Activity Club

A new weekly group for those aged sixty & over is coming soon. A chance to connect with others through activities such as arts & crafts, puzzles, bingo and more, with tea & biscuits!

More details to follow.

Expected to begin in May 2024.

Who is the group for?

Anyone aged sixty & over.

When does the group meet?

Weekly from May 2024.

Tuesdays from 10am until 11:30.

Find out more about us...

Chatter Club

A new weekly group for those aged sixty & over is coming soon. A chance to connect with others through conversation, with tea & biscuits!

More details to follow.

Expected to begin in May 2024.

Who is the group for?

Anyone aged sixty & over.

When does the group meet?

Weekly. Starting in May 2024.

Wednesdays from 1:30pm until 3pm.

Find out more about us...

Local Area Gardening & Nature Group

A new local area gardening & nature group is coming soon! The group will meet weekly and will visit local garden and nature spots, as well as work in our centre garden. Expected to launch in May 2024. More details to follow.

Who is the group for?

When does the group meet?

Find out more about us...

A new weekly centre gardening group is coming soon. Each session will focus on connecting Southsiders with each other through gardening. Expected start date: May 2024.

Centre Gardening Group

Who is the group for?

When does the group meet?

Find out more about us...

Michael Traill (Chief Executive)

Michael became our Chief Executive in winter 2023, with a remit to support the Board of Trustees to develop and manage Southside Community Centre over the next three years.

Prior to working at Southside Community Centre Michael spent nearly eighteen years working in local government followed by a brief period in the retail industry. Michael has been active in his community for many years in various role such as being a charity trustee and Community Councillor.

In his spare time Michael enjoys spending time with his Ragdoll cat.

Fiona Harrison (Trustee)

Fiona was born in Edinburgh and has lived in south Edinburgh for over 30 years.  She graduated from Heriot Watt University and worked for City of Edinburgh Council and then the Scottish Government for most of her career.  She took up music in later life and also graduated in Music Composition from Abertay University. She plays violin in the South Side Community Orchestra.

Lisa Sibbald (Trustee)

Lisa has lived in Edinburgh all her life, and in the Southside for over 30 years.  She has been a user of the community centre for around 20 years, and is pleased to have returned as a Trustee.  Lisa is keen to see the centre develop to its full potential, and to be actively involved in this process.

During her working life, Lisa was mainly employed in secretarial and administrative roles, and in her retirement she is now hugely enjoying writing books on local history and reminiscences.

Chief Executive Recruitment

The Southside Community Centre Association SCIO wishes to appoint a Chief Executive


The Centre currently hosts a wide variety of activities, and we strive to support the health and wellbeing of all members of our diverse community regardless of race, gender, ability, background, beliefs or orientation. The Southside in Edinburgh is an inner-city area of great social and cultural diversity; the University of Edinburgh is close to the Centre.

The Southside Community Centre Association Management Committee, in conjunction with the City of Edinburgh Council, is enthusiastic to develop and support community-based activities within the Centre’s facilities. The Centre is based in a handsome heritage listed building of historical significance and has a well-appointed kitchen and café space, two meeting rooms, as well as a large, impressive auditorium.

The Association has recently upgraded its charity status to that of a SCIO to support the development of its activities. Since April 2023 a consultant has been employed to take forward existing projects, plan new ones and oversee the administrative arrangements to enable the Association to function efficiently.

This new post is to lead the Association’s aim to enhance, and further expand, the range of community and cultural activities in the Centre. Applications are especially welcomed from individuals who may consider themselves a member of a minority group.

The Association is dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace, so if you are excited about this role but don’t match every single criterion, we encourage you to apply. You may be just the right candidate and be able to showcase skills we didn’t know we needed.

The Association is a member of the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and is also working with Edinburgh Voluntary Organisation Consortium (EVOC). Further details about the Centre can be found at www.southsidecommunitycentre.co.uk

Main duties of the post

The Chief Executive will be expected to;

1. Under direction from the Management Committee develop and lead the Association’s activities.

2. Work collaboratively with the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) and in partnership with its Centre based employees with the aim of promoting the smooth running of the Centre’s activities. Provide key-holding responsibility periodically (subject to CEC/
Management Committee approval).

