12 August 2020
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve supported local charities and voluntary organisations doing vital work in the community. With a series of small grants, we’ve been able to help those working in the voluntary sector as they tackle the impacts of the crisis in Leith and north Edinburgh. We want to share the stories of these organisations and the importance of these groups and charities at all times, but particularly in the current crisis.
Pilton Youth and Children’s Project
Based in west Pilton, Pilton Youth and Children’s Project (PYCP) has been working with young people in the area since the 1980s. They currently work with over 450 different children and young people, offering them opportunities for new experiences and support with any difficulties so that they can have the best chance of a successful future. They strive to include all young people in their services, by consulting on activities, responding to individual needs and challenging discrimination.
PYCP was aware how lockdown could effect families already living in poverty. The organisation applied for a range of practical support that would help families maintain their health and wellbeing, stay in touch with the Project, keep up with school work and stay safe. At the time they were already supporting 60 families and predicted this would be an ongoing need.
“Jac loves PY. Only happy things to say. He’s really missing it right now.”
The Project set about changing both the what and the how of the services they delivered. Many services went online, including a new ‘homework helpers’ page where parents and children could get and offer help with school work. PYCP also began handing out masks, hand sanitiser and food vouchers. For families on low income, which may have dropped further due to furlough, and with children at home all day and not receiving school meals, this proved very helpful. The staff also started delivering 1:1 Zoom sessions for young people as well as online activities to complement the activities pack they were able to send out.
“I enjoy the activities you post on Facebook. We also got some vouchers and this was really helpful, and an activities pack today. Thank you.”
Keen to understand what has been going on for families, PYCP asked them about the highs and lows of lockdown. It’s clear that for some, lockdown has been really tough, and parents have worked hard to support their children.
“Just trying to get through it all on a day to day basis is sometimes really hard due to mental health issues but the kids soon bring me back up.”
“Working from home and keeping the girls focused on their work. Have noticed that lack of social contact is making them less confident.”
However, the support PYCP have been able to supply has helped – going well beyond their usual remit.
“Jill has been so supportive and worked really hard to stay in touch and help me and my husband with forms etc she is amazing and big thanks to all other staff who are out there helping families.”
Over the summer holidays the Project has been running Zoom sessions with fun activities for the children everyday. It’s not the same as the face to face clubs that would usually happen, but the happy smiles and many creative endeavours can been seen on their Facebook page. As we all get ready for school to start again they also collected new and used children’s clothes for local families to collect.
Debbie McMillan, business development manager at PYCP told us, “Families in Pilton, Muirhouse and surrounding areas were already struggling to make ends meet before lock down. We have found that a lot of parents and children have struggled with their mental health and the worry of lack of money, losing jobs or getting coronavirus.”
We are sharing Pilton Youth and Children’s Project’s story and the stories of others we have supported as part of the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign on social media. Learn more about Pilton Youth and Children’s Project here.
In 2020, local charities have never been more needed for the vital support they provide to individuals and families, both regularly and with heightened demand during the crisis. The #NeverMoreNeeded campaign is a UK-wide push to remind the government, funders, donors and members for the public how we cannot afford to lose the voluntary sector organisations that we have come to depend on so much this year.
SCVO research shows that at the same time as voluntary sector organisations are seeing a rise in demand for services, they have been changing how they deliver and expecting or already experiencing a drop in income. The voluntary sector needs support more than ever to do what it does best during this crisis and beyond. We are joining in this campaign to help everyone understand the importance of a thriving voluntary sector on our own doorstep in Leith and north Edinburgh.