WHALE ARTS IS REOPENING / RESTARTING
We would like to ask everyone to have a read of this and pass on the message to anyone who you think might need to know.
THE STORY SO FAR
We have spent the last 12 months adapting and flexing our programmes, activities and services to work alongside the community, other local organisations and groups to support the community of Wester Hailes with food, phonecalls, art and wellbeing packs, digital devices and support and much more. We have all been working hard throughout lockdown doing our best to meet local needs. This has only been possible due to our hard-working and committed staff, freelance artists, volunteers, trustees, tenants, partners including residents groups and our supportive and understanding funders.
These plans are based on current information and advice and may be subject to change.
We will communicate with participants about exactly when their activity will be restarting, how sessions will be taking place and respond to any questions or queries to ensure everyone feels comfortable taking part in our programmes.
We plan to restart groups and reopen the building from
17th May 2021 onwards. This doesn’t mean that everything will restart straight away, we will communicate with group participants individually to let them know when face to face groups will restart.
We will continue to serve a community meal each Friday from 1pm – 2pm at WHALE Arts during April and May 2021. We hope to start some face-to-face community meal gatherings outdoors over the summer – more information to follow once we have worked out how to do this safely.
Although the WHALE Arts building remains closed to the public the Community Fridge and Pantry managed by SCOREscotland will remain on reduced days.
The Community Fridge is Open Monday and Thursday 1:30pm to 3:30pm while the Community Pantry Opens fortnightly on Wednesday 2pm – 3:30pm
If you would like to use the Community Fridge or Community Pantry please contact SCOREscotland on 0131 442 2341 or 07496 190 916
Our groups – Stitch n Time; smARTcraft; Men’s Making ; Let’s Create; Street Arts; Let’s Dance; Play Sense Create; Film Club; smARTies; Mums into Business; Wester Hailes Connects Digital Skills Drop-ins; Members Breakfasts; Community Gardening – have been engaging remotely using different methods of communication.
From 21 May onwards we will begin to restart these groups. This will happen in a staggered way – participants in our groups will be contacted directly once we have more detail to share.
PARTNER PROGRAMMES (which usually happen at WHALE)
Programmes delivered with partners have been postponed for 12 months with many groups taking part in remote and/or outdoor versions of the groups:
Room for Art – with Art in Healthcare; Fork in the Road – Edinburgh Tool Library; Expecting Something – with Starcatchers; Open Book; Indian dance – Theiya Arts; Edinburgh Art Festival – art trips and schools groups; NuStart.
Our partner organisations will be in touch directly with participants when they are ready to restart sessions and we will share this information with our community when we have it.
Room Bookings, Rentable Office Desks and Office Tenancies
We have been taking bookings for essential services throughout the last 12 months within the health and safety restrictions in place for COVID-19. We are slowly and carefully opening our doors to having more general room bookings again. We have introduced strict measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission in the building through a thorough risk assessment.
We aim to officially commence with room bookings and rentable office desks in the WHALE Arts building from as a provisional start date (this date is subject to change.)
Rental spaces will be offered from 26th April provided that the type of booking is allowed within government guidelines and risk assessed.
The rental spaces are listed below:
Arts Workshop (activities in line with guidance and risk assessed, meetings in limited numbers)
Performance Space (activities in line with guidance and risk assessed, meetings in limited numbers)
Board Room (activities in line with guidance and risk assessed, meetings in limited numbers)
Green Room (activities in line with guidance and risk assessed, meetings in limited numbers)
Wee Office Space (long-term tenancy available – please email to enquire)
You can send a booking request for all of these rental spaces online. For more details including rental room measurements and capacities please visit our webpage here.
