The Drummond-Muthambi Schools Partnerships Link

By the time you read this……

Eight S6 students and three members of staff from Drummond Community High School will be on their way to Kenya with the kind support of Leith Links Community Council.

In our first article we told you about our school’s partnership with Muthambi Boys and Girls High Schools at the foot of Mount Kenya. Now we’re ready to go and the students have made some comments about what they are looking forward to, what they hope to gain from the trip and some of their fears!

‘I’m interested in the culture and politics, particularly the debate on the new constitution that the Kenyans will vote on later this summer.’

                                                                                                    Sean Cadger

‘It’s the food, they grow everything that we see in the supermarkets but I’m interested in how it’s grown and why there’s famine in certain areas of Kenya. I’m told the mangoes are fab!’

                           Jordan Russell-Hall

‘I’m looking forward to meeting the students and seeing what their experience of education is compared with our.’

                                                     Chelsea Ewan

‘All the projects we’re doing with the Kenyan students will be interesting but the heat and toilets are a bit scary!’

                                         Freya Stewart

‘It will be interesting to see education from a Kenyan teacher’s point of view. What are the challenges, what sort of training and career prospects are there in Kenyan schools.’

                Matt Annable, DCHS staff.

‘I’m really interested in the differences in the curriculum, especially how they teach and observe religion in school.’

                                                    Valentina Flex

‘Life, I think it’s going to be so different observing and experiencing their way of everyday living.’

                              Kerry Irving

‘I love working in the Library at Drummond Community High School and I can’t imagine a school functioning without one. I’m really looking forward to setting up a library at Muthambi Boys High School, in a day. Laurence Lewellyn- Bowen eat your heart out!’ 

                                                            Annie Scanlon, DCHS staff

‘I’m hoping to work with the students at Muthambi to strengthen and extend the partnership work we’re already doing. I’ll also be doing some sketching.’

                                                                                                   Hannah Reynolds

‘This project is so important, it allows us to meet and learn from exciting and interesting people living a different life to us 8,000 miles away. Not only will we make new friends but we’ll learn what we need to do to make a difference to their lives.

       Jemma Craig

‘I’m looking forward to meeting up with the students and staff we met on our last trip and to finding out how they are using the resources that we sent out.’

                                                                                              Patricia Snow, DCHS staff.

On our visit we will be working on:

Setting up a library at Muthambi Boys High School

Introducing the Kenyan students to Scottish poetry

Making short videos for use at Drummond on topics such as Fairtrade, malaria, a day in the life of Muthambi student.

Doing cookery demonstrations.

Developing partnership projects with the P.E. and Maths departments.

Teaching Scottish country dancing and learning some African dance!

On our return we will:

Do assemblies for students at Drummond.

Develop the partnership projects set up on our visit.

Report back to the organisations that have supported our visit.

Fundraise to bring some staff and students from Muthambi back to Drummond next summer.

Annie Scanlon

Drummond Community High School

A resident writes…

Local resident, Fred Parsons, left a comment on a page on our blog recently, but we thought we should post it here instead. Whilst we should make it clear that these are his personal opinions, we also want this blog to offer a forum for debate. We understand that not all residents can attend Community Council meetings, and so we will take into account residents views expressed on our blog too.

So, if you’d like to respond to any points Fred makes, whether you agree, or disagree, then please add your thoughts in the comments section below. If you live in the Leith Links Community Council area, and would like to write an ‘opinion’ piece on any subject for this blog then please do contact us.

I write to highlight and urge local residents to complain about the proposed Biomass Plant at Leith Harbour. This has been suggested and planned by people who obviously know nothing of our geographical location. Leith is prone to coastal Haar several times a year and in different seasons. This giant incinerator will pump dust, ash, soot and smoke into the local atmosphere. During the times that Leith experiences Haar and sea fog, this smoke and ‘smog’ will hang and choke the air quality of our local communities. I count at least three schools, possibly four locally which are less than one mile from the proposed plant. There are also several nursery schools in the local area close to Leith Harbour. If you are a parent who lives locally, I personally would be concerned about this potential polution. There is not enough scientific evidence to say for certain that there are no health risk implications using this technology. So why are we proposing using it on the doorstep of our communities?

