Community Help & Advice Initiative (CHAI)

Community Help & Advice Initiative (CHAI) supports and empowers people and communities across Edinburgh and Midlothian through free advice, information and representation on welfare benefits, money, housing and employability.

Cyrenians

Golden Years aims to help people stay independent, safe and warm at home for as long as they wish to do so. The service is free and is delivered by experienced staff and dedicated, trained volunteers. They  offer encouragement, companionship and support to help older people engage in and enjoy social, leisure and community activities.

Empathy in Mind

Empathy in Mind is an Edinburgh carer-led croup which offers a safe and confidential space for carers experiencing challenges with their mental health. The group will give you an opportunity to learn and understand the difficulties associated with diagnoses such as personality disorders.

The support group meets in the Botanic Cottage at the Botanic Gardens – see the website for more information.

The City of Edinburgh Council Benefits and Debt Advice Service

The phone line is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 1pm, and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm.

The Advice Shop is open for walk-ins on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30am to 1pm and can provide:

  • assistance with all aspects of welfare rights including income maximisation through welfare benefits, tax credits and grants
  • debt advice to resolve personal debt including credit cards, bank loans, rent arrears, personal loans, store cards, catalogues and mortgage arrears
  • help for people affected by cancer through information, advice and advocacy to access entitlements arising as a result of a cancer diagnosis and the extra costs of cancer

VOCAL Edinburgh

Run by carers for carers, VOCAL supports and empowers unpaid carers in Edinburgh through individual support, information, training and access to a host of helpful services. It works in partnership with a wide range of other organisations.

Support is provided from its Carers’ Hub on Leith Walk in Edinburgh, its Carers’ Centre in Dalkeith, Midlothian, and through staff based in local communities.

The support teams work one-to-one with carers to draw up a plan for tailored support, often involving help from other services and agencies. Carers can access benefits and legal advice, mental health and counselling services, peer support, respite breaks and as well as social, leisure and training events.

In addition, its Carer Assistance Fund provides grants to carers experiencing financial difficulties.

Edinburgh Carer Support Team

Anyone in Edinburgh over the age of 12 who is looking after a relative, friend, partner or neighbour can self-refer to this dedicated carer support team for advice, information and support on everything from carers’ rights and how to access benefits, to local support services and respite.

The team also provides carers with support to improve their own self-confidence and wellbeing, and think about plans and options for the future. Life coaching may also be provided.

This is a partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian, VOCAL, Care for Carers and Space and the Broomhouse Hub, and so the support on offer may be provided by any of these organisations.

Capital Carers

Capital Carers is a non-profit making charity set up by carers who have been providing tailor-made services to unpaid carers of all ages and the people they care for, for over 20 years.

Care for Carers

This voluntary organisation provides support services for all carers, regardless of the age or disability of the person they care for. Services offered by phone or in person include a listening ear, one-to-one assistance and emotional support, signposting and cross-referral. Care for Carers can take referrals to work with carers which will include support to complete Adult Carer Support Plans and Carer Emergency Plans. Home visits may be arranged too.

Care for Carers offers information workshops and sessions, plus the chance to share experiences and socialise with others during relaxed events and activities.

Care for Carers specialises in short breaks and delivers events, activities and residential short break options. Care for Carers is a member of Shared Care Scotlands Respitality programme and Carefree UK programme. Their bespoke Stepping Out® service provides supported short breaks to carers in venues across Scotland. Their Still Caring programme provides day, evening, weekend, long, and short break options to carers.

The Eric Liddell Community

Health and wellbeing programme, befriending, events and outings for carers in a supportive environment.

The Eric Liddell Community is an Edinburgh based-care charity and community hub which supports people to feel less lonely or isolated. They bring people together in their local communities and focus on improving health and wellbeing.

Its dedicated health and wellbeing programme for carers offers free classes and activities, giving carers the chance to meet and talk with others in a relaxed and informal setting. The programme also provides vital opportunities for carers to take a short break from their caring role. Carers and the person they care for can take part in activities together too!

The Eric Liddell Community also provides a befriending service, lunch and activities, community-based music programme and carer respite breaks.

FAIR Advice

FAIR (Family Advice and Information Resource) is an independent information and advice service for Edinburgh residents with learning disabilities, their carers and families.