If you are interested in booking our rental rooms in block bookings (4 weeks or more) or are interested in a coworking space tenancy of 6 months or more, please get in touch by calling us on 0131 4583267 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let Us Know If You Need Help
Please get in touch with the WHALE Arts team if you need support or a conversation on 0131 458 3267 or by emailing email@example.com
The WHALE Arts Agency Team
Although WHALE owns its building, it currently leases the land that the building sits on from the council. The lease ends in a few years’ time, and it’s time to make a decision: renew it, or take ownership of the site on behalf of the community. As well as the WHALE site on Westburn Grove, which includes the existing community garden, another possibility is to apply for a Community Asset Transfer extending to the kickabout next door and/or part of the surrounding area of woodland. If this goes ahead, WHALE would own, look after manage and develop these assets on behalf of the community of Wester Hailes, in line with its objectives as a charity.
WHALE is working with Community Enterprise to find out what people want to happen at the WHALE Arts site. Keep an eye on our website for more information, project updates and other ways to take part.
Background – What is Community Asset Transfer?
A Community Asset Transfer is a process that recognises the benefits of community use and ownership by allowing community organisations to take over publicly owned land or buildings. Asset Transfer was implemented as part of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. Over the past several years, legislation and national policy in Scotland has developed to encourage and support the ownership of assets (buildings and /or land) by communities. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015; The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003; a joint COSLA/Scottish Government Statement 2008 and a Community Empowerment Action Plan in 2009. Further reading: – https://dtascommunityownership.org.uk/community/community-asset-transfer/asset-transfer-policy-benefits/what-asset-transfer
Why is WHALE Arts talking about Community Asset Transfer just now?
WHALE Arts has been working in Wester Hailes for 28 years, since 1992. Originally based in the Blue Hut on the Murrayburn Greenway, WHALE Arts moved to the site we work from today. The WHALE Arts Centre was designed and built in the late 90’s and opened in 2000. The reason we are talking about Asset Transfer now is because although the community own the building, the land is owned by City of Edinburgh Council and leased to WHALE Arts. The original 25-year lease has only 4 years left, running until 2024. We could ask City of Edinburgh Council to extend the lease instead of bringing the land into community ownership, however the benefits of full community ownership are clear (see below), so we felt that now is a good time to explore Asset Transfer.
What are the benefits of Community Ownership?
Usually communities want to bring buildings and land into community ownership to create a new physical base for the community to work and/or socialise from. However, because WHALE Arts already own the building – and from this base deliver a broad range of creative and community activities – the reasons for doing this are to develop the building and the garden with a view to creating new enterprise activity which will create jobs, training and business opportunities for local residents. Other benefits include skills and capacity development for local residents in learning about community ownership, as well as security for the future of WHALE Arts. Further reading here on the benefits of Community Ownership – https://dtascommunityownership.org.uk/community/community-asset-transfer/asset-transfer-policy-benefits/benefits-community-ownership
What is the process, how long will this take?
An important part of the process is providing evidence of the need for WHALE Arts to exist into the future. We also need to show that the organisation can survive financially. To do this we are currently working with Community Enterprise on a community consultation, a business plan, and land valuation. We should have a business plan completed by late May 2021. During the summer 2021 we will work with the Members to take this to the next stage, this may involve applying to Scottish Land Fund for funding to buy the land from City of Edinburgh Council, or it may involve a negotiation with City of Edinburgh Council direct. So our hope is that this process will be complete by late 2021.
How can I get involved and find out more?
There are lots of ways that you can get involved!
We have created a short survey to collect initial ideas from local residents and those who work or volunteer locally. We would really appreciate it if you would take the time to complete the survey online by following this link: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WhaleArts
You can choose to complete either a shorter (3-5 mins) version which focuses solely on the Community Asset Transfer process, or a longer (8-12 mins) version of the survey which asks a few further questions relating to WHALE.
If you have any difficulties with the online survey, would prefer a printable PDF version or have further questions, please contact Judith on 07927118995 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please do come along to a virtual meeting and discussion on Thursday 22nd April 6-7pm.
Everyone is welcome, whether you live locally or work in Wester Hailes. The meeting will take place on Zoom and you can register to take part here: www.bit.ly/3tO5csZ
Become a member.
We are really interested in hearing from local residents who would like to be involved in the Asset Transfer and would like to become Members of WHALE Arts. Members have voting rights (voting in the board of trustees) and can come along to our Members Breakfasts to help shape WHALE Arts projects and activities.
