2020 President Neil McRae has chosen the Eric Liddell Centre as his charity of choice. Based at Holy Corner in Morningside the centre provides support to people living with Dementia across Edinburgh.
The Eric Liddell Centre supports some of the most vulnerable people in Edinburgh.
We aim to Empower, Inspire and Support.
The Eric Liddell Centre (Scottish Charity Number SC003147) is a local care charity and community hub founded in 1980 in memory of the 1924 Olympic 400m gold medallist, Eric Liddell. We are dedicated to fulfilling his legacy by inspiring, empowering, and supporting people of all ages, cultures and abilities, as an expression of compassionate social values. Since we were established, we have developed many valuable services:
• Providing a weekday day care service for up to 70 people living
with dementia with ‘excellent’ inspectorate ratings
• Growing our Befriending Service which supports carers across the City of Edinburgh
• Providing affordable office space for 8 small and developing charities
• Helping to change the perceptions of living with dementia, disabilities and mental health issues by showing that a full life can still be lived with the right support
• Providing volunteering opportunities to a wide range of local community members, including young people from neighbouring schools and people with additional support needs
• Welcoming an average of 2000 weekly visitors of all ages to our range of community based classes including Yoga, Pilates, Martial Arts, music and gymnastics for toddlers
While we offer many programmes to our wider community, we are at the core, a care charity. Our qualified daycare staff and highly trained volunteers look after some of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable people. This service not only helps reduce the isolation and stigma of the person living with dementia, but also provides an essential break for their carers. This vital respite helps to promote independent living and to sustain families living together longer within their community.
Each week, we welcome up to 70 clients living with dementia into our daycare. During their day, they enjoy art classes, ipad sessions, fitness activities (a walk around the neighbourhood when the weather is fair), reminiscence activities, singing and a tasty, two-course, homemade lunch and snacks. These group activities foster friendships and keep the client’s minds and bodies active.
Support for Unpaid Carers
In addition to supporting the person living with dementia, we also run services to support the people who look after them every day. The role of a carer can be isolating and stressful. Finding ways to cope with the demands of the role and getting the occasional break help to prolong the time that carers can keep their loved ones at home.
Our befriending service pairs carers with trained volunteers who meet with them regularly to provide companionship and a break from their responsibilities. They are matched on interests and circumstances so have a good start at building a relationship. They may meet weekly for a coffee or to attend a fitness class or other activity. The feedback we get from the carers about this programme is overwhelmingly positive. This service makes a personal, positive impact on their lives and helps them sustain the role of carer for longer.
Care Support Programme
The Care Support Programme offers free wellness classes for carers. Just an hour a week spent doing Tai Chi, yoga or mindfulness can help reduce the stress of the people looking after their loved ones. In addition to the obvious wellness benefits of these classes, participant feedback indicates that the consistency and stability of participating in a regular group activity is of equal value.
This programme provides a safe and welcoming group meal experience for people living with dementia and their carers. Diners can relax and enjoy the company of people who understand the day-to-day challenges that dementia can have on families and friends.
Building a Sustainable Future
We are developing new projects that will add to our programme of services so that we can offer a greater level of support to carers and other members of our community. We have launched three exciting new projects that expands the range of services on offer to local people:
- Caring Soles – this pilot community foot care project aims to relieve the pressure on the NHS by using trained volunteers to provide a local, community based non-medical foot care. The implementation of the project has been successful to date and we have recently supported our 400th client.
- South West Villages – this project was developed collaboratively by the Eric Liddell Centre, Health & Social Care Partnership and Edinburgh Voluntary Organisation’s Council (EVOC) to map and assess the various programmes and services available to elderly residents of the smaller villages in the South West of Edinburgh.
- Daycare Sensory Room – we raised funds to develop a new sensory space for our daycare clients. All work was recently completed and this excellent facility is now being put to good use.