The Astley Ainslie Community Trust (AACT) is a new community organisation, formed by local residents who believe that the Astley Ainslie site should be owned by and managed on behalf of Edinburgh’s people.
We are working with NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council and other local groups to explore the potential for community‐led development, taking advantage of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, and building on the models of community involvement, control and ownership trail‐blazed in Portobello by community groups Action Porty and Action Westbank.
We will holding a series of engagement and visioning events in early 2019.
The Astley Ainslie Hospital – the future of the land
The National Health Service is about to leave the land occupied by theAstley Ainslie Hospital – a substantial area in South Edinburgh. They are moving the services devoted to convalescence and the recovery of long-term patients to the site of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and they are constructing new buildings there.
The Astley Ainslie is public land. It was bought in the 1920s by the Trustees of David Ainslie, who left a handsome sum of money to set up a convalescent hospital for patients from the Royal Infirmary. David Ainslie named the hospital after his nephew and heir, John Astley Ainslie, who died at the age of 26. It stands as a monument to David’s love for the young man, whom he had reared as his own son; it is, for us, a poignant memorial to all the young people who die prematurely from lack of care or medical skill.
TheTrustees established the hospital on a substantially green site –gardens and a ladies’ golf course – which assists both in the recovery of the patients and in the health and pleasure of the surrounding neighbourhood. This, with a group of nineteenth and twentieth century buildings, is still there as a notable asset in our lives.
Astley Ainslie Community Trust has been set up by a group of volunteers, who believe that the community as a whole would benefit from continued public ownership of the grounds. We have made the first formal moves towards Community Asset Transfer.