Find out more and complete the member’s registration form on our website: Become a member of WHALE Arts – Information on WHALE Arts Membership – WHALE Arts
Stay in touch and keep up to date
We have officially appointed two members of staff for our new Community Development Roles. Michael Bowdidge (also Street Arts coordinator) has been recruited as Community Development Lead for two days per week and Tiki Muir as Community Development Coordinator for three days per week.
The community Development roles link together a range of strands of our work focused around membership development and engagement. This includes: – Collaborative work on a local community-led regeneration project to create a Local Place Plan for Wester Hailes. – Community and membership conversations aligned with our upcoming community asset transfer – Growth and development of our membership, including introducing a young membership. – Furthering our work on co-production and nurturing new projects and volunteering opportunities locally, based on residents ideas and interests. – Building confidence locally so that people feel empowered to take leadership roles in developing new activities and opportunities with and for the residents of Wester Hailes.
Together, Michael and Tiki will develop a new programme of creative activities and services for WHALE members to take place at WHALE and across the local area. This will support members to improve wellbeing, economic prospects and the physical environment. They will also encourage WHALE members to participate in the conversations around our Asset Transfer (our plan to buy the land underneath WHALE Arts from the local authority.) Additionally, they will be responsible for the creation of a Membership Engagement Plan in order to recruit new members and to support, evaluate and report on their participation and involvement in a wide range of activities.
Michael and Tiki will also do important work with local people on projects based on their ideas, responding to local need in a way that is not linked to specific or pre-defined outputs. They will also work with Wester Hailes Community Trust and other local partners and consultants on local engagement for an upcoming Local Place Plan for Wester Hailes.
Michael Bowdidge is an artist, researcher and educator who has been working in a variety of different roles at WHALE Arts since 2009. After being initially employed as one of our Street Arts artists, Michael went on to work with the Westburn CAN project as one of the three commissioned artists who made work in and for the community garden. He then began running our Street Arts outreach project in 2017 and co-led our recently completed Creative Placemaking Project with Rebecca Green. Michael also works in a variety of other creative, cultural and academic contexts and really enjoys doing so, as he feels that the insights gained whilst working in one sector are usually directly applicable to others.
Michael is unfortunately a lifelong West Ham United supporter, but in his favour he does have a lovely rescue dog called Amber. He lives with his family just outside Glasgow.
Tiki Muir became interested in collaborative and collective working after studying Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art. She returned to Edinburgh in 2020 after living in New Zealand where she worked at The Shift Foundation, a charitable trust working to improve young women’s wellbeing. There Tiki created a youth-led podcast called The Conversation Collective.
Tiki is also a volunteer at the WHALE Arts community garden and the SCOREscotland community fridge. She loves reading, eating tasty food, learning how to grow things, and spending time outdoors. Most of all, Tiki can’t wait to get out of lockdown so that she can start meeting new people and building connections with the Wester Hailes community.
We wish them both the very best of luck with their new roles!
Edinburgh Zoo Live Webcams;
Panda Cam, Penguin Cam, Koala Cam,
Paigton Zoo Cams with Flamingo’s, Meerkats & Monkey’s
National Museum of Scotland has resources HERE including animations, nature trail ideas, arts & crafts & of course you can explore all the treasures of the museum online.
Creative writing and reading with Open Book HERE
Online plays and panto with National Theatre online. Watch on YouTube HERE
Free online dance classes from Dancebase: Scotland’s National Centre for Dance HERE
Photography Down The Line is a series of conversations between artists, photographers and the Director of ‘Stills’, a registered charity and centre for photography based in Edinburgh. Started during the time of the Coronavirus lockdown, this series aims to discuss, celebrate and share the ideas of artists at this challenging time. LISTEN HERE
ONLINE TREASURE HUNT
Escape Room Durham – free online escape room challenge! CLICK HERE
Join NASA with a view of the earth from space on their live cameras HERE
WELLBEING & RELAXATION
Lots of great wellbeing and relaxation resources HERE
Free online calligraphy resources HERE
Scottish Chamber Orchestra – music for all ages HERE