EVOC 150 Years



The Depression brought unemployment to record levels. After lobbying by ECSS and others, Edinburgh Corporation agreed to offer allotments to unemployed men and, working with the Edinburgh University Settlement, ECSS took on the role of selecting successful applicants and managing the process.


Citizen’ Advice Bureau

Citizens’ Advice Bureaux were opened across the UK and one of the first was in Edinburgh, under the auspices of ECSS. The purpose was to help people with problems that occurred during war time but at the end of the war a continuing need was evident. The Bureau remained part of ECSS until it became independent in 1974


The War Effort

ECSS worked collaboratively with the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS)and other organisations to provide information and practical help in response to the difficulties and disruptions caused by the war. Family support work intensified but the need for financial support lessened as unemployment dropped.  ECSS also produced a popular handbook The Edinburgh Wartime Guide.


The Older People’s Welfare Council

In response to concerns about the loneliness and isolation experienced by older people, ECSS established the Older People’s Welfare Council to provide care and services for the elderly through a range of educational activities and social clubs and activities. That Council became a separate organisation in 1956 and it continues in operation today as Lifecare (Edinburgh).


Development of Community Centres with co-operation of Civil Defence and Home Guard


Problems of housing shortage highlighted. Work undertaken with British Council for Aid to Refugees


Edinburgh Clothing Store

The Clothing Store had been a feature of the work of ECSS since the beginning. The very first Annual Report of the Association in 1869 appeals for clothing to be donated.  Over time it developed into a collection and distribution point for new and good used clothing that continued through both world wars. In 1953 responsibility for this work was transferred to the WRVS. The…


Community Work

ECSS recruited two Community workers to support a variety of Community Groups and Tenants’ Associations throughout the City. The issues they covered included employment, housing, environmental health and transport. The Community Work Team, later the Community Development Unit, also actively participated in city wide campaigns on a range of issues. As a result of reducing resources, the Unit was disbanded in 1997.


Working party set up to consider implications of possible closure of Castle Trades Hotel and Salvation Army in the Pleasance


Community Transport

ECSS identified a need for an arrangement for voluntary organisations to share transport resources. It established Edinburgh Voluntary Transport (EVT) the following year and found a ready demand.  By 1973 over 100 groups were using the van to transport goods or the minibuses for outings. In 1976 Cab Services for the Disabled, the first of its type in Scotland, was established and quickly became indispensable.…


The Voluntary Organsations’ Committee in effect takes over the running of the Edinburgh Council of Social Service


Volunteer Bureau established at St Colme Street


Citizens Advice Bureau becomes independent


Edinburgh Council for the Single Homeless

In 1974 ECSS was supporting the Edinburgh Working Party on the Single Homeless which was addressing the lack of facilities for homeless individuals. This led to the establishment of an independent organisation, The Edinburgh Council for the Single Homeless in 1978. In 2003 this became Four Square.


Edinburgh Volunteer Exchange Established


Social Work Training

ECSS established the Field Work Teaching Unit to provide placements for Social Work Students, and for a time Community Education students, in voluntary organisations across Edinburgh. This work continued for the next 30 years despite cuts in funding but in 2009 the Scottish Social Services Council decided they would no longer fund voluntary sector practice teaching units and this work came to an end


Inaugural meeting of Edinburgh Association for Mental Health


Practice Teaching Unit set up (later becomes Student Unit)


Handicabs estalished


Lothian Interpreting and Translating Service Trust established