Its advice workers can help with advice on money management and welfare benefits, work and education opportunities, plus leisure activities and holidays. Advice is available by phone or in person by appointment at its office on Causewayside. FAIR also offers information guides, and publishes a range of booklets on keeping healthy, eating well and staying fit, specifically designed for people with learning disabilities.

Edinburgh Development Group

Edinburgh Development Group (EDG) supports older families (parents or carer aged 50+) who have a young person or an adult child (or other relative) with a learning disability living at home with them.

EDG offers home visits, listens to what families need, and offers advice and practical support. They can support families to look toward a positive future and help is offered to assist families to plan for emergencies.

Their ‘My Life Book’ enables families to make a record of the information they hold. EDG can also support individuals with learning disabilities and their families to develop person-centred plans.

Health in Mind

Health in Mind works to promote positive mental health. It offers a wide range of support services and courses to help people take positive steps in their lives for improved wellbeing. 

Its services include providing a number of peer spaces to support the mental health and wellbeing of carers. These safe ‘listening’ spaces allow carers to explore ways of keeping well, and connect with other carers for peer support. Peer spaces are held monthly in Newington, Morningside, Leith and Drumbrae in libraries and/or community spaces.

The charity also runs online and in-person mental health sessions in partnership with VOCAL at its Carers’ Hub, and longer courses online and in venues across the city.

The central office in Edinburgh is on Shandwick Place, and there are also offices in Eskbank, Bathgate and Galashiels.

MILAN Senior Welfare Organisation

To develop and deliver provisions for 50+ older people from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi & Mauritian Communities in Edinburgh & Lothian which meet their social, cultural, recreational, language and care needs.

PASDA

Pasda works to improve the health and wellbeing of family members and partners living with adults (16+) who are on the autism spectrum. It offers one-to-one support, peer support and social activities, along with information, signposting to other services, workshops and courses.

The charity runs number of regular Carer Support Groups where family carers can share their experiences, including a monthly Coffee Morning in the city centre, an online Carer Information Meeting and a regular Walking Group. There is also a dedicated Carers Group in Tranent for East Lothian families.  

Space and the Broomhouse Hub

This hub in the south west of the city offers a wide range of social support services for local people – including unpaid carers of all ages, older people and those with dementia. It is also home to a popular community café.

Its Young Carers Services for those aged 5 to 25 offers one-to-one, school-based and group support. Services for adult carers include one-to-one support, information and advocacy, as well as a monthly Carer Support Group, and a Carer Peer Support Group.

Services for older people include The Beacon Club and Space Age Connections, offering encouragement to those with a recent dementia diagnosis, and their unpaid carers.

The Action Group

The Action Group is about ‘no barriers – for all of life.’ They offer support and advice to over 1700 children, young people and adults across East Central Scotland.

Improving the Cancer Journey

This local service by Macmillan Cancer Support provides anyone in the Lothians affected with cancer – including families and carers – time with a link worker to think about what matters to them, and access to the support they need at any point during their cancer journey. The service offers information and signposting on matters including money, housing, work, caring responsibilities, physical or emotional concerns.

Tailor Ed

Tailor Ed Foundation aims to teach daily living skills to children with autism aged between 3 and 12 years and living in Edinburgh. Its aim is to see autistic children and their families empowered and included, able to live the lives they want to and access all the day-to-day experiences that other families may take for granted.

Prestonfield Neighbourhood Project

Lunch clubs and day care services for people over 65, including people with dementia, offering them the opportunity to get out, socialise and enjoy a nutritious meal. The club helps to reduce social isolation and improve wellbeing, while also giving unpaid carers a few hours to themselves.

The service is based at 63 Prestonfield Avenue and is open Monday to Friday, 11am – 3pm. To book a place, contact Social Care Direct.

The Beacon Club

This service by Space and the Broomhouse Hub offers enriching and stimulating day care for older people with dementia, supported by dedicated staff and nurturing volunteers. It helps to reduce social isolation and improve quality of life for those with dementia, while giving their carers respite and time to themselves. The club meets on Mondays and Thursdays from 9.30am – 2.30pm.

