Festive fun at WHALE Arts AGM and Christmas showcase

Things got a bit festive yesterday when WHALE Arts Agency held their AGM and annual Christmas showcase, with a performance from WHALE’s resident drama group and Christmas crafts for sale from Stitch ‘n’ Time.

The evening began with the AGM which ran from 6.00pm  – 6.30pm and was guest chaired by local councillor Ricky Henderson.

Councillor Henderson began by thanking everyone present for his invitation and commended WHALE for delivering a successful year of activities despite what has been a difficult year financially for the third sector. He added that it was great to see WHALE continue the history of great community organisations in Wester Hailes.

The next item on the agenda was the presentation of accounts from board member Lorraine Johnson. Lorraine outlined that it had been a successful year, with the organisation running an operating profit and that the changes the WHALE board had made in recent years placed the organisation in a much more financially sustainable place. Councillor Cathy Fullerton commended the team and board for being able to turn a profit during these difficult times.

Allan Farmer, manager of WHALE Arts Agency, then presented the Annual Report. He detailed that of the 273 registered participants who attended regularly this year 84% of the children and 71% of the adults lived locally. Allan, also thanked the long list of partners WHALE has been working with and thanked SCOREscotland, Dads Rock, Wester Hailes Health Agency, Wester Hailes Community Trust, About Youth, Starcatchers and others, which have allowed them to continue bringing creativity to the people in Wester Hailes. Allan finished by listing some of WHALEs plans for the future including bringing the organisation outside WHALE’s walls and congratulated WHALE’s Street Arts project on winning Creative Edinburgh’s Social award.

After the official business of the AGM, Allan Farmer gave a brief speech stating the sorrow of the WHALE team and board over the passing of long term board member Doris Brown. He announced that the WHALE performance space would be dedicated to the memory of Doris, with a plaque coming soon. Also to keep the memory of Doris alive and to commemorate what she stood for Allan announced the Spirit of WHALE award which will be presented to people linked with WHALE who have have showed creativity, enterprise, a willing to volunteer both with the organisation and without and participated. He presented the inaugural awards to Jan and Julia Davies.

After the presentation it was time for some light light refreshments, have a look at some handmade local Chrstimas crafts, and maybe have a go at stitching somethhing yourself, with Stitch ‘n’ Time. After WHALE’s resident drama group, WHALEs Without a Cause, performed their special Christmas play “The Mystery of the Christmas AGM” and ending with a selection of everyone’s favourite Christmas songs.

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