WHALE Arts Agency
Facts & Figures
When construction of Edinburgh’s Wester Hailes began in the late 1960’s, poor planning, lack of service provision and sub-standard housing brought the community together in a series of campaigns. While regeneration has meant that much of the initial housing stock, including 18 ‘high flats’, have been demolished, such significant physical changes impacted on the community’s social and cultural resiliance. Initiated by local people in 1992, WHALE Arts has established itself as the cultural anchor organisation for Wester Hailes. A community-led arts charity and social enterprise, its mission is to be the creative heart of a vibrant, thriving community, a conduit between the community and creative opportunities through its programme of projects and events and by connecting the community with cultural partners, both in the city and nationally.
Company Limited by Guarantee and Registered Charity
62% including an SLA with Edinburgh City Council
The purpose built WHALE Arts Centre.
Value of assets
Roots & Links
Established by local people in 1992 as part of the community regeneration process, in 2000 we moved in to the purpose built WHALE Arts Centre.
WHALE Arts provides access to supported, professionally led arts activities for enjoyment, skills development and growth of individuals and the community.
8 Directors (majority from local community and 25 active company members all from the local community)
Strong links with local people and organisations include:
Digital Sentinel – community (hyperlocal) newspaper
Local primary & secondary schools
Prospect Community Housing
South West Neighbourhood Partnership
Living Well Wester Hailes
Wester Hailes Community Council
Wester Hailes Health Agency
Wester Hailes and Sighthill Libraries
Our diverse academic, creative, cultural, community sector and enterprise links include:
#artcore – a city wide youth art collaborative.
Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network
Edinburgh University/Edinburgh College of Art
Festival & King’s Theatres
Scottish Community Alliance
Voluntary Arts Scotland
Heriot Watt University
WHALE Arts Centre serves as a community hub for local people, supports formal and informal groups and provides office and meeting space to other local organisations. It offers quality creative space to local people including a dark room, recording studio, performance space and exhibition space. WHALE currently supports the development of the Digital Sentinel and online community newspaper produced by local citizen reporters.
Builds Local Capacity
Through the operation of the WHALE Arts Centre as a community asset and the direct delivery of services, see below.
WHALE also supports the development of new and existing local groups such as:
The Arty Party
Community access to our IT facilities allows people to increase their digital skills and confidence.
Specific workshops on welfare reform/ access to benefits
Digital media training (including for Digital Sentinel ‘citizen reporters’)
WHALE is currently collaborating with local people, partner community organisations and public bodies to support the development of a new Wester Hailes Community Trust.
WHALE delivers a wide range of regular creative projects for all members of the community, we hold regular one off performances and creative community events.
We are currently developing a range of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures for the WHALE Arts Centre.
Reaching and celebrating our 20th Anniversary in 2012.
Continuing to build on the success of the last 20 years!
Diversifying our income streams to become more sustainable.
Never underestimate the power of creativity to empower communities and to promote wellbeing.
To firmly establish WHALE as a sustainable anchor organisation at the heart of a creative and resilient community.
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