Leith is supposed to be going through a regeneration period with a vision of new housing, trams, office developments etc etc. So who on earth thought that a giant chimney would fit into this new vision of the Waterfront of Edinburgh and Leith? Tourists and visitors who will travel down Leith Walk are going to be confronted by an ugly power station and sixty to hundred meter high chimney dominating the landscape. Who would want to shop at Ocean Terminal with a huge Biomass Plant sitting just across the road?

The green aspects being sold and marketed of the Biomass Plant are completely bogus. Burning fuel is not the way forward. We have been advised to stop burning fuel haven’t we? I can’t believe that there is a special fuel which is okay to burn… suddenly. That is just all too convenient. And why on earth would we import fuel from Sweden? This is a fuel which has to be shipped here into Leith Harbour? Surely that negates any green credentials as this implies a massive carbon footprint left by making this journey.

Should we celebrate the mere handful of jobs which will be created at this new Biomass Plant? These will mostly be skilled jobs to operate the plant and they will probably not go to locals initially. The most likely sustainable jobs will go to the people who drive the trucks of the biodegradable waste which may be burnt at the plant. And who will take out the residual waste from the plant? I cannot see the job numbers delivered by this project as being any kind of triumph for Edinburgh.

As for combating Co2 omissions in Scotland… why were they set so high? Surely we have other methods at our disposal which are far more effective than using Biomass fuel. And why do we have to aim for these unrealistic targets in such a short time frame? It is ironic that Leith Harbour dock area houses companies who create modules for the wave power initiative being pioneered in Scotland. This is a very practical and logical energy solution. Wind turbines are also a very effective energy harness which will benefit Scotland for the future. Burning fuel however is a contradiction in terms. Again, there does not appear to be enough scientific evidence to suggest that this has an adverse effect on our atmosphere.

At least, this is an ill conceived idea and solution to our energy problems. At worst, it is a cancer being introduced into the heart of our community.
Stop it now. Please add your voice of opposition.

Biomass Training Event, Saturday 5th June

Members of the community concerned about Forth Energy’s proposal for a Biomass Power Plant in Leith Docks were invited to attend an event at Edinburgh City Chambers to learn more about the planning process and how to properly lodge any objections. The course was organised by Planning Aid for Scotland and funded by the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership and was well represented by members of all Leith Community Councils, residents associations and other interested parties. There was a lot of information to absorb and it was also a good way of networking between community organisations.

Ally Tibbitt, who is a member of Leith Links Community Council, wrote up a longer account of the workshop on the Greener Leith blog. You can read his post here.

Leith Links Community Council Meeting

The next meeting of the community council will take place on Monday, 28th June. Please join us at Leith St Andrews Church Hall and the meeting starts at 7.30pm. Full Agenda for the meeting can be found on the website and Leith Links notice boards from wc 210610

Next Community Council meeting – 24th of May

The next meeting of Leith Links Community Council will take place at our usual venue – the St Andrews Church Hall at the bottom of Easter Road – 7.30pm on Monday the 24th of May.

You can download an agenda by clicking here.

You can download the minutes from the previous meeting by clicking here.

Biomass plant Facebook group

Although Forth Energy are still to submit a formal application to build their proposed Biomass Energy plant on Leith Docks, local residents groups are working together to share information. In just a few days, the “Leith Against the Biomass Plant Campaign” page on Facebook group has been “liked” by more than 110 people, keen to share links and discus what the proposals mean. If you’re on Facebook this could be a good way to stay up to date on the issue as it develops.

If you have concerns about the proposals, then we’d recommend using the web service to contact your MSPs.  It is the Scottish Government that will decide on the Forth Energy proposal, not the City of Edinburgh Council, and so if you only send one email – let it be one to all your local MSPs.

