We’ve just had a two week September sitting in the House of Commons – always seems a bit odd, as just as we get into the swing of things, we break up again for the ‘conference recess’ which allows MPs to attend their respective party conferences.
As Labour’s conference is next week, I’ve been able to use the recess week to visit a lot of local organisations here in Edinburgh North and Leith to keep up with their activities and their concerns. Earlier this week, I called in at a number of Leith organisations - the Duncan Place Resource Centre, the Pilmeny Development Project, and ‘Out of the Blue’. All doing good work, although with varying concerns about future funding. Also a common theme that the effects of economic downturn and unemployment are now becoming more apparent in Leith – both in the effect on individuals and visual signs such as more and more empty shops, making the area look run-down. It’s a concern I share, both through what I hear at my surgeries and see in the streets. Local reasons for the Coalition government to change course – I’m sure that’ll be a major theme of our conference next week.
Edinburgh North & Leith also has the HQ of a number of a Scottish organisations, who also have local contacts and activities in the area. This week, I’ve visited NIDOS (the 'Network of International Development Organisations in Scotland), VSO, Living Streets, and Transform Scotland. I also met with the new Elizabeth Finn Trust, which provides grants to individuals in Edinburgh in financial hardship.
Friday there are my normal MP surgeries, and a meeting with some of the local Labour councillors – and Saturday I hope to visit the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership Public Meeting, Summerfest at Broughton High School and the North Edinburgh Community Festival at the Forthquarter park by Telford College.