Community grants scheme hits £500k milestone

A Ukrainian refugee support centre and a creative project supporting those that lost loved ones during the pandemic are among ten community groups benefiting from University of Edinburgh grants this year.

The Edinburgh Local Community Grant Scheme has awarded more than half a million pounds to community groups tackling pressing social issues since it began in 2017.

Refugee hub

The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain are among this year’s recipients, with its Edinburgh Branch receiving £5,000 towards a community refugee hub and support service.

The hub provides vital clothing, equipment, practical advice and emotional support to displaced Ukrainian people who have been forced to flee the conflict with Russia.

We are exceptionally grateful to the University of Edinburgh for the recent grant award.  The challenges being faced by refugees arriving in Edinburgh are unimaginable. We are seeing a broad range of trauma amongst refugees as well as a resolute focus in supporting their homeland to get through this latest chapter in the country's history. We hope that the aid hub, from the information sessions, to social and cultural activities that we deliver, will provide refugees with the support that they require.

Hannah Beaton-HawrylukAUGB Edinburgh Chair

Paying tribute

Leith Community Pottery also received funding towards a project aimed at supporting people who lost loved ones to Covid-19.

The Leith Covid Memorial Tiles project will provide a safe space for community members to create personalised ceramic tiles dedicated to family members or friends who died during the pandemic.

Andy Lang set up Leith Community Pottery in 2019 as a social enterprise with the goal of providing free classes to people with mental health issues, dementia, isolation and other physical health conditions.

Mindful escape

The pandemic has had a profound impact on our communities. Many among us are trying to cope with loss and are often doing so in isolation. Working with clay offers both a physical and an emotional outlet. We see the benefits to the mental health of participants again and again. The process itself is very mindful and offers an escape from day to day stresses and anxieties. Our workshops bring together people who may never have otherwise met and the sense of community and support from that is invaluable.

The grant from the University will give people a chance to make a personal and meaningful statement or expression in memoriam of someone they lost to Covid. Other projects included in this round of funding include Youth Vision’s Community Sensory Garden, Health All Round’s Walk With a Doctor scheme, and People Know How’s project to increase digital and social inclusion.

Andy LangLeith Community Pottery 

Positive impact

The Edinburgh Local Community Grant Scheme offers up to £5,000 to groups across Edinburgh and the Lothians to help them develop community initiatives and local learning opportunities.

Over £47,000 was awarded in the Spring 2022 round of the scheme, taking the total donated by the University to £508,665 since the programme began in 2017.

We are delighted that more than £500,000 in funding has gone towards delivering positive change locally through the Community Grants Scheme. The work we do with local communities in the Edinburgh region is central to delivering upon the commitments set out by the University’s Community Plan. Through our actions and activities, we hope to make a genuine difference: a University in, with and for its local community.

Professor Lesley McAraAssistant Principal of Community Relations, University of Edinburgh

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