A second group has also been set up recently, based at Tron Kirk, 6 Ravenscroft Street, Gilmerton, EH17 8QL.

Midlothian Council – Children & Families

Are you under 18? Or over 18 but still at school?

Children & Families provides support and advice for young carers living in Midlothian. Young carers are described as being under the age of 18, or over 18 but still in school. They can provide advice on the below:

  • Young Carer Statements
  • Short breaks from caring

Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership

Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership has powers and a duty to provide support and advice for unpaid adult carers living in Midlothian. They can provide advice on the below:

  • Council tax discounts
  • Adult carer support plans
  • Short breaks from caring
  • Information and advice
  • Emergency planning
  • Caring for someone leaving hospital

Midlothian Mental Health and Resilience Service (MHARS)

The service offers same-day direct access to compassionate support from a trained mental health practitioner. You don’t have to be referred by your GP or a healthcare professional.

You can expect a brief initial conversation to gather information, and then a call back within an hour to address issues in more detail. Their team can connect you to relevant community resources, services and activities.

The helpline is open daily from 8am – 10pm.

Dementia Team Midlothian

The Midlothian Dementia Team includes staff from health and social care, and local charities that support people with dementia, their carers and their family.

Carers of someone with dementia can contact the team to receive help with:

  • Carers’ needs
  • Management of risk
  • Individual care and support needs for the person you care for
  • Information on behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia

British Red Cross Midlothian

British Red Cross’ Carers Community Connector, in partnership with VOCAL Midlothian, provides advice, information, and practical support to unpaid carers in Midlothian. Their support is provided through conversations and looking at the issues affecting you in your caring situation and how to achieve the best possible outcomes.

They can provide advice and information on:

  • Your rights as an unpaid carer
  • Adult Carers Support Plan
  • Benefits
  • Wee breaks
  • Transport
  • Council tax credits
  • Fire Safety
  • Emergency Care Plan
  • Support Groups
  • Adaptations
  • Respite

Practical support includes:

  • Making referrals to appropriate specialist organisations
  • Helping you with form filling
  • Supporting you to attend activities
  • Supporting you to link with other unpaid carers
  • Listening and helping you make a plan

Rainbow Trust

This organisation provides bespoke support for families who have a child with a serious illness by offering the whole family, including parents and carers, support regardless of diagnosis. The support is hugely varied and includes the needs of the family.

Turn2us

Their grants programme, The Edinburgh Trust, is based in Leith and provides grants to low-income residents of Edinburgh.

Change Mental Health

Change Mental Health is a national mental health charity delivering non-clinical, person-centred support to people affected by mental illness in communities across the country. Their vision is a future where no one needs to face mental illness alone. Their mission is to provide transformational services for people, ensuring that everyone has access to the support they need, when they need it, and in a way which works best for them.

Scottish Autism

Scottish Autism exists to help those diagnosed with autism to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives and be recognised as valued members of the community they live in.

They share knowledge and expertise with parents, carers and other professionals in order to support the development of skills and strategies needed to provide the best care and support for autistic people.

Salveson Mindroom Centre

Salveson Mindroom Centre aim is for all children and young people with learning difficulties to lead a fulfilling life by supporting them and their families to achieve this.

As a parent or carer of a child or young person with learning difficulties, you may have experienced times when you have felt worried, uncertain and isolated. Salveson Mindroom Centre specialises in supporting you through these challenges.

Saheliya

Saheliya provides specialist mental health and wellbeing support for black and minority ethnic women and girls (12+) who are experiencing racial inequality. This includes asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant women. It works in Edinburgh, Glasgow and other parts of Scotland.

The information on their website is also available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

VOCAL Midlothian

Run by carers for carers, VOCAL supports and empowers unpaid carers in Edinburgh through individual support, information, training and access to a host of helpful services. It works in partnership with a wide range of other organisations.

Support is provided from its Carers’ Hub on Leith Walk in Edinburgh, its Carers’ Centre in Dalkeith, Midlothian, and through staff based in local communities.

The support teams work one-to-one with carers to draw up a plan for tailored support, often involving help from other services and agencies. Carers can access benefits and legal advice, mental health and counselling services, peer support, respite breaks and as well as social, leisure and training events.

