Nov 252015

s630_CT_Awareness_week_logo_72dpiToday, Wednesday, 25 November, is the third day of Counter Terrorism Awareness Week 2015, a campaign from the police service and partners to inform the public about the terrorism threat; what is being done to tackle it; how communities can help, and offering practical advice about how to stay safe and be vigilant to the threat from terrorism whether at home, in business or online.

Counter Terrorism Awareness Week has been planned for a long time but its relevance is all the more obvious due to the atrocities we have all witnessed with the recent terrorist activity in France and in Mali.

The threat could manifest itself in many ways; from an individual working alone to terrorist networks planning coordinated attacks.

It is important to highlight that the threat level to the UK from international terrorism remains at SEVERE, which means an attack is highly likely. The UK has been operating at this level since August 2014 and it is important that following these events all communities remain alert but not alarmed and report any suspicious activity to Police Scotland.

Police Scotland carries out daily activities to help maintain the protection and security of all our communities and this week gives us an opportunity to remind communities about this threat and what we are doing to tackle it, as well as providing information to help them to take the necessary steps to stay safe.

On Monday the campaign was launched, One of the areas focus is on  public vigilance to help report terrorist activity – both online and off – and explains what to look out for and how the public can get in touch with the police if they have concerns or information about suspicious behaviour or activity.

On Thursday efforts will concentrate on the dangers of online radicalisation and how to safeguard those who are vulnerable.

At the end of the week, in advance of one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, we will highlight useful information that will explain how to protect electronic goods from cyber risk.

Deputy Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, Crime and Operational Support, Police Scotland said: “While people in Scotland remain safe going about their day to day business with family, friends and colleagues, I would encourage everyone to be vigilant, alert and avoid complacency. We are working tirelessly to confront the terrorist threat we all face. To do this we need the help of the public.  Communities defeat terrorism, which is why our relationship with Scotland’s communities is so important and it now needs to be stronger than ever before.”

Guidance can be found on the Police Scotland website and we would advocate that people remain alert and vigilant and “If you suspect it, report it” by contacting Police Scotland directly by calling 101, in an emergency dial 999 or 0800 789 321 (Anti Terrorist Hotline).

Visit the NaCTSO website today and every day this week for information about how to stay safe online and how to be vigilant against the threat from terrorism. www.gov.uk/nactso.

Follow Twitter activity and web chats at: @Policechiefs or https://twitter.com/PoliceChiefs. #CounterTerrorismUK

Until Friday, there will be live webchats and Q&A sessions at 1000hrs each day.

Join the conversation at: @Policechiefs or https://twitter.com/PoliceChiefs  at 10am and for those whose follow twitter, please follow #CounterTerrorismUK throughout the week for further information and tweets.

Also, we would be delighted to hear what you are doing this week to support the week’s themes and as such, would encourage you to not only follow #CounterTerrorismUK but to use it.

Nov 202015

If you like spreading some festive cheer and like receiving surprise packages in the post, then you might like to sign up for Secret Santa.

How to take part:

  • Email your (real) name, East Lothian postal address and any helpful info (gender/age/interests) to admin@lothianloop.com by 30th November*.  Lothian Loop will then pass on these details to your Secret Santa.
  • You will receive postal details of the person to whom you should send a gift – remember the very last posting date for 2nd class is Saturday 19th December.
  • You don’t have, but it would be great if you could share a photo of the gift you receive by tweeting @lothianloop.
  • The system is based on trust.  Please only ask to take part if you are willing to send a gift.  Lothian Loop cannot be held responsible for non-delivery or anything else!

Top Tips: 

  • £5-7 is a guide spend – take into account postage costs when choosing your gift.
  • Aim to send a gift that will fit through a letterbox that doesn’t need to be signed for.
  • This gift should be family-friendly and absolutely not a platform for an agenda/political campaign!

* If numbers become unwieldly, Lothian Loop reserves the right to close registration before this date.

Nov 122015

More than 460 households and businesses in Haddington are now able to connect to fibre broadband, with more to follow, thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme.

The properties in Haddington join more than 5,300 homes and businesses in East Lothian which are now able to access fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland rollout.

Other areas where fibre has gone live thanks to the programme include Aberlady, Gifford, Longniddry, Gullane and Port Seton, with more areas planned in the coming months as engineers from BT’s local network business Openreach continue work on the ground.

The coverage in Haddington builds on BT’s commercial rollout of fibre broadband there, which passes nearly 3,500 more local homes and businesses. The fibre network has also been extended in Cockenzie and Tranent by the Digital Scotland rollout.

To help local people find out more about the benefits of the high-speed service, a special drop-in event will be held on Court Street, between 12 and 3pm, on Friday November 20. Anyone from Haddington and the surrounding area interested in finding out how fibre broadband works and the benefits it can provide is welcome to attend the free event.

The latest premises are among more than 455,000 across Scotland which can now access fibre broadband services at speeds of up to 80Mbps* as part of the £410 million Digital Scotland rollout. The project underpins the Scottish Government’s aim of delivering world class connectivity by 2020.

Fibre broadband enables multiple users in a home or business to access the internet, download and share large files at the same time more quickly than ever before. In order to take advantage of the higher speeds now available, residents should contact their service provider.

During the event, members of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme will be on hand to get people up to speed with the technology and provide advice on areas such as signing up with a service provider.

Those attending will also be able to climb aboard the new Digital Scotland Fibre Showcase, a specially-adapted vehicle which features all of the equipment used in the roll-out of fibre broadband. The unique vehicle includes equipment which is familiar to members of the public – like the new green street cabinets – as well as some of the things they don’t often see, such as how fibre-optic cables are ‘blown’ underground, as part of the deployment.

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, said: “It’s really exciting to hear that so many residences in and around Haddington are already able to connect to fibre broadband. It’s good to see this project reaching more communities in our area, contributing towards the aim of connecting most of our homes and businesses to fibre broadband.

“We hope to have a good turn-out at the event on Court Street and demonstrate to our residents and various businesses the huge benefits which fibre broadband will provide.”

Sara Budge, programme director for Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband, said: “It’s great news that many residents and businesses in Haddington are now able to receive fibre broadband thanks to the programme, with more local coverage to follow.

“I’m also excited that we’ll be having our new Digital Scotland fibre showcase in the village. This will give residents an interesting and detailed idea of what fibre broadband can provide and exactly how it’s delivered.

“The difference a high-speed connection can make is amazing, giving much more flexibility at work or in the home. I hope that local residents will come along to the event at The Cargill Centre to get an understanding of the boost they can expect from a fast fibre broadband connection when they sign up with a service provider.”

BT is investing £126 million in the Digital Scotland programme, in addition to its commercial rollout of fibre broadband in Scotland.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland Director, said: “Thousands more people in East Lothian now have access to their best ever broadband speeds thanks to the Digital Scotland project, which builds on BT’s commercial roll-out in some towns including Haddington.

“It means that in total nearly 35,000 East Lothian households can now access a fibre broadband connection and, as the new high-speed network continues to extend across the area, making the most of it is vital. I hope local people and businesses will soon be taking advantage of all the opportunities on offer.”

Local people can check the interactive map on the Digital Scotland website (www.digitalscotland.org/whereandwhen) to find out if they can get the service and further information is also available on Twitter @ScotSuperfast or Facebook at www.facebook.com/scotlandsuperfast

Nov 102015

Community Forum at Queen Margaret University

Monday 23rd November 2015, 6.30pm – 7.45pm


People in East Lothian and Edinburgh are being invited to get an insight into the work of Queen Margaret University (QMU), by attending its Community Forum.


QMU will stage the next Community Forum at its Musselburgh campus in East Lothian on Monday 23rd November 2015, from 6.30pm until 7.45pm.


Local people will have the opportunity to ask questions about the University and how it is working with the community.


Professor Brendan McCormack, Head of Division of Nursing at QMU, will be the guest speaker at the QMU Community Forum.  His presentation is titled ‘Research into assuring the quality of care for people living with dementia’.

