We are the Community Wellbeing Collective (CWC) a grassroots group of people living in or connected to Wester Hailes, Edinburgh. Together we transformed a derelict former off-license in Westside Plaza Shopping Centre into a Community Wellbeing Space, run by and for the people. We were brought together in 2021 by social-practice artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, as part of a commission by Edinburgh Art Festival and WHALE Arts. The CWC is now its own constituted organisation which works in partnership with Edinburgh Art Festival.
We need your help to keep our doors open and run a thriving Community Wellbeing Space! We are fundraising for three months running costs while we work towards a sustainable future.
In August 2022 we opened this unique space where members run free wellbeing activities with more than 600 people accessing the space each month. We are a community-run charity which grew out of the need for more wellbeing in an area and the imagination and motivation to make a change!
Our free accessible activities run by members of the community include yoga, mindfulness meditation, creative writing, herbal remedies workshops, weekly nutritious hot meals and much more. Alongside being a free public sober space to take respite, enjoy a cup of tea and just be.
Wester Hailes is a working class area of disproportionate poverty which affects mental and physical health. While there are other amazing organizations in the area, we fill a much needed gap. Without us, there are no sober spaces to gather outside of working hours and on weekends, no places that can be accessed by drop-in, no places in such a central accessible location. We create a space that is truly run by the community where the skills of our lived experience can be shared, which is diverse and combats isolation, where we can imagine and create new ways of being and healing together and addressing inequalities in the world.
In the Community Wellbeing Space we always make time and space to listen to people who visit. And this is what they have to say:
“With having an invisible disability, I feel like I am not understood and accepted in other places, but here I feel accepted, relaxed and like I can be myself”
“I have always been interested in herbal remedies, but I never thought it could be for people like me, I thought it was just for posh people. Now I know, I deserve this healing too”
“I have been sober for 8 years and in those 8 years I have never found a space where I can come and socialize and meet new people because everywhere else serves alcohol. I have been so lonely but I am so happy to have found this place.”
“It is a different group from what I have seen, really diverse and many people I don’t know from the area, which is exciting.”
It is safe to say that what we have built is incredible and in demand! BUT unfortunately we have struggled to gain funding and have reached a very critical moment. With your help we can increase wellbeing for all.
Your donation makes possible:
£10 - All the tea, coffee, milk for the space for 1 week
Whether someone is experiencing struggle or just wants to connect or relax, being able to offer someone a cup of tea can make a world of difference!
£20 - 1 wellbeing activity (delivered by CWC members)
All our activities are led by collective members, the vast majority of whom are local residents. Your donation makes it possible for working class people to share incredible skills which they might not ever have the opportunity otherwise
£50 - A nutritious community meal for 30+ people
Local chef and CWC member Chantal is passionate about bringing the community tasty, healthy dishes they may not have tried before. The meal is also a moment of togetherness and connection.
£100 - 1 CWC member to be paid to work as a host and open the space for one day
The Community Wellbeing Space is staffed by members of the collective. We manage the space and give a warm welcome and a lot of care. This is also local job creation!
£400 - One monthly ‘Anchor Event’ with invited collaborators and open mic
CWC members work in collaboration with expert organizations and people to create events exploring issues and create change. We engage the public with creative workshops, talks, political forums and practical activities. Anchor events are extremely popular with an average of 60 attendees who all have the opportunity to learn and to express themselves especially in the open mic!
£840 - 70 free wellbeing activities in 1 month (delivered by CWC members)
We create an incredible programme with a huge range of activities, groups and events. While ensuring everyone is paid fairly, we make money go far and translate pounds into real, on the ground delivery.
£2,100 - All hosts (CWC members) paid to open the space and work with public for one month
Every little helps! And larger donations increase our ability to work with security, plan for the future and focus on the important work that we do.
Your donation will go directly towards the local community and increase access to wellbeing. While we ask for donations, we are working hard towards sustainability and building a world where wellbeing is valued. We welcome donations according to your ability and understand it is not possible for everyone, nor is it the only way of supporting us! Please share our message, visit the Space if you can, enjoy and be part of it!
Care for self and community changes the world from inside out!