In addition, its Carer Assistance Fund provides grants to carers experiencing financial difficulties.

RNIB

RNIB, the Royal National Institute of Blind People is the UK’s leading sight loss charity who offer practical and emotional support to blind and partially sighted people, their families and carers.

Partners in Advocacy

Partners in Advocacy provides independent advocacy for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, physical disabilities and people over 65, as well as their carers. Independent advocacy can support people to have their voices heard, their opinions respected and to be involved in the important decisions that affect their lives. 

NKS Health

Networking Key Services Limited (NKS) aims to alleviate deprivation and isolation experienced by women and their families living in Edinburgh, and promote positive health and well-being. Their role is to support women living in Scottish society by giving them access to mainstream services.

The projects strive to raise women’s confidence to allow them to integrate into the wider society. They work closely with South Asian female carers who are isolated and disadvantaged due to many barriers faced by them, and empower as well as build resilience among them.

Kindred

Kindred’s vision is that all children with complex needs in Scotland will live in a happy and healthy family house. It provides specialist advocacy for parents and carers and campaign for improved services for families of children with complex needs.

Kindred, along with NHS Lothian, offers Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS) online group courses to families. The new programme has been developed for parent/carers of a child aged 0 to 5 years with learning disability, global developmental delay or autism. 

Improving the Cancer Journey Midlothian

Improving the Cancer Journey will provide you with a Link Worker to think about ‘what matters to you’ and the type of support you need to help you, and the person you care for with cancer. This service is for anyone affected by cancer at any point.

Family Fund

It can be a struggle financially, emotionally and physically for families and carers raising a disabled or seriously ill child. Family Fund provides grants to improve the lives of low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

ERIC

ERIC is a national charity dedicated to improving children’s bowel and bladder health. Their mission is to reduce the impact of continence problems on children and their families.

Enquire

Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning and provides easy to understand advice and information about additional support for learning legislation and guidance for families and professionals.

Enable

Enable delivers support, employability and skills services, and advocacy on behalf of people with additional support needs and their carers in communities across Scotland. Its range of services provides unpaid carers with support networks, groups, information and resources.

There are 30 Enable branches across Scotland. Contact them to find out where your local branch is.

Compass

This organisation provides therapy and advice to support the wellbeing of carers of someone with a neurological condition such as MS, ME/Chronic Fatigue, Parkinson’s, Fibromyalgia, Stroke, traumatic brain injury and chronic migraines.

Circle

Circle works with families facing multiple disadvantages due to inequality, poverty, drug and alcohol use, imprisonment, physical or mental health, trauma, abuse, and loss.

At the heart of Circle’s approach are the relationships, based on trust, openness, and honesty that they build with families. They believe that families are best placed to provide their own solutions to the challenges they face and work to alleviate the real multi-generational impact of structural inequality and poverty while also working to prevent it in the future.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone.

They provide help and support if you are looking after someone who is unwell, disabled or getting older. You could get practical help to make day-to-day life easier or you could get financial support by applying for Carer’s Allowance, a Young Carer Grant or other benefits.

They also have a range of help and support available for unpaid carers such as:

  • NHS volunteers
  • Practical help
  • Carer assessments
  • Paying for help
  • Help with money
  • Help from your employer

Please note, the Citizens Advice on Dundas Street is the main office in Edinburgh. There are also offices in Leith, Portobello, Musselburgh, Penicuik and Dalkeith.

To contact Citizens Advice by email, either use the email provided or complete the contact form on their website: Email Us — Citizens Advice Edinburgh

Chest, Heart and Stroke

Everyone should have the right to live life to the full after a stroke or diagnosis of a chest or heart condition.

Chest, Heart and Stroke offers resources to support carers and their services include:

  • Stroke 4 Carers is an online learning resource that provides advice, support and information for unpaid carers who are supporting someone who is recovering after a stroke
  • The Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Resources Hub includes lots of free, easy-to-read guides
  • Tailored Talks is an innovative new platform that provides information and support for stroke survivors, as well as their carers
  • Self-management websites to help carers support conditions at home

British Red Cross

British Red Cross provides people, equipment, space and resources to support those affected by an emergency, helping them to recover.

