Local Conservative councillors have dismissed
plans for a video diary scheme among teenage
refugees in Edinburgh as "a waste of cash".
Around £9000 pounds have been earmarked for
the project that will allow a group of children
to record their experiences of coming to Edinburgh.
The footage will then be edited into one film
which will be premiered at Edinburghs
Joel Venet is co-ordinator of Pilton Video
Project, which is running and part-funding the
scheme He said the video diaries provide invaluable
experience for the teenagers.
"I think it is a way for them personally to
come to terms with the experiences they have
had. " He added, "It also allows them the
chance to communicate this to the other young
people who are here in the city and adults as
However, councillor Daphne Sleigh remains to
be convinced. "I am sure the film will be most
interesting. But when we are short of £1.6 million
on the cleansing budget, there are threats of
closures and a diminished service which we certainly
cannot afford to have, and the state of the
roads and pavements are deteriorating on a daily
basis, I do not think this is a priority."
She added that if money was allocated to help
refugees, "It could be put to much better use
than making a video. That is typical of this
administration which is taking the luvvies
position to a ridiculous degree".
Its expected that teenagers from Africa,
Afghanistan and Eastern Europe will take part
in the Hidden Voices scheme which is backed
by the Scottish Refugee Council. A spokeswoman
for the council said, "Anything that can
combat the negative images of asylum seekers
at a community level is extremely positive."
A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh education department
added: "This is a national arts initiative that
is lottery funded and there are strict guidelines
on how the funding can be used. Over 100 children
across Edinburgh will benefit from this and
eight other film projects and for the first
time young people in Edinburgh will have the
chance to participate in film-making on a large
The education department gained a £40,000 grant
from the Film Councils First Light scheme.
Hidden Voices is just one of nine projects across
the city which will see children as young as
ten given a chance to take part in their first
experience of film making.