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December / January 2010 ARTWORK ON LEITH WALK

A Leith Walk shopfront has been selected as the location for a new initiative set to brighten up Edinburgh’s city streets this winter, by hosting spectacular pieces of contemporary Scottish art. Art in the city has transformed four empty shop units - one of which is located at 34a Haddington Place - with large scale artwork vinyls by contemporary Scottish artists. Coordinated by Braewell Galleries, who recently opened on Dundas Street, the project is jointly funded by the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Trams. Encompassing both well-known and emerging artists whose work is specifically designed to generate impact and excitement amongst passers by, the Haddington Place unit is home to a colourful abstract artwork vinyl

from one of Scotland’s rising stars Joe O’Brien, entitled ‘Animus.’

PROFESSIONAL POSTER SITES ENHANCE THE WALK Those passing by the Haddington Place gap site on Leith Walk recently will have noticed big improvements, with a large poster site promoting the neighbourhood. This (and other) sites will be refreshed regularly, discouraging unsightly fly posting, graffiti and litter. Recent material for the site, which promotes the area and local initiatives, includes details of free training courses at the Leith Business Hub, information around Leith Academy’s anniversary and representations of Leith’s iconic buildings. Planning permission has even been obtained to extend the Haddington Place project to the railings at Shrubhill and implementation is already underway.

SHOPS SURGE TO OPEN IN LEITH Leith Walk has seen a surge in new businesses opening this year – so much so it’s bucking the national trend. The percentage of unlet shop units has shrunk from 17% in March this year to a very encouraging 8.7%, which compares favourably with the Scottish average of 15%. New neighbours include global convenience stores PolyPak Continental Foods and Russian and Baltic World, a social enterprise Asian café Punjab De Rasoi, Casino Gaming and Scott Micro, who specialise in computers and repairs. The new retail offerings are a diverse mix highlighting that the area still retains its eclectic pull. Mexican takeaway Los Cardos, who opened their doors at 281 Leith Walk earlier this year, have seen a positive response from the area as a whole. Owner Neil Miller commented: “We’ve had an encouraging start in what has been a difficult time for any new business. The response from locals as well as visitors has meant it’s been a great area to come to as a start up business – and we’ve found our signature MacSween haggis fajitas to be a particular Leith favourite!”

SPONSOR A RADIO SHOW FOR £5! Local businesses can sponsor community radio programmes on celebrated station Leith FM, with prices starting from only £5 per hour. For more information on how to raise the profile of your business to a local and national audience contact

SPOTLIGHT ON...BARNARDO’S LEITH WALK Whilst for most Christmas is about the gift of giving, Barnardo’s Scotland on Leith Walk also very much associate the season with receiving. December and January are among the busiest times of year for one of the city’s biggest charity furniture, clothing and bric-a-brac stores as donations from the generous local community come surging in. Eleanor Scott, Store Manager at their Pilrig branch on Crighton Place has worked at the premises for over twelve years. “We are very lucky”, she comments; “We receive on average about 80-100 bags of donations a week but going into the New Year that can increase by around fifteen percent. We put it down to people having an early ‘spring clean’ as they make way for new gifts they receive over the festive period”. “People take pride in what they donate and many of our items are almost as good as new. It really helps so many people, and we want to get the message out there of a big ‘Thank you’ to all who donate, especially at this time of year when donations become such deserving and special gifts for others”. Barnardo’s is located at 26 Crighton Place, with a sister outlet at 144-150 Leith Walk, specialising in furniture.


Following on from his last successful exhibition of Scottish artists, Wallace Shaw of Wallace’s Arthouse Scotland will be hosting a new exhibition at his unique Bed, Breakfast & Gallery at 41/4 Constitution Street from 2:30pm to 5:30pm on the 5th of December. With hospitality from Auchentoshan Whisky and live music, this promises to be a unique event. Do come along!

Spotlight on...Edinburgh Festivals and Leith Edinburgh is the world’s Festival city – attracting visitors from across the globe with arts, culture and celebration filling the city streets. From the spectacular fireworks of Hogmanay, to the world famous summer festivals, Leith’s own MELA and even the Storytelling Festival in October there is always something to discover. Now the internationally renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival is encouraging even more Leith businesses to get involved in its diverse programme, with a call to register as a potential venue. Becoming a venue during the August festival period can boost direct footfall and increase sales. Existing venues such as Valvona & Crolla on Elm Row have even hosted their own shows, which saw them reaching full capacity on a daily basis throughout the summer period. Barry Church-Woods, Venues and Companies Manager at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, commented: “Leith definitely has its own distinct identity, which makes it a great place for the Fringe to expand into. From the top of Leith Walk down to the shore, it’s full of eclectic and artistic organisations including the likes of Out of the Blue and Cafe Renroc which are existing venues. We’d love to see even more of the area get involved to really drive people to Leith during the 2011 Fringe, and offer an added dimension for locals and visitors alike.� The Edinburgh Festival Fringe will compile their list of venues this January. To find out more or register your business please contact Barry on 0131 226 0025 4MQ\P.M[\Q^IT 8ZWL]K\QWV[XZM[MV\[

OH YES IT IS... The annual Leith Festival Panto will be at the Cruise Liner Terminal, (next to Ocean Terminal) from 15th to 18th December. The panto is an ideal family day out, with showings at 7:30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2pm. The cast and crew are predominantly from the local Leith community and have recently formed the ‘Leith Festival Production Company.’ They are already hard at work on a summer panto for the Leith Festival in June.




Spotlight on Leith - 7th Edition, December 2010  

A newsletter from the Leith Development Group, a cross agency partnership dedicated to promoting the unique identity of Leith, supporting it...

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