by Robert Pearson
Over recent years we have seen bingo halls close over Edinburgh, many reasons spring to mind including the smoking ban. North Edinburgh’s nearest bingo hall – the Gala in West Granton – closed many years ago. At its peak you would see many people queuing outside to be first in to get their preferred seats. After the closure the area was left without any bingo facilities at all.
Well, this all changed last month when Muirhouse resident Jackie Brown -’Big Jackie’ – heard of a new and exciting opportunity: Inspiring Scotland’s Link Up programme was in town and was working with individuals and groups in Muirhouse. Jackie and a few others met up with Link Up development worker Julie Crawford and plans were put in motion to relaunch bingo in North Edinburgh.
Speaking to Jackie I asked her why she thought this was a good idea for Muirhouse and greater North Edinburgh:
“Since the closure of the bingo hall in Granton years ago, it has been sadly missed by many. We would all go to the bingo and enjoy the game along with a good chinwag with everyone. When I heard of Link Up I immediately thought we could benefit from this. Julie the Link Up worker has been fantastic and made this all possible, given lots of advice and support. I really hope that we can continue to sustain our new bingo and that it runs for many years to come”
Development worker Julie Crawford tells me:
“ This fantastic idea of Jackie has only been made possible thanks to Inspiring Scotland and their Link Up programme, working very closely with Jackie and Muirhouse Millennium Community Centre I was delighted to see the first bingo game last month. Jackie is a very passionate about Muirhouse and will do everything possible to make this sustainable”
It was a nervous wait for the first bingo session to come, as often events are arranged in Muirhouse and the take up is not particularly good. Well, there was no need to be nervous as a fantastic 29 people turned in to the Community Centre to have their first game of bingo in years.
‘Eyes down and ready for your first number’ was called, the excitement was clear in the hall, these ladies were at home enjoying bingo in the heart of Muirhouse! “Bingo” – we had our first winner! Jackie had done it – the people of Muirhouse and North Edinburgh really were playing bingo in front of her very own eyes! Soon it was the interval and there was a positive vibe about the centre and women laughed and chatted with one another.
Due to the fantastic success of the first bingo, Jackie is pleased to confirm that bingo is here to stay – well, at least for the time being. She really hopes to welcome even more people this month.
Jackie and all the ladies who attended last month’s bingo thank all the staff at Muirhouse Millennium Community Centre, as without their support this would not have been possible.
Link Up Muirhouse is delivered by Muirhouse Youth Development Group in partnership with, and through funding from, Inspiring Scotland. Inspiring Scotland’s Link Up programme is supported by the CashBack for Communities programme. CashBack for Communities is a Scottish Government programme which takes funds recovered from the proceeds of crime and invests them into free activities and programmes for people across Scotland.
The next Bingo night is Wednesday 24 October, for more information: 07928 116 375