A Slow Burn

My first encounter with EVOC (ECSS as it was at the time) was as a student at Moray House in the early 80s. It was time to plan to go on the first practical placement. My fellow students who were ” in the know” requested ECSS as their placement of choice. I was not one of these smart guys, but Jeff was. He completed his placement at ECSS and came back to the course the next term raving on about how great it was, what good stuff was going on there. In fact he finished his course and straight away got a job at ECSS. And so, Jeff Frew of TWIN and the EVOC Social Care Unit was born. !  

My relationship with EVOC was more of a slow burn. I didn’t get to know it until a couple of years later. I went to work for EAMH, ( now Health in Mind) developing a mental health group for women in South Edinburgh . At this point the organisation didn’t have its own base, and so for the first few months a desk was made available for me at Ainslie House until the Shandwick Place office was opened. I used to creep quietly  up to the top floor to my desk,so quietly in fact that when I went to work for EVOC nobody remembered me being there! I was a  rookie Community Worker very much in awe of the organisation and all the people who worked for it.

But that’s moving forward 10 years. In between, EAMH received on going support from ECSS colleagues , from Ted, and through grants from EVOT to help us with our work developing community based mental health services. The support was invaluable. It was so energising to engage with EVOC if you had an innovation, wanted to try something new and different to challenge the status quo, ECSS was there to help make it happen, to oil the wheels, and to advocate for what was needed to make change happen.

After a few years I joined the Board, and it was during this period that ECSS became EVOC. When Ted decided to retire I in turn decided to throw my hat in the ring, and became the next Director. Lots of people have made such a difference to the third sector in Edinburgh over many years through  being part of EVOC, or because of EVOCs work and I am immensely proud that I was given the responsibility of stewardship for some years , before handing on the baton to Ella.


Name: Shulah Allan

Organisation: EVOC

Job Title: Former Director

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Over the years we’ve been involved in a multitude of campaigns, protests and projects in response to the needs of Edinburgh’s citizens, but not without the collaboration and involvement of citizens and organisations across the City. We want to piece together a picture of the third sector in Edinburgh from the voices of the people that have been right at the heart of it. Do you remember marching for tenants rights? Fighting to save the public laundries? Were you involved with community transport, or improvements in mental health services? Do you volunteer or fundraise for a cause close to your heart? We’d love for you to share your story with us.

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