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One of the hardest things to talk about, write about, or think about is social deprivation.  But it is a reality for many who live in socially deprived areas throughout our communities.  It affects adults and children of all ages.  It impacts on their health and wellbeing, education and employment, hopes and aspirations – every aspect of their life and their wider community is affected.

Social deprivation is measured by ordinary households being unable to meet key basic living measures, including income, employment, education, skills and training, health and disability, housing, environment and more.

Sadly, few who live around the Cockenzie site will be able to recollect a time when sections of our communities did not feature on the national list of socially deprived areas.  For decades and generations, whether with mine workings or power station, social deprivation has remained.

Social deprivation hasn’t happened overnight.

Ending social deprivation won’t happen overnight.  There’s no quick fix.

But removing our communities from the national list must be a primary focus of all decision makers.

The question is whether we can convince our elected members and council officers that – up until now – same old, same old hasn’t worked.  That it’s maybe time to take a radical approach?   Time to think outside the box?   

Imagine if the children growing up in our local, socially deprived areas now were the last generation to do so through a visionary and forward thinking approach to the Cockenzie site.

  • The site is our land legacy.
  • Our community legacy.
  • Our environmental legacy.
  • Our contribution towards ending social deprivation through engaging head on with the challenges of climate change.

Forget the chat about yet another £s costing masterplan and the divvying up of the site into small, marketable parcels.   The 360 Centre is the vehicle to deliver the greatest benefit for all in our coastal communities and beyond, by offering –

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Skills & training
  • Health & wellbeing
  • Environment
  • Renewable energy
  • Opportunity.  Hope.  Aspiration.

The 360 Centre would turn the tide on social deprivation through the range of employment, education and training opportunities that it would bring.

Young East Lothian is included in the 360 Vision document from 2021 and our youth are seen as key stakeholders.  While climate change has far reaching consequences for all, it is particularly the case for the younger members in our communities.   Their input into research, development and delivery of 360 would enable them to see their industrial heritage being taken forward in such a positive way – linking place, community and positive actions for their future.

This week has been the usual busy, busy plate spinning kinda week . . . bearing in mind all 360 folks are volunteers and employed, it’s always a juggle!

  • The East Lothian Energy Conference attended & found to be encouraging, informative with representatives from a wide range of interests. The community benefit and community impact from renewables industry was discussed and further consideration required.
  • Agenda (far lengthier than intended) and attendees forwarded to ELC ahead of meeting 01/06/23
  • Consultation re battery storage proposal attended. Informative but many confused as to why ELC want this proposal to be sited on existing greenfield, agricultural land!  The preference was for the coal plant area, but ELC say no it’s to be on the greenfield site (which seems to be ringing alarm bells for lots of folks!)
  • Long awaited meeting with ELC, 01/06/23. Informative, enlightening, confusing & concerning.  In truth, so much to take in & still processing the information.

Learning that port and freight remain on the table is concerning (notice that ‘cruise’ is no longer mentioned).  But no more chat on that until a full debrief of the steering group post ELC meeting.