3. Develop new local events, groups, shows, and activities which further the Management Committee’s vision for the Centre, and work with the Management Committee to agree classes, events, and shows operating in the building.

4. Develop outreach work to deliver our goals and further the engagement remits through networking and open dialogue across and between current Centre users, local neighbourhood and the wider diverse communities. Liaise and network with other Community Centres.

5. Manage and develop existing projects in the Centre at the direction of, and responsible to, the Chair of the Southside Community Association SCIO Management Committee.

6. Familiarise themselves with groups and activities currently taking place in the Centre and offer support and guidance to groups/group leaders as required and where appropriate.

7. Work with the Management Committee to identify and deliver fundraising activities to support the Association’s activities, such as researching potential sponsors and funders, developing fundraising events, and writing proposals to potential sources of
funds. The post-holder will be expected to raise annually 50% of their gross salary costs from other organisations and funding bodies.

8. Ensure that appropriate events within the Centre are advertised. Maintain and develop the Associations website with the assistance of appropriate IT support.

9. Develop use of the main hall theatre/cinema space to attract commercial lets, to raise the profile of the Centre and create both income and resources to support community projects.

10. Represent the Centre at local events to promote the Centre’s contribution to the locality.

11. Data protection – ensuring that the Association complies with current Data Protection legislation.

12. Monitor specific budgets as approved by the Management Committee and report financial performance against those budgets to the Management Committee Meeting

13. Other duties that are commensurate with the position of the Chief Executive.

Contractual arrangements

1. The post-holder will be directly responsible to the Chair of the Management Committee (or other named Committee member). A regular report on duties caried out should be provided to the monthly Management Committee.

2. The contract is for a permanent full-time position for 37.5 hours per week.

3. The salary will be £35,000 pa.

4. Annual leave entitlement is 28 days, which includes public holidays. Leave will be negotiated with the Chair, Management Committee.

5. Job share arrangements are negotiable.

6. Working pattern to be agreed between post-holder and Chair Management Committee (or named deputy). Although most of the time will be during the working week should be spent in the Centre, there will be a periodic need to work out with the Centre and the normal working week (including occasional evenings and weekends), at the discretion of the Chair (or deputy) of the Management Committee. Home working arrangement for part of the week will be possible. A log of work undertaken must be kept.

7. Office facilities will be provided in the Centre.

8. The SCIO is an equal opportunity employer and is guided by the SCVO Equality, Diversity and Inclusion recommendations.

The successful candidate should have demonstrable;

1. experience of working in partnership settings with a wide range of stakeholders including, but not limited to, Local Authorities, Community Councils, Local Community Planning Partnerships, Tenants and Residents organisations, Community Centre Management Committees, statutory agencies and voluntary sector partners.

2. ability to communicate, influence and negotiate effectively at all levels whilst maintaining effective relationships with a diverse range of people and organisations.

3. excellent problem-solving skills including interpretation of policy and guidance in a range of situations and the ability to provide creative solutions to problems that may arise with a range of partners, stakeholders, and funders.

4. experience in supporting community engagement and capacity building, in the decision-making processes associated with the development of Centre based and community development programmes.

5. experience in managing expenditures within budgets.

Evidence of the following would be valuable

1. experience in the development and leading of multi-agency groups in a partnership setting with particular emphasis on collaboration, consistency, coordination, and public engagement.

Qualifications and training

Qualified to degree level or equivalent in a relevant professional discipline. In exceptional cases this requirement may be satisfied through relevant experience and demonstrated competence.


Individuals interested in applying for the post are invited to speak informally to the Chair of the Management Committee, Nahid Aslam (chair@southsidecommunitycentre.co.uk), or Vice Chair, Christopher Ludlam (vice-chair@southsidecommunitycentre.co.uk) in the first instance.

Applications, including proposals for developing the Centre’s activities, a CV and the names (and contact details) of two referees, should be submitted in writing to the Chair of the Management Committee and sent to Recruitment, Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicholson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9ER, or to chair@southsidecommunitycentre.co.uk, by Friday 15 September 2023.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates are provisionally planned for the week beginning 25 September.

Southside Community Centre Association welcomes Her Excellency, Dr Fatou Bensouda

Gambian High Commissioner with local councillor and members of the SCCA Management Committee


Under the auspices of the Gambian Community in Edinburgh, the Southside Community Centre Association was privileged to host Her Excellency Dr Fatou Bensouda, the High Commissioner of the Gambia in the UK.

