A list of different presentations given on the farmhouse renovation project, with some of the accompanying slideshows links at the bottom:

Bridgend presentation summaries – 20/01/2011

Bridgend Inspiring Growth
Will introduced Bridgend Inspiring Growth, explaining who they were so far and how it is developed out of previous public meetings, and then what the current situation is with Bridgend Farmhouse, what the plans for the event were and what was hoped to come out of it. Bridgend Inspiring Growth currently have 152 members, around 15 clearly identified partners and 4 volunteer steering group committee members but is very open for all and more to join.
The current 'vision' for the renovation of Bridgend Farmhouse was presented, as a community owned and directed resource centre serving the needs and demands of local people. Its focus would be on creating a range of outdoor based vocational training and educational opportunities whilst enhancing many other local organisations services, with the aim to inspire growth on an individual and communal level and promote positive sustainable living.
Four different needs had been identified through questionnaires, past meetings, discussions and research that are:
  • Social and Natural Environment: Engagement, education and protection
  • Respite/Supported Training or Employment for young adults with learning disabilities
  • Local ownership and directorship
  • Promotion of the historical and educational relevance of Bridgend and Craigmillar Castle Park.
Details of how there were identified were then shown. There was finally some information on other issues to do with the building, suggestions so far, and information on how people can get involved.

Powerpoint Presentation is available here:

Brian Cameron (University of Edinburgh)
Brian spoke about how there is little provision of community resources in the areas around Bridgend. Speaking from his experience of being involved in the establishment of Gilmerton Community Centre he mentioned how the demand for community centres and facilities often outreaches provision and that an organisation which is independent of the council has the advantage that it is not restrained by council policies and can often offer services which better meet the needs of the local community.
He also drew attention to the importance and benefits of using universities as a source of expertise.

Malcolm Fraser (Malcolm Fraser Architects)
Malcolm reminded us that big projects often grow out of small beginnings. Malcolm has worked on many projects renovating and rejuvenating old buildings and worked on similar projects where the council were looking for best value not necessarily best price e.g. Dovecot Studios.
He suggested it is important to narrow down the options open to the council in these cases. He talked about how renovation of the farmhouse rather than a rebuild is by far the best option and would maintain the existing culture of the building, that the building is in an excellent location for a community resource and that the farmhouse is a good sturdy building with lots of potential.

Powerpoint presentation is available here:

Tom Buchanan(Councillor)
Councillor Buchanan confirmed his support for the project and that it should be promoted to the council in terms of best value and not best price. We need to convince the council that the farmhouse has more value in being used to provide for the needs and prosperity of the community than raising money on an open market.
He also pointed out that the current financial climate makes development a better option than sale and that there has always been an aspiration to have a community recourse in the area around Bridgend as it has great access and potential to be a community hub.
Councillor Buchanan emphasised the need for LEVERAGE in persuading the council and stated that he would be willing to help with this. He suggested we need to show that the farmhouse could provide the community with facilities and services which would otherwise have to be provided by the council at a much greater cost e.g. 64 000 via council vs 12 000 via community to support an individual with learning disabilities.

Simon Beames(curriculum for excellence)
Simon spoke from an educational perspective specifically the role the farmhouse could play in helping to deliver the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). He believes the CfE has the potential to deliver powerful and effective education if it is implemented with the use of initiative and vision. It also has an emphasis on community partnerships and learning in the wider community which could be promoted through the Farmhouse.
Simon stresses the importance of outdoor learning within the CfE and suggests it is highly unlikely that the promises of the CfE can be delivered inside the classroom therefore, we need more spaces like those the farmhouse could offer to support its successful delivery.

Powerpoint Presentation is available here:
Moira Stevenson (Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society)
The RCHS, which runs the demonstration allotment at Bridgend Allotments, supports gardening through its educational programme some of which could be run at the Farmhouse eg workshops and lectures.
The Society also administers a programme 'Grow and Learn' for individuals with complex learning needs. Development of their services and work could be enhanced and benefited by use of the farmhouse and its outhouse workshops.

John Palmer(NHS)
Spoke about the importance of building ‘social capital’ – providing the infrastructure and possibilities for people to improve the capacity to look after themselves. He drew attention to the fact that Craigmillar and the Inch are deprived areas which need more provision for ‘social capital’. Craigmillar has the lowest life expectancy figures in the whole of Edinburgh and the highest levels of alcoholism with 40% people income deprived and a third employment deprived. Figures for the inch are not much better.
John suggested we need innovative ways to address health and well-being issues in the area and the Farmhouse has the potential to be one of these. Potential opportunities at the farmhouse he suggested were:
  • Meeting demand for allotments
  • Promoting historic and landscape importance of Inch park and Craigmillar castle park
  • Environmental and educational provision
  • Increasing skills and volunteering opportunities for local people – especially important as it helps to build social capital and increases the chance of employment which in turn can lead to health improvements

Chris Macefield (Bridgend Growing Communities)
Chris mentioned that there has always been an aspiration at Bridgend to have an indoor space which among other things would allow an area for training courses. Many of the participants at the Bridgend Allotment Community Health Inclusion Project say the building is currently a waste of space and needs to be rejuvenated. A desire to have a cafe as a meeting place and or arts space has been expressed by the participants.