Truth is Good 2017


27 July 2017 OUR FUTURE

This year has been eventful to say the least, politically, so far, a real battle of human wills constantly fighting for supremacy. Even one of the most catastrophic incidents in London history, with the human disaster that it created was not enough to stop the political in-fighting. What a mess!

Look around yourselves at the carnage there is in the world, the destruction, most of it human, it beggars belief. Our present system is damaged and I think, if we are all honest with ourselves, only we can change it.

I am not afraid of being political with my statements because I refuse to blame any one person for the predicament we are in, and it is down to all of us, the normal, ordinary people to put it right. Believe it or not we are, perhaps it does not make the news, not negative enough, however, here in Scotland at least,  there is a revolution going on, not a violent revolution but a change in thought, attitude and action, from the bottom to the top of society. A “NEW ENLIGHTENMENT,” just as important and inspiring as the “Scottish Enlightenment,” of the 1800s. What is happening at this present time will, in the future, be seen as a massive shift in human development that can either destroy us completely, or push us forward to a completely new era. My choice would definitely be the new era and it would be wonderful if the “Indigo Generation” could take us there. If we stop oppressing them, and start passing on our knowledge and experience, that is.

I could shout about how politics would like to see the whole UK become a resort where the rich and famous play, but that would be so short-term and with the silly divisive nonsense we have going on at the moment it is not likely to go anywhere.

Do you realise that both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party have stolen ideas from the Scottish National Party since 2014.  Do you remember John Swinney’s ideas with regard to Inheritance Tax?  Was it not the Chancellor, George Osborne, who stole the idea and adapted it to what would work for UK law?  Did he not do the same thing with the Living Wage, using the same phrase to make the UK minimum wage more palatable for the UK population.  What about Labour, does not most of their present manifesto includes ideas from the SNP, just think about it.

Despite what I have outlined in the above paragraph, I think this in-fighting should stop now.  If it doesn’t there may not be a country left to fight about or for.

We have so much to do to put everything back in balance. When it comes to Scotland look what we are achieving,  positives, not on the side of the major players, but at local level, people getting together to fight things like climate change, creating sustainable communities with eco-friendly living at the heart of them, sharing skills and abilities, with service providers, local councils, and communities working together as a team co-producing what is needed: Safer, better quality child care and education provision; Space and place for social inclusion, peer support, community gatherings; social enterprise, community shares, community assets, community technology and energy; growing spaces and local food production; shared child-care; mental health recovery space together with  more education and knowledge around mental health; natural ways rather than synthetic, organic not plastic; innovative ways such as green finance. Everyone included; creativity, more laughter; sharing the pain of not having enough to last, today me, tomorrow you.  Outward looking accepting, most of the refugees from the UK quota  have come to Scotland; great advances in engineering and joined up health & social care; film production.   So much more on top.

Our communities are adapting, as they always have, from the bottom to the top, and we have a Government that stays calm, takes the flack, and keeps going, in general at least, do you realise why that is?  Our country is small enough for everyone to have a voice and a part to play in the future, our people at the top are from the people of Scotland and this is true of all parties, here. Come and see for yourself, the positive advances we are achieving.  It is not just sound-bites. Come and join us bring us your skills and experience. Share in the future, help us create places that remain forward thinking, outward looking, a solution based country, as it always has been, providing ideas and solutions that could save the planet.

