With winter approaching and the cost of living crisis biting hard, many people in Edinburgh are worrying about how they are going to make ends meet.

In today’s Challenge Poverty Week 2022 blog, we are highlighting the work City of Edinburgh Council, the NHS, and the Edinburgh Partnership are doing to help people who are struggling to get by.

The Edinburgh Partnership are committed to delivering the targets set by the Edinburgh Poverty Commission and ending poverty by 2030. This year, the cost-of-living crisis means that too many people in Edinburgh are facing the toughest financial storm of their lifetimes, and partner organisations across the city are working extremely hard to respond to this challenge and make sure people can access support and advice that helps them keep their heads above water.

Throughout this year, this work has included an £8m package of additional Council investment targeted at increasing budgets for direct cash payments to families in need, increasing accessibility to crisis support such as the Scottish Welfare Fund, and increasing funds for vital money and welfare advice projects across Edinburgh.

Alongside this package, this Challenge Poverty Week partners are launching a new campaign and suite of resources to promote and raise awareness of the support and advice available to help people with the rising cost of living in Edinburgh.

Co-designed with the support of the End Poverty Edinburgh citizen’s group, and third sector advice providers across the city, the campaign includes:

  • New resources providing information on available advice and support. New guides to available support available in the city are now published on the City of Edinburgh Council website. These pages contain information on where to get help if you have a sudden loss of money, if you are in debt, or if you find your money just won’t stretch far enough.  It has information on what help is available if you are struggling to pay your energy bills, if you are at risk of becoming homeless, or if you need immediate help now to pay for food or other essential costs.
  • City wide promotion: To help people find the help they need the coming weeks will see an ongoing promotional campaign across Edinburgh, including poster and lamp post wraps, social media and other online promotions.  These campaigns will be promoting messages which aim to destigmatise, and encourage people to ask for help around money worries.  The resources available make a clear link between worrying about money and impact on mental health and wellbeing. Two QR codes on the resources link to the Council’s Cost of Living landing webpage and I-Thrive.
  • Money Counts Training for Council staff. Alongside public facing campaigns, the Council are also running a new programme of learning sessions for staff.  These sessions aim to raise awareness of the scale, causes and impact of poverty in Edinburgh, but also to help workers across a range of Council services to build the skills needed to ask customers money worries where it is appropriate, and, most importantly, how to help citizens who are struggling to get by. The training is available for staff in any role, with particular focus on staff who interact with the public in their day-today role.

Everyone in Edinburgh should be treated with compassion when life is hard, and it should be much easier for people to reach all the financial and emotional support they are entitled to. These resources are designed to help do just that.  If you have any comments, or would like to know more about this work, please get in touch.