EVOC 150th birthday celebrations continue

Evoc 150

The organisation has been hosting a yearlong calendar of events to mark its milestone anniversary

7th November 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

An organisation which has been at the heart of charity in Edinburgh is continuing to celebrate its milestone anniversary.

The Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council (EVOC) is hosting a series of events to mark its 150th birthday.

The organisation used its conference and AGM yesterday (6 November) at the John McIntyre Centre, Pollock Halls, to celebrate a long history of supporting Edinburgh’s charity and voluntary organisations and the city’s communities.

EVOC has gone from providing poor relief and improving sanitation in Victorian Edinburgh to supporting charities, community and voluntary organisations to make life fairer for people from all walks of life.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities Aileen Campbell MSP was the keynote speaker at the event, highlighting the importance of collaboration between the third sector and government in the fight against poverty, whilst also calling on organisations like EVOC to continue to challenge those in power.

A day of interactive workshops was held around the themes of the EVOC 150 celebrations: namely organising, tackling inequality, protest and campaigning, and working together. A selection of Edinburgh charities hosted a third sector marketplace to give information on the services they provide.

EVOC also hosted a birthday party for one of the key figures from its history, Flora Stevenson, at the primary school that is named after her in Comely Bank on Tuesday 30 October.

Stevenson was a social reformer and suffragist with a special interest in education. She played an active role in EVOC’s predecessor organisation, the Edinburgh Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor. Her involvement included supervising the sewing room that was opened by the association to provide work for women in Edinburgh in the late 19th century.

At the event, pupils and parents were given the chance to learn about the legacy of Flora Stevenson, Victorian life and the work of the charity sector in the capital.

Lucy Ridley, programme manager for EVOC 150, said:  “One of the things we wanted to do was examine important figures from throughout our history and one of those was Flora.

“The most logical event we could think of was to hold a celebration at the Flora Stevenson School. We approached the school and their headteacher Sharon McGee used to work in the third sector so was really enthusiastic about getting involved.

“It was nice to work with the children, and to bring everyone together. The children made a pledge of honour to Flora’s legacy. I think the event helped them to learn more about her, and also learn about the voluntary sector.”

The celebrations of the landmark anniversary are set to continue until March, with various events in the planning,