The Gambian Community in Edinburgh, under the leadership of Lamin Bajo, a member of the Southside Community Centre’s management committee, hosted the event.

Lamin had invited local politicians and others to help build community relations. Gambian Dignitaries from across the UK had attended the event. Councillor Simita Kumar (SNP) and MSP Foysol Chaudhury (Labour) also spoke.

Imam Yahya Barry, a former priest of Edinburgh Central Mosque (our neighbour), started off the event with a recitation from the Holy Quran and then an address on the importance of unity and community cohesion.

Dr Bensouda, in her address, encouraged the Gambian diaspora to educate itself and to work diligently for the betterment all their host country and their country of origin. She said it is the Gambian diaspora that can work to improve the socio-economic conditions of the Gambia. she said reiterated the importance of building bonds of unity. She said that as a nation Gambia is proud of the fact that it is a country where unity between communities of ethnicity, religion and gender is strong. Gambians of all persuasions value unity and work wholeheartedly towards maintaining it.


As a nation Gambia is proud of the fact that it is a country where unity between communities of ethnicity, religion and gender is strong.


Councillor Simita Kumar, in her address, spoke about health equalities within marginalised minority communities and encouraged the community to seek out health services as a Right. She stated that, as an elected representative, she is there to support all Southside residents and, as an ethnic minority person, herself she is there as a support to them.

MSP Foysol Choudhury, in his address, encouraged the Gambian community to get involved in local politics for the improvement of their own community and the community at large. As a member of the working group on International Development, he was keen to see more voices speak on issues affecting the Global South, particularly Africa. He stated that we all have a role to play in promoting good governance so that all the citizens of the world can live in peace and harmony with each other.

Live Drama Adult Group at Southside Community Centre

Live Drama at Southside

Live Drama – Adult Drama Class

This is a mixed ability group catering for all those with an interest in drama and the performing arts. Participants have a say in what skills / themes are covered each term. The emphasis is on working together, presentation, communication and having fun.

Any drama class I have attended before has involved turning up, learning a part and performing it. It’s been all about the drama and not about the people in the group. I felt instantly comfortable when I joined this class. Even though other people have been here for years I felt included from the start. I was amazed there wasn’t a group chat already! You all seemed so close to each other!”
– Participant Feedback 2022

Who is the group for?

The classes are for anyone with an interest in drama. Previous experience is welcome but not necessary. 16+ year olds.

When does the group meet?

Wednesdays from 6.30 – 8.30pm

Find out more about us...

First Bite Youth Theatre

Live Drama at Southside

Live Drama – First Bite Youth Theatre

First Bite Youth Theatre was launched in 1994 as an outreach programme by First Bite Theatre in Education Company which toured productions and workshops to primary and secondary schools across Central Scotland and North West England.
Initially run from various venues across Edinburgh and Liverpool, the Youth Theatre moved to SSCC in 1998 where its weekly sessions have involved hundreds of young people ever since.

The Youth Theatre programme is annual. Each group starts by devising and scripting their own productions which are then rehearsed and developed through to public performances in March and May. The Junior and Senior groups also come together for a celebratory End of Year show each year in June.

“A fantastic adventure to be part of for 11 years of my life. Along the way I have made life long friends, gained skills and confidence and formed great memories that will stay with me forever.” – Participant Feedback / 2014

“What does First Bite mean to me? The world. For the past however many years… it’s been my Thursday afternoons, my social life and at times my whole life, and I’ve loved every minute of it. The people here aren’t my best friends, they are my family.” – Participant Feedback 2019

“…the highlight of the week for both my kids. They learn so much about all aspects of the theatre, not just the acting but also character development, script writing, stage and costume design, marketing, teamwork, and more. The last show was a triumph – an inspired script and amazing maturity from the young actors.” – Parent Feedback 2019

Who is the group for?

First Bite Junior Youth Theatre for 7 – 11 year olds / First Bite Senior Youth Theatre for 11 – 18 year olds

When does the group meet?

Thursdays 4 – 5.30pm (Junior Youth Theatre) and Thursdays 6 – 8pm (Senior Youth Theatre)

Find out more about us...

