Community centres for people in boxes

When I first came to Wester Hailes, there were very, very few facilities for any body at all. People were staying in boxes, small housing compartments and not having any thing to do with their lives at all. I mean going back to that song, I don’t know if you know about it, but it has been repeated over and over again. It is a folk song: [singing]. I realised then, that, that was stupid, that there was something wrong to build houses that way. And it was good, don’t get me wrong, to the extent that it gave houses to homeless people. But the whole concept of sticking people into these high rise flats, people would stay into a flat not knowing their neighbours. Never spoken to their neighbours for years. I found that really, really quite hard to handle.

When the community centres grew up in the area that was a different ball game altogether. That was quite good. There was a lot of community activity. A lot of people spent a lot of time working for, with other people. All the community centres use to have social nights on Friday and Saturday nights. A disco on a Friday night for kids, and Saturday night for adults. That was good. It brought a sense of belonging. That unfortunately was long gone. It does not exist at all nowadays. They use to have a fun run every year. It was well, well organised and people use to come out and participate. It was a gala day. People had to work to a sense of achievement to run in the fun run. It doesn’t happen nowadays.

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