Leader comment: This is democracy in action

Celine Sinclair at The Yard,  a unique and dynamic adventure experienced by more than 2000 children and young people with disabilities

. Picture:  Neil Hanna
Celine Sinclair at The Yard, a unique and dynamic adventure experienced by more than 2000 children and young people with disabilities . Picture: Neil Hanna
1
Have your say

It is always nice, but even more so at this time of year, to read a positive, heart-warming story, a life-affirming tale.

And so it is with how a group of determined parents succesfully fought to have the Westerlea Early Years service continued after the charity Capability Scotland announced in the summer it was closing the centre which gave specialist respite, hydrotherapy, music and sensory sessions for zero to five-year-olds.

The parents started a petition which gathered more than 3000 signatures including some from councillors and MSPs.

And full marks to the City of Edinburgh Council, which helped to fund the project, and agreed to put it out to tender, allowing The Yard at Canonmills to step up and win a contract to provide similar support.

It is accepted that it is not exactly the same service that was there before, and it is sad that the staff wil not transfer, but it is great that the children and the parents will have this new service.

In 2016 we have heard a great deal about the democratic deficit, where ordinary people have felt that their voice is not heard and there has been a huge move towards demand for radical change in the way we are governed.

This feeling of being let down by the political establishment, and of the politicians being out of touch, was said to be the driving force behind two of the biggest shocks of the year, the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump to be president in America.

But here we have, in admittedly a small way, the perfect example of local democracy in action, where a group of citizens decided to act, they approached the local authority who decided not just to listen but to also do something positive, and the people who benefit from this are not just the parents but also the very young disabled children.

Everyone involved should take great pride in their actions.