Leaders: ‘Services have crucial role in our city’s life’

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So, Irvine Welsh can now add successful community campaigner to best-selling author and creator of controversy to his CV.

It is, of course, the hard work of campaigning Newtongrange residents that has saved their local library and sports centre from closure. The celebrity endorsements from Welsh and fellow author Janice Galloway only helped raise interest in their battle.

These days everyone understands that money is tight for local authorities and savings have to be found somewhere in their budget.

But it is a mistake to underestimate the crucial role that local
facilities play in the life of a community. The library, for instance, is not just a place where we borrow books, use the computers or take our children to rhyme time, they are also places where we meet people and find out what is going on in our neighbourhood. Sports centres play a similar role in bringing us together.

Some councils have shut libraries. We are lucky that many, including Edinburgh, have instead adapted to ensure they continue to meet local needs. Many now offer new services, including at least one fruit and veg stall, and open longer at weekends when more people want to use them.

This willingness to embrace change is crucial to protecting the future of the services we value most.

Just minted

We’re pleased to report on a happy ending for Larry, the lamb who was taken on a terrifying 60mph ride to Edinburgh Airport on the front grille of a Renault Clio. It is an incredible story of survival and has touched the hearts of many readers.

Anything less than superstar treatment for Larry would have been a scandal, so we are relieved to hear he was returned to home in a very much more comfortable manner to be reunited with his mother and twin sister. How is Larry is feeling now? Not too baa’d apparently.