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We had a great turnout at the Routes to Roots book launch last 30th of May. Thank you to Cllr. Donald Wilson and Sir Prof. Geoff Palmer for two insightful speeches and to everyone for coming. If you would like a copy of the book please get in touch. Our exhibition of the project starts on Friday afternoon, 1st of June, at Edinburgh Central Library and runs throughout the month of June.

Delighted to announce that we won the Impact in Education award at the Cemvo Ethnic Minority Impact Awards!

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers for their hard work, our funders HLF Scotland, and the communities and people we are working with.

Congratulations to ELREC, who won the Third Sector Organisation of the Year award at the first Scottish Diversity Awards! Edinburgh Mela also picked up the Event of the Year award.

Diversity has been at the heart of our  work since its inception. We have extensively worked with diverse communities and after becoming a pan-equality organisation in 2010, when we extended our work to encompass all protected characteristics.

Foysol Choudhury MBE, ELREC Chair (above. left) said: “We are very honoured to have been recognised as the Third Sector Organisation of the Year by the Scottish Diversity Awards 2017. I would like to congratulate ELREC’s Management Board, staff, volunteers and the communities that we work with.

“ELREC has been serving the needs of communities for over four decades and has won three awards for their projects this year, the Scottish Social Services Awards, the Climate Challenge Fund Award and CEMVO Ethnic Minority Impact Award. ”

The inaugural Scottish Diversity Awards welcomed 200 guests at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow and sought to promote the importance of equality in today’s society and recognise Scotland’s cultural diversity.

The Scottish Diversity Awards 2017 acknowledge the determination, dedication and hard work of individuals, organisations, and businesses across Scotland that actively contribute to the spread of diversity, equality, and empowerment in the country.

The event was hosted by  Atta Yaqup and Rupa Mooker.

Irfan Younis, CEO of organizers Creative Oceanic, said: “We are honoured and delighted to have such great finalists and winners. Scotland prides itself as a welcoming country that provides space for everyone and aims to treat all people equally. The awards aim to highlight that.”

“These were the first Scottish Diversity Awards. We will learn from what has started this year and we hope to grow the awards every year and help in changing our society in a positive way.”

Congratulations to our staff, volunteers, members and Board who  all contributed to make ELREC the Third Sector Organisation of the Year!

You can still donate. Thanks everyone

Communities for Conservation Project winning the Climate Challenge Fund Award 2017 . From left to right: Dave Coleman, Cooler Projects Co-founder and Director, Jean-Matthieu Gaunand ELREC Project Co-ordinator, Elizabeth Leighton, Chair of the CCF Awards Panel, and Dr Lindsay Montgomery CBE Chairman, Board of Charity Trustees of Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council wins first ever Climate Challenge Fund Award

National awards ceremony recognises ELREC’s efforts to tackle climate change.

Community-led organisations from across Scotland gathered in Edinburgh on Wednesday 1 November to celebrate the first ever Climate Challenge Fund Awards, organised by environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, on behalf of the Scottish Government.

The ceremony, which took place at Dynamic Earth, recognised the work undertaken by groups supported by the Fund that have taken local action to tackle climate change – including the efforts of The Communities for Conservation project from Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council.

The Communities for Conservation project received the Energy Category Award for engaging diverse ethnic minority communities in Edinburgh to help improve home energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, fuel bills and fuel poverty. The project undertook a number of home energy efficiency advice visits and managed to reach out to a wide audience through workshops and running a drop-in centre. Communities for Conservation made a real difference to the lives of community members and the Awards Panel noted the project had collected good evidence to demonstrate this. This project used an approach that allowed them to engage with hard to reach groups and diverse communities, breaking down cultural and linguistic barriers. The project ran an impressive number of events to raise awareness on climate change, keeping a sense of community and fun at the heart of everything they did.

Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) is an organisation that runs multiple projects to promote equality of opportunity for all, fight discrimination, promote a culture of human rights, foster good relations and encourage sustainability in the communities.

