“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

Scottish councils facing over half a billion pounds of funding deficit, Accounts Commission warns

Scottish councils could face a combined funding gap of £553 million by 2018, according to a new report from the Accounts Commission.

The Commission has said that, based on figures from 2015-16, local authorities are currently in good financial health, but have found that there could be “significant challenges” in the future.

Forecasting for the next three years, the report’s analysis found that the deficit between the money that councils raise and what they spend could rise from £87 million in 2016-17 to £553 million in 2018-19.

The figures would mean that a large proportion of local authorities would face a gap in funding higher than the amount currently held in reserves.

The Commission acknowledged that councils face, “increasing pressure from a long-term decline in funding, rising demand for services and increasing costs such as pensions.”

More to follow later.

Scottish Council worries about the impact on front line services funding.

Scottish Council worries about the impact on front line services funding.

Scottish Councils Set to Lose £46million in EU Funding

by Andy Grozier

 

Local councils are under threat as Brexit looms

Local councils are under threat as Brexit looms

 

Scottish councils are set to lose out on 46 million pounds in funding for local projects when the UK leaves the European Union.

The news comes following figures released through a freedom of information request made by the Liberal Democrats.

The party’s Europe spokesman, Tavish Scott said that the figures demonstrate the importance of EU funding for Scottish councils;

“These figures reveal just how beneficial EU funding has been for council projects and the material threat posed by the UK’s departure from the EU. The UK and Scottish governments must now explain how disruption to these projects will be minimised and the loss of funding mitigated.”

The European funds have this year supported a variety of projects; everything from youth employment in Aberdeenshire, infrastructure projects in the Highlands and Islands to support for anti-poverty programs in Fife.

Government funding for Highland and Moray Colleges

A grant of £1.95million has been given to colleges in the Highlands and Moray to help tackle youth unemployment.

The funding is to be split between Moray College, North Highland College and Inverness College, which form part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The money, which comes from the European Social Fund, is the latest round of such funding, following the £5.3million announced in February to help aid economic growth. It will go towards funding training programmes and full time places in order to boost employability for young people in the area.

On a visit to Inverness College, the Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance said that not having training or education “can be highly damaging to the life chances of Scotland’s young people and can seriusly dent their ambitions.”

She stated that the Scottish Government has “guaranteed every 16-19-year-old a place in education or training” and that the funding will “build on that activity and help us nurture the potential of our young people, provide routes into work and harness their ability and creativity to contribute towards future economic growth.”

The December 2011 figures show that at the numbers of people claiming Job Seekers Allowance in Highlands, Moray, Argyll and Bute grew towards the end of last year, and was up to 7,500 by the start of 2012.

Leith-Factor to decide funding for local groups

by Robert McTighe

The people of Leith are being given the chance to choose where local government money ends up under an exciting new plan. The scheme called “£eith Decides” will give people in the community the power to decide exactly where their money is going. Run by the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership, the scheme has around £16,000 available for local groups.

[Read more…]

Domestic Abuse: Charity’s Funding at Risk?

Charity's funding at risk as part of impending spending cuts?

By Anne Mackie

In a recent survey by Scottish Women’s Aid, it was recognised that 120 women seek help for domestic abuse on a day to day basis.

Last month, the campaign drew a 24 hour poll where it was noted that 123 women got in contact for the first time. Statistics proved a total of 1,188 women; children and young people were given some form of help that day.

Although the charity supported a number of women and young people in refuge, a total of 24 women and 26 children were not provided for on the day of the poll. It is thought this was due to lack of sheltered space. The charity claim the principal reason these individuals were left unaccommodated was because they refused to stay in the vicinity. This left 9 women and 11 young people where they were.

There are concerns that some of the charity’s funding could be at risk as part of impending spending cuts. A potential 40 per cent reduction in women’s support funding across Scotland is expected to have a disturbing effect on the quality of support available to victims of domestic abuse.

Scottish Women’s Aid manager Lily Greenan voiced her appeal to the Scottish Government to guarantee dedicated funding streams including the Violence Against Women’s Fund and the Children’s Services Fund continue to provide assistance to the victims of abuse. Greenan said:

“These funds provide an average of 40% of women’s aid groups funding, which will come to an end in March 2011 with no decisions being made about their future.”

Scottish Women’s Aid are still supporting 63 per cent of the women and young people from the poll through Women’s Aid outreach, drop-in and follow-on services.

Scots universities at risk of closure

by Neal Wallace

Proposed spending cuts mean universities and colleges across Scotland may be forced to close or face huge job losses, MSPs were warned yesterday.

Mark Batho, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), which allocates funding to higher education institutions, warned that the higher education sector faces cuts of 16 per cent, around £250m. This means compromises will have to be made in order to save colleges and universities, include ceasing numerous courses or laying off staff.

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, said he was “very, very concerned” at the proposed cuts, adding: “That would lead straight to the sort of circumstances of significant job losses, significant loss of provision, significant loss of quality and, frankly, a bizarre situation where Scotland, potentially along with England, would be retreating from investment in higher education.”

Scotland must find a "uniquely Scottish solution" to funding. (Photo by cna)

The news comes in the wake of last month’s Browne review, which recommended lifting the cap on tuition fees in England. This would give English universities the opportunity to charge up to £9000 a year. The highest charging institutions would then pool their money into a central pot, used to encourage poorer students to attend university.

First Minister Alex Salmond and Scottish Eduction Secretary Michael Russell have both ruled out bringing in tuition fees for Scottish students. Salmond has reiterated on a number of occasions that they must find a “uniquely Scottish solution” to the funding crisis.

Russell added: “Scotland has its own education system, its own needs, demands and strengths”, and confirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to funding higher education.

A report in the Sunday Times last week suggested that English students looking to escape the fee hike by applying to Scottish universities may be charged the same as they would south of the border. This is seen as an attempt to stop Scottish universities being swamped by English applicants.

Universities Scotland has said the only solution to the funding crisis was to have a graduate contribution from the highest earning alumni, meaning they pay more for their education. The move has not been ruled out by the Scottish Government.

Scotland’s ‘mass murdering mink’ to be exterminated

by Andrew Moir

mink_mustela_vison_imagelargeOne of Scotland’s most ruthless predators could soon be completely eradicated, according to plans laid out by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

The American Mink  is a vicious predator that kills far beyond what it needs for food. It has already placed several bird populations in danger and is even known to kill household pets and cut through fencing with its sharp teeth.

The extermination will be funded by the EU and is based on an appeal led by Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. It would take place in the Cairngorms National Park and in the Western Isles, where the mink population are based.

The Hebridean Mink Project, a branch of Scottish Natural Heritage, aims to protect the indigenous nesting bird population on the Islands by eradicating the mink.

The project is being run over the course of 5 years at the cost of £5million.  Already 800 hundred have been captured of the estimated population of 1500. If the Western Isles scheme is a success then this could prove crucial in securing funding for a national project, which could cost up to £20million.

Already several schemes exist locally to exterminate the animal which is part of the same family as weasels and otters.

The mink are caught using traps using either fish bait or an oil captured from the gland of a mink.  They are then humanely disposed of with a single shot from an air gun while still in the traps.  The Hebridean project’s staff consists of 12 trappers and a PhD research student.

American mink were brought to the UK in the 1950s as part of the fur trade and were released into the wild by animal rights activists with several protests from the 1960s onwards.  Their instinct to kill on mass is due to the cold conditions of their native environment in North America where they are able to store food in the frozen wasteland.

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