One of the strengths of a community is its ability to communicate within itself, and with a united well-informed
voice, to those outside. Without communication, the community can do little and without the ability to broadcast local viewpoints
to those who influence affairs, it is powerless.
The communities of
Balerno, Currie and Juniper Green expanded rapidly in the 1960's, a loss of local jobs and the growth of dormitory suburbs
threatening to destroy the community cohesiveness built up over many years, as people changed their habits and commuted out
to work and shop, and back to sleep. Recognising this, a small group of people met and resolved to produce a community newspaper.
In the beginning...
The result was The Currie and Balerno
News, initiated in February 1976. The first issue, edited by Graham Priestley, was delivered free. After a
bumpy start, it settled down and people began to contribute bits and pieces. Before long, the paper, now affectionately known
as the C&B News, was carrying regular articles and people began to rely on it, to the extent of promising
further information in a subsequent issue.
The paper never appeared each
month of the year, though in the early years, editions did come out in January - creating real problems for the team whose
thoughts were on Christmas rather than the next issue. 1988 saw the number of issues reduced to 10 per annum, where it has
stayed to this day.
Growth of the paper...
The C&B News started life with 10 pages and had a homely, friendly look about it. Two months
later it expanded to 12 pages, gradually increasing to 16 pages then in multiples of 4 pages thereafter. The first 28 page
issue appeared in 2003 and, in 2005, the biggest paper of all was printed - a 32 page monster. By 2008 the norm had become
36 pages, and after May 2009 there were even occasional 40 page ones. This in turn became the norm, and the first
44-pager appeared in December 2011.
The business management is carried out by volunteers and the distribution is done by members of the Currie Balerno Rotary
A writer's platform ...
The paper provides a platform to display the rich talent, expertise, interests and achievements of local
people. People communicate with each other and influence the world outside. Articles have been used at public inquiries; senior
officials in the local authority have been obliged to explain controversial decisions; local Community Councillors, City Councillors,
MSPs and MPs have all read and used the C&B News to inform local people. Extracts are circulated in the City
offices and the paper has earned respect as a valuable information source by users of Edinburgh's Central Library.
It is not sufficient to start a project and expect it to continue. None of this was easy and on many occasions
the paper was in danger of folding, to the great concern of correspondents and readers alike. Gone are the days when the little band of helpers actually cut and pasted pages together before they were
passed to the printer. The C&B News is now produced with the latest computer software like any modern paper, yet
several have been surprised to learn that the C&B News does not have an official office.