East Lothian Postal Secret Santa

If you like spreading some festive cheer and like receiving surprise packages in the post, then you might like to sign up for Secret Santa.

How to take part:

  • Email your (real) name, East Lothian postal address and any helpful info (gender/age/interests) to admin@lothianloop.com by 30th November.  Lothian Loop will then pass on these details to your Secret Santa.
  • You will receive postal details of the person to whom you should send a gift – remember the very last posting date for 2nd class is Saturday 19th December.
  • You don’t have to, but it would be great if you could share a photo of the gift you receive by tweeting @lothianloop.
  • The system is based on trust.  Please only ask to take part if you are willing to send a gift.  Lothian Loop cannot be held responsible for non-delivery or anything else!

Top Tips: 

  • £5-7 is a guide spend – take into account postage costs when choosing your gift.
  • Aim to send a gift that will fit through a letterbox that doesn’t need to be signed for.
  • This gift should be family-friendly and absolutely not a platform for an agenda/political campaign!

Visit a reinvigorated Haddington Farmers’ Market

In order to celebrate the market undergoing a refresh, the Haddington Farmers’ Market Committee is holding a special market on Saturday 28 November.

In addition to the usual delights, the market, which will be part of East Lothian’s Saltire Festival, will host  music, magic, cooking demonstrations, recipes and competitions.

The programme of events is as follows:

10.10     Haddington Pipe Band

10.30     Cooking Demonstration

11.00     Yester Nursery school sings

11.30     Rita Bradd Harpist

12.00     Haddington Pipe Band

12.30     Melissa Bradd plays ukelele

Widely recognised as the friendly farmers’ market, Haddington Farmers’ Market offers you a tempting selection of home produced specialities and really demonstrates that buying Scottish is best!

Pauline Jaffray, market organiser and stallholders, said:

“There is always something new to experience and enjoy at Haddington Farmers Market. The friendly family atmosphere, the tantalising smells of barbecue cooking, the aroma of home baking, the tasty samples, guest stalls and the availability of recipe leaflets and first hand advice all add to the success of Haddington Farmers’ Market.

“Whilst we have a loyal following of customers there are still people who have yet to discover us! Our mission is to get all of East Lothian and beyond talking about us and joining the ranks of our happy customers, at the same time securing the future of the market.

“We should be delighted if you would show your support for local produce and visit us.

“Not only does Haddington Farmers’ Market make for a fantastic morning out but it also makes an extremely valuable contribution to the local economy.”

WHEN: Saturday 28th November – the market runs from 9am until 1pm
WHERE: Haddington Farmers Market, Court Street, Haddington (free parking behind the court building, regular buses to and from Haddington)


Campaign of the Month

Throughout November, @LothianLoop ran a series of scheduled tweets encouraging people to vote for @cuthillpark, Prestonpans, in the Best Park awards.

Voting has now closed and the winner will be announced on 2 December at a Fields in Trust event.

Good Luck Cuthill Park!

Throughout December, @LothianLoop will be campaigning for the Scottish Medicines Consortium to approve Translarna  – the first ever drug to potentially treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

This follows the news that East Lothian laddie Cormac Fegan was the 1st boy in the UK to receive Translana, albeit for a limited six month period.

Translarna is already available in several countries including France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Denmark, but it is not yet approved here in the UK.

You can read more about the fight for access to Translarna here.

Learn more about Muscular Dystrophy here.

Find out about Cormac and his family’s campaign to help him here.




World AIDS Day 1 December: #WhatWillYouDo ?

This year for World AIDS Day and European HIV Testing Week we’re part of the movement across Scotland asking individuals, organisations and politicians: What Will You Do?

There’s a lot we can all do to prevent new cases of HIV (the virus that can cause AIDS), to challenge the stigma and prejudice that people living with HIV face, and to remember those who’ve died from AIDS-related illnesses since the 1980s. So we’re hoping as many people as possible will join in and add #WhatWillYouDo and a ribbon to their Twitter profile, pictures, or share photos and posts of what they’re doing to mark WorldAIDS Day, using hashtag #WhatWillYouDo.

Though 1 December is World AIDS Day, AIDS isn’t something we talk about much in Scotland these days; it’s a medical term only used when HIV has really seriously damaged a person’s immune system to the point where they are very ill. It’s really rare for anyone to get that ill in Scotland now, thanks to improving HIV medication and increasing testing that means people are diagnosed and on treatment much earlier. But while AIDS is less of an issue for people in Scotland than it once was, HIV certainly hasn’t gone away. Last year 374 new people were diagnosed with HIV in this country; that’s more than one each day.

There’s a lot everyone can do to help prevent new cases. Knowing the facts about HIV and how it’s transmitted is a good place to start; with the right information you can both challenge any myths you hear but also make informed choices and keep yourself and others safe. Key things are making sure you use condoms, never sharing injecting kit, and getting tested regularly if you think you might be at risk.  Another simple thing we can all do is think about how it would feel to have HIV, and to challenge the stigma and prejudice that people living with HIV face. A good place to start is by learning some facts about HIV,like that it can’t be passed on by things like touching, kissing, sharing cups or toilet seats.

So this year, please join us and mark World AIDS Day and HIV Testing Week by asking yourself and people you know: What Will You Do?

Add a ribbon to your profile picture, get ideas and information at www.AIDSdayScotland.com, or follow the campaign on Twitter and share what you’ll be up to using #WhatWillYouDo.

Refugee Crisis: Ways You Can Help

There is a global refugee crisis.  Many people think the UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. Refugees have risked their lives to escape horrendous conflict and violence only to be left living in dire, unsafe and inhumane conditions in Europe. People are asking how they can help.  Here are some suggestions:

Add your voice

Petition to UK Government to accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK.

Help Refugee Action send #2000flowers and sign their petition.

Donations of Emergency Supplies

dunbar drop offRefugees in Calais – including pregnant women and unaccompanied children – are living in appalling conditions. The lack of clean water, sanitation and shelter is causing a huge number of health problems among the residents of the camps.

Voluntary supply convoys are leaving regularly from all over the UK.

You can drop off donations (see list right) at Flux, High Street, Dunbar and Zero Waste Dunbar, Station Road, Dunbar.

You can donate items on the list shown below on Saturday 12th 11 – 2 at the Washhouse in Portobello

Donations will be given to CalAid Edinburgh for distribution. If you can’t donate and would like to help support financially then please follow the link https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/calaid-edinburgh.

You can also donate directly to CalAid Edinburgh who are collecting donations every Tuesday and Thursday 2- 7pm at Studio 24, 24 – 26 Calton Road, Edinburgh


Help Calais & Greece Wishlist – add to your basket next time you shop at Amazon.

Financial Donations

Refugees in UK

Refugee Action – the organisation gives advice about claiming asylum, the asylum process and asylum support.

Refugees in Calais

Doctors of the World Calais Campaign – Doctors of the World is the only charity providing medical help on the ground in Calais, with two field clinics in the main camp and a team of volunteer doctors and nurses providing essential medical consultations, counselling and psychological support services.

International Organisations

International Rescue Committee:  improving living conditions by setting up camps

Medecins Sans Frontieres  –  Through mid-August, the international aid group has rescued 11,482 people at risk of drowning through its search and rescue operations on the Mediterranean Sea. The organization also is providing direct medical services to refugees in locations throughout the Mediterranean.

Mercy Corps –  The organisation has just completed an assessment in Greece and is in the process of formulating an aid action plan.

Migrant Offshore Aid Station: dedicated to preventing migrant deaths at sea.

Red Cross Europe: providing emergency health services at central train stations

Save the Children  – The organisation says some 5 million Syrian children are in need of assistance, including more 1 million Syrian children who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Funds are used for food, clothing, care and protection as a result of the ongoing war. The group is distributing essential items such as nappies and hygiene kits.

UN Refugee Agency UNHCR provides basic and necessary humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees and helps the most vulnerable refugees with urgently needed relief – cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing.  By helping refugees in the surrounding region, UNHCR hopes to reduce the number of desperate Syrians resorting to smugglers and falling prey to traffickers to reach safety elsewhere.  Since January alone, 1.8 million refugees received food aid, 500,000 children were enrolled in school, and shelter in camps was provided for more than 460,000 refugees.

World Vision: providing food, water, shelter, education and psychosocial care

Stay Informed

Calais Migrant Solidarity Blog

Could you be a big nature Twitter reporter?

scottish big nature

Scotland’ Big Nature Festival takes place at Levenhall Links, Musselburgh and has a programme which includes over 100 different talks, workshops, walks and special events.

We have tickets to give away to a family who are able to live-tweet from Saturday’s event which includes  talks by top speakers such as Bill Oddie, David Lindo, and Euan McIlwraith; workshops, ranging from first aid for wildlife to photography tips’ and an exciting children’s programme which will keep wee ones entertained with storytelling, bushcraft, bug hunts, owl pellet dissections and much, much more…

To enter, email admin@lothianloop.com and tell me why you think you and your family would make great Big Nature Twitter Reporters – by 9p.m. tonight, Sun April 26th!

Missed the competition deadline?

You get another chance with our Twitter competition to be drawn on 30 April.  Simply RT this tweet and follow @LothianLoop to enter.

Can’t wait? Buy your tickets here

Terns at Whitesands Quarry

Isle of Wight based Aquatic Engineering have been working closely with Lafarge Tarmac and RSPB Scotland to build a Tern nesting raft as part of the regenerating project at Whitesands Quarry, east of Dunbar.

ternAquatic Engineering provided the nesting raft (which is just one of the products they build, supply and maintain) which measured 16m2 and covered in gravel.

The Junior Rangers – an environmental youth group with a focus on conservation work, including practical habitat management, biological surveying and environmental interpretation – were responsible for making sure that the gravel was the right depth on the base for nesting Terns.  The use of tern rafts and floating islands can offer an effective way to provide important undisturbed habitat in a deep-water lake for ground nesting birds such as terns and some wader species.


The whole project has been set up not only to provide a home for nesting Terns but also to restore the quarry in a way that enhances and encourages biodiversity and creates a wonderful place for visitors and local communities.  Additionally, the project has enabled the Junior Rangers to develop skills in bird identification and given them experience in  using large hand tools.


Aquatic Engineering returned at the beginning of April to refurbish the raft ready for the new season and we will continue to work alongside both Lafarge and RSPB Scotland to ensure the quarry remains a safe haven for wildlife.

If you are aged between 11-18, live in East Lothian and are interested in becoming a Junior Ranger, please contact Jen Edwards, Countryside Ranger at jedwards@eastlothian.gov.uk or 01620 827847


The photo shows a beautiful Tern chick on the nesting raft – a proud day for all involved!


Wheels in motion for East Lothian’s first regular ‘poo bus’

Fuelled by human and household waste, and running between Tranent and Prestonpans, the Bio-Bus will commence service on 1st April.