A Brighter Future for Granton Parish Church!

As part of the capital funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, new lighting has been fitted throughout Granton Parish Church buildings. The new lights are not only brighter but more environmentally friendly and will save 6,133kWh of electricity a year, which is equivalent to 2.8 tonnes of CO2 per year. This makes a significant contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of the church building. The church building will also be fitted with new windows and insulation which will save 12,308kWh or 6.36 tonnes of CO2 per year.

This building work complements the swap shop, bread redistribution and cycling project which all encourage people to reduce their personal carbon footprint.

Opening Soon – Muirhouse Community Shed

Muirhouse Community Shed will officially open on Monday 20th August at 10:00.

The Shed, based at the old Co-op building on Pennywell Road is managed by North Edinburgh Arts and funded by the Climate Challenge Fund. The project aims to recycle, reuse and upcycle as much wood and furniture as possible, and to inform and upskill people in North Edinburgh to be more proactive about climate change.

The Shed is offering an initial 12 week pilot which looks like this:

Mondays: Men Only – Drop In – 10:00am – 2:00pm

Tuesdays: Women Only – Drop In – 10:00am – 2:00pm

Wednesdays: Anyone – Drop In – 10:00am – 2:00pm

Thursday: Anyone – Drop In – 10:00am – 2:00pm

The Shed will also be open on the first Saturday of each month – 1st September 2:00pm – 4:00 pm; 6th October 10:30 – 12:30, and 3rd November 10:30 – 12:30.

The shed is open to people living in North Edinburgh who are 16 +. The shed is free to use and refreshments will be provided. A creche can be offered if advance notice is given.

People can currently work with wood and with fabric. Options may increase as the project develops.

Participants can come along and work on their own projects or can offer their time to help Shed staff build items for the community, such as these vertical planters which the community garden at North Edinburgh Arts commissioned the Shed to build.

If your organisation would like anything built get in touch with the Shed! Items would generally be free to local organisations.

Granton Parish Church Yard

I’m a very keen naturalist and thought it would be interesting to have a look at the wildlife in the grounds of Granton Parish Church where Granton Goes Greener is based. This is just an introductory post, I hope to do more in the future.

Granton Parish Church has a lovely churchyard with a number of shrubs and trees that are great for wildlife.

Blackbirds have nested in the grounds and the flowering shrubs attract a variety of bees and white butterflies.

Plus a pied hoverfly visited recently! I tried to get its photo but it wouldn’t stay still so this is a photo of a pied hoverfly I saw in Spylaw Park recently. There are around 250 species of hoverflies in the UK, they’re fascinating insects that are harmless but mimic stinging insects such as wasps and bees.

If anyone is interested in exploring the nature in the kirkyard please let me know! Similarly if you have seen interesting wildlife in the grounds please let me know!

Faith Action for Nature is a great project, encouraging churches in Scotland to look after wildlife and manage their grounds for nature. They have resources on their website – you can see the Summer resource pack here!

SHRUB Co-operative Have Big Plans!

On Wednesday I visited SHRUB Co-operative a Swap and Re-use Hub in the centre of Edinburgh.

They are currently preparing to expand into new premises. The building above, which is their current home which currently houses the Wee Spoke Hub is going to become entirely dedicated to this purpose.. The Wee Spoke Hub is where people can learn how to fix their bikes.

SHRUB also run an inspiring range of workshops on up-cycling and sustainable living. A couple of years ago I went to one of their jewellery making workshops which was great fun!

SHRUB also have a swap shop (which is currently closed while they organise their move). You can either turn up with something to swap on the day or your can become a member and donate items to build up swap credits which you can then use to take things at a later date.

SHRUB are on a mission to make Edinburgh a Zero Waste city!

SHRUB will be launching in their new locations over the summer and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they develop!



Message from the Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden

As you may know, Granton Castle Walled Garden is a historic green space near the waterfront in North Edinburgh. The ‘Friends of’ group have campaigned hard to save the garden from housing developments, and in 2017 were granted access to the site. Since then, they have been working hard to restore the garden and organise a range of community events and activities with a number of local groups.

The committee wants to make sure the garden remains a resource for the local community. This means securing a long term lease from the council and funding to restore and improve the space. The aim is for the garden to benefit all local people and at present volunteers organise open days, arts events, community growing, pick your own fruit days, workshops with local people, and host outdoor physical activity groups. But we want to do more – with wheelchair access and a toilet(!) the space can hopefully become a real asset for a range of local organisations.

The Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden are currently working with Community Enterprise to engage with local people and groups. We want to learn what local people would like to see happening in the garden, and how we can work in partnership with community groups in the area.

Please help us by completing this short survey, and (if possible) sharing it with your networks/members/friends and family: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GrantonWalledGarden

We are planning a session with local groups on the 18th July and would be delighted if someone from your organisation would be able to come along. The plan is to start with a quick tour of the garden at 2.30pm for anyone who hasn’t seen it (weather permitting), and then host the meeting in Madelvic House (close by) from 3.15pm.  The session will look at what needs and assets already exist locally and how the Garden can add value and work with other local groups.  Refreshments will be provided.  Please let us know whether you will be able to join us.

Thank you in advance for your support,

Looking for Volunteers for our Clothing Swap Shop


Following on from the successful launch of Granton Goes Greener, we are delighted to announce that, as from next week (week commencing 9 July) our clothing swap shop will now be staffed at the following times:

4-5pm Monday

4.30 – 6pm Tuesday (during the Community Meal, which everyone is welcome to attend)

12 noon – 1pm Friday

These are the times when people will be available to help you at the swap shop, though the clothing rails are there all the time that the church is open and you are free to help yourself at those times.

All clothing in the swap shop is free!

