Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Wester Hailes Community Trust - a new creation

I managed to get along to the information event held on Saturday at Wester Hailes Library to discuss the creation of the new Wester Hailes Community Trust, launched to support local people and help them make real community decisions that will shape the future of Wester Hailes. Planning for the WHCT began after the success of the Open Space event in April 2015 which brought local people together to discuss what mattered most to them and what they could do to address these issues. After the event several local people, community organisations, the Council and NHS staff working together to raise funding to address the Open Space action plan. This work was successful and resulted in an award of £65k a year for the next 3 years from the STV Children's Appeal. This is a significant amount of financial support and could deliver a lot of positive outcomes for the local community. I look forward to working with the new WHCT in the future.

Friday, 4 March 2016

WEGARAH - end of an era

It may not have hid the headlines, but last week's meeting of WEGARAH (West Edinburgh Group Against Racial Attack & Harassment) was the end of an era. A multi agency and community engagement group, we meet every 8 weeks or so to discuss local incidents that may have included a racial element to talk about support for victims and the responsiveness and policies of our public bodies. Obviously, the Police have a key role to play in the discussions but the Council's Housing and Social Care services are also involved as well as local housing association, Prospect. The Procurator Fiscal's service is also represented which has proved to be particularly interesting and helpful in recent discussions.

I've had the privilege of chairing this group since its inception 16 years ago, following discussions between the late Superintendent Jinty Kerr and local activist Ijaz Ashraf.

Due to a change in the funding relationship between the Council and WEGARAH's parent body, Scorescotland Ijaz's time at the organisation has come to an end. His support and commitment to WEGARAH has been significant and while I am hopeful that the group will continue to meet and discuss Ijaz's influence will be missed. Our next meeting will consider what arrangements need to be put in place to ensure that this opportunity for open discussion continues.