moment.
I’ve also been to Seafield Sewage Treatment Plant which was an incredibly interesting
experience, met employers such as Reloaded who are based in the UK’s largest technology incubator Codebase, which I also toured. I’ve been round to meet local business such as Bookspeed, NewsDirect and the Edinburgh School for English, as well as The Edinburgh Palette who are a completely self sufficient social enterprise who house the amazing charity Upward Mobility and 200 studios full of every type of artist and craftsperson you can imagine.
I have meet the doctors and the staff of the Milton and Craigmillar medical surgeries and met the management team at Fort Kinnaird to try and get to the bottom of what is going on with the Crown Estate. I also attended the vigil in remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, met the Gurkhas when they came to protest outside the Scottish Parliament, did a blindfold walk for Guide Dogs Scotland and attended a meeting of Our Forth who wanted to raise concerns with their MP over the proposed UCG in the Firth of Forth.
It's been a busy summer but I also found some time to watch a play performed in Gaza and beamed into Edinburgh as part of the Festival, took part in a discussion on the future of equality and human rights as part of the Just Festival and took part in Commonweal’s Butterfly Rammy sessions during the Fringe. I fitted in a visit to Mela and the Porty Beach Busk where I had the enormous pressure of being the sole judge in the Sandcastle Competition – surely one of my most testing moments so far.
I will be back in the constituency towards the end of September, so if there is anything you think I have missed on my summer tour, get in contact and we will try and schedule it in for the autumn.
Four weeks ago I was worried about writing this column on the eve of the last major parliamentary debate on Brexit. Anything could have happened, rendering my speculation obsolete by the time you read it. I shouldn’t have fretted. Anything could have happened but nothing did.
Here I am again. Groundhog day. It’s Tuesday. There’s a big debate tomorrow.
Tuesday. Another day spent discussing Brexit. Another day of my life I’m not getting back.
We are no further forward. As the clock ticks down to exit it’s only fair to ask: What the hell is Theresa May playing at?