WHALE Announces CEO Changes

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Leah Black, WHALE Arts’ Chief Executive for almost 4.5 years is embarking on a new project and will be going on a 12-month secondment from 15th August 2022, handing over the reigns to current Head of ProgrammPhotography by Oliver Bentones and Projects Kate Griffin.

Leah will be seconded to Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council (EVOC) to test some of her emerging ideas around long-term and unrestricted funding. Many working in the third sector understand well some of the challenges around short-term restricted funding. The idea behind this project is to take some time to work out if and how a 10-year unrestricted fund could be created for Edinburgh. This project is currently called Regenerative Futures Fund, the idea is that this would support community-based organisations to work towards two ambitious goals in Edinburgh – ending poverty and net zero by 2030 – we cannot do this with short-term funding.

The aim is to try to bring new philanthropic money into the sector, with principles based on innovative approaches such as Wellbeing Economy and Doughnut Economics. The project will also look at how power can be genuinely shifted towards local people across Edinburgh to make decisions about where funding is allocated within their communities. A group of funders – including The National Lottery Community Fund, The William Grant Foundation, Corra Foundation, Turn2Us Edinburgh Trust and City of Edinburgh Council – are supporting the 12-month development phase.

Kate is one of WHALE’s longest serving and most experienced team members. As Head of Programmes and Projects she has overseen our creative programme of activities for all – her focus before this was our award winning work with young people, children, and families. She has led and developed Street Arts our outreach sessions across Wester Hailes, a multitude of holiday and afterschool and early years family projects, exhibitions and performances with our cultural partners and our Accessible Arts programme for children and young people with Additional Support Needs and/ or disabilities and their families.

We recently recruited Zoe Squair as our new Head of Operations and Development and Jessica Mankowska as our new Young People’s Programme Lead, to support Kate and the team over the next 12 months.

Keep an eye on Whale Arts social media and sign up to the newsletter to follow developments and get involved. There are a huge range of exciting projects happening this year including our big 30th birthday party on 20th August, the opening of our new community café, progression of the Community Asset Transfer (bringing the land that Whale Arts sits on into community ownership) and future building improvements and developments. There will be lots of opportunities for members to get involved, and many new volunteering opportunities for local people.

To keep in touch with Leah’s development of the Regenerative Futures Fund and her secondment to EVOC have a look at her Twitter account Leah Black (@LeahRBlack) / Twitter or her Medium account Leah Black – Medium

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