At a historic time for the city of Edinburgh and country, and as we still live with the pandemic that started one year ago, our community and voluntary sector has responded with great agility and inspiring compassion, enabling people to stay out of crisis and cope better. Many reports have now evidenced that.
In coming into this role, I want to say that it is one where I take seriously a deep commitment to listen to you, to our members, our sector and our partners. This is what will inform what I aim to do, to provide a passionate and informed leadership that will result in greater recognition of your work. My goal is to champion it, and with the EVOC team and board, to enable you to do it well, and help remove barriers for the on-going success of this sector.
Your work – the people of the community organisations, social enterprises and wider voluntary sector – staff, volunteers, boards and partners, has been of great human value at the time of this pandemic. Equally, you are frequently at the cutting edge of prevention, which as we recover from Covid, is essential.
The publication in late 2020, of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission recommendations, the first after the start of the pandemic in the UK, and the journey committed to now by the Edinburgh Partnership* and City of Edinburgh Council, to ending poverty in Edinburgh in the next 10 years, is highly ambitious. Where do we already play a major part in that and how can we do more now?
We would like to suggest that the systemic changes that are suggested in the recommendations also help us look at what we can do to improve this together, across all groups, from those with dementia, or those disabilities, to the young folk whom this time has cruelly affected.
The current work of the Edinburgh Climate Commission is hugely interesting for the city too – we believe that a nature friendly city is a people friendly city, and are committed to playing our part in that.
I would like to thank Ella Simpson for her work, invisible and visible, and I hope you’ll join in the thanks for her. We are planning a celebration later in the year when we can gather together for a proper celebration on Fri 24 Sep (more details will follow).
Finally, I am interested in radical kindness, from policy making to championing the work that you do which exemplifies that in every corner of the city, and when it is allowed, I hope to get out to those corners.
Bridie Ashrowan (Chief Executive)
* The Edinburgh Partnership is the community planning partnership for the city. It brings together public agencies, third and private sectors with local communities to improve the city, its services and the lives of people who live and work here.