Holly and Rumilla at the Community Wellbeing Space.

Community Wellbeing Collective – Festival City Volunteers Legacy

Festivals Edinburgh supported thirteen Community Wellbeing Collective (CWC) members to undertake training as part of the Festival City Volunteers Legacy Project 2022. The Collective – 25+ people local and connected to Wester Hailes – have collaborated with socially engaged artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, her team and Edinburgh Art Festival, since November 2021, establishing the Community Wellbeing Space (CW Space). 

Opening in Westside Plaza Shopping Centre for Edinburgh Art Festival 2022, the members run activities and activism events to support community wellbeing. A major part of the CWC project’s ethos is to empower local people; therefore, the volunteer training provided the perfect opportunity to further this aspect and reflect the diversity, interests and roles of the volunteers. Training included nutrition, upholstery, carers’ rights and wellbeing and de-escalation training. 

The below interviews with a member from each training and Holly Yeoman, Edinburgh Art Festival Community Engagement Manager give an overview of their experience and learnings from the training. There’s also a creative response from Collective members Rumilla and Josie on community care.

The importance of nutrition and our relationship to food for community wellbeing – Emotional Eating Psychology Coaching Certificate


Lorna along with other members see nutrition as an important factor in community wellbeing. Lorna was keen to further her knowledge of nutrition and the psychology around food and contributing factors that lead to emotional eating. By doing an online course with Integrative Nutrition, attending lectures and focusing on case studies, she received a coaching certificate in Emotional Eating Psychology (EEP). Lorna was encouraged to pick a specialist area to hone her skills working with clients, especially those with disordered eating and eating disorders, using her own experience with disordered eating to relate and help clients. 

“I learned how to support clients by creating a safe non-judgmental space to explore their issues. Building a toolkit unique to them to use throughout their life, was a paramount part of the training. For these reasons I have grown in confidence and abilities in supporting clients in this area. The training helped me contribute ideas to the creation of the Community Wellbeing Collective. I hope to make a dent in inequality around healthcare for low-income individuals and spread the ripple effect of good health and wellbeing.”


Upcycling skills development, and creating a welcoming environment at the CW Space through furniture – Modern Upholstery Course

Rungano and Heather 

Interview with Rungano

Rungano and his partner Heather undertook a 6-week training course in modern upholstery at South Bridge Resource Centre. Through this period, they developed their skills and confidence in upcycling furniture with a focus on upholstery. They along with their children see recycling discarded furniture in the area and upcycling them with upholstery and beautiful fabric as a metaphor for what can be achieved at CWC. During their training, they said they were able to develop their skills in intricate chair upholstery, saving antique chairs which had been discarded, transforming them into stand-out pieces for use in the Community Wellbeing Space.

“The training fulfilled my dream to give back to CWC and to develop my skills. I’ve built up the confidence, and now have confidence to do more. Building upon the training we’ve applied for a community grant to start a new project, that’s been approved. I’ll continue building my skills doing upholstery class and hopefully can take on some young people to show them how to do it. I’d like to thank CWC for giving the opportunity to get these skills, get the confidence. And for this place – it’s amazing.”


Care for carers – Rights and wellbeing training retreat by Care and Support Workers ORGANISE! (CaSWO)

Rumilla, Heather, Jogob, Susi and Josie

Interview with Rumilla

Over 2 days, 6 CWC members attended a carers retreat in Dumfries and Galloway, led by Care and Support Workers ORGANISE! – a national network of carers. The network campaigns for better rights for care workers/unpaid carers and for systematic change in social care. The retreat was an opportunity for CWC members to talk through issues and explore steps for making change. Whilst at the retreat they planned a CW Space Anchor event which included a workshop and panel discussion, which took place on Sunday 21 August 2022, called ‘What needs to change in the social care system?’ and ‘Campaign for the change you want to see.’

Rumilla who has experience caring for the elderly, vulnerable and children said she had a lightbulb moment whilst on the retreat being introduced to a tv series social experiment. In the interview she explains how she came to the conclusion that intergenerational connection is hugely important for social cohesion and care in the community.

We Are Not Fish And That’s Why Care Homes Don’t Work – film response by Rumilla in collaboration with Josie

Inspired by their experience of attending the care for carers retreat, CWC members Josie and Rumilla created We Are Not Fish And That’s Why Care Homes Don’t Work. The film captures a conversation between them made possible in the landscape of rest.

“We have a right to time, beauty, rest, imagination, connection and care. Together, we create spaces which hold these things that we build outwards into structural change. This film is part of building outwards. Listen to the wisdom, strength and power of care workers through a meandering conversation on the themes of humanity, fish, pain, purpose, care homes and change.”


Health and safety in the CW Space – learning how to respond to challenging behaviour and people with mental health issues – De-escalation training

Fabien, Ema, Jj, Federica and Raymond

Interview with Ema 

Six CWC members who are key hosts and activity leaders did de-escalation training with Sophia Marie Lok-Yin Luk and Leigh Brown, social justice specialists. By doing the training they were able to create a safe and responsive space for visitors, members, and themselves. Ema discusses how as a team they’ve applied their training to engaging visitors.

The Community Wellbeing Space is open Thursday-Saturdays, 12-7pm, throughout December 2022 and January 2023. Find out more at watchthisspace.online.

The Community Wellbeing Collective and Space is a commission produced by Edinburgh Art Festival in partnership with WHALE Arts. It is supported by the Scottish Government’s Festivals EXPO Fund and the PLACE Programme, a partnership between Edinburgh Festivals, Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Creative Scotland, with additional support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Mondriaan Fund.

The project was made possible through Festival City Volunteers Legacy Project supported by Festivals Edinburgh.