Here are some of our achievements under our present SNP Government:

  • Entitlement to free education;
  • Committment to Early Years education and increasing nursery places for age 3 upwards, affordable childcare;
  • Expanding vocational and apprenticeship training.  Excellent Lifelong Learning;
  • Experts in technology design, and implementation in all fields;
  • Civil, Electronic, Electrical, Marine Engineering Development and Production Projects;
  • Advances in Medicine, Scientific research and development (eg., Biotechnology);
  • Increase in Small Business and Social Enterprise uptake, More self-employed;
  • Increased development of Export markets;
  • Big Screen Film production and development in film industry technology and digital design;
  • Creation of experimental developing  business models, governance and structure for all sorts of organisations from small business and social enterprise to larger SCIO and charity organisations;
  • Creating Local Community Assets and Community Shares Scheme;
  • Green Energy research and development;
  • Local Energy Co-operatives and Technology Hubs;
  • Space Industry involvement;
  • Less unemployment than the UK as a whole;
  • First to implement Scottish  advances in health and care development with implementation of local community joint Health & Social Care hubs;
  • Well advanced Mental Health and Addictions Recovery help, further development is required but is on the cards;
  • Community Bakeries, local organic growing spaces, local food production and sale, community get-togethers and inter-generational working, conversation cafes, community hubs etc;
  • Highland Textile and Farming Collaboration, export to the world;
  • Highly rated Food and Drink Industry;
  • Hydroculture and sustainable farming and fishing;
  • Eco-community living. Etc., Etc., Etc.


You know before the Financial Crash in 2008 Edinburgh was a financial hub and Scotland relied heavily on the Finance Industry just as London.

While London did not suffer as much as the rest of the country, it still has its name for Finance, the Stock Market etc., it is now stuck in a rut and unwilling to let go and change.

The North of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland had no option but to develop new ways, that is the reality and what has happened.

Long after London, unless it too takes the plunge, is a distant memory, the rest of  this island will be thriving and developing forwards governed, hopefully federally.

That’s the positive in my view. Let me know what you think!!!










The last week has been a mixture as you would expect, not just because of Manchester and what happened there, but yes because of Manchester.  The worst and the best of humanity.  Yet I do not, I cannot add much more to what has already been said.  And Manchester’s poet, Tony Walsh, well no-one could have put it better than he did. My heart is with the people of Manchester, who I know as decent, hard working, very loving, sharing and practical people.

Can I ask a little bit about the future, where we are going?  Why is it we seem to be stuck like a broken record going round the same old groove.


Is the fear of change so strong that it is hindering humanity from being all that it can be?

Are we all so full of fear of a future we will not be able to recognise that we put up with present conditions that are growing steadily worse day by day?

Have we all become so set in our ways that we have forgotten the excitement a surprise or a change can bring?

Or is it simply that positive change is happening but not being reported because we identify more with the unpleasant, the negative?

So here is my challenge to you, on this Bank Holiday Monday when, I believe we have a super storm, the size of Wales hitting us:

Break the routine, do something you have never done before but always wanted to try;

Spend one full day not moaning about anything and being grateful for everything you have;

Make a point of passing the time of day with your neighbours;

Keep a diary for a month and write nothing but the positive things you get up to in it; and

Change your routine one step at a time, making more time for family, a creative activity you enjoy, a weekly exercise routine, a weekend holiday with the one closest to you or to somewhere you have never been before.

Take a note at the beginning of where your mental health and wellbeing is before you start then let me know, at the end of June, how you got on!

Lots of love, Sandra



18 May 2017

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Yesterday, I heard some very sad news, yesterday a woman Lesley, in her thirties or forties died from an overdose, because, well we will never know the real answer to that.  A woman who had suffered trauma and abuse all her adult life.  A woman who fought a drug dependency for years and who I saw just two weeks ago, laughing, strong and happy as she graduated from rehab alongside my friend. She had a new flat, was going to a new life, had changed her life and was fighting hard with confidence. JUST WHAT HAPPENED.  Within one week of her leaving the Rehab she is dead.

I know I will not wait any more, it is time for action!


Did you know that it is in the teenage years that the brain decides what is needed for the human body it inhabits to survive.  Trauma and abuse at this age mean that the brain will see survival from these acts as the normal way of being for the body at a sub-conscious level.  The brain becomes hyper-sensitive and sees danger, even where there is no danger.


Do you know what we are doing to our teenage children now?

