A New Local Organisation: Fountainbridge Blue Green Community Development Trust

What is being proposed?

Open air booth with discussion between residents and organisers of canal-side proposals

Re-Union Canal Boats and Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative are discussing coming together to form a new Development Trust for the area around Fountainbridge and the Union Canal.

Both organisations agree that to have the most impact in our area we should join forces!

The aim is to ensure that developments by the canalside make use of the resources of the Union Canal. The new Community Development Trust will focus on working with others to create and manage new projects. It will support and strengthen opportunities for economic, environmental and cultural activity that benefits the community, and will promote social inclusion, sustainability and well-being.

We want to create a community-led organisation that uses a combination of enterprise and creativity to improve the quality of life for people living, and coming to live, in our area.

What has happened so far?

We have had a series of meetings together to think about what our key aims and objectives would be, the area we will cover and how to link with national and local priorities and movements. 

We are keen to talk to organisations and individuals in and around Fountainbridge so we can build this together. It is key that the plans are being made by local people and for the benefit of our community.

Who is behind the proposals?

Re-Union Canal Boats has been operating since 2004 working with canalside communities near the Union Canal. Re-Union supports and encourages communities to engage positively with the canal, to promote its heritage, environment and amenity, with a view to encouraging more local people to use the canal to their benefit.

We have delivered a range of projects around volunteering, employability, environmental improvement and health & well-being, as well organising the popular Edinburgh Canal Festival.

Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative (FCI) are a group of community activists and local groups who since 2011 have been pushing for a mixed, sustainable neighbourhood to be created at Fountainbridge, in dialogue with the Council and developers. It has supported temporary activities like the Grove and the Forge on the empty site, actively consulted with the community and managed to get agreement by the Council to have almost 40% affordable housing; low carbon heating; social enterprise units and a Green Plan.

Re-Union Canal Boats have recently decided to split the organisation into two. ‘Go Forth and Clyde” will continue to work from the Falkirk base and a new organisation utilising the remaining boats will work to link canal activities with the local developments at Fountainbridge. Similarly FCI have been considering the structure needed over the next few years to run various initiatives such as a green maintenance squad, once the site nears completion and their current role comes to an end.

We have decided to work together to set up a new Community Development Trust which combines the great asset of the canal boats and the social enterprise experience of Re-Union with the community development work and ongoing site plans from FCI. The new organisation would work to connect more actively the resources of the canal (biological diversity, historical, recreational) into the development of the Fountainbridge site and other canalside communities.

Why a Community Development Trust?

Community Development Trusts are community-owned and led organisations, working to combine community-led action with an enterprising approach to address and tackle local needs and issues. The aim of a development trust is to create social, economic and environmental renewal in a defined geographical area, as well as to contribute to the local economy.

We’re excited for the potential of what this new organisation could bring to the area. Please get in touch to let us know your thoughts. For more details, please contact Rachel Sedman, 07716 745978  rachel@re-union.org.uk

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