Saving the Pride Bridge in Leith

Just one person, with dedication, passion and commitment can make a huge difference to a community. 

By Des O'Flanagan, co-founder, PubAid

12 May 2024

This was the case with Roisin Therese who jointly owns the Dreadnought pub in Leith, Edinburgh. She successfully led a campaign to Save the Pride Bridge which was a much loved local landmark. It was an important pedestrian and cycle route which connected a busy residential area to the main road, shops, public transport and schools. However, it was so much more than just being a practical way to get from A to B. 

The bridge was also a well used community space where locals met in the beer garden and children could safely play in the pedestrianised area. So much had been done to the bridge to create a safe space that was well looked after. 

What’s more it represented an important community art project. It was painted by a diverse group of local volunteers which a rainbow that included the Pride and Trans Pride flags.  It represented more than just a bridge as a much loved LGBTQI+ monument and the first its kind in Edinburgh. The bridge could even be seen from planes as they flew into the city. 

Roisin set up a petition and campaigned tirelessy to get the council to change their minds and consider refurbishment instead of demolition when the bridge fell into disrepair and was no longer safe. She strongly believed that not only fixing it would be cheaper than demolishing it, but that it was a landmark that meant too much to too many people for it to be destroyed.  

All those involved in the Save the Pride Bridge campaign worked hard to secure Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme funding through Transport for Scotland which meant that repairs could be funded, almost a quarter of a million pounds was needed. This is thanks to the perseverance of Roisin and her team at the Dreadnought pub in Leith. 

A new designer, Mott McDonald has been appointed by the Council and the public are being called upon to help in the design for a new bridge, but we’re sure that a rainbow will be a key feature in the design.

Roisin recently won a PubAid Community Pub Hero for her work to save the bridge after she was nominated by Ben Macpherson, MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith.

In addition to saving the bridge, Roisin also works to provide a community hub at the Dreadnought and supports many local causes. They fundraise, run a foodbank and have had winter clothing drives to collect warm clothes for locals.  They also provide a safe and inclusive space that celebrates the queer community, which goes hand in hand with her work to Save the Pride Bridge. 

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