Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty run a free support and solidarity drop-in for benefit hassles, debt, housing problems etc. every Tuesday 12 to 3 pm at ACE. Isolated, claimants can be bullied and harrassed. With the backing of a group we are much stronger.
We are not paid professionals or lawyers, we are all volunteers, and almost all claimants ourselves. We are independent of all authorities and are totally on the side of the claimant.
Please note that sometimes the drop-in is very busy – you might need to wait quite a while until a volunteer is available, so it’s best to arrive early. If you have a health condition, are disabled or have young children, and so it would be difficult for you to wait for a long time, please email us at least a couple of days in advance to see about making an appointment at a specific time. Please try and arrive before 2 pm at the latest, as otherwise if it’s busy we might not be able to see you that day.
If you are just looking for some particular information, rather than necessarily looking for us to take up your case, let us know when you arrive and someone might be able to help you more quickly.
When we fight claimant’s cases, together we very often achieve a decent outcome using tactics such as advocacy, phone calls, letters, meetings with managers and so on. However if the authorities still aren’t listening then we can consider if this battle could be won by a solidarity call-out. This involves putting out a call to all signed up to the ECAP solidarity network to turn up at the appropriate location or office – e.g. a council office, a jobcentre, an MP or councillors surgery – to show support/ demonstrate in solidarity with the claimant and to insist there must be a decision which meets their needs. We have organised solidarity call-outs at Jobcentres, councillor’s surgeries, banks and other places, usually with success. Of course we only go ahead with such an action if the person concerned is 100% happy about it, and if we reckon there is a good chance of winning our aims.
ONE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONE
We fight claimants’ cases as part of the social struggle against injustice and exploitation. So when we win a victory – like over-turning a sanction for example – it’s really useful to publicise this. Sometimes it’s also useful to highlight a particular injustice and how people can fight against it. When we write such articles, e.g. on our website or facebook, we do so anonymously, we don’t use names, or any other details which would make it easy for people to be identified. This is integral to how we support people, and to how the drop-in works, but if you have any concerns, please do ask. And if your particular situation means any publicity, even anonymous, may be harmful, do tell us and we will respect that.
DATA PROTECTION If your case is ongoing then we would like to ask your permission to store some information, this is kept secure, and of course you can access it and, if you wish, take it away or have it deleted at any time.
GET INVOLVED IN ECAP We very much need new people to get involved in ECAP, if interested you are very welcome to come and speak to us any Tuesday. We encourage people to take away leaflets to distribute, get involved in our advocacy stalls, etc. For info on our principles, see here
OPENING DATES The drop-in normally runs 12 noon – 3pm every Tuesday of the year, except Xmas and New Year – the exact dates are usually published on our website and/or Facebook in December.
DROP-IN LOCATION Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA (shop with mural on junction with Brunswick Road). Buses to Elm Row or to Leith Walk by MacDonald Rd/ Brunswick Road. Or buses to Leopold Place on London Road.
ACCESS ACE is on the ground floor and is wheel-chair accessible (slight incline at front door). We practise a Safer Spaces policy during the drop-in. If you’d like to find out more about this, go to the ACE website.
Last updated 10 March 2019