A new venue for Edinburgh Yes Hub

We are looking to raise funds to help secure a new venue for the Edinburgh Yes Hub.

The Edinburgh Yes Hub, that was kept going since the last referendum, has now closed. The Hub manager, Mike Blackshaw (pictured above), sadly passed recently, which preciptated the closure. He gave his all to the independence campaign, but now we volunteers believe a new more central, higher-profile location is required.

Westminster and its Supreme Court have blocked our path as the campaign for independence enters a new phase. To grow support for independence with an energised campaign there will be more need than ever for a Yes Hub in our capital city, promoting independence and our democratic rights.

A core group of volunteers and supporters of the old Hub are working on setting up a new Edinburgh Yes Hub as soon as possible with a new properly constituted organisation. We are looking to continue the Hub's social media presence and electronic magazine (Saor Alba).

Some of the volunteers outside the Lasswade Road Hub at closing of Hub

As we found in 2014 when two Yes shops opened in South Edinburgh "Build it and they will come"! With a new more central premises we can get Yes groups and independence-supporting political parties working together to energise local campaigning. The Hub will form a central location to distribute campaigning materials, to answer queries and to provide a place for supporters to get together and so serve the Yes Movement better. Further the new venue can be a place to obtain campaign flags, books, mugs, posters etc. If we have a more central location we will be able to get more volunteers and more support.

Previously, the Hub was used as a venue for the Stennis Historical Society, for meetings, talks, concerts and more. Even rallies were initiated from the Lasswade Road venue under Mike's tenure. The Hub also emphasised the importance of the campaign for nuclear disarmament in a Scottish and international context. We want to keep that flow going. Once open we will also continue to prominently feature aspects of Scottish culture.

South Edinburgh is one of the remaining areas of Scotland without an independence-supporting elected representative at both the Westminster and Holyrood constituency levels. This area would benefit greatly from a visible presence reflecting Scotland’s cause with plentiful material for giving information on the arguments.

We hope to establish the Hub early next year, and to this end we need to raise funds for the initial lease of premises. This crowdfunder aims to cover leasing for a few months. This could be the key to securing premises initially and getting support from other independence-supporting organisations.

The volunteers have been working behind the scenes to organise starting up a new hub. We set up a public meeting to let supporters hear what we have been doing and to take the opportunity to give your input. The Public Meeting with guest speaker Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp was on Sat 20 May, 11 am till 1 pm, at Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace, Edinburgh.
Our event was well attended with any queries answered and most there expressing readiness to volunteer help in some capacity. Some Yes groups supporting us in principle have indicated that they will be ready to donate meaningful sums when suitable premises are secured.
A short workshop was also held in which people attending were organised into groups and given opportunity to discuss their ideas together before writing down what they wanted to see a new Hub doing. Those ideas are being collated and where feasible will be taken into account when a new Hub is secured.

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Michael Wallace

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