Helping the Edinburgh Community Through the Pandemic

As part of our community benefit programmes for the City of Edinburgh Council, and Muirhouse Housing Association (MHA), we have provided over £15,000 in ongoing support to the Muirhouse Millennium Centre in the north of Edinburgh since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

The Muirhouse Millennium Centre, run in partnership with Low Income Families Together (LIFT), aims to relieve poverty among the residents of the surrounding areas, provide recreational and leisure facilities, and promote education and training in skills of all kinds.

During the first wave of the pandemic, from March to October, these cash boosts helped the Millennium Centre become a major player in food distribution in the north of Edinburgh. Since then and throughout the two lockdowns, the money has helped fund over 5,000 food parcels, 22,000 packed lunches, 6,000 ready meals as well as baby formula and nappies for local families and homeless accommodation.

Adapting their recreational support service, the Millennium Centre also delivered over 500 play packs and activity resources, allowing children to continue taking part in the Centre’s homework and youth clubs through Zoom. In October, once children were allowed to be welcomed back, the Centre used the funding to deliver five sessions a week to reduce isolation and strengthen social skills after being at home for the duration of the first lockdown.

As part of our community benefits mission, we have previously also supported Muirhouse Library’s Breakfast Club to ensure local children had a nutritious start to their day as well as helping Pennywell School build their STEM curriculum, recently launching a STEM-based learning project.

Neil McKay, Managing Director of Urban Union, said: “Our focus at Urban Union is to not only regenerate a physical landscape, but to create strong relationships and support the communities in which our developments are based. We are ecstatic to have been able to support the Millennium Centre and LIFT throughout a very challenging period for many families.

“We are always happy to give something back to the Muirhouse community and we will continue to offer opportunities for local people and support for the most vulnerable in the area.”

Iain Strachan, Chair of the Muirhouse Housing Association added: “Muirhouse Housing Association is dedicated to supporting our tenants and local community. This last year has been one of the most challenging in our near 30 years of being part of the Muirhouse community. We are glad that we can work with Muirhouse Millennium Centre and LIFT in supporting local people and families during a very difficult time and will continue to do so in the future.”

Pauline Bowie, Managing Director of Low Income Families Together said: “We are very grateful for this generous donation from Urban Union and MHA which has made a real tangible difference to children and families alike across Edinburgh during an extremely difficult time.

“The Centre relies on funding to deliver our programmes and reach those who need it the most. Everyone deserves a chance in life, and donations like this allows for local people in challenging situations to access different forms of support.”

City of Edinburgh Council’s Convener of Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work, Councillor Kate Campbell said: “During this crisis, we’ve worked together to put our most vulnerable residents first and making sure people can access the right support when and where they need it has been an absolute priority.

“It’s great to see our development partner Urban Union and Muirhouse Housing Association providing this much needed funding for Muirhouse Millennium Centre’s invaluable work, and the positive impact it’s had on the community’s families and children since the beginning of the pandemic.”