Last night I met with Queensferry and District Community Council. Despite the howling gale we had a good meeting. I reported on my work as Lothian list member, outlining the legislation that the Parliament is debating over the next year. We then had a lively discussion about how to improve the quality of life for people in South Queensferry. Access to employment, further education and training are all challenging given the cost of transport.
I was really impressed though to hear about how the Community Council works for example to support the Business Improvement District proposals which have been put together to make South Queensferry a more successful place for business.
It was also interesting to see the close links between Queensferry High School and the Community Council. It’s the first community council I have visited where the local high school sends reps to the Community Council. I’m sure the experience is a good one for the students as they get influence debates about their local community. It was certainly excellent to get the input of Jim Fergusson, the Deputy Head of Queensferry High School on the school’s work to try to secure positive destinations for school leavers.
I’m looking forward to reading the community council’s submission to the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill. There was a lot of energy, experience and good ideas in the room last night. I also got the strong sense that the community council members feel very much on the periphery of the capital, but have clear ambitions to improve the town for the benefit of all the residents. It was good to have a discussion where we could discuss what issues could be picked up by the local councillors who were present and what issues I needed to support the community on going forward.
I’m sure it won’t be my last visit to South Queensferry. I think there are some real opportunities to be seized, for example from the activity around the new bridge construction. But that will take lobbying and pressure from all of us.