We expose them to NEGATIVE CONDITIONING, they are forced to live with unbelievable pressure and anxiety put on them by our way of living, our present society.  It is too easy to brand someone a failure before they have ever had a chance.  The unique individual talents and gifts that we all have are smothered under the fear that things might change if everyone is allowed free choice and development.  Everyone is judged to be in one box or another because of where they came from or their “abilities”.  We are conditioned to be afraid of this group because of where they come from or how they have to live. WHY?

We all belong to different clans and live segregated lives, WHY?

Can we not accept that we are as diverse in knowledge, ability, practicality, etc,

Can we not celebrate and love that diversity instead of being afraid of it.

Can we not negotiate ways of working together instead of being afraid of each other.

Can we give up this mantra of divide and conquer and I need more power and create a sensible decent environment for everyone to live.

Can we not cast our barometer to hope instead of fear.

There is much more to this than you think but it is better let out slowly than all in one outburst, and for the avoidance of doubt I am talking about the brain and not politics.

However, here’s a question for you. JUST ASK YOURSELF, DO I HAVE HOPE?


As a young girl I imagine you playing with your friends

Being the leader, the caring one I see,

At School I imagine the clever shy girl

Loved by everyone

As a teenager, trying hard, A young woman crying in pain

Made to feel worthless, useless, time and again

Looking for love that would mend everything

Caring and loyal, fighting hard to the end

Trying to break free

For your children, for your grand-child,


Putting a brave face on everything, so hard

To find the light at the end of that long dark road.

But you, you are the strong one who succeeded

You did it, with bravery, sensitivity, a lot of laughter and tears.

You broke the devil’s bonds

The joy, strength, love in your heart

Showed through everything on that day 4th May 2017.

Although I only knew you for a few minutes, a few seconds in life

I will always remember that moment and the inspiration that shone in your face.

The shame of shames,

That there was no-one there, to help you through at the end

God bless you always Lesley, I will not forget that smile

With love from Sandra Marshall 18 May 2017



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What an interesting morning, yesterday, with a lot of political content!

Watching the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC was definitely different, for a start.  We do not get to hear a lot around what and how debates are going in England in respect of the General Election, so yesterday morning was really just to catch up.

The main reason for carrying out this research, actually, was because of the Question Time programme on Thursday 11 May, broadcast from Edinburgh which did not really reflect the arguments I thought were being debated on the ground in Scotland and that disturbed me quite a bit.

I am disturbed because it would appear that realities facing the country are not being debated in any great depth.  There appears to be some real confusion, especially among young people, about the whole political system, the different colours and outlooks of each party, misconception and misunderstanding about what historically happened and a general lack of understanding around why voting for what you believe is right is essential if you wish to get the best out of the governance of the country you live in.

Why do I mention governance?  I have found myself on the largest learning curve of my life over the last ten years and a lot of what I have had to learn has been about structure and governance of everything from community groups, charities, social enterprises, educational structures, the list goes on.

The simple truth is although we all should have our say and take part in the running of our countries, the most effective and constructive way of ensuring the job gets done properly is to have a committee that will apply their management skills to taking what is being said and delegate action on behalf of everyone.  Debates in parliament are meant to decide the best way forward for each action giving equal opportunity to as many points of view that are shared as possible.

That is what our government is supposed to do.  They are not there to act independent of those voting for action etc., but to carry out what the majority decision is.

It is a serious bit of mis-communication that puts individuals, families, communities, living within a country at a lesser level and insists that action is being taken on behalf of everyone without consultation of everyone.

My intention, therefore, during the coming days, is to put forward what is actually being stated by each party’s manifesto in a way, hopefully, that will be plain speech to everyone.  I will not only put forward the manifesto points (not the whole manifesto – too long),  but I will also record what has been achieved by each party to date in terms of benefit, or non-benefit to the people of the UK as a whole from recent (2010 onwards), previous manifesto promises.  Please note that I cannot eliminate my viewpoint totally from what I write, however, I will put both sides of the argument as clearly as I can.

