There's a number of arguments against the long summer recess from Parliament (not least being regularly being met in the street with the greeting "enjoying your holidays, then?!") - and personally, I think it would make sense if MPs had a shorter summer break and instead had more time available in the constituency during the time when Parliament is in session. However, the summer recess does have the advantage of allowing MPs like myself to get round a lot of community organisations and keep in touch with what they're doing. On Thursday this week, for example, I visited a really impressive project based at "Out of the Blue" (the former Drill Hall in Dalmeny Street). The project, part of "Gallery 37", works with young people to give them training in various design, arts, and media skills. The Leith project has been runs for 4 weeks, and I understand it's the second year it's run here. I was told that the vast majority of young people who were involved in the project last year went on to make use of the skills they had acquired, and certainly this year's trainees were producing some very good material - and quite a few had actually been able to sell items (sometimes at very good prices) at the project's outlet during the Festival!
The next day, I had a meeting on a very different type of subject, when I met a group of local people who are active in the Jubilee Scotland group. This is the organisation which has been campaigning for some years for debt relief - the writing off of the debts of the poorer countries. They handed over a large bundle of postcards from local supporters of the campaign which I agreed to pass on to the International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn, when Parliament resumes.