Dr. Bell’s Family Centre launches an appeal to raise £25,000 by April 2017, following a 50% reduction in external funding last year.
Speaking at the launch on Monday, January 23rd, Sarah Gunn, Chair of the Board said:
“Dr. Bell’s Family Centre is a vital community hub which has supported over a thousand struggling families in Leith over the last ten years.
“We are unique in offering family support in the same location as a crèche and community cafe, meaning we provide a wide range of support: from counselling, to helping parents into employment, low cost childcare to English language skills, and offer a place to make friends and build up confidence.
“We want to do more, but to do that we need to be here, this year and in the long term.
We are calling on the local community, businesses and partners to come together to back Dr Bell’s and support our campaign.”
Former Leith MSP and Board member Malcolm Chisholm remarked on the significance of the launch by noting that there was “not many events with three MSPs” attending. He also added:
“Although the reduced services we currently provide are targeted at those who need them the most, there is a high demand for family support in Leith which we believe is not currently being met.
“Raising these funds will put us back on a secure footing to continue delivering vital support services to the local community”
SNP MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Ben Macpherson also spoke at the launch:
“For over 10 years Dr Bell’s Family Centre has supported hundreds of local children and many local families, often at difficult times. Their services provide significant, and sometimes critical, support for the local community.
“I will continue to do all that I can, working with local councillors, NHS Lothian and others, to help keep this excellent centre open for Leith.”
The cause has drawn attention and support from across the political spectrum. Kezia Dugdale, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, said:
“The Family Centre provides some incredibly effective resources through the family support work, counselling and employability services provided by the centre and also provides crèche facilities for hundreds of children, many of which come from some of the most deprived parts of our city, providing them with a better start to life.
“I wholeheartedly support the efforts of all the staff and volunteers at Dr Bell’s Family Centre in the fundraising campaign and will continue to support the centre whenever and however I can.”
The centre was set up as a partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian and the local community in 2006 in response to a recognised need within the community for family support.
Leith Councillor, Adam McVey commented:
“Dr Bells has been there for people who needed their services, now Leithers are needed to help secure those services for the future”
Rachel King from Mental Health and Wellbeing department of NHS Lothian expressed her interest in helping students help Dr Bell’s:
“Family based support such as that available at Dr Bell’s Centre is very positive for parents mental health and wellbeing, and the centre offers a welcoming space, great food and staff who can work with the whole family.
“I would be very interested in hearing from university groups that could be involved in the fundraising for this unique family support centre”
Donate here and spread the word using #backdrbells.