This week’s guest blog is from Frank Ross, Lord Provost of Edinburgh
The lights have been taken down, the Big Wheel has stopped spinning, and Edinburgh’s world-famous winter festival events have been packed away for another year.
The fact the city was so bustling this winter is thanks in no small part to the continued success of our Christmas and Hogmanay festivals, and this year’s events were just as spectacular as ever. But now, as the city starts to resume business as usual, thoughts turn to the year ahead and the highlights of 2017.
As those at Cyrenians know all too well, Edinburgh is a city of two halves. The more we see it flourish, the more aware we also become of a divide which can leave others behind. That is why I was particularly proud to lead the city into 2018 with the Hogmanay Torchlight Procession, where I carried a torch – quite literally – for advancing, facilitating, and promoting social welfare and for tackling extreme inequalities in Edinburgh.
For every torch which blazed a trail through the city’s streets, crucial donations were made to the OneCity Trust, of which I am Honorary President. The Trust’s mission is to promote social inclusion and tackle inequality, and help to alleviate poverty among people in Edinburgh. The values of the Trust complement those of the Cyrenians, and together such charities work tirelessly to support people excluded from family, home, work, or community life.
Events like the Torchlight Procession are particularly special to me because they are moments where people unite behind a common cause, and join together to celebrate something which unites rather than separates us.
From the Opening of the Queensferry Crossing – which unites the citizens of Edinburgh and Fife and celebrates to country’s long history of engineering feats – to setting politics and boundaries aside to personally welcome the new US Ambassador to the City Chambers for an historic first time, many of my 2017 highlights were moments which celebrated community and togetherness.
2018 is also a significant year for Edinburgh. It is the Year of Young People and the whole country will be actively engaging children, teenagers, and young adults in all areas of life, from politics and culture. And, while it may seem far away, the Capital is already looking towards the year 2050, through its Edinburgh 2050 City Vision conversation. As the whole community comes together to identify our aspirations and needs for the future, it is the Young People of this city who will be the drivers of that vision.
I certainly hope 2018 and beyond unites us, provides more opportunities for people to be part of community life, and sees more people actively involved in shaping our city’s society.
Best wishes to everyone, and Happy New Year.
Frank Ross, the Right Honourable Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh
22th January 2018