Writing Group

There is a long tradition of the Southside Community Centre supporting creative writing. I’ve facilitated its weekly group for two decades, following the late Sandy Craigie and Gabrielle Green. We meet for 2 hours (with coffee break) on Friday mornings. Members range from widely published authors to beginners, who meet on an equal footing to do short writing exercises in response to prompts supplied by me, suggested by members, or arising spontaneously from group discussion. Writers can then read out their work if they choose, and receive constructive feedback. We’re happy to be back at the Centre after two and half years on Zoom, when creative writing nonetheless kept group members connected.

Helen Boden, tutor

Who is the group for?

The class is fully subscribed at present and there is currently a waiting list for new members.

When does the group meet?

Once a week, on a Friday mornings

Find out more about us...

Advice Surgery

Edinburgh City Councillor Tim Pogson (Ward 15 – Southside / Newington) holds a regular Surgery offering  advice about any aspect of the Council’s work, and signposting to other sources of advice and support.

“Please come and see me with any concern you might have about life in Southside. Primarily I can help with any concern related to the work of the Council, roads, transport, schools, waste collection, street cleansing, planning, greenspaces and parks, housing, social work and social care, but if you have other concerns you wish to raise I will always be happy to refer those to colleagues.”

Who is the group for?

Anybody who lives in the Southside Newington ward or has an interest in the area

When does the group meet?

Monthly at 10 – 11 on the second Friday

Find out more about us...

MD Noor Alam (Rashid) (Trustee)

MD Noor Alam (known as Rashid) moved to Edinburgh from Bangladesh 18 years ago and sees Edinburgh as his home.

Rashid has been involved in community activism for many years, being a volunteer with several different local charities, such as The Adult Learning Project, The Welcoming and the Leith Community Centre. He finds great pleasure in helping others and supporting those who want to help make Edinburgh a welcoming city for all.

In 2018 he was given The ‘Best Volunteer Award’ by the then Lord Provost, Frank Ross.

Before the Pandemic he was a regular user of the Edinburgh Southside Centre (Southside Community Centre). Rashid joined the Centre’s Management Committee because he want to help make the Centre a place where diverse communities can come together, have a cup of tea and get to know each other.

UKTC at Southside Community Centre


UKTC Taekwon-do

Taekwon-Do is so much more than a self-defence art. Taekwon-Do is a Way of Life and is a wonderful life changing journey which offers many benefits including health benefits and improved fitness as well as personal development.

The core values offered by Taekwon-Do will help us all to strive to be the Master of our own destiny. We believe that living life in a courteous, respectful, positive and supportive way makes the Taekwon-Do student a better and stronger person. The Tenets of Taekwon-Do are at the heart of every class. Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit.

Your Taekwon-Do journey can begin at any age or life stage. Join us on this amazing adventure into the world of Martial Arts Training.

What is Taekwon-Do? Taekwon-Do is a Korean Martial art. The name was given to this fighting art on 11th April 1955 by General Choi Hong Hi. Taekwon-Do literally means Foot (Tae) Hand (Kwon) Art (Do) – the Art of Hand and Foot fighting.

The Southside group is is part of the United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Council (UKTC) which is affiliated to the world governing body World ITF Taekwon-Do Council (WITC). The UKTC is a member of the Scottish Council of Taekwon-Do (SCoT), one of the official governing bodies for Taekwon-Do in the United Kingdom. All our Instructors are fully qualified and insured to teach Taekwon-Do within the United Kingdom.

Begin the Taekwon-Do journey today and book a complimentary free trial lesson at Edinburgh Southside Centre.

Who is the group for?

Children aged 3 and over, and Youths

When does the group meet?

The group meets in the Main Hall on Monday evenings 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Find out more about us...

Southside Orchestra at Southside Community Centre

Images © Sheila Masson, www.sheilamasson.com

Southside Community Orchestra

Edinburgh’s only amateur orchestra that meets during the day.

In 2005 orchestra was offered, and accepted, a base at the South Side Community Centre in Nicolson Street, and took the new name of The South Side Community Orchestra. Since then, the South Side Community Centre has become the established venue for the orchestra’s regular Monday afternoon rehearsals and for the public concerts given each term.