Please remember that you need to weigh all items of clothing that you either donate to the swap shop or that you take away with you. This is so we can calculate how much carbon we are saving in the Swap Shop, which is something we need to report to our funders the Climate Challenge Fund and the European Structural and Investment Funds.

To help us run this service, we are looking for volunteers for the Monday and Friday sessions (we already have enough volunteers for the Tuesday sessions). You can sign up for one session, take part in a rota or opt to do a stint of several weeks – whichever suits you! As a volunteer you would be expected to help sort out donated clothing, keep the rails stocked, weigh and record donated items and items that are taken away and chat to people using the store.

You can find out more about volunteering with us here.

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Juliet on 552 3033 or email juliet@grantongoesgreener.org.uk

Granton Goes Greener Has Now Officially Launched!

On Saturday, we had beautiful weather for the official launch event for Granton Goes Greener. Most of the event took place in the grounds of Granton Parish Church.

The local MP, Deidre Brock and the Granton Parish church minister Norman Smith officially opened the event

There were lots of things going on, including activities with the Boys Brigade

a chance to have your bike serviced by Grease Monkey Cycles (who were kept very busy during the event!)

along with childrens crafts, a guided walk with Pilton Health Project and the chance to make miniature gardens with Eco Congregations. Our clothing swap shop has now expanded quite a lot and took place in one of the church halls

There was a poetry reading in the church itself  featuring Rita Bradd, Elizabeth Rimmer. I stood in for another poet who wasn’t able to be there on the day.

There were children’s stories, featuring stories from Jane Edwards, Julian Thomson and Jim Abercrombie with his grandson and his two rabbit hand puppets.

The church congregation were brilliant at volunteering their time, including making delicious soup, baking an amazing array of cakes and making this brilliant bunting from upcycled fabric.


Waste by Tristram Stuart, a book review

Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal


This sobering insight into just how much food is wasted across the world is a must read for anyone who wants to do their bit to reduce food waste. The book is slightly out of date (2009) but many of the issues are still as urgent as when it was written.

It details how much food is wasted through the whole cycle from growing food through distributing it to retailers, the unsold food that is discarded by retailers and the food that is wasted by consumers. It also demonstrates how this waste puts pressure on rainforests and other valuable natural landscapes, and the impact on climate change.

It’s full of scandalous facts:

* if the amount of avoidable potato waste was halved in UK households it could potentially free up enough land to grow enough food to lift 1.2 million people out of hunger.

* supermarket standards in the West around shape and size force some farmers to lose up to a third of their harvest every year (though this is beginning to change with some supermarkets now offering ‘strange shaped vegetables’)

* some dolphin-friendly methods of fishing for tuna are actually responsible for killing large numbers of sharks and other sea creatures.

* in many countries including the UK, most offal (which includes nutritious and once valued items such as liver and kidneys) is thrown away

The book isn’t all doom and gloom though, it explores solutions such as fishing equipment that is designed to avoid bycatch, restaurants that offer incentives to customers to finish all their food, food sharing initiatives and ways on which supermarkets can fine tune their stocking rate.

In addition the author explores some of the evolutionary drivers behind our obsession with agricultural and other forms of surplus. There is also a theological element to the book too, as it includes biblical quotes on the topic and looks at the Biblical attitudes to gleaning (or foraging among crops to make sure there is no waste). It offers case studies of companies that are very efficient at reducing food waste, including one that sends its waste to a factory that makes high quality feedstock that the company then buys back for its own livestock. The book also explores differing attitudes to food waste across the world, focussing on Japan as being traditionally very efficient in avoiding waste.

You won’t look at your food again after reading this book!

Waste by Tristram Stuart, published by Penguin (2009) and printed on 100% recycled paper madefrom post consumer waste.

This book is available to borrow from the Granton Goes Greener office in Granton Parish Church.

Clothing Swap Shop to expand at Granton Goes Greener

One element of the Granton Goes Greener Project is the clothing swap shop. The idea is that people donate clothes that are still in good condition but perhaps they’ve grown out of or that they’re bored of and swap them for something that is new to them. We are delighted to receive donations but want to discourage people from using the swap shop as an excuse to get rid of clothes that they otherwise would still happily wear. We don’t want people thinking ‘oh I’ve got to find something for the clothing swap!‘ but to think of it as the first place to take clothing that they genuinely wouldn’t wear any more. It’s fine if you don’t have anything to donate, even if you take something.

I took in a skirt that no longer fitted me and swapped it for this lovely jumper.

We weigh the items swapped to give us an idea of how much waste and carbon we’re saving in the project (this is a requirement of our funding from the Climate Challenge Fund). This jumper weights just over 300g (which works out as 0.005kg of CO2 saved if my maths is correct).

Today a group of volunteers from the Climate Change department of Scottish Government are in the church. One of the things they will be doing later in the day is to sort out some of the many bags of clothing that have been donated to our swap shop.

Next Tuesday at the Granton Community Gardeners community meal we will launch our new improved clothing swap shop. There will be three rails – one for women’s clothing, one for men’s and one for children’s with baby clothes on a table. So bring along some clothing to swap or find your next favourite new outfit!

Granton Community Gardeners

When you walk round Granton you can’t help but notice the wonderful mini gardens that have popped up (and continue to pop up!) on street corners around the area.

These thriving plots are the work of Granton Community Gardeners, a community based project that is encouraging local people to get involved in food growing.

The group then use the food  they grow (along with donated food) in community meals. Last night, I went along for the first time to their community supper in Granton Parish Church. I was very impressed by the delicious vegetarian shepherd’s pie. It was great to see so many people enjoying the food and conversation too. There’s a community supper every Tuesday at 5.45 in the church.