Our local charities are #NeverMoreNeeded
7 September 2020
Our mission is to create brilliant communities in Leith and north Edinburgh. Housing has an important part to play, but we want to do more to positively impact people’s lives in local communities.
The past few months have shown us that local community organisations, their staff and volunteers have been the unsung heroes of lockdown. Many households in Leith and north Edinburgh have relied on charities for food, social connections, internet and other essentials and support for their wellbeing.
Throughout August we shared the stories of a small number of organisations we were able to support during lockdown. In total, we distributed £200,000 of small grants to over 40 locally based organisations doing work to support people through lockdown and beyond. The first £50,000, which we made available through our own funds, was exhausted within a month of the scheme being launched. This shows just how quickly these organisations were responding to the coronavirus crisis in the community.
While looking for other ways to help, we were pleased to respond to a request to act as a community anchor organisation to distribute Scottish Government Supporting Communities Funding. Just as before, local organisations responded quickly, and their willingness to collaborate with us made for a large and successful bid.
Leith and north Edinburgh’s organisations have offered a wide range of support including:
- Food deliveries
- Hot meals
- Phone/Zoom support including counselling advice
- Online activities including book bug, discos, cooking, tea parties, community meals
- Wellbeing and activity packs from essential oils to puzzles and picnic blankets
- Provided laptops/tablets/dongles to help people stay digitally connected
- Provided phone or internet data
- Welfare payments to support dietary requirements, additional energy costs, internet/phone costs
- Socially distanced activities such as drama, pottery and holiday clubs
The question now for many organisations is ‘what next’? As we come out of lockdown, many in the voluntary sector have expressed concern about the expected economic downturn as well as the longer term, as yet unknown, effects of lockdown. The pandemic has shone a light on existing inequalities and it’s apparent that many who were just coping before are not longer able to do so.
Research shows that 1 in 8 people in the UK expect to need support form the voluntary sector over the next year. Concerningly, 1 in 3 of people in this group said they will need access to food.
This is just a small picture of how never more needed the voluntary sector is going to be in the months and years of recovery from the effects of this lockdown, and following subsequent measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. We all need to look at ways in which we can support our community and these organisations going forward.
Read stories of some of the organisations we’ve supported during lockdown: