Previous Projects


SOMRA – Supporting meaningful Occupations for Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum seekers using the Green Entrepreneurship Model is an Erasmus+ funded project.

On this website you will find information about the events organised by the project, the developed resources and a special on-line learning environment.

What is the SOMRA Project about?

SOMRA offers an innovative approach for tackling two major challenges of the 21st century, namely climate change and refugee crises, by engaging refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in meaningful occupations that transform them into environment role models with a sustainable impact in their new and previous home.

The main idea of the SOMRA approach is to enable these main target groups to become true factors of change that influence positive environmental habits that are first established on a local and regional level, and eventually even beyond the borders of the EU.

Therefore, the SOMRA project will pursue the following objectives:

I) Facilitating environmental change on local and regional level through grassroots activities organised by green NGOs and the SOMRA participants

II) Fostering common values and civic engagement of migrant communities in their new environment

III) Offering low-threshold learning opportunities related to environmental measures that increase the employability by strengthening key competences for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

For any inquiries about this project please contact the project coordinator, Mitra Rostami, by email

SOMRA website


SOMRA Final Documentary


Green Leith Art was a six month project that started in April this year. The project aims to make communities feel more connected and less isolated, connect them with nature and boost their creativity. This was achieved through providing weekly art workshops as well as weekly walks in the green areas around Leith.

Forest Bound was a project working to engage Edinburgh-based ethnic minority groups with forest landscapes by using art-science approaches.

The project aims to create spaces where communities that face additional barriers to access nature/outdoor spaces can interact with forests.

We organised forest walks and a workshop session where we used visual arts to explore people’s connection to forests and begin conversations on how these overlap with key biological processes such as adaptation and resilience. Material from the activities was curated and will be displayed at a community group art exhibition in Edinburgh from the 14th to 18th of February, 2023.

Forest Bound is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) until February 2023 as part of the Growing Roots 2 call and is a partnership between the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC), artist Tamsin Grainger, and Written in Film.

Opening-up the outdoors

Ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in green spaces and face additional barriers to access and gain the benefits of spending time in nature. Reasons for this include:

  • Limited access in low income areas
  • Cultural and/or language barriers
  • Unease and feeling unwelcome 
  • Lack of public imagery depicting ethnic minority groups in green spaces

Many public engagement approaches are designed based on the assumption that a deficit of information is the greatest barrier to engagement. This not only ignores the specific limitations different communities experience, but prioritises knowledge dissemination methods that are not targeted and can be ineffective to get people excited about environmental science research. Potentially more effective means of engagement are thus often unexplored and underfunded. 

Forest Bound trialed public engagement approaches based on the collaboration of visual arts and environmental science. The project facilitated spaces so communities underrepresented in the outdoors could engage with forest environments while bringing attention to their experiences and values. 

Responsible delivery

This project is based on the principle that participants, in the full diversity and intersectionality of their experiences (particularly those that restrict access to the outdoors, and by extension, the opportunity to connect with local environments) enrich all outcomes and provide a representative idea of people’s experiences and relationship to forests.

Liaison with communities and participants convened by ELREC was done through the respective group’s Link Officers, who also acted as translators where language barriers were a consideration. ELREC staff supported all activities and helped ensure everyone had equitable opportunities to access, engage and feedback on the project. Informed prior consent was obtained to capture any images, footage and audio related to the project.

Communities for Conservation

Ethnic minority communities take action on Climate Change.

Funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, the Communities for Conservation project aims at inspiring Ethnic Minority (EM) communities in Edinburgh and Livingston to reduce their carbon footprint through energy saving, cycling and waste reduction activities. The project won the Climate Challenge Fund Award for the Energy Category in November 2017 and CEMVO’s Environmental Impact Award in 2016.

Join our activities!

Book a Home Energy Advice Visit to save energy at home and become more energy efficient. Participate in our cycling classes to learn how to ride a bike and gain skills and confidence to cycle on the road.
Take part in our social bike rides and unlock the joy of cycling. Bring your clothes to our clothing repair and alteration service.
Join our community gardening groups in Edinburgh.
Get involved in our workshops, film screenings, and events.
Volunteer with us to help a great cause and gain skills.
Meet with like-minded people at our Edinburgh Sustainable Meet up.
Activities are free or on a donation basis. You can see our upcoming activities and events by clicking here.

You can read our final reports here:

Communities for Conservation Final Report 2020-2022

Communities for Conservation Final Report 2018-2020

Edinburgh Climate Festival 2019 Final Report

Communities for Conservation Final Report 2017-2018

Communities for Conservation Final Report 2016-2017

Communities for Conservation Final Report 2014-2016

Communities for Conservation is funded and supported by:


Contact Information

For further details about the project, to volunteer, get free energy advice, or join our workshops, events and food growing groups – please contact:

Project Coordinator: Jean-Matthieu

South Asian Community Link Officer: Fahmida

Polish Community Link Officer: Ewelina

Chinese Community Link Officer: David

African Community Link Officer: Diline 

Spanish Speaking Community Link Officer: Verena

You can also call us at ELREC on 0131 556 0441. We speak English, Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Polish, Urdu, Cantonese, Spanish and French.

All Welcome!

Equally Informed

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown and other emergency measures in place in the country, thousands of marginalised people in Scotland, including the ones in Edinburgh and Lothians lack access and understanding of the basic information on how to keep themselves and their communities safe and well. They include people who do not speak English, people with no or low literacy, and people without access to different forms of communication.

The project aims to provide information in a simple and accessible form to minority communities in Edinburgh and Lothians about Covid-19 pandemic, which include information on health and safety, national and local regulations and measure, and available support services.  The target group are people from migrant and refugee backgrounds with no or low English language abilities living in Edinburgh and Lothians.


Information related to Covid-19 are collected from official resources, including the UK and the Scottish Government, local authorities, and the NHS. The content is translated into Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Farsi(Persian, Afghan, Tajik), Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish languages, and further disseminated it to the community members in our network that we have been supporting and in contact with through our other projects.

If you need this service, please contact us.

Project coordinator: Adrian Barbascumpa <>

True Colours


TRUE (Tackling Racism, Uniting Everyone) Colours is a group founded by young people, which is encouraged and supported by ELREC. Our objective is to challenge bullying and discrimination in Edinburgh. We want young people to have their voices heard and to promote a regime which addresses the important issues like bullying, discrimination, racism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and gender equality. Our aim is to raise awareness of human rights, equality and diversity in schools and communities in the Edinburgh & Lothians area.


Peer Education

Our peer education programme is a way to educate and train children and young people. It’s aimed at tackling topical issues within schools today – namely bullying, prejudice and stereotypes. We firmly believe that young people learn more effectively from their peers. The programme workshops aim to raise awareness of these issues among primary and secondary school pupils. In the last two years, since its formation, our youth group TRUE Colours has been addressing inequality in schools across Edinburgh. We are always looking for new members. This is an opportunity for everyone interested in equality to gain the knowledge through training and workshops, and become a peer educator. It is also a great way to gain new skills, learn how to express yourself and make new friends.

Why Become a Peer Educator?

  • Have a chance to talk about issues important to you
  • Learn new skills (communication, team work, assertiveness, debating, critical thinking, research…)
  • Learn about key terms around equality and why it occurs
  • Learn how to tackle discrimination and bullying
  • Meet like minded young people
  • TRUE Colours will provide you with support, advice and mentoring throughout your work

TRUE Colours Anti-Bullying Research

The TRUE Colours Anti-Bullying research covers the topic of bullying and associated behaviour, produced in collaboration with schools across the Edinburgh. Its aim is to provide teachers and students with the tools to tackle and raise awareness about bullying behaviour in schools.
Please download: True colours Anti bullying toolkit updated

For up to date information on events and activities please ‘Like’ our TRUE Colours Facebook page.

Contact Information

To join TRUE Colours, to become a TRUE Colours Peer Educator, set up a workshop in your school or community or find out more about our work, please contact us:

Email TRUE Colours project coordinator Diline at ELREC at 

Give us a call: 0131 556 0441

Visit the TRUE Colours Facebook Page and send us a message.

Have a look to our twitter page: @TrueColoursEdi

Or pop in to ELREC and speak to us in person at: 14 Forth Street Edinburgh EH1 3LH

ELREC Food Pantry

We are delighted to announce that our food donation has increased to around 60 boxes every week. We have completed our first year of running this project which has helped many families in the community.

However, we have run out of funding for this project, so we would be grateful if we could get some community support and continue our work in order to help those in need.

Every little helps and that’s why we need you!

Food poverty exists in our city, and we must all work together and meet the needs of all our communities.

To know more about our project please click here:

If you have any questions please email us at :



Eurodesk at ELREC

ELREC is a UK partner organisation of Eurodesk.

Eurodesk is a free information service to help young people experience international opportunities.

Eurodesk is a recognised support structure under Erasmus+, the European funding programme for education, training, youth and sport, and we work closely with Erasmus+ National Agencies to provide current information and guidance on the programme as well as other opportunities.

Eurodesk in the UK is based at the Erasmus+ UK National Agency at Ecorys in Birmingham.

On the Eurodesk UK website You can find information for young people aged 13-30 on the different opportunities available and an insight into what it’s like to take part in European youth projects. For adults working with young people, there is support including resources, and information and training linked to youth work. We also support young people directly through the European Youth Portal which includes an ‘Ask a question’ service.

At ELREC, Mitra Rostami takes care of Eurodesk. You can get in touch with her via email , by phone ( 0131 556 0441) or on social media @EurodeskELREC

Throughout the year, we run Eurodesk information stalls in various locations in Edinburgh. Please check out our Facebook page for updates.

If you are a young person, you can always pop into our office for a chat and find out about opportunities available to you and get support if you need for applications.

This project is created based on’’ Peer-based learning’’. It is also inspired by the success of a European funded project in Portugal, MOVIMENTO CONTRA O DISCURSO DE ÓDIO (Movement Against Hate Speech).

The projects main objective is to combat prejudice and hate. Expression of hate encompasses all forms of expression which propagate, incite, promote or justify any form of intolerance-based hatred.

We know that internet gives us the ability to create, publish, distribute and consume content thus providing a space for complete participation, commitment and free personal expression. With the development of social networks we can all participate in cyberspace in many different ways, from permanent contact with our friends and developing new contacts to sharing content and exploring our ability to express ourselves. This online space gives us new opportunities such as joining with others in causes we want to engage in and care about.

But we can also be victims and agents of human rights abuses and violations, including hate speech in various formats and cyberbullying. The online world nevertheless has values. Hate speech, as such, is not a new subject, but Its online dimension and the potential damage it can cause to relationships and communities gives us a reason to act!


Project Coordinator: Didem Kaner <>


Project Information:

The Equalities Engagement project supports public bodies to engage with diverse communities and community organisations to positively advance the Public Sector Equality Duty in Edinburgh and the Lothians. The project also progresses the capacity and participation of diverse communities across Edinburgh and the Lothians. Our Equality Engagement Officer is responsible for facilitating communication between communities of protected characteristics* and mainstream services. We are always looking for ways to work with a variety of communities of protected characteristics*.


We welcome opportunities to speak to any group and communities about their experiences and issues they may have. For equality and diversity related events we’re putting