Time to launch clean-up at Newhaven Harbour

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My wife and I recently had supper at one of the harbour-side restaurants at Newhaven. It was a lovely warm evening and the harbour was busy with locals and visitors enjoying the view and the gorgeous sunset. It should have been a totally pleasant experience – but it wasn’t.

The surrounds of the harbour are a disgrace, weeds abound – some several feet high! The litter bins are overflowing. There is a section of railing which has been destroyed months ago. Overall, when the tide went out there was a smell of rotting seaweed. The whole area had a look of shoddiness and neglect. How this contrasts with scenes in France, Italy – even Albania!

It would take neither much effort nor expense to tidy and smarten the place up.

Our councillors should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a tourist attraction to be in such a state.

So, tidy up Newhaven Harbour!

Roger Craik, York Road, Trinity, Edinburgh

Taxpayers shouldn’t fund Christianity

I MAY be one of the people in Edinburgh that Gus Logan is referring to (Letters, July 27).

Let me reassure him, I am happy for Christianity to flourish, it’s just I do not want to fund irrational beliefs through my taxes.

Pay for your own schools Mr Logan and stop leeching off the state. And don’t get me started on bishops in the House of Lords! Why should Christians be guaranteed seats in Parliament? Why not stamp collectors, or even Hibs supporters? What is the logic of one interest group being so favoured?

James Gillespie, Water Street, Edinburgh

Royal split a blessing for the ‘Yes’ vote

Do the letters of Sylvia M DeLuca (News, July 25) and Lynn Gourlay (News, July 27) not finally demonstrate what a mad, sad society we have become?

The former disputing the presence of Camilla at the scene of a royal birth, and the latter defending it – and both apparently Scottish?

More food for the “Yes” vote . . . thank you!

Phil Cowan, Laverockbank Avenue, Edinburgh

Put Contalmaison on the school trips list

I WAS glad to see that a dozen Edinburgh teenagers recently visited Rwanda (News, July 26).

The opportunity to learn of the devastation of the 1994 genocide, the country’s recovery from indescribable depths, and the contrast between a relatively poor African country and prosperous Edinburgh, should be an invaluable part of their preparation for life.

Earlier this month, for the first time, I attended the ceremony at Contalmaison in northern France remembering the sacrifice of an earlier generation – in this case those who volunteered and signed up for McRae’s Battalion in 1914. Amongst the many from Edinburgh and Scotland who fought at the Somme on and around July 1, 1916 were ordinary people who included members of the then brilliant Hearts football team. The battalion was decimated.

I hope students from Edinburgh can be encouraged to make the Contalmaison trip in future years. It is important for as many as possible to be aware of history, and to know of, and respect, the sacrifice of earlier generations. I have no doubt the experience of the visit to Rwanda, including the contrast with the material privileges we enjoy, has been formative and inspiring – as it was for me when I visited a few years ago.

Councillor Cameron Rose, City Chambers

Putting prevention ahead of the cure

As a coalition we recently submitted our response to the Scottish Parliament consultation on the Scottish Government’s Children and Young People Bill.

Aiming to put our children and young people at the heart of planning and services, and ensuring their rights are respected across the public sector, is of course an aspiration to be applauded.

There is much in the Bill to be commended, but there is more that can be done to ensure that it truly realises its full potential. We know that prevention is better than cure and yet the Bill contains not one single mention of prevention. We naturally spend heavily in meeting the costs of failure, but need to try to prioritise preventative spend, which the societal costs of failure far outweigh.

The fact that the Bill places a duty on local authorities to assess a care leaver’s request for assistance up to and including the age of 25 is to be applauded. However, we urge that this be strengthened to give the young person the right to remain in and return to care. This will have an associated cost, but it is well established that care leavers have higher instances of homelessness and involvement with the justice system. The cost of these impacts far outweighs the cost of allowing a young person the stability afforded through remaining in or returning to care.

Likewise, while the Bill focuses on support for care leavers, we would seek this support be extended to those young people with Additional Support Needs, such as learning difficulties, affording them the same rights as care leavers.

The Children and Young People Bill can still seize the opportunity to put prevention before cure, based on the needs of families and communities, and is an opportunity we simply cannot afford to miss.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition: Sophie Dow, founder, Mindroom; Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland; Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School; Brian Durham, managing director, Young Foundations