First published on The Edinburgh Reporter April 8 2010
In a week where The Evening News described Liberton/Gilmerton as one of Edinburgh’s top ASBO hotspots, we ask whether the outlook is really so bleak.
Home to just over 33 000 people, Liberton/Gilmerton lies to the south east of Edinburgh, reaching from Dalkeith Road and the Royal Infirmary to the city bypass. The Local Community Plan (available online here) describes it as:
‘a socially diverse neighbourhood which includes more affluent areas alongside communities where deprivation is within the worst 5% of deprived areas in the city.’
Hyvots, Gracemount, Burdiehouse and Southhouse are amongst those identified in the worst 5% employment areas across Edinburgh and all are within Liberton/Gilmerton boundaries. Improved work opportunities are therefore one of the top six priorities currently being targeted by the local Neighbourhood Partnership, a committee of representatives from local community groups, police and the council.
Other priorities include improving family wellbeing, better dental health for children, enhanced services for older people, reduced alcohol misuse, and investment in parks and green spaces.
The Fairer Scotland Fund (FSF) allocated the Liberton & Gilmerton Neighbourhood Partnership £751,000 in 2008-09 to fund local projects delivering outcomes against these priorities. This money currently supports 14 local projects.
Over the past few years, initiatives piloted in the area have included the Youth Action Team, now a staple of many police forces across Scotland, and the Bottle Marking Scheme (where bottles thought likely to be bought by young people were marked with an invisible code, used to link the bottle to where it was sold.) However, those involved in the extensive partnership work that goes on in this area are committed to a 15-year plan and agree there is still much to do.
Members of the Youth Issues Sub-Committee are currently developing an ‘Involving Young People’ forum, to take place on June 18th. This will include presentations by young people from the South Youth Forum, Moredun Library, Liberton Kirk and Gracemount and Liberton High Schools.
Crime and ASBOs may still be issues of real concern in the south of the city, but they’re working on it.