Coming soon

Put Sunday 6th February in your diary!  More next week…


Time to go live…

Today the blog goes live!

This morning we confirmed attending the Kirknewton Church after the service on 6th February.  I will also be speaking at the beginning of the service.  Having had my public speaking syle likened to a preacher in the past it should be a treat!

Vikki Hilton will also be at the Mother and Toddler group on the morning of the 3rd February and to the hall users at the Kirknewton Association meeting that evening too.

We will be at the Primary School Assembly on the 4th to capture the school pupils opinions of what they would like to see in Kirknewton and we confirm with Balerno High School arrangements to capture Kirknewton pupils opinions there at the end of the month.

Please expect Vikki, her team and myself to be out and about too over the coming weeks (please don’t snow, please don’t snow, please don’t snow).

Many other groups have been approached, sent information and expressed an interest in their members coming along at the drop in event on Sunday 6th February.  I will probably repeat that date so many times you will get sick of it!  If I have missed you out please accept my apologies and get in touch for further information.

The good news is Scotland kick off their Six Nations campaign the day before the ‘Drop In’ session, so nothing to detract your attention (and light relief in the afternoon if you need to take it easy!).

It could be you…

As I am employed on the back of a Big Lottery Technical Assistance Grant one of the key meetings I’ve been looking forward to is with Dave Knight, our man from the lottery.  It was a really productive meeting with an eye on potential pitfalls for the project (that we are aware of) and what opportunities there may be.  No promises, of course, but everything seems to be going well with ongoing planning and tender investigations all running along at the same time.  What is very clear is the community consultation in February/March will inform our thinking and help to determine the key outcomes of the project. 

Proving this is a samll world Dave was going on to another lottery funded project to speak to the new manager there.  I actually had an interview for that management post in November!  So it seems I was destined to meet with Dave at some point – hopefully for all the right reasons.

Of course the meeting with Dave also highlighted the enormity of the task ahead.  I hope you can get involved and we can keep you informed every step of the way with this blog.  Keep reading and enjoy the ride!

John Craven has the answers

At the end of last week I read several documents on Anaerobic Digestion!  Not the easiest of subjects to explain to anyone.  So off I went to You Tube to see if I could get an explanation for my non scientific brain!  In eight minutes I had the answer, thanks to our lifelong informer John Craven.  So here it is –

John – he’s the man who gave us Newsround.  He’s the man who kept Noel Edmonds in check on Swap Shop.  And now he’s the bloke on Countryfile.  But we still love his chat!  I’ll swap my household waste for improving Kirknewton please John.  Thanks for that!

A little bit of toast!

I knew this job would be different when, on my first day, I looked out the window of my office and a deer went running over the fields.

This morning I got an invite to the Mother and Toddler group to say ‘hello’.  I hope the image of me talking over the munching of their tasty toast doesn’t stay with the kids for too long!

I still get a thrill when a promotional campaign ‘hits the streets’ rather than in my head.  The primary school have been kind enough to put out the flyer and have now confirmed the date we can consult the kids on what they would like to see in Kirknewton. People want to get their hands on the poster and I could probably make a small fortune selling ‘I Love Kirknewton’ car stickers and T Shirts.  Hmmm, maybe we don’t need the lottery funding after all!

The Herald and Post printed our announcement about the consultation. MSP Angela Constance will pop by on the 6th February too, which is nice. 

I believe there is now side betting on how many people will turnup on the day of the consultation!  Come on Kirknewton, don’t let me down!  Get your voice heard on the day or Vikki and I will be chasing you down the street and knocking on your door at all hours of the day!

The BIG Picture

Invites on facebook out, press release sent out, twitter feed set up( ), flyers and posters to collect today.  At some point I’d better tell people about this blog as with this and the last two messages I am talking to myself!

So you are all up to speed here is the information I sent out to Kirknewton Development Trust members that explains how the consultation fits in with the Anaerobic Digestor plant.

” I will be working together with an independent community engagement specialist to get your ideas to improve life and work in the village and we want you to get involved.

 The  ‘I love Kirknewton’  campaign begins in February and will identify your key needs and aspirations for the village and will help a comprehensive community development plan for additional lottery funds of £1,000,000.

 Working with consultant Vikki Hilton I will be asking you what you like about living in Kirknewton, what you don’t like and what would make Kirknewton a better place to live and why.  Vikki helped the trust in 2007 and 2008 when people were asked about the renewable energy project.

Vikki and I will be meeting with village groups and knocking on doors throughout February.  To make sure your voice is heard please come to a Drop In Event on Sunday 6th February at the Village Hall anytime from 10am til 6pm.  There will be refreshments available.  If you can’t make the Drop In Event please e mail me at or phone him on 07734 884320 and he will arrange a time to come and see you at home.

 Your ideas will be presented in early March for additional feedback from you.

 If Kirknewton is successful and is awarded the £1,000,000 funding  from the Big Lottery that money will be added to the current £300,000 Kirknewton Community Development Trust Fund and will be invested towards the Anaerobic Digester plant (or ‘Eco Plant’).   The Trust wishes to earn a regular income for the community by generating renewable energy.  

 The anaerobic digestion of food waste will produce electricity for sale to the grid, compost and fertiliser which can be sold to local farmers, growers and golf courses and heat which can be used to heat polytunnels for local market gardening.   The plant will also include an educational viewing gallery where you can learn about the process and local history.

 Once built and fully operational 50% of the Eco Plant yearly profits will go towards funding your ideas.  Before then the ideas shared by you during the community work may be used for any funding applications that are of interest to you or community groups.

 This is a project for you as part of the community. Please help by dropping in on Sunday 6th February, even if you only have 5 minutes, and share your ideas about Kirknewton.”

Can’t read my poker face

The poker game was fun.  After a week of information overload learning the rules of poker fried my brain and made me lose the ability to speak!  I had to grasp straight flushes after my river of dreams (or something) with ace kickers thrown in from time to time for good measure!  I didn’t leave the table without all the money I had brought to it but explaining my lack of a shirt, car and why we had to move out of the house at the end of the week to my wife was a hard one to explain!

The first communication from the Kirknewton Trust has gone out about my role and what we are hoping to achieve over the next year (if you become a member of the Kirknewton Development Trust you can sign up for e mails etc.).  Yes, it did look like a wanted poster for crimes against Kirknewton but I hope it was also informative.  I have to say that most people have been very supportive of the project.  That is really encouraging for me but also for the volunteers who’ve got the community to the point of having funding for the consultation, the technical aspects of the plan and the production of the development plan.  So thanks for all that and I hope we can meet your expectations and put something together that will be workable for the village in the future.