Fundraising appeal to save Leith community centre #backdrbells

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At the launch of the fundraising appeal to #backdrbells

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.”

 

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Miles Briggs, MSP for Lothian Conservative; Sarah Gunn, Chair of the Board of Trustees; Ben MacPherson, local MSP for Leith; Malcolm Chisholm, former MSP for North East Edinburgh and Minister for Health, now a Board Member; Alison Johnstone, MSP Scottish Green Party

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.

“We are not closing”, says Dr Bell’s Family Centre

Community base in Leith will continue to provide services for families with young children despite the funding crisis

Community base in Leith will continue providing services for families with young children despite the funding crisis

Dr Bell’s Family Centre has put to rest claims that the on-going funding crisis could result in closure by April next year.

Fiona Clark, Centre Manager for Fundraising & Strategy, has said that they have been at risk of redundancy since March.

 “Some staff will be made redundant, redundancy is optional for everyone. Other staff will continue in reduced service from January”

However Clark has reassured the community that the centre is not closing, and will continue delivering services.

Dr Bell’s currently employs ten members of staff, with only one full-time employee.

The centre also relies on volunteer support, coming majoritively from people who have used the services in the past and now want to give back.

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Clare Armstrong, Volunteer Receptionist

 

The centre manager sums up the importance of the organisation:

“We provide all-round family support, we have crèche for children up the age of 8, one-to-one family support, group work, counselling, trauma therapy, healthy-eating cooking classes, Mum’s group, Dad’s Worker, employability advice and tackling money worries”

The services are focused around a community café, which Clark describes as:

“Non-stigmatizing, non-judgmental gateway that encourages people to come in for some healthy-eating food and chat”

Shaani Singh, Kitchen Assistant

Shaani Singh, Kitchen Assistant

A month ago, the centre calculated that they would need £40,000 to stay open till the end of March 2016.

Concerns have been raised that the funding gap could lead to the centre’s closure by April next year.

However, the decision to reduce the services offered, alongside receiving other funding since the £40,000 gap prognosis, make it increasingly possible for the centre to continue delivering its services.

The centre provides welcoming and supportive environment for many families in the local community

The centre provides welcoming and supportive environment for many families in the local community

Dr Bell’s Family Centre is currently the only place in Edinburgh that has a free crèche in the same location as parenting support groups and other services.

 

The impact of the centre’s work on the Leith community is of great significance: they work with over 350 families a year, according to Clark.

“Last year 256 children came to the crèche, we supported 42 families through family support and 70 single mums through employability programme”

The centre is launching a fundraising appeal in an attempt to continue supporting the Leith community.

 

By Iben Revsbech and Alena Yakushova

Fears for family centre after staff cuts

Credit Alumy

Credit: Alumy

Dr Bell’s Family Centre in Leith has been forced to sack staff members following funding cuts.

The Leith-based support centre for families with young children attributed recent cuts to their crèche services, and staff lay offs to a reduction in the city council’s annual grant from £95,000 to £47,000.

Centre manager Fiona Clark said to Edinburgh Evening News that the deepening funding crisis may result in complete closure by April next year.

Dr Bell’s Family Centre opened its doors in August 2006, and was set up as a partnership between local people, Edinburgh City Council and NHS Lothian.

The centre operates with ten staff members and the help of volunteers. Concerns are raised over the future of the organization after all ten staff have received redundancy notes.

Providing a crèche for over 200 children, the centre also offers cookery classes and other services like family support and counselling for dozens of families, according to Clark.

More to follow.

By Iben Revsbech and Alena Yakushova

 

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