Mela children’s programme celebrates forests, bats and birds

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22 AUGUST 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14903

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Festival season will be coming to a close but the Edinburgh Mela festivities will be in full swing with the children and families’ programme offering a weekend of a hands-on art, crafts and sporting programme running September 3 and 4 at Leith Links.

A combination of bird-inspired arts and crafts activities supported by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, and sporting activities ranging from wall climbing, hockey and athletics supported by Edinburgh Leisure, will be on offer at this year’s Festival.

Celebrating the UN’s International Year of the Forest, the Mela has been working with parents and pupils from Dalry Primary School to create a ‘Many Birds – One Forest’ installation funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and Awards For All fund.

A total of 70 pupils and parents from the school’s Black Minority Ethnic Parent Support Group have created hand painted wooden bird sculptures mounted on poles, which will be paraded around the Mela site by the pupils.

Furthermore, to mark the UN’s International Year of the Bat, the Commission  has also funded an Edinburgh Mela outreach project with the Bat Conservation Trust to create 25 bigger than life-sized models of bats which will be on display at a Mela workshop where children can learn all about them.

Families from Edinburgh’s Latin American community are working with Edinburgh-based Cuban paper mache artist Lyver Chavez to make the bat creations which have been inspired by woodland walks and talks about bat facts and bat conservation in Scotland, supported by the Lothian bat Group and Edinburgh City Countryside Rangers.

Edinburgh Leisure will be creating three zones; Youth Zone, Sports Zone and Health Zone, within the children’s area providing children with a variety of sporting and healthy lifestyle workshops.

The children’s programme over the Mela weekend will feature arts and craft workshops and sporting activities for all ages, including:

  • Dance, movement and singing workshops showcasing dance moves and genres from all over the world
  • Arts and craft workshops from India, Nepal, Africa, China and Latin America.
  • Nature Inspired Chinese Knotting with Edinburgh’s Chinese Community school
  • Working with visiting Indian artists to make colourful models of Shola Birds found in the tropical forests and valleys in the high regions of South India 
  • A stand alone 50 metre climbing frame
  • Three sporting activity zones within the children’s area comprising of a Youth Zone: mini gym facilities, Sport Zone: gymnastic activities, rugby and football coaching workshops and the Health zone where children and families can take health and fitness tests or get their blood pressure checked

After being showcased at the Mela, the wooden bird artworks will be moved to Dalry Primary School’s Multi Cultural Garden of Enlightenment.  

Entry to the children area is included in the day passes which cost £2 in advance or £2.50 on the door and give unlimited access to the Festival. Under-12s go free.

Tickets are available from The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE or by calling 0131 473 2000. They can also be purchased at and from the on-site box office over the Mela weekend.


For more information please contact Steve Williams on 0131 315 6508 or Paul Munro on 0131 314 6507.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Edinburgh Mela Festival was founded in 1995 by members of the city’s minority ethnic communities, and one of its key objectives was to reflect and celebrate Scotland’s cultural diversity.
  • For more information about the Edinburgh Mela Festival please visit
  • The Edinburgh Mela Festival is supported by City of Edinburgh Council, Creative Scotland, Lothian and Borders Police and the Scottish Government.