As a member of the Edinburgh Partnership, a provider of education and as a large employer in the city, the University of Edinburgh took seriously the recommendations made by the Edinburgh Poverty Commission and we acted swiftly to implement a range of initiatives to improve the lives of our community.
We have co-located services and worked with other organisations to make it easier for those in need to access help. For example, our Centre for Homeless and Inclusion Health has created a digital hub named Street Support Edinburgh to support the homeless community and is working closely with the Access Place, which houses all homelessness services under one roof. The University has also collaborated with IntoUniversity and the University of Glasgow to provide academic support and mentoring for local school pupils in Craigmillar, Maryhill, and Govan. The University is also supporting local communities through our expertise, resources, and finances, such as the Community Grant Scheme, which has given over half a million pounds in small grants to local groups and charities.
We partnered with the Poverty Alliance to pilot poverty awareness training to staff to help them spot the signs of poverty among staff and students and offer appropriate support. In terms of fair work, the University is an accredited Scottish Living Wage employer for staff and contractors, and we retain many services in-house. We also support apprenticeships and offer employment opportunities to students whenever possible. Additionally, we operate flexible working, family-friendly policies, and support for carers.
Finally, the University is investing in housing for the city by investing £1 million into a social investment fund to tackle homelessness and we own and operate our own student accommodation to take pressure off the private-rented and purpose-built student accommodation markets. Overall, the University of Edinburgh is making an important impact in addressing poverty in the city through our various initiatives and we will continue to support our community, particularly as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite.
Lynn McMath, Deputy Director – Stakeholder Relations, University of Edinburgh