You will probably have heard the devastating news that HOT will be closing its doors on 28th February 2021.
We wanted to post a message to say thank you to every single worker, sessional worker, volunteer, student on placement and member of our Board of Directors who have been involved since we first started. We have been so lucky in the people we have had working and volunteering and giving their time for us. We want to say a massive thank you for all of the energy, time, dedication, passion and hard work that people gave. We want to acknowledge the positivity, care, skill, professionalism and enthusiasm that so many people brought to HOT.
We would also like to say a massive thank you to professionals who helped us in our work – especially Paul Cooper (top IT guy), Ema from Cloak x Dagger Design (amazing web and leaflet design) and John at Print Vision. You’ve been incredible – thank you!
We began in 1994 as a satellite service known as Brook in Craigmillar. In 1999 we became independent from Lothian Brook Advisory and, after temporarily operating under the name of Young Niddrie Health Team, were formally constituted as Health Opportunities Team. Our focus has always been on sexual health but we expanded this focus to social, emotional and mental health and then physical health, and risk taking behaviour including substance use. We believe that health should be holistic – that feelings, behaviour, body and mind are all connected.
We also want to say thank you to our amazing funders – they really care about the work and about finding out what makes the difference in the lives of young people. We have so enjoyed and valued our work together.
Over time and with the guidance of fantastic leaders (Mike Massaro-Mallinson and then John Nicholls) the agency grew and became trusted in our communities. We developed a range of ways to provide more services in more areas. We covered Craigmillar/Portobello, Liberton/Gilmerton and then South West Edinburgh. We developed new approaches based on the feedback young people and referrers gave us. We connected with our amazing local schools, colleges, YPUs and together with them made strong referral pathways and great partnerships. We want to say thank you to all of our many partners and networks (too many to mention) but in particular our local schools – we have LOVED working with you all for the benefit of young people.
Most of all we want to say a massive THANK YOU to all of the inspiring young people we have worked with. All of our young people deal with different things – some have fun lives and some have experienced terrible trauma. Every single one of them is different and every single one has inspired us. We had so much fun with them and so much creativity from them. We are better for having known you.
I went back through and counted from the records I have since 2007 – we have supported an incredible 50,242young people!! If we include the young people from 1994-2006 there are tens of thousands more. That’s a lot of very inspiring young people .
It’s always sad to say goodbye – especially when something means so much to you – but as somebody once said ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’
With love and best wishes
Niki (our MD) and our Board of Directors – Sal, Ilona, Eric, Craig, Benjamin, Wendy and Alana