QMU from the Air

The QMU Community Forum brings together university staff, local residents, businesses, organisations, schools and council representatives twice a year to discuss university and local community issues.


Jane Scott, Director of Marketing & Communications at QMU, said: “The QMU Community Forum is designed to create a link between local people in and around East Lothian, Edinburgh and the University. The popular event attracts a variety of interest from local residents, councillors and representatives from community groups.


“We look forward to welcoming a wide range of local people to our next Community Forum on the 23rd of November.  People will have the chance to find out more about the work of QMU’s Division of Nursing and our research into assuring the quality of care for people living with dementia.”


QMU is open to the local community throughout the year, providing a range of public facilities, including learning resources, gym and sports centre, café, restaurant and grounds for leisure activities and dog-walking.


For more information and to register for the QMU Community Forum, contact Jane Purves, Marketing & Communications Office, QMU, T: 0131 474 0000, E: jpurves@qmu.ac.uk


Nov 102015

Don’t sit in the cold at home this winter,” is the message from RSABI, Scotland’s rural charity, as it launches its 2015/6 Help for Heating Fund worth £30,000.

Fixed grants of £300 are available to anyone with a background in farming, crofting, forestry, horticulture, fish-farming, game-keeping and rural estate work, who is in fuel poverty (when a household has to spend 10% or more of its income to maintain acceptable levels of warmth) and meets RSABI criteria for receiving financial help.

RSABI_2  Help4Heating%09advert art 148x210mm

RSABI Welfare Manager, John Macfarlane, who oversees the Help for Heating Fund said:

Nobody should be cold in their own home this winter and if you or someone you know are worried about paying the energy bill, please call the RSABI Helpline 0300 111 4166 in confidence or visit www.rsabi.org.uk.

Rural fuel poverty is consistently higher than the national average, with older people being particularly vulnerable. Whilst energy-saving initiatives and schemes help significantly, they alone do not lift people out of fuel poverty, particularly those without access to mains gas. We are determined to make warmth more affordable for anyone who qualifies for the RSABI Help for Heating Fund.”

Oct 292015

Anyone scratching their head for novel Christmas shopping ideas will welcome the publication of a new collection of comic rural stories gleaned from across Scotland.

The book, Farming is a Funny Business, has been compiled by well-known journalist and author Andrew Arbuckle and his brother John, and contains anecdotes and jokes about the trials and tribulations of everyday rural life. As an additional bonus all proceeds are being given to Scotland’s rural charity, RSABI.

Copies are available from RSABI directly and cost £10, plus postage and packing.

Farming is a Funny%09Business front cover
Nina Clancy, RSABI chief executive, said:

“Christmas shopping can be a headache at the best of times, and we all know someone who is especially difficult to buy a present for. Thankfully Andrew and John Arbuckle have come to the rescue with their super collection of funny farming anecdotes.

“RSABI is enormously grateful to Andrew and John for their hard work in putting this book together, and to all those who contributed their jokes and tales. Farming is a Funny Business deserves to sell well in its own right, but I am always heartened that people are willing to help RSABI raise money in innovative ways.

“Rural life can be tough, and RSABI helps hundreds of people each year who are working or have worked on the land – and their dependants – and face difficulties due to illness, stress or financial strain. Whether you buy this book for yourself or as a present, you’ll be delighting someone and supporting a good cause at the same time.”

Andrew Arbuckle said: “Whether you’re stuck for a Christmas present or just want a diversion from the toils and troubles on the farm, Farming is a Funny Business provides the answer.

“With over 300 jokes and anecdotes from contributors all over Scotland, it will surely dispel the view that farmers are dour and uncommunicative, and equally it will remove the thought that farming has a monopoly on pessimism.

“For city dwellers, it would also be a welcome present to that neighbour, uncle, aunt or other relation who keeps talking about farming, and it has the added benefit in that it can be sneakily read before being wrapped up in Christmas paper.

“Some of the humour is pawky and a lot of it is dry and understated; there may not be a lot of ‘laugh out loud’ moments but it provides proof there is a lot of fun in the farmyard, at auction sales and agricultural shows; in fact wherever farming folk meet.”