When I welcomed you to the Conference on 7th November I said our ambition was to challenge you. I was clear that over the next 3 to 5 years things were probably going to get beyond tough. We know that public funds will diminish, other funders have reducing resources and we have increasing demand. So in time honoured tradition our Sector must be and will be at the forefront of thinking and doing things differently. We know from our research at EVOC that most organisations have worked hard over the last few years to diversify their funding streams but are we still doing the same things with the funds?
I hope you were suitably challenged! I hope that you found the day inspiring and invigorating but more importantly I hope you will take time to reflect on discussions you had during the morning and rise to the challenge of change.
Thank you to Diarmaid Lawlor, Director of Place at Architecture and Design Scotland who kicked off the Conference by talking about the importance of our physical surroundings and how they influence the space in which we speak, think, learn and create. He introduced the concept of authorising environments and how we often overlook how we welcome people to such spaces. Authorising environments, when done well, can be a powerful acknowledgement of a person’s or a community’s feeling of inclusion and engagement.
View and download Diarmaid’s slides.
We were joined in the afternoon by the Leader of City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Adam McVey, who gave an overview of City of Edinburgh Council’s current activities and 52 pledges they aim to fulfil throughout the term of the administration. He emphasised the £21 million of cuts the Council will have to make by 2018/2019 and the further savings of £150 million by 2023.
Talking to the issues raised in our manifesto Everybody’s Edinburgh, Councillor McVey discussed the creation of a homelessness task force and the Council’s pledge to build 20,000 affordable homes over the next five years. He went on to highlight the growing population of Edinburgh, the impact this will have on service provision and housing, and the need for the Council to work more collaboratively with the third sector to meet the needs of our citizens. Councillor McVey also recognised the unequal impact of current procurement processes and that more needs to be done to find a way to mitigate this inequality.
Special thanks to all those who attended our workshops, your input was invaluable. We are currently processing the feedback which will inform the next stages of work, and we will be in touch over the coming months.
Our facilitators have provided a brief overview of the sessions and their outcomes: