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.

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