The Edinburgh Girls Project
The Edinburgh Girls Project is a project funded by the Edinburgh Local Community Grants Scheme. Hear their inspiring story.
We caught up with Simen Jordsmyr Holm, Programme Officer and Analyst from EPIC Assist Charity Scotland, who told us about the Edinburgh Girls Project and youth empowernent, the difference the project is making in Wester Hailes and how they've found collaborating wth the University.
Tell us about your project
"The Edinburgh Girls Project will take place at WHALE Arts Centre in Wester Hailes over seven weeks in April and May 2019.
The project aims to create a safe space for girls between the ages of 8-12 from disadvantaged backgrounds to come together and receive group mentoring, encouraging them to make informed choices about their physical and mental health and empower them to feel confident in themselves.
The project is run by EPIC Assist Charity Scotland, a charity which provides support and development opportunities to disadvantaged groups on the many issues which can hinder empowerment and the ability to live a fulfilling life. Over the past few years, EPIC has done extensive work on youth empowerment through various strategies and have run projects across the whole of the Scottish Central Belt.
The Edinburgh Girls Project is run in cooperation with WHALE Arts Centre, a community-led arts centre and social enterprise with strong links to the local community. EPIC and WHALE Arts have previously collaborated on another girls’ project and its successes inspired the two charities to join forces again."
How has support from the University helped the project?
"The support from the University of Edinburgh has been invaluable as it covers all the costs of the project.
Without this funding, we would not be able to run this specific project at all. Following our earlier project in Wester Hailes, the need for this type of initiative has been firmly established and the cost-efficient nature of the impact of such projects has been widely recognised by the local community.
The University of Edinburgh’s Local Community Grants Scheme has also provided us with a unique opportunity of engaging with such a well-renowned education institution by allowing us to hire a student from the University who will assist with project delivery. The presence from the University of Edinburgh will also further inspire the participants and strengthen their sense of empowerment."
How is the project benefitting people in the local area?
"This specific edition of the Edinburgh Girls Project has not yet started but the target group is girls aged 8-12 from the local community in Wester Hailes, one of Edinburgh’s most disadvantaged areas. The Project intends to provide mental, social and physical health support to children who are less likely to receive this at home and at school due to their social background.
Participants from the same target group who participated in the pilot running of the Project at WHALE Arts Centre said they had developed a range of new skills and attributes, including communication skills, team work skills, healthy eating awareness and self-esteem. 100% of participants said they enjoyed the project and 80% reported they made new friends."
What are the next steps for your project?
"EPIC Assist Charity Scotland hopes to secure funding to run the Edinburgh Girls Project on a regular basis in Wester Hailes. Requests have also been made from several partners to develop a level 2 of the Project, which we strongly hope we will be able to do in the future.
Furthermore, we intend to continue our expansion of the concept to other areas of need across Scotland. Partners from across the Central Belt in Scotland have expressed the need for these types of projects, and after running similar initiatives in West Lothian and West Dunbartonshire as well as other areas of Edinburgh with different social and religious groups, EPIC Assist Charity Scotland’s ability to empower young women through projects has been well recognised."
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