An Edinburgh family centre that works with some of the city's most disadvantaged families has launched an emergency appeal for funds
An Edinburgh charity working with some of the city's most vulnerable families has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to help secure its future.
Dr Bell’s Family Centre is hoping to raise £25,000 by April 2017 after it saw its funding halved last year.
The centre is Edinburgh’s only one-stop-shop for struggling families, providing counselling, one-to-one family support and a crèche with places for children who have additional support needs.
It has said the £25,000 will be vital to keeping the centre open next year and ensuring it can continue to provide the level of services it currently does to children and families in the Leith area of the capital.
Sarah Gunn, chair of the board of the charity said: “Dr Bell’s Family Centre is a vital community hub which has supported over a thousand struggling families in Leith over the last ten years.
“We are unique in offering family support in the same location as a crèche and community cafe, meaning we provide a wide range of support: from counselling, to helping parents into employment, low cost childcare to English language skills, and offer a place to make friends and build up confidence.
“We want to do more, but to do that we need to be here, this year and in the long term. Today we are calling on the local community, businesses and partners to come together to back Dr Bell’s and support our campaign.”
The campaign is being supported by local MSP Ben MacPherson and former Leith MSP and communities minister Malcolm Chisholm.
Chisholm, who is also a board member for the charity, said: “Our ambition is for Dr Bell’s Family Centre to return to being the full-time one-stop shop for the community it was established to be ten years ago.
“Although the reduced services we currently provide are targeted at those who need them the most, there is a high demand for family support in Leith which we believe is not currently being met.
“Raising these funds will put us back on a secure footing to continue delivering vital support services to the local community.
“Going forward we will review our services to identify, in close consultation with the community, those areas where Dr Bell’s can make the greatest impact for Leith families and we invite you all to be part of that project.”
Commenting, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, Ben Macpherson said: “For over 10 years Dr Bell’s Family Centre has supported hundreds of local children and many local families, often at difficult times. Its services provide significant, and sometimes critical, support for the local community.
“Since being elected, I have been working with Dr Bell’s to support it through this challenging time and assist it in securing a sustainable future. We have managed to secure some additional funding and I'm currently working with it to help secure other Scottish Government support."