February 13, 2008
20 years on…Wester Hailes
In the mid 80’s, Wester Hailes in Edinburgh had a reputation for being one of the most empowered communities in the country. Much has changed since then and with dwindling levels of grant funding, many community organisations have suffered. During this period the locally run housing association has emerged as a vital community anchor
Wester Hailes Community Housing Association was set up by a group of local people in 1988, to act as an alternative to City of Edinburgh Council as a provider of social housing. Now known as Prospect Community Housing, they provide and manage 888 homes for rent throughout Wester Hailes on the western edge of Edinburgh.
Over the past twenty years, Prospect have maintained their strong sense of community control with the board of management being comprised solely of local residents.
Although Prospect remain focused on their core business of providing the best quality of housing for Wester Hailes, in recent years the organisation has become increasingly involved in the support of a range of wider community development activities. In particular Prospect have become engaged in a number of youth initiatives.
Prospect Community Housing have prospered through a combination of astute management and the fact that they have been able to avoid the trap of grant dependency which so many other community based organisations have suffered from. As an organisation it now has a significant asset base, healthy financial reserves and a strong income stream through rents.
Prospect have exciting plans for the future which would see the transformation of a number of sites within Wester Hailes that have been underdeveloped for years. The value of having a locally based organisation that defines its accountability to the local community is self evident in Wester Hailes. A quick walk through the community today and it is all too easy to identify where Prospect have been active and where they have not. Community controlled housing associations will continue to make a very important contribution to future regeneration of communities like Wester Hailes.
For more information on Prospect Community Housing www.prospectch.org.uk