What’s in a name?

Organisations have come and gone [in Wester Hailes]. The one I work in now, CHAI, although CHAI is an organisation that has been on the go for over ten years, the drug part of it that I work in, has only been going for two years. We and my colleagues we used to work in an organisation called WEST. WEST started as a parent support group – The Windmill, for people with mental health problems. And we started being called Hotline, it was a drug project and we shared the premises with them.

There was some resistance from the police in the early days. I mean some people, we had put in place a hotline, and some people really think that it was hotline to the police. And they say: “Don’t trust them, don’t go there”. And what happened actually as well was that the police started a hotline, and they called it a hotline. So we have to drop our name, Hotline to the West Edinburgh Support Team (WEST). We poke to the police as well about our project for them to understand that rather than focussing on arresting and sending drug users to jail, we can prevent this. In the early days, we train the police on these issues. We also had to change the name to attract funding. Because it is west Edinburgh, and at this time knew we are going to get continued funding, but because it was a Service Level Agreement, it wasn’t just going to be Wester Hailes. It was going to be west Edinburgh.

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