The reason I am doing this is not to benefit any particular party but to inform the younger generation properly because they need to make their minds up on real facts, not disinformation or un-clear communication.

I would urge anyone who has a question to comment or get in touch if they think I can answer or someone else reading can answer.  I also welcome all feedback because, it keeps everything real, up-front, accountable and honest.

To start with, some points that came up during my research yesterday:

There was a lot of discussion around the Conservative sound-bite about preserving worker’s rights, in fact making them stronger, one point put across several times was the fact that the Conservative Government are introducing a right for carers to take unpaid leave to care for family members etc.

I have to say, from my own personal viewpoint, this is a sound-bite because:

  • In 2010 the Conservatives wanted to re-write the Human Rights Act from a UK perspective, partly because they did not understand the European Convention on Human Rights. This party is now planning to make sure the European Convention is complied with fully, which shows that they did not originally understand the European Convention.
  • Why would a Conservative Government seek to scrap paternity leave because, in their words, it was not required, then decide that unpaid leave would be given to those caring for a family member. Is there any sense there?
  • Why unpaid leave?  Are family members worth less? What is the difference between caring for a child and caring for an older family member.  You get child benefit for caring for a child.  This job is to be unpaid, need I say more?
  • If the Conservatives truly believe in strong workers’ rights, why have they been working against this as a party since 2010?
  • The Conservative Government have, I have been told, been advised that their Government has actually breached the UN Convention on Human Rights, never mind the EU Convention on Human Rights which came after the UN Convention, with their actions in this country.

I  have found, throughout my 33 years’ voting experience, that political parties of every persuasion will create sound-bites in order to get votes.  The sad thing is that politicians don’t realise that not everybody follows politics, and this type of electioneering  tradition can cause total confusion. At a time where it is essential that as many as possible vote, it is probably extremely unhelpful to any political case to enter into this type of electioneering.

One more point, every government, since I was a young girl, have kept salaries and budgets in public services including police, education and health service low compared with their spending on war and weapons!!

Lastly, one thing we all do from time to time we and our governments blame others for the course we choose. That is not going to solve anything is it!

Don’t we all have to take responsibility for making our communities, the places we live in the best they can be responsibly?


Sandra Marshall 17 May 2017

Pride, ego, manipulation.

Tortured smiles, forlorn hope.

Forgotten dreams,

broken heart.

Just another day

Shared by they

Turned by power; led by greed

Yet knows deep within

That the  greatest power

Lays within, the heart, the soul

And the spirit.

Awaken these

And true self shall appear.

Life is Life is Life Scrolls (found Enchantment shop, Cockburn Street, Edinburgh)

Written by The Unconventional Scribbler, Paul Charles 2016.






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This Website is not only about my writing passion;

Truth is Good 2017

Scotland Positive

My Quiet Revolution Poetry.

leith does not want trams

I live in community with one of the most genuine, empathetic groups of people you could ever know (people who live on the edge of every community, people who are generally considered strange, mad, broken, different, excluded), unique, special, individuals who are often the most knowledgeable, caring, activist people you will ever meet:



Mind’s Well Recovery College is a creative mental health social enterprise founded by an amazing Spanish woman, Maria Naranjo, who came to Scotland fifteen years ago, studied and worked in the field of Mental Health for twelve years and, when she needed support because of her own problems, and found the gap in support services for those with mental health issues is real, decided to define the next support development in mental health recovery in Scotland.

Mind’s Well provides mental health and health and wellbeing education and training for everyone. Not only that.  Mind’s Well develops and trains volunteers and paid staff providing them with self-awareness, self-management tools, support and supervision that inspire individuals to take the next step.  Some of the skills provided are support into work qualifications directly qualifying individuals for support, peer support and peer education facilitation work, either voluntary or paid.

