CEO Blog : Kiltwalk 2021 – I’m climbing Seven Hills for Crew

I’m Emma Crawshaw, Crew’s CEO. I joined Crew in 2011 because the I love the non-judgemental approach, the fantastic motivation, skills and rich knowledge of the team and how Crew brings this to locations where few others are able to go.  I also knew first-hand how needed and effective peer to peer drug harm reduction can be for people using drugs that most treatment services are less familiar with.   

I’ve been CEO since 2015, and enjoy working for Crew for so many reasons but most of all because the volunteer and staff team inspire and challenge me every day with their dedication to preventing drug harm.

Crew 2000 have been reducing drug harm without judgment since 1992. Starting as ravers and activists concerned with the lack of accurate harm reduction information about party drugs in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Crew’s grown into a registered charity offering professional counselling for people who take stimulant drugs, an Expert Witness service within the criminal justice system, outreach, chill out and welfare at festivals and events and our Drop-in shop on Cockburn Street where anyone can access free, confidential advice, support, harm reduction information and sexual health supplies, six afternoons a week.


“The volunteer and staff team inspire and challenge me every day with their dedication to preventing drug harm”

Our magnificent volunteers are still the lifeblood of everything we do. We also offer training to professionals and the general public on drug trends and harm reduction so we can break down stigma, improve knowledge and awareness and build the capacity of the workforce supporting people who take drugs. We do many different things to reduce drug-related harm: what unites us is our commitment to supporting rather than punishing people who use drugs and improving health without judgement.

The Kiltwalk

I enjoyed last year’s Kiltwalk so much that I’ve signed up again for the Virtual Kiltwalk 23-25th April 2021In 2020, I walked the first 27 miles of the West Highland Way and our brilliant team of 12 Kiltwalkers adapted to the new approach to Kiltwalk in the face of the pandemic, from climbing Ben Nevis with the Crew flag, someone else completing the whole West Highland Way in five days to a daytime walk revisiting iconic Edinburgh nightclubs.    

Thanks to our generous donors and match funding from the Hunter FoundationTeam Crew Kiltwalkers raised over £10,000 in vital funding to help keep Crew reducing harm.  As we move hopefully out of lockdown, we know that people will need our help more than ever. 

Emma Flying the Flag for Crew atop Conic Hill on the West Highland Way, Kiltwalk 2020

Some local street art captured by Emma during her practice walks for Kiltwalk 2021 from a tunnel near Crammond in the Craigleith Walkway

This year I am completing my Kiltwalk challenge closer to home. I have chosen to climb the seven hills around Edinburgh for my challenge because walking has helped me look after my mental health throughout lockdown.  I’ve probably had a much gentler, easier year than many people, but getting out of the house to exercise and seeing beautiful street art and signs of spring have made a real difference to how I feel.

Snow covered fungi from Easter and Wester Craiglockhart Hills during Emma’s practice for the 2021 Kiltwalk

How you can support Crew

We’re looking for people to join our team raising funds to reduce more drug harm at #ScotlandsVirtualKiltwalk Friday 23rd – Sunday 25th April.  We can support you with suggestions for safe activities within FACTS COVID-19 guidance or tell us about the activity you’d like to do!  You don’t need to walk or even leave the house.

We’ll help you set up a page to gather donations online and cover the costs of joining Kiltwalk.  From Friday 12th March we can organise warm up or practice walks.  Children are very welcome too, and everyone who joins the team will receive a pair of sunnies, a poncho and a tartan face mask!

Emma modelling the Kiltwalk sunnies and tartan mask

If you’d like to join us visit our Kiltwalk Sign-up page or contact us to find our more.  Every penny you raise before 3rd May will be matched by 50% by the Hunter Foundation, so that’s another 50p in every £1 raised for Crew.


If you’d rather donate to support us, or find out more about how I’m preparing for the Virtual Kiltwalk. Want to know how to support Crew all year round? Head to the Donate page to find the best way to share your love with us.

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