*This article was first published in the Edinburgh Evening News newspaper on the 26th of February 2019*
Last Friday I once again visited the threatened Pilton Community Health Centre (PCHP) in the north of the city. I arrived the day after the SNPs Scottish Budget had been passed in the Scottish Parliament, confirming millions of pounds of cuts would be passed on to local government, putting vital local services like the PCHP’s future at risk.
Due to the funding cuts being handed down by the SNP to Edinburgh City Council, services at the PCHP have already had to be drastically reduced.
The staff at the PCHP know the area well, many have worked at the centre for decades, and they know first-hand exactly how vitally important they are to sustaining and supporting so many in the local community.
There is no escaping how grave the situation for the centre is, they are clinging on by their fingernails, having had to use every last penny that had saved in reserves, alongside having to close a number of services.
Last year alone the PCHP helped almost 800 who needed it, access a hot meal, but due to the funding cuts services like this might be no longer sustainable.
The organisation has already had to close its crÃ¨che services and scale back its women’s support groups that act as a lifeline for so many vulnerable women in the local area.
The women that access these support groups are some of the most vulnerable clients the PCHP assists, many who use the services are traumatised and suicidal. Without the support groups there is nowhere else to refer them, so they face a reduced service or potentially no service at all.
The PCHP are seeking to crowdfund £50,000 just to keep their doors open, after a week they are a fifth of the way there, but there’s a long way to go. Please visit www.savepchp.com to donate.