Please note, the address below is our local British Red Cross charity shop. To contact the organisation directly regarding support and their other services, please follow the link to the website or call the phone number.

Breathing Space

Sometimes our thoughts and feelings overwhelm us to the point where it becomes difficult to cope with everyday life. Carers can call Breathing Space to speak to a specialist adviser.

Breathing Space aims to provide:

  • an alternative and easily accessible ‘first stop’ service
  • assistance at an early stage in order to stop problems from escalating
  • empathy, understanding and advice through active listening
  • hope when none exists
  • direction for those who do not know where to seek help

Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s helps children, young people, parents and carers via their 800+ services across the UK. It specialises in the trauma of sexual abuse and exploitation, providing support for young people in care and children caring for a loved one.

Some of their services include helping families with:

  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Young carers
  • Domestic abuse
  • Alcohol and substance misuse

Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK promotes the relief and rehabilitation of people living with agoraphobia and associated anxiety disorders, phobias and conditions. Its range of innovative and high-quality services are available for unpaid carers, including:

  • Therapy service
  • Helpline and text service
  • Courses and groups
  • Calm Club
  • Research Fund

Alzheimer Scotland

Alzheimer Scotland provides support and information to people with dementia, their carers and families. They have a community of Dementia Advisors in local communities and offer a 24-hour freephone Dementia Helpline which is available to unpaid carers, as well as those with dementia.

Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution

Family relationship breakdown is one of the biggest causes of youth homelessness. The focus of this centre, which is part of Cyrenians, is on young people and their families experiencing conflict which affects their relationships and lives. SCCR delivers free events and resources, including local seminars, national conferences across Scotland, free training sessions, and online resources for practitioners, young people and parents, and carers.

Portobello Older Peoples Project

This lunch and social club provides day care services for older people from Portobello and surroundings, offering them the opportunity to get out, socialise and enjoy a nutritious meal. The club helps to reduce social isolation and improve wellbeing, while also giving unpaid carers a few hours to themselves.

The club is based in the Baptist Church Hall on Portobello High Street, and runs every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am – 2.30pm. To book a place, contact Social Care Direct.

Midlothian Young Carers

This local authority support service is available for under 18s or those still at school who have taken on a caring role within their family. The services is available through Midlothian schools, or by contacting Midlothian Young Carers directly. The service can support young carers with a Young Carer Statement and provides one-to-one support, as well as weekly groups where young carers can meet their peers. It also offers residential short breaks to give young people a break from caring.

Midlothian Family Support Group

This Dalkeith-based peer support group is open to all families who are concerned about a loved one’s alcohol or drug use. It is run by family members with first-hand experience. The group meets every second Monday 6pm for a 6.30pm start. The service can also arrange Naloxone training and distribution to those who need it.

You can contact the group coordinator, Sandra, by phone or via Facebook messenger.

Mental Health Information Station

Visitors with mental issues (or their carers) can drop in without an appointment and receive support and guidance on the day from mental health professionals.

This service is open for walk-in visits every Thursday from 10.30am – 3pm. The phone line is open on Thursdays from 9.30am – 3pm.

MECOPP

MECOPP advocates on behalf of unpaid carers from a BME background who support an adult family member.

MECOPP’s services include advice and information in a number of languages; advocacy and casework support; education and training, as well as opportunities to socialise and relax. It can also help carers to access health and social work services, housing and welfare benefits. MECOPP also offers a range of useful multilingual information sheets and resources for carers, professionals and cared-for people.

Their information and advice service, and advocacy and casework service, are both currently available in Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, Hindi, Bengali, Nepali, Punjabi, Urdu, Odiya and Madi.

Lothian Centre For Inclusive Living

LCIL offers services for those living with a disability or long-term condition. This includes information and advice on all aspects of living with a disability or long-term condition, including self-directed support (SDS) and other welfare matters, administrative help with employing a personal assistant, and knowing your rights and entitlements.

Its peer support groups are open to disabled people and carers. The groups aim to help reduce isolation by providing a safe space to get together, share experiences and support each other. There are groups in Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian.

Bipolar Edinburgh

Bipolar Edinburgh provides information, peer support and guidance to carers affected by bipolar disorder.

Its regular Carers Group meetings, part of the wider Lothian Bipolar Self-Help Group, provide a friendly and supportive environment for peer support. The volunteer group facilitators have their own experience of caring for people living with bipolar, and there is a wealth of experience within the group. The Carers Group is also a place to learn about the condition, investigate new treatments, share life stories, and socialise. It currently runs on a hybrid model (in-person and online).

Lifecare Edinburgh

Based at its purpose-built centre in Stockbridge, this charity empowers and supports older people, those living with dementia or poor health, as well as their carers to live well and stay connected to their community.

For carers, it offers practical support in the form of a Help at Home service and Meals on Wheels, and provides well-deserved breaks with day clubs and respite care.

Lanfine Unit

This is a specialist NHS service for adults in the Lothians living with a progressive neurological condition like Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s Disease, Multi-systems Atrophy, Cerebellar Ataxia and others.

Its multi-disciplinary team helps patients and their families to adapt, manage symptoms, plan for the future and deal with low mood, so that they can live well with their condition. Support is available at the clinic, at home or via video or phone call.

Their carer support officer provides unpaid carers with information and advice, including finances and benefits, emotional support, accessing respite breaks and making an emergency plan.

Contact Keith Lugton on 07972 248861.

Kinship Care Midlothian

Kinship children living with a relative or friend need to feel safe, loved and secure within their family and community. Based in Dalkeith, this charity provides advocacy, advice and support for kinship carers in Midlothian. It also arranges day trip and outings, and provides financial and practical assistance. 

Grassy Riggs

Based in a community hub building in Woodburn, Dalkeith, Grassy Riggs aims to alleviate social isolation and exclusion. This grassroots service offers a warm, supportive environment where people over 65 can come together to socialise, make friends and try out new activities.

The service also provides a meeting place, drop-in and support for carers, as well as people who are cared for. There are themed groups every week, and the café serves healthy food for all.

Firsthand Lothian

This charity supports disadvantaged and vulnerable families, isolated mums and families whose children have disabilities. Their staff and volunteers work with families in their community providing support, guidance and information.

Firsthand Lothian’s services include weekly one-to-one support for children and young people, working with parents to help them establish routines and be more confident in their role; support for socially isolated parents; information about other services and supports relevant to each family’s needs.   

The Time 4 Mum programme encourages and supports women, who have childcare in place, to regularly take time out for themselves and explore their own interests, and take time out from parenting to rediscover who themselves as an individual.

Edinburgh Young Carers

Edinburgh Young Carers works to improve the lives and wellbeing of young carers in Edinburgh by raising awareness, and providing emotional and practical support.

It offers group activities where young carers can share experiences, make new friends and have fun, as well one-to-one sessions with a development worker, and counselling where needed. There is also specialist support for young people affected by drug or alcohol problems at home.

In addition, the charity offers young people the chance to get away and take a break from their caring role on a day trip, a residential weekend or sometimes longer, if circumstances allow.

Edinburgh Leisure

Edinburgh Leisure offers health, fitness and sport opportunities at over 30 leisure centres around the city – there is something for everyone to get active, stay active and achieve more. 

There are also programmes of activities aimed at specific groups, including older people, those with dementia, people with mental health difficulties, those with long-term health conditions, and additional support needs.  

Its Carer Access Card gives carers free access to support those they are caring for when they visit any leisure centre.

See Edinburgh Leisure for a full list of venues across the city, including gyms, pools, golf courses and more.

Edinburgh Crisis Centre

Edinburgh Crisis Centre is on hand 24/7 via email, freephone or text for those experiencing a mental health crisis, and those caring for someone in crisis. A mental health crisis might be anxiety, depression, panic attacks, bereavement and thoughts of self-harming or suicide.

The service is for Edinburgh residents aged 16+ who are using or have used mental health services, or who identify themselves as having mental health difficulties. Family members and carers of those struggling can also contact the Crisis Centre.

Initial contact is by freephone, text or email. From there, a video call or same-day face-to-face appointment can be arranged.

Edinburgh and Lothian Council on Alcohol

City centre-based support service for anyone aged 18 years and over who is worried about their own drinking, or has concerns about the drinking of a family member, partner or friend.

Support includes drop-in services, advice, information, group support and one-to-one counselling. Families and carers of those struggling with alcohol can obtain advice and support too. You can refer yourself, or referrals can be made by other agencies.

Along with its main location on Rose Street, it has bases in Craigmillar, Gracemount, Wester Hailes, Sighthill, Leith, Pennywell / Crewe, Kirkliston and South Queensferry.

Dementia Friendly Pentlands

This local voluntary group works to create safe, resilient communities where families and carers living with dementia can feel included and supported. They also cater for anyone 65 and over living in isolation and loneliness.

Dementia Friendly Pentlands offers activities that help people with dementia socialise and participate in activities in a welcoming environment. Its regular “The Meeting Place” Cafe offers safe spaces to socialise and share experiences, while also enjoying refreshments, music, exercises and craft activities. The cafe is open every Monday at 42nd Pentlands Scout group at 99 Forthview Crescent Currie. They also offer lunch at a small cost. Their sister cafe The Palm Cafe is open on the last Tuesday of the Month but is currently operating at reduced hours.

To contact the group, please either use these contact details or fill in the contact form on the Dementia Friendly Pentlands website: Contact Us (dementiafriendlypentlands.org.uk).

Edinburgh Community Food

This social enterprise works across the city to ensure that everyone can enjoy an affordable, tasty and nutritious diet – regardless of their circumstances. It promotes health equality by helping to provide healthy food, offering food education and supporting community health initiatives.

Its support for carers includes free nutritional information and targeted courses, such as the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS) Eating Well for Older People, and REHIS Food and Health for Carers of Adults with a Learning Disability.

Carers may also benefit from its community projects around the city which help to build food skills and nutrition awareness.  

Edinburgh Carers Council

A free, confidential and independent advocacy service for carers of people in hospital, or with physical or learning disabilities, mental health difficulties or dementia.

Advocacy is about speaking up on behalf of someone. Many carers find themselves advocating on behalf of the person they support, but might find it difficult to have their voice heard. This is where Edinburgh Carers Council can help give carers a voice. It provides an individual advocacy service, collective advocacy and training opportunities to carers.

Edinburgh Carers Council also has peer support services available, including one-to-one peer support with a volunteer who has caring experience, and groups where carers can share experiences and find support for their own wellbeing. As well as this, they have a dedicated peer support service for carers of adults with an eating disorder.

CrossReach

CrossReach offers compassionate support for people of all ages who need a helping hand – whether facing physical, mental or social challenges. 

Its service for carers of those with dementia includes one-to-one practical advice, information and a sympathetic ear, provided by a specialist dementia team. The team also hosts regular dementia clinics to answer questions and provide training on caring for someone with dementia.

People with dementia and their carers can attend creative arts groups together, to help stimulate conversation and jog memories. The groups are also a chance to meet others in the same situation and chat with a Dementia Ambassador.

BEMAS

This Granton-based service by The Action Group offers one-to-one advice, information and support for parents and carers of disabled children in Black and Ethnic Minority communities, as well as families that are new to the country.

The friendly BEMAS team provides a wide range of support, including help with benefits, information on statutory services such as housing and education, wellbeing support in difficult times and signposting to other sources of assistance. It also runs regular Carers Meetings.

6VT Youth Cafe

Based in a purpose-built space in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, 6VT Youth Café is open 52 weeks a year. It is a city-wide service and welcomes people from all areas.

The drop-in services run from 6pm-10pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 12 to 21-year-olds. 6VT Youth Cafe offers a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment where young carers can meet other young people, access support services and participate in fun and inspiring opportunities. The Youth Cafe offers holiday clubs and specialist supports to young victims and witnesses of crime.

LGBT Health and Wellbeing

This Leith-based charity promotes the health, wellbeing and equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT+) adults in Scotland. It works with a wide range of partners to address health inequalities and ensure LGBT+ people have access to quality healthcare that is inclusive of their needs.

It also provides helpline support, social events, and resources to help LGBT+ people improve their own health and wellbeing, and connect with their local communities. This includes social events, workshops, courses and groups to help boost mental health, and support services for older LGBT+ people in the Lothians who might be feeling socially isolated or vulnerable.

Its ‘Caring for Carers’ support groups create a safe space for LGBT carers to meet and explore their needs.