All Mind’s Well workshops were put together with the help of people with lived experience.  After all isn’t it common sense, people who have been there, understand more about the issues than those reading them from a text book. It is people with lived experience who provide their own individual experience to every training for trainers workshop presented by Minds Well facilitators.

The workshops, quite simply, provide the tools and background knowledge that we all need to a certain extent. Come along and find out:

Narrative Therapy

Mental Health & The Teenage Brain

Self-Harm & Suicide Awareness

Complex Trauma or PTSD

Dual Diagnosis Addictions and Mental Health

Managing Self-Harming Behaviours

PDA Mental Health Peer Support SCQF7


And Totally unrelated to these courses but from a very special person

The Unconventional Scribbler, Paul Charles, May 2017

Freedom for Awareness





My passion for working in Local community development has its roots further back in time when my family and I moved to a new house in Morvenside, Edinburgh in 1996.  New social housing was just being built and there were problems with young people attacking the newly planted trees and shrubbery.  The Housing Association were trying to get the local residents to create a residents association.

This was at the very beginning of  a regeneration project in Edinburgh.  Nowhere as involved as it is now.

The idea that kept going through my head even back then, “what can we do to give young people a sense of belonging that will give them roots, responsibility and a will to care for where they live?”

Although this was so long ago we are still asking those questions, but in a broader way.  Now we are also saying local community should have more ownership of what happens in the community they live in, including deciding where resources should go and what the community area look like, what services should look like and where they should be.

We need to take responsibility for the area we live in and make it better ourselves, asking local authorities, government, experts etc. to work with us and help us with resources, expertise and community, aid us to create ideal places for our local communities to live, work and breathe, build our own micro-economies, create a health & wellbeing way of life that includes everyone, even “pirates.”

In this area I have had the honour of working with community activists from every possible background you can imagine, am completing a Community Learning Development Course with Glasgow Caledonian University and a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics with the Open University.

Now, who would have believed all of this twenty years ago. Life from then to this point has been life at its fullest, weirdest, with the largest learning curve you can imagine and I thank God for the path I am on, all I have learned and am re-defining, on a daily basis……….



I could say I was just an ordinary girl, but what, actually, does ordinary mean.  I was definitely the quiet one with, what I have learned recently, nothing much to say until I had to or was forced to. Recently, because I had to, through pressure, stress, abuse and sheer frustration, I shouted out to the whole world (or was it?????), not once, not twice but four times in two months.  I am writing a book, but here is a summary and I hope it is not too long for anyone!

I didn’t really understand why my best friend had to leave me for two weeks in January when he had been away quite a bit the year before, I did respect that he knew what he was doing though and left it at that.

I had no concern really about being on my own, I trusted my neighbours and had places I could go. I had a lot I wanted to do for the community I live in,  and the community of Leith. I was actually content for the first time in ten years.  You see I had resigned from the Mental Health Organisation I was working with, not only for one reason, I could not actually afford to keep going.

I now had the opportunity to do the community work I wanted, pass on my skills and abilities, becoming part of helping future generations in Muirhouse, North Edinburgh and Leith go forwards to become all they can be.  I wanted to and still want to make a contribution in this way towards the future.  I was totally inspired by a study visit to Manheim and Freiburg that showed me what I had always believed was achievable, maybe not in exactly the same way, but that solutions can be achieved.

On the mental health side I have, a Scotland Positive Facebook page and I really want to create something I can leave behind that will encourage positive action, including of course, peer support and a community support network.  I do want to write about the journey of this community and that in Leith, both on the blog and wherever else I can get the word out.  You see that is me now.  Excuse me but I am going to write in Scottish here.  YAE CANNAE EVIR DAE IT ALANE THO, you have to take everyone with you and let them be community champions for themselves, their families, their professional and personal relationships and the whole community at large. I think the motto goes BY THE COMMUNITY, FOR EVERYONE AND ME CAUSE I AM PART OF THE COMMUNITY TOO.

