VOCAL - Voice of Carers Across Lothian supports and gives a voice to unpaid carers. We support over 8,500 family carers in Edinburgh and Midlothian each year through access to information and practical advice; emotional support and counselling; training and peer support groups; social opportunities; welfare benefit and legal advice surgeries.
Our services have been described as a lifeline by carers with one carer mentioning "VOCAL was/is a lifeline. The service and staff helped me negotiate a very difficult time in my life" while another beneficiary told us "All services were excellent. VOCAL is really a one-stop shop, can't imagine where else could provide their services."
VOCAL will relocate the Edinburgh Carers' Centre from the top of the Royal Mile to 60 Leith Walk in April 2018 – a milestone development to respond to growing carer demand and to facilitate the support of 10,000 family carers every year.
At 60 Leith Walk - a Category B Listed building from 1804 that has served as a GP surgery for over 100 years - VOCAL will develop a new, state-of-the-art Carers' Hub, well connected digitally with improved transport links so that VOCAL’s carer support services can reach every home and every part of the city.
The Carers' Hub will be a supportive space where unpaid carers can receive or attend one-to-one and peer support, financial support, legal and power of attorney surgeries, short breaks and respite provision, counselling, training and health and well-being courses. The Carers' Hub will be welcoming, safe, innovative, accessible for all and digital.
- There are some 40,000 families in Edinburgh with caring responsibilities for a partner, relative or friend. The number of unpaid carers, and therefore, the total amount of support needed, is expected to increase as Edinburgh’s population of older people and older carers rises.
- 1,800 new carers approached VOCAL for support in 2016 and by 2021 we expect to support 10,000 carers each year. To meet growing demand we require additional capacity, larger premises to accommodate more staff and volunteers and additional space for carer meetings, training programmes and peer group support.
- Edinburgh Council and main planning partners have adopted a localities model to support more people in local communities. A Carers' Centre near Edinburgh Castle is no longer fit for purpose, a move to Leith locates the hub in a vibrant community with excellent transport links across the city.
- VOCAL’s current premises can no longer accommodate all staff and the growing number of volunteers supporting VOCAL’s work with carers.
- VOCAL’s current premises have inefficient heating systems with associated high energy costs.
- VOCAL seeks to purchase premises to invest cash reserves for long-term financial and social return.
- The current city-centre premises are central, but not well served by public transport links or local parking which isn't practical for carers.
60 Leith Walk
Take a peek inside 60 Leith Walk as it looks today. With your support, by April 2018, it will be transformed into a state-of-the-art thriving hub for carers.
Our Vision & Refurbishments
Lower Ground Floor
- Carer support room
- Disabled toilet
- Treasure Tree (our social enterprise)
- Counselling waiting room
- Counselling office
- Four one-to-one counselling and consultation rooms.
In order to accommodate more counselling facilities we will be erecting sound proof partitions in consulting room one and two to create four private rooms. We will do the same to the waiting room to split it into a smaller waiting area and a counselling office. The disabled toilet will be re-vamped to meet the requirements of wheelchair users.
- Training room
- Main reception
- Common room
A stair lift will be installed connecting the ground floor with the lower ground level to ensure access is available to those with mobility problems or a disability.
- Carer support room
- Board room (dual purpose as a training space)
- Two toilets and a shower facility
We will refurbish the toilet facilities and install a new shower for the use of staff and volunteers who cycle to and from the Carers' Hub.
- Meeting room
- Three offices
We seek to raise funds for refurbishments to make the building fit for the needs of carers - accessible, digital, welcoming, social and a home away from home. This is where your support can make a real difference.
- Moving to a new locality means we will be able to identify and support a new audience of carers.
- The larger premises will accommodate more carers and help us achieve our target of supporting 10,000 carers by 2021.
- A larger premises will allow us to grow our carer support team and with this new resource provide further support services and opportunities for carers.
- Improved transport links will make it easier for carers to attend the Hub to receive support and attend training.
- A larger premises will give us the ability to grow our volunteer team and offer new volunteer opportunities to the local community.
- The location of the Edinburgh Carers' Hub will open doors to new collaborations with other third sector or private organisations in the area.
- 60 Leith Walk will enable us to offer room for hire to local organisations for training or conferences, therefore creating a new space for the community and extra income stream to fund our work with carers.
How will your donation help?
Kind donations received through Crowdfunder will help purchase the following items:
- Stair lift to improve access
- Decorating and refurbishment work
- iPads and TVs for digital carer training
- Furniture for use in the common room and other public areas
- Artwork of Edinburgh
- Gardening tools and a picnic bench
- Indoor and outdoor plants
- External signage
- Bike storage
Your donation will make a huge difference to the development of the Edinburgh Carers' Hub and to the thousands of carers that will pass through our doors every year.
£10 could fund vital information packs for carers new to our services.
£25 could fund complimentary refreshments for carers to enjoy in the common room.
£50 could fund a comfortable chair for the common room.
£100 could fund gardening equipment enabling us to set up a carer gardening group.
£500 could help fund prominent external signage on the Edinburgh Carers' Hub.
£1,000 could contribute to an internal lift for people with mobility problems or disabilities.
If you would like to discuss other methods of supporting or to hear more about the project please contact [email protected]