Orchestra rehearsals are friendly and full of good humour. Vaughan Townhill our conductor has very realistic expectations of our abilities and recognises that we may not play every technically difficult passage perfectly.

Who is the group for?

The Southside Community Orchestra attracts a large proportion of its members from the senior population however there is no age barrier and there are a number of younger adults who come along to rehearsals. There are no auditions and we don’t ask to see your certificates, but for musicians who are thinking of joining us it may be helpful for them to know that most players are Grade 4 standard or above and can sight read reasonably well.

When does the group meet?

Monday afternoons

Find out more about us...

Nila Joshi (Trustee / Secretary)

Nila Joshi came to Scotland in 1975 as a young bride. Soon after arriving, she made Scotland her home.
Nila worked for city of Edinburgh council for 35 years as a library officer and retired in November 2022 to put her time into the community.

Over Last 20 years, she has been involved in women’s interfaith group in Edinburgh, which gave her opportunity to work with wider community and in recognition of this, and her other work,she was nominated for ‘Hidden Heroine’ award in 2004 award.

Edinburgh Southside Centre has been important to Nila for many years, and she became a Trustee in 2022 to help open the Centre’s doors to everyone.

Nahid Aslam (Trustee)

Nahid was born in Edinburgh. Her parents came from Pakistan in the 1960s. She describes herself as a Punjabi Scot.

Nahid has been involved in community relations for over 30 years. Her first encounter with multiculturalism was when she volunteered with the YWCA Roundabout Centre as a summer school helper. Nahid has worked with a number of community groups over the years, including The Welcoming, ALP, ELREC and Linknet Mentoring.

Nahid joined the Edinburgh Southside Centre Board in March 2022 and has enjoyed being part of the Community Centre. She would like to see the Edinburgh Southside Centre develop into a hub for community engagement, bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to share and learn from each other.

Tucum Capoeira Edinburgh at the Southside Community Centre

tcum Edinburgh at Southside community centre

Tucum Capoeira Edinburgh

Capoeira incorporates diverse movements, gymnastics and physical conditioning. As well as being an amazingly rewarding and fun activity, the practice of Capoeira develops excellent fitness. Practitioners work on their body strength and flexibility, mobility, coordination and balance. Student’s learn how to control their bodies and respond to their parter movements in the form of a game of attack and defence. Capoeira is excellent way to build/re-build/re-wire ones perceptions of self. It promotes discipline, hard work and stepping out of one’s comfort zone. There is scientific evidence on Capoeira helping people to improve/rebuild their self-confidence and help with stress relief which makes it a perfect activity to take part in after a busy day.

Capoeira is very inclusive. A very famous quote from one of the Capoeira masters says:

“Capoeira is for everyone who wishes to learn it”.

One of the most unique aspects of Tucum Capoeira Edinburgh is that it tries to be more of a community that gathers people with similar passion and builds a bond rather than a sport club. We believe it is important more than ever to build and nurture strong relationships between people.

Who is the group for?


When does the group meet?

Once a week. Tuesday evenings 6 – 7:15pm

Find out more about us...

Summer Drama Classes at Southside Community Centre

Live Drama at Southside

Live Drama – Summer Drama

Summer Drama brings together 10 – 18 year olds from around Edinburgh for the first two weeks of the school holidays. Participants work every morning from 9.30 – 12.30 to develop an original production which is performed on the final night of the project. There are also a series of optional afternoon workshops for participants who are interested in learning more about Voice Technique, Choreography, Directing, and Set/Prop Making.

It seems scary, because you don’t know where to start and there can be so many different ideas and you don’t know how to put them together. But once you do start, it becomes much easier, especially when you have a base for your story. Also, you don’t have to do all the writing. Explaining your ideas is enough! They will turn it into something great! I loved, loved, loved it! – Participant Feedback 2022

I just wanted to say again how wonderful the performance was last night. Our girls were super-engaged and loved it, that was clear, and we loved seeing how it all came together and how everyone worked with each other as a team. Now they’re hooked on drama and want to do more, which is such a lovely tribute. I can also see how much both of our children have grown in confidence and what the voice projection has done in pushing them out of their comfort zone and letting them experience what is possible. – Parent Feedback 2022

Who is the group for?

10 – 18 year olds.

When does the group meet?

Annually, during the first 2 weeks of the School Holidays.

Find out more about us...