New UPDATE: 20 December 2020
ECAP Tuesday Sessions are now being conducted by phone or email only for the time being. We’re asking people to contact us by Phone, Email or Facebook to organise an appointment. Face to face appointments have been suspended.
Please note the situation could change at short notice so please check this page for any new updates.
We no longer operate a drop in service – also ACE’s other resources are not currently available on a Tuesday.
ECAP/Edinburgh Claimants are continuing our support for and solidarity with claimants as well as all those up against the authorities
How to Contact ECAP
- Ring 0131 557 6242 any time and leave a message. We aim to respond to messages within 2 days. Best to leave a short message with your phone number, please speak your number slowly and repeat it.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org any time, and we will try to reply within 2 days. If you don’t have email you could ask a friend to contact us on your behalf. Please leave a phone number if possible.
- If either of these are impossible you can either put an envelope through the door of ACE addressed to ECAP or write to us at ECAP, c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA – but please note we can only pick up mail approximately once a week.
- If you have access to Facebook you can message the ACE Facebook page where we will try and reply to messages within 2 days.
- Do contact us if you have an ongoing problem which is not yet resolved. Don’t hesitate, it will help us if you get in touch. The struggle continues.
Food / Money / Benefits Emergency?
The Scottish Government has more than doubled the amount in the Scottish Welfare Fund and extended who can apply, to support people hit by the coronavirus situation and abolished the 3 times per year limit for Crisis Grants. You can apply for a Crisis Grant or a Community Care Grant plus a foodbank referral. To apply in Edinburgh, ring 0131 529 5299 or apply online. For more info see our SWF page. If knocked back contact us.
Plus every Thursday 10:30 – 2pm there is a drop-in Food and Resources Bank at ACE run by our friends Oficina Precaria, which is open to anyone in need. As well as a variety of non-perishable food there are toiletries, hygiene products, baby clothes and toys. No referral or prior booking needed, but please note Covid safety measures – masks, hand sanitiser, only one person per household inside the premises please, and only one person visiting the foodbank at a time. Proof of status not required. There’s also an Emergency 1-Stop Shop 11:30 – 1pm and 3:30 – 4:30pm providing advice and support. Free soup is also available during these hours both also available each Thursday.
Plus check out our Coronavirus Support page which also has info on Community groups providing food and food deliveries.
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty run free support and solidarity every Tuesday for benefit hassles, debt, housing problems etc. 12 to 3 pm at ACE. (CURRENTLY SUSPENDED – SEE ABOVE)
Isolated, claimants can be bullied and harassed. 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.
Often the drop-in is very busy – you might need to wait quite a while to be seen, so it’s best to arrive early. If you have a health condition, are disabled or have young children and find it difficult to wait for a long time, please email us at least a couple of days in advance about making an appointment. 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.
If your case is ongoing then we need to ask your permission to store some information. This is kept secure, you can access it, have it deleted at any time and, if you wish, take it away with you.
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 time. We encourage people to take away leaflets to distribute and get involved in our advocacy stalls, etc. Click for our principles.
OPENING DATES The drop-in normally runs 12 noon – 3 pm every Tuesday, 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 Rd). Buses to Elm Row or to Leith Walk by MacDonald Rd/ Brunswick Rd. Or buses to Leopold Pl on London Rd.
ACCESS ACE is all on one level and wheelchair accessible (slight incline at front door). We practise a Safer Spaces policy at all times.
[Last updated: 20 December 2020]