Community flat at our Door Step

Our organisation, WEST, we were the first organisation to get a community flat. And other organisations started doing it. Because we decided to see people face to face and invited them in rather going to see people. It was quite difficult. Because you have people with mental health problems and you also have young children running about. So the confidentiality wasn’t very good. So that’s when we decided to look into having a community flat.  So I was responsible for getting the flat, I don’t want to beat my drum, but I was responsible and had a chat with the local housing department. We went to the local residents and had a chat with them to explain what was happening. And one or two people where not very sure. But as long as we assured them it will be safe, there won’t be people coming here with their faces full of drugs or needles lying about, that was the concern people had at the time. We use the flat for admin and for counselling.

The added value in having our offices in community flats is that you are beside the nuts and bolts of the population. You are actually with them. You are actually a person and we are neighbours, as if you are actually in my flat. So you are there. Before this, there was talk that this project and all drug projects in Edinburgh would be relocated to a central place in the city centre. Well, it was knocked on the head, as I think a drug project should have a presence in the community. Drug users are famous, very famous for not travelling very far. That’s why you should have a service at their door step.

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