My book is about the whole pilgrimage from January to March 2018 and it is for everyone from the lovely genuine people I know and love, to some terrors who, I hope will get there in the end, to the church community.

This journey has seen me suddenly go from being content, and the key is suddenly, to a humiliated, angry, frustrated, fearful withdrawn human being, who did not know quite where the boundaries were any more.  I believe I have been challenged by communities within the area who I thought knew me and who I found out did not. Professional organisations who have tested me hard. I have gone through uphill battles trying to keep my sanity, putting one foot in front of the other, keeping everything on as right a track as I could through what appears to have been a mind test game by phone and wifi with no real person present that I could at least talk to face to face. I have been tested about my faith and where it came from and felt at times as if I was being interrogated about everything I have ever known or done without knowing why and for what.

I managed to get through, I really don’t know how, except it had a lot to do with God, the Cross, Faith, and upbringing, to carry out most of the meetings and workshops I wanted to do, including going to the doctor to ask for counselling for stress and anxiety and running away several times for a day or two days at a time to get some peace, not realising that my phone was part of the problem.

Everything that happens has a reason and I worked out at least to myself that this pilgrimage and exam I have been put through do have positive conclusions, the first being I am most definitely not mad or demented at the moment and have never been as far as I know.  The second and really most beautiful that I have been blessed by God quite literally, three times. I have faith that the whole community here was blessed at the same time. I believe this came about because of God’s love, grace and faith in me and everyone here.

I have also found out and experienced more of what it is to be human than ever before. I have travelled only a small part of the journey Jesus travelled between Palm Sunday and Easter Day.  I have been hated, judged, laughed at, humiliated mentally a little bit like Jesus was and yesterday thanked our Lord Jesus again for his sacrifice but with more heart felt humbleness and thankfulness than I have ever known before.

I have faith that when you ask you get what you ask for. I asked for peace but I also asked for truth, to be part of the community working together, to connect all cultures, professional people and services in all their diversity, to work together for the future. Perhaps making the communities of Muirhouse, North Edinburgh, Leith and Scotland a catalyst for the rest of the world.

So as I believe has been said it is about the Community, not money, the Community, every Community.  The truth, is the truth is the truth, God help us all, God bless us all and most of all WE ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER. this is Sandra Marshall sharing Over! and Out!

31 March 2018




Scotland Positive

This page records every positive news item I can find about Scotland. Its about community its about life its about events and happenings its about our beautiful country of Scotland. There`s nowhere like it.


Monday 1 May 2017

There have been a lot of negative happening in the press lately. I know I dont need to repeat it. However at least one positive thing did happen in sunny Muirhouse at North Edinburgh Arts this morning we had a community meeting a People Powered Places community meeting about the first steps to deciding a five year plan for our community I know most will think how is that positive In my view it most certainly is. We are deciding a five year plan for our community. We have decided as ordinary everyday people that we have to take responsibility for our own little part of this world. We have to come up with a five year plan that will truly reflect our community goals. We have huge imagination to carry out our plans and a list of skills as long as your arm. We can plan for the future as individuals and as a community. But guess what? Those politicians that are always harping on the negative well they really need our help because they really dont know where they are going. So we can collaborate, as long as they dont try and take over. We can all work together celebrating our successes along the way. We can create a real community with real people from every walk of life included. What have we got to lose? Nothing, governments have been trying that for years with no success lets show them how to complete a project.

Truth is Good 2018

Originally posted on LEITH UNIQUE:
? A Case of Fake News What is it people get from creating destructive fake news about an individual, a group, a community, a country………? I do have some idea at an individual level, I have been there not to long ago. However, that is not why I am writing…


Originally posted on LEITH UNIQUE:
Not another brown letter through the door, you get used to looking out for them each time opening the envelope with dread in your heart, especially if it is from DWP. This time it was not funny, for the second time in a month. “Your JSA has been stopped. You…