Community to benefit from University pledge

Initiatives to help people who are experiencing homelessness, to enhance digital skills amongst community groups and back social enterprises are included in the University’s latest commitment to local communities.

The aims have been set out in the University’s renewal of the nationwide Social Impact Pledge, a government initiative that encourages organisations to deliver projects of public benefit.

Homelessness support

The University will help establish a Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health within the NHS Access Practice in Edinburgh city centre.

Working with the NHS and other partners, the University will assist in building the capacity of the practice to support pathways out of homelessness.

It will also seek to develop research initiatives and student-led services that will help strengthen the physical and mental health and wellbeing of people who are experiencing homelessness.

Digital inclusion

More students are to be trained to work with community groups to enhance digital literacy and support employability, in an extension of the university’s Digital Ambassadors programme.

The initiative, which was established as part of the previous pledge, worked successfully with older people in the Greyfriars Charteris Centre and offered a weekly drop-in service in Edinburgh’s Central Library.

Local groups that the University will work with under the new pledge include the Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre in Greyfriars Charteris Centre and the People Know How organisation in St Margaret’s House, London Road.

Social enterprise

Enhanced infrastructure and support mechanisms are to be made available to increase the number of sustainable start-up social enterprises based at the University, offering goods and services to the local community.

These will build on a pilot on social enterprise, run as part of the previous pledge, which attracted considerable interest from students and established several social enterprises – businesses set up with the aim of improving society or the environment.

The surpluses from such schemes are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than given to shareholders and owners.

The University has worked hard over several years to embed entrepreneurialism in its study programmes and activities.

Fresh commitment

Edinburgh was one of the first higher education institutions in Scotland to commit to the nationwide Social Impact Pledge.

The Pledge was signed by the University Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson.  

Embedded in the University’s strategic plan is a strong commitment to contributing locally. We already do much for local benefit through our research and teaching and through our economic impact, but we wish to do more. I am very pleased that the three elements in this Social Impact Pledge will contribute further to our work in promoting health and education, as well as economic and social wellbeing.

Professor Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor


The new pledges we are making underscore our deep belief that Universities have an important role to play in supporting positive social and economic transformation. We are very grateful to all our partners in the local community who have worked with us to develop these pledges.

Professor Lesley McAraAssistant Principal Community Relations

Related links

The Social Impact Pledge