Pilton Community Health Project is facing closure as a result of cuts by Edinburgh’s health and social care board.
PCHP which has been working in our community for 35 years, was sent an email out of the blue saying it would lose its £220,000 core funding – without any explanation.
Dozens of other community projects could also be forced to shut as the board cuts its grants budget.
A total of 35 organisation who currently receive grants totalling £1.9 million a year have not been recommended for renewal.
Pilton Community Health Project – which has 35 staff and 40 volunteers – provides support for woman experiencing family crisis, domestic abuse or mental health issues, runs cookery training to help tackle food poverty, offers adult and youth counselling, manages GP link workers in the area, and helps integrate people from other countries in the community.
There are no plans to replace the services despite high demand and even waiting lists of people looking for support.
Graham Rae, chair of the PCHP board, said: “Our project has proudly served this community and helped thousands of people make positive and long-lasting changes in their lives.”
And co-director Helen Scammell said: “The need is huge in this area. We are a very strong, tightly managed project, well-used and well respected. We have met all our targets. I just can’t understand it.”
Edinburgh Northern & Leith SNP MSP Ben Macpherson said it was “perverse” that PCHP’s grant should be cut at a time when issues such as mental health and food poverty were at the top of the political agenda. “I have seen for myself the amazing difference that Pilton Community Health Project has made to the people of North Edinburgh.”
The EIJB says it received 152 applications, requesting £31m funding over three years when £14.1m was available. The applications were all scored by a series of three-person panels.
A report said the recommended allocations were “the best pattern of help and support for the most vulnerable citizens.”
EIJB chair Councillor Ricky Henderson said: “I’m afraid it’s just part of the world we live in that there’s less money to go around and we need to try to get the best out of the money we have.
“There is still a massive investment in working with people across the city across a range of different health issues.”