We also note that the biomass plant became an election issue with all the local candidates from every party expressing concerns about the proposals. Former city councillor, Sheila Gilmore, who succeeds Gavin Strang as Labour MP for Edinburgh East has a dedicated page on the Biomass plant proposals on her website. On it she says, “I fully support the objections to this proposal made by my Labour colleague Councillor Gordon Munro who has said: ‘It will be a huge blot on the landscape if it goes ahead…This is about profit not the planet…I will support the community in its opposition to this proposal.”

Leith Links Community Council meeting

The next meeting of the community council will take place on Monday, 26th April at Leith St Andrews Church Hall, Bottom of Easter Road and Lochend Road. The meeting starts at 7.30pm and if you live in area covered by the CC please feel free to come along.

You can download an agenda by click here.

Help Clean-up Leith Links – Saturday 24th April

Leith Links Community Council would like to invite you to come to our annual Spring clean event, on Leith Links. All welcome. No specialist equipment is required, although we would advise you to dress for the weather.

We’re laying on free soup and sandwiches for all volunteers, and we’re meeting at 10am at the Bowling Club on the West of the Links. This is the building near the corner of John’s Place and Links Place.

Children are welcome, but they must be accompanied by an adult.

The Drummond – Muthambi Schools Partnership Link

Leith Links Community Council agreed to provide a small amount of funding to support the pupils at Drummond Community High School who are involved in The Drummond – Muthanmbi Schools Partnership Link. The only condition we placed on our donation was that the pupils should provide us with regular updates for our blog. Here’s their first blog post below:

Muthambi Girls give blood

During the G8 conference in 2005, Drummond Community High School hosted a series of music workshops with young people from Rwanda and South Africa. After this event, our school was keen to develop a partnership link with an African school to foster active global citizenship. Through the City of Edinburgh’s International Unit, we found Muthambi Boys and Girls school, situated at the foot of Mount Kenya. Meru is a key area in which many schools across the city of Edinburgh have partnership schools.

In order for the partnership to work efficiently, we developed a partnership agreement between the three schools.

Curricular: Links between departments in both schools to share ideas, materials and projects.
Fundraising: Enhances the partnership by providing the schools with resources and opportunities.
Equality: Equal partnership between schools to ensure every individual is involved from all schools, which boosts the educational aspect of the project.
Visits: Encourages regular trips to both Edinburgh and Muthambi.
Communication: Improves communication between the schools, aiding learning opportunities and developing global education.

Visit to Muthambi

In June 2010 eight S6 students and three members of staff will visit our partner schools in Muthambi. We have been raising funds and collecting resources for the last two years.

We will be travelling from Nairobi to Muthambi in the space of four hours. We will be visiting villages, towns and markets on our journey. We will not be visiting conventional “tourist” sites.

Staying in the Transit Lodge in Muthambi. We will deliver presentations to the students about life in Scotland. The students have requested topics such as Fairtrade, politics, home economics, relationships and health.

During our stay we will be taking part in social activities with the students and the local community; a visit to the local church, to villages and community projects and businesses. We will also be part in various music, drama and sport workshops.

We will visit a Fairtrade tea plantation and processing factory where we will learn about tea from leaf to pot and meet with workers.

One of the highlights will be a trip to a wildlife conversation park with students from the Wildlife Rangers. This organisation is similar to the Guides or Scouts and helps young people get involved in conservation and educational work on the importance of Africa’s wildlife..

On the visit will be initiating and setting up projects for next year and organising the return visit of the Kenyan students in 2011.

We would like to thank Leith Community Council for their support and we will be adding reports and photographs of our visit.

Jemma Craig, S6

If you would like to know more about the project or would like to support us please contact.

Annie Scanlon
Drummond Community High School, 41 Bellevue Place,
EH7 4BS. Tel: 0131 556 2651.

Biomass Plant: How might it look?

The members of Leith Links Community council have not been to impressed with the ‘artists impressions’ provided by Forth Energy of how the proposed Biomass plant might look. So, using a photo taken from Ocean Terminal, we took the opportunity to try to make our mock up of the plant – to try to give people an indication of the proposed size of the building.

We’ve also submitted our formal response to the Scottish Government, as part of the first stage of consultation on the biomass plant proposals. You can download it from the link below:

LLCC Biomass response

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