Help us kickstart our Heart to create a vibrant, welcoming, inclusive centre for the communities in and around Newhaven, Edinburgh. Victoria Primary School is moving to a new site on Western Harbour in 2021 and the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has agreed in principle to sell the existing school buildings and grounds to us.
The School Site and environs
Now we must continue to work with the community to turn our collective vision into reality.
You can help us bring the Heart to life as soon as possible, by making a donation.
Why should you help?
This part of North East Edinburgh has an expanding community that lacks a clearly defined focal centre.
We want to purchase the entire site, including all the buildings and create a heart for the community. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown us just how important it is to have strong, profound communities where people can build relationships across all generations, support each other, and reach out to those who feel isolated.
We aim to be one of Scotland’s first dedicated inter-generational centres, working in collaboration with our inspiring partners as a locally controlled charity. We want to offer opportunities to people of all ages, from all walks of life to come together to experience and exchange culture, heritage, skills, and expertise to collaborate in an accessible and welcoming environment.
Our project is unique.
The Heart will be one of the first dedicated inter-generational centres in the UK, providing much needed age-friendly spaces.
We are working in collaboration with a range of local organisations to maximise the improvements to our community wellbeing, centred on our themes of culture, heritage, learning and enterprise to support positive social change within our community.
Who are we?
We are the Heart of Newhaven Community SCIO (HoNC), a duly constituted charity which arose from public meetings and consultations. You can find out all about us on our website at heartofnewhaven.co.uk. We have a board of trustees and hundreds of registered supporters waiting to help when the centre opens. We have a sustainable business plan, approved by Edinburgh City Council when they gave us permission to purchase the site. This will make us self-sufficient. All we need now are the funds to help us achieve our aims.
Our story began in 2017 when the City of Edinburgh Council consulted with local parents and stakeholders on a proposal to relocate Victoria Primary School to a new building in the Western Harbour. The report noted the interest of community groups wishing to consider community ownership of the existing Victoria Primary School through the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) process.
The Heart of Newhaven Community was formed in January 2019 to take forward the CAT process and there has been ongoing community consultation.
Heart of Newhaven Community SCIO, (registered number SCO49919), has a growing membership of currently just under 200, as well as almost 700 additional, signed-up supporters.
Our request for a community transfer of the school and its site to HoNC was approved in principle by CEC in August 2020.
We have applied to the Scottish Land Fund (SLF) for the purchase costs of the school and its surrounding site and this application will be assessed after the Scottish Government elections in May.
Initial feedback from SLF has been incredibly positive!
We have strong partnerships with local organisations who wish to work with us to deliver our vision. Our next step is to work with our partners and the community to bring the buildings into use as soon as practically possible. This requires us to engage professional support and to raise funds for phases of building work. Our partners and the community will be involved through facilitated sessions to work through design ideas and requirements. We are literally building towards the fulfilment of our vision although we hope that this will have the ability to reflect changes in need as we progress.
Our area of benefit, between Victoria Quay, Leith to the east, Granton Square and Granton Rd to the west, Ferry Rd to the south, and the entrance to the Port of Leith in the north, does not have a recognised community centre. The area is diverse in its people, its architectural and natural environments and its heritage.
Our community consultation highlighted a common desire and need for somewhere to ‘reunite the community as a family’ and, in doing so, to create a sense of belonging, enhance community spirit and address social isolation, cohesion and poverty. These issues are even more prominent during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Although we hope to secure funds from SLF to purchase the site, we must also raise funds to transform the buildings to be used for their new community purposes. Our aim is to open the site for community use as soon as possible once vacated by the pupils.
Our target is to raise £5k to help us meet the costs of designing value for money alterations to ensure the building meets required building standards and user needs.
With your help, in our first year we expect that at least 10,000 visits to the Heart will be enjoyed by local people.
Help us bring our Heart to life.
- What will donations be used for?
Donations will be used on a variety of necessary objectives as we move forward with the project. £5k is the minimum amount we need to get the project rolling. We must start the preparation now, so that as soon as the school is vacated, we can begin the work to make all the buildings safe, accessible, and fully age-friendly, providing services and welcoming users into it (or as much as possible of it) as soon as possible. We want to be ready to go with the physical work as soon as we take possession, so we need to engage professional support to ensure everything is to the correct standard and secure for future generations. This will include legal fees/conveyancing, architects and surveyors.
Most funders ask for ‘match funding’ i.e. they like to see contributions from a range of funders, including the community itself which indicates the strength of local support. The more we can raise from supporters, the more we can request from external funding bodies.
- What costs are included in the target?
Our initial target of £5k is the minimum amount we need to make the project go forward. It will be an essential contribution to, among other things, the professional support we need, including legal fees/conveyancing, architects and surveyors.
- Will there be further targets?
Our architect will work with the community on the design of age-friendly spaces to meet the needs of all users.
The first phase will identify the immediate essential work required to bring the buildings into use, and the most cost-effective solutions and will enable a “meanwhile use” of the site while we work on separate areas.
As soon as enough funds are available, this will also include the provision of a lift to allow everyone to access the first floor of the building.
Additional (“stretch”) targets will then be set to pay for repairs, decoration and furniture as required, again, as matched-funding contributions alongside our applications to a range of funding bodies.