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, 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

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 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 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.

Prestonpans has the X-Factor

THE X Factor auditions are back and bigger than ever with Scots being given even more chances to be on the show and the Pennypit Stadium in Prestonpans is set to be in the limelight.

The Glasgow’s Ibrox Stadium will host the biggest ever Scots X Factor audition on April 23 and 24, followed by shows in Aberdeen on March 30&31, Prestonpans on April 1 and Stirling on April 2.

X Factor boss Simon Cowell said: “The X Factor is coming back and, if you think you have the potential to be a world-class star, this is your chance to prove it. You really could be the next pop superstar.”

People can simply turn up at the auditions on the North Grange Avenue stadium on the day.

* Registering online for one of the 9 Open Audition venues or by just turning up at one of the open audition on the day.

With the stadium open auditions and mobile van audition dates, the show will be visiting an unprecedented 50 towns and cities across the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland to find the potential 2015 winner.

Last year’s winner Ben Haenow reckons Scots should apply – whatever they are doing.

The former van driver said: “You’d be a fool not to.  If you believe in yourself, then I would tell everyone to apply for The X Factor.”

Ben Haenow has won the X Factor

“I had the most incredible experience and now I am living out my dream, recording music, having a No1 single and touring the country. It’s unbelievable. I just cannot wait for the year ahead.”


Dublin – Croke Park – April 8&9

Newcastle – Newcastle United Football Club – April 11&12

Leeds – Leeds United Football Club – April 16&17

Birmingham – Birmingham City Football Club – April 18&19

Glasgow – Ibrox Stadium – April 23&24

Liverpool – Liverpool Football Club – April 26&27

Cardiff – Mercure Holland House – 2April 29&30

London – Emirates Stadium – May 2

Manchester – Old Trafford Cricket Ground – May 9

Scots dates for Mobile Audition Tour

Aberdeen: March 30&31

Prestonpans Pennypit Stadium: April 1

Stirling: April 2

Full venue details will be announced on

Traffic disruption can be expected on North Grange Avenue in the early hours of 1st April 2013.

Further information can be found here

Funding boost for dementia friendly choir in East Lothian

A dementia friendly choir in North Berwick has been given a funding boost of £5,000. LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalist

Centrepiece Choir, which is part of North Berwick Day Care Association, was started two years ago by people with dementia and their friends who wanted to sing and perform, with money from a local Trust fund.

The choir have already performed a programme of successful events, and practice weekly in the local church hall under the direction of gifted choir master Andrew Brown. The choir themselves decide what they would like to sing, and where they would like to go to perform, and are supported by community volunteers who organise the music, venues, transport and outfits.LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists

The funding will allow this community of interest to continue to come together, to meet in a familiar group with like-minded people who enjoy singing and performing in a dementia friendly space, and entertain their local community.LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists

Funding has come from the Life Changes Trust, an independent charity set up with a Big Lottery Fund endowment of £50 million to improve the lives of two key groups in Scotland: people affected by dementia and care experienced young people. The Trust will be investing £3million in 14 different dementia friendly communities over the next three years.LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists

Valerie MacAdam, one of the choir organisers and a member herself, said,

‘This funding is very important to our choir. Activities like singing help people rediscover old skills, build confidence and have fun. Over the years, many people in the choir have had dementia but they really enjoy singing because, for them, the memory of singing has stayed long after everything else goes. Our choir will continue to build on the positive outcomes that the power of music, and being part of a community can bring to people with dementia.’LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists
Elma Danks, Chair of the North Berwick Day Centre Management Committee and also a choir member said, ‘It gives them huge pleasure and you can see such a positive change in their appearance each time you meet them and they have sung. They really enjoy entertaining others because they feel they are still able to give back, they are contributing, and taking part.’LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists

Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme said ‘Many people living with dementia stop taking part in activities that may have given them great pleasure in the past, or which allowed them to mix with their peers. Initiatives like these bring people together in a dementia friendly community of interest where they have opportunities to be part of something that is meaningful to them. This is a self-directed group who make decisions about what they do and how they do it. This funding will support them to continue to be empowered to do the things they love and make decisions about their own activities.’LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists

In Scotland:

  • It is estimated that around 90,000 people have dementia
  • The number of people with dementia in Scotland is increasing, because the population is getting older. Based on current dementia prevalence rates, the number of people with dementia in Scotland is projected to double by 2038*.
  • Much of that financial burden falls on family carers and friends, who may also experience social isolation, exhaustion and health problems associated with the demands of caring.
  • Dementia costs the country more than cancer, heart disease and stroke put together.

The Life Changes Trust is committed to funding and supporting the development of Dementia Friendly Communities across Scotland and to supporting transformational improvements in the quality of life, well-being, empowerment and inclusion of people affected by dementia – both those who have dementia and those who care for them.LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists

LothianLoop: Making Life Easier for Lazy Churnalists