From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

Wester Hailes Youth Programme

photo from Sentinel 1989

We recently featured the launch of the Youth Programme which grew to oversee and co-ordinate a wide range of youth projects under one umbrella organisation across Wester Hailes.  The Youth Programme was an independent voluntary organisation and was accountable to Wester Hailes through its committee and general meetings.  Annual Reports were included in the Sentinel and provided a range of information about the organisation’s progress but also a snapshot of the issues, concerns and achievements of local young people. 

In 1989, the breadth of the work taking place is evident from after school clubs and playschemes to counselling and action on drugs with young people.  The report also features “Seen and Not Heard”, a consultation carried out amongst young people examining why they were not engaging in decision making structures and events.  You can see the annual report by clicking here on 1989 Youth Programme.

In 1990, the front page of the report focused on the go ahead for the Pyramid Centre, a purpose built centre to replace the temporary classroom unit the Youth Programme had been using.  An exchange visit to Kiev in what was then the USSR was also featured with reports about the experiences of Wester Hailes young people but also what visiting Wester Hailes was like for young people from Kiev.  You can read about this visit and about other projects during that year by clicking here on Youth Programme 1990.

The Youth Programme ran for 17 years and right up to the end were delivering a diverse range of activities and services.  However, changes and reductions to funding across community projects in Wester Hailes meant that a number of youth projects amalgamated and the Youth Programme became part of the new Youth Agency.  Their last annual report was included in the Sentinel and you can read it by clicking here on Youth Programme 1997

Funding remains an issue for youth work both here in Wester Hailes and in other areas of the country.  What should be seen as a vital investment is too often regarded as a luxury to be cut when budgets have to be tightened.  These cuts may be a short term saving but they create a long term loss with lasting effects for society.



We said last week that we’d be running a series featuring local writing and so, to start, here’s a couple of poems that were published in the Sentinel in 1988.

The first is by Kirsti Turrell from Clovenstone Gardens who was all of eight years old when she wrote it. The poem was sent in by her teacher at Clovenstone Primary School who thought it showed real talent. The editor of the Sentinel agreed and so do we.

What is red?
A pillar box is red
With a hat upon its head.
What is grey?
The sky is grey
On a wet and windy day.
What is green?
Leaves are green
Some are hiding and can’t be seen.
What is pink?
A flower is pink
When in its some water it never will sink.
What is black?
Santa’s sack is black
As he goes down the chimney and falls on his back.
What is yellow?
The sun is yellow
As it shines upon a fellow.
What is white?
The snow is white
As it falls so cold and bright.
What is blue?
Bluebells are blue
As they stand in the morning dew.
What is brown?
Tree trunks are brown
As they stand in a city or town.


The second is a little ode to the Sentinel itself which, in a few lines, neatly encapsulates the sort of role a community newspaper can play in the lives of local people.

The Wester Hailes Sentinel I hear you say,
Pops through your letter box to brighten your day.
Full of pictures, advertisements as well,
Open it wide, head in and tell.
When word gets around and ears are flapping
You can be sure your neighbours are gabbing.
So carry the Sentinel, if you’re in doubt
And you can be sure there is something to shout.