From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

Celebrating Community Past and Present

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Photo by Digital Sentinel

Photo by Digital Sentinel

Over 120 runners and walkers turned out to take part in the 2013 Wester Hailes Fun Run/ Walk.  All sorts of people took part: young and old, faster and the more sedate, families, local workers, runners in fancy dress, and parents walking with children in buggies.  Lots of people took part to raise money for

Photo taken by Digital Sentinel

Photo taken by Digital Sentinel

local charities and community groups.  The sun shone throughout the morning, and competitors were glad to find a water station at Clovenstone Community Centre after they had made it up that steep Greenway hill!  They were cheered on their way by local residents and by volunteer route stewards making sure that everyone went the right way.  The run was won by

Photo by Digital Sentinel

Photo by Digital Sentinel

Number 136, Richard Brown from the Wester Hailes Education Centre.  But for most people, the emphasis was on the fun of taking part and the achievement of completing the 5k route.  Funding for the event came from the South West Edinburgh Neighbourhood Partnership’s Community Grants Fund.  The Fun Run/ Walk was organised by a local planning group that includes Prospect Community Housing, Wester Hailes Health Agency, Wester Hailes Community Council, Clovenstone Community Centre, Active Schools, WHALE, Police Scotland, SCOREscotland, and CHAI.

Fun Run 1994

The idea to bring back the Fun Run was suggested here a couple of years ago when looking at the history of this event.  The original Fun Run started in 1983 and quickly grew as a community event with over 500 people taking part in 1992.  Although the competitive runners took it very seriously, it was really about everybody taking part together and being involved in their local community.  Sentinel photos taken of the run show that a wide range of people took part and that the event really promoted a sense of a community celebrating together.

Fun Run 4When local residents and organisations got together to re-launch the Fun Run last year, they wanted to include some elements of the original route, and some of those involved remembered how the event used to be organised which was very helpful in planning out the new run.  But it was the sense of bringing people together that they felt was the most important aspect of the old Fun Run and they hoped that the new event could reflect this.  In 2012, despite the heavy rain, there was a feeling that this was happening as those taking part said how much they had enjoyed the experience.  This year, with a clear sky and sunshine, there was a great atmosphere but this was really generated by the people taking part who cheered each other on across the route.  Those who completed the run quickly stayed on to support those finishing at a more sedate pace.  There’s now a feeling that there should be something else in the park after the Fun Run to build on this sense of community celebration.

The Sentinel used to record the Fun Run each year with a report but most

Photo by Digital Sentinel

Photo by Digital Sentinel

importantly photographs showing the range of people taking part and the involvement of the community.  The 2013 Fun Run greatly benefited from the new Digital Sentinel who were there throughout the morning taking photos and interviewing participants.  As well as showing what happened, this is an opportunity to build an archive for the future.  It was seeing the old Sentinel photos of the Fun Run that really encouraged people to start asking if it was possible to start this event again.  These sorts of archives aren’t only about creating a record of the past as a memory.  They also have a role to play in shaping future ideas and activities through reflection on what can be learned from the past and adapted for the present.  The 2013 Wester Hailes Fun Run was not a replica of past events, but it contained echoes from the past that helped shape its success.

For more great photos of the 2013 Fun Run check out the Digital Sentinel’s Flickr site.

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One thought on “Celebrating Community Past and Present

  1. Brilliant reminder that we we were running in the shoes of those who came before us!

    Was a fine day.

    David