Communities for Conservation Project Co-ordinator Jean-Matthieu Gaunand said:

“We are honoured to win this award as the other nominees have impressed me enormously with their work. We hope to set a benchmark going forward for future nominees to exceed in order to win this award and contribute to shaping a more sustainable Scotland. A great benefit of these awards is that they bring publicity to community initiatives occurring throughout Scotland and so will enlighten and inform more people about ways they can participate in many projects that exist throughout the country. We are inspired by the recognition from the Climate Challenge Fund to continue improving our delivery and helping communities of Edinburgh and Lothians to reduce energy consumption through behavioural changes. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund for awarding our project“.

ELREC Chair, Foysol Choudhury MBE added:

“I am very proud of the work of Jean-Matthieu and all involved with the Communities for Conservation project. We believe a culturally diverse workplace brings with it many advantages and I am confident that this in part contributed to the success of our project. At ELREC we aim to have the highest standards and provide individuals with the tools and the freedom required to be successful and I see the Climate Challenge Fund award as ample recognition of the good practices within the organisation that we endeavour to build upon in the future.”

The Climate Challenge Fund is a Scottish Government grants programme, managed and administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, which provides funding and support for community groups to tackle climate change through community-led projects that reduce carbon emissions.

The hugely successful Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) has awarded grants totalling £85.8 million to 986 projects in 622 communities since its introduction in 2008, with projects involving energy efficiency, sustainable travel, local food and resource efficiency. The first ever CCF Awards ceremony recognised the work of funded projects which ran from April 2016 – March 2017. A map showing currently funded projects can be accessed here.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham

“It was great to see these inspirational projects getting the recognition they deserve, and I’d like to extend a big congratulations to all of those nominated. “They are amongst the best of more than 100 local projects which benefitted from £9.5 million of Scottish Government grants through the Climate Challenge Fund last year. “That is money very well spent, as these projects have made a real difference to their local communities, and helped to drive change on a national level – to help combat a problem that affects all of us.”

Elizabeth Leighton, Chair of the CCF Awards Panel added:

“On behalf of the CCF Awards Panel I would like to commend all the projects that entered the awards and congratulate the award winners.”

“The level of nominations for the Awards was of a high standard across the board and I thank the members of the CCF Awards Panel who worked together to select the award winning projects.”

The awards were presented by Dr Lindsay Montgomery CBE, Chairman of Keep Scotland Beautiful and Dave Coleman, Managing Director of the Carbon Literacy Project.

Dr Lindsay Montgomery commented:

“The Climate Challenge Fund helps support communities from across the country to take much-needed local action to tackle climate change by making their climate change project ambitions a reality.

“Keep Scotland Beautiful is delighted to celebrate the commitment of all award nominees and present Communities for Conservation and The Edinburgh Creative Reuse Hub with the Energy and Waste Category Awards. I would like to commend them on their efforts.”

Dave Coleman added:

“It was fantastic to meet so many community-led projects that have taken positive local action to tackle climate change: I congratulate all the award entrants and winners.

“We have worked closely with Keep Scotland Beautiful which has developed a two-day Carbon Literacy for Communities course for representatives of community-led organisations across Scotland, particularly those running Climate Challenge Fund projects. I was delighted to hear that a number of the award nominees have directly applied this training to help increase understanding of climate change in their communities and successfully identify ways to tackle it.”

Awards were presented at the ceremony for five categories; energy, travel, food and waste, plus a CCF Awards Panel Choice.

A full list of award winners and shortlisted nominees can be found here and images from the awards can be accessed here.

Communities for Conservation Project winning the CCF Award 2017

Refugees Voice – ELREC and Drummond Community High School event,

6th December 2016

On Tuesday 6th December the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) in partnership with Drummond Community High School, organised an event in support of the refugee community in Edinburgh & Lothians. A number of organisations and groups were invited to participate and have stalls to promote their work. The purpose of the event was to facilitate a discussion between service providers in the public and third sector, and asylum seekers and refugees in order to hear from the refugees first-hand about their circumstances and needs and link them with suitable services.

The event opened with a performance from the school’s pupils, followed by a speech from ELREC’ Chair, Foysol Choudhury MBE, who also introduced the other speakers of the evening: the Rt. Hon. Donald Wilson, The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Jodie Hannan (Headteacher at Drummond Community High School), Dr. Elisabetta Spano (ELREC’s Project Lead Officer), Michael Russell MSP (Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe), Ben Macpherson (MSP for Leith and Edinburgh North), Cllrs Cameron Rose and Nick Gardner, Dr. Wali Tasar Uddin MBE and Shami Khan DL (ELREC Vice-Chair). Two refugees also spoke, telling the public about their plight as refugees and the difficulties in accessing services.

The event was successful, with a high turn-out and many stalls from different service providers. The Chair of ELREC, Foysol Choudhury MBE, said “When the refugee crisis became apparent, we at ELREC felt the need and duty of having to do something, as we work to promote equality and social justice. We then decided to create an event that wanted to be one of many initiatives that we aim to organise in support of refugees in the near future”. During his speech at the event, the Minister for UK Negotiation on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell MSP stated: “Scotland has a long history of welcoming people from all over the world, including those seeking refuge from war and terror.  We all have a part to play in making these refugees welcome in our country and in demonstrating understanding, compassion and acceptance. Community groups and organisations like ELREC and Drummond Community High School are playing an important role in showing their support for refugees, ensuring they feel welcomed and their contribution to society is valued.”

Refugees who attended the event came from a wide range of countries, such as Syria, Iran, Egypt and China. All had the opportunity to discuss their situation and the services available to them with organisations that work in areas of employment, immigration, legal advice, health, education, language support, women and families support. 


First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced on 20 February 2017 the award of £9.97 million for 113 community-led projects in the 23rd round of grants from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.

ELREC was awarded £108,687 from Keep Scotland Beautiful Climate Challenge Fund to run the Communities for Conservation Project.

Ethnic minority communities take action on Climate Change.

Communities For Conservation is a project run by Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) to empower ethnic minority communities in Edinburgh and Livingston in initiatives related to energy saving, cycling and food growing. Project activities include home energy advice visits to help householders reduce energy use, carbon emissions and move out of fuel poverty. The project will also offer bikeability classes, food growing workshops and events to mainstream the topic of climate change.

Congratulation to the ELREC board, staff, volunteers and partners and everyone who took part in the #communitiesforconservation project.

“The First Minister said:

“Scotland is making huge progress in delivering our climate change ambitions, but there is still much to achieve and the role of behaviour change and community action is crucial.

“The Climate Challenge Fund supports community projects that inspire people to care about the problem of climate change, consider what it might mean to them in terms of their everyday lives and enable them to take action.

“R:evolve Recycle is an excellent example of this approach. They work with people spanning the whole community – from school children to elderly community residents.”

We have managed the Climate Challenge Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government since the Fund was established in 2008 and provide support, resources and training to support grant recipients and other community groups taking action on climate change.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful commented:

“Climate change impacts all of us and we need collective action to tackle it, so we were delighted to have supported so many communities from across Scotland in preparing applications for the latest round of the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.

“We congratulate all those community-led organisations awarded Climate Challenge Fund grants and look forward to working with them as they implement their projects.

“We have managed the Climate Challenge Fund on behalf of the Scottish Government since the Fund was established in 2008 and are committed to empowering many more communities across Scotland to take action on climate change. We see this as part of our work to make Scotland clean, green and more sustainable.”

In 2017/18 the Climate Challenge Fund totals £9.97 million and is a combination of £9.09 million from the Scottish Government and £0.88 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland said:

“Scotland’s ambitions for a circular economy, where we make things last for longer, go hand-in-hand with its world-leading commitments to tackling climate change. Thanks to extra investment from the European Regional Development Fund we’re now able to help more communities across Scotland take action locally to benefit Scotland’s environment.

“We look forward to working with the successful organisations to make a real difference to their communities.”

You can view a full list of CCF grant recipients for 2017/18 on the Scottish Government’s website. The projects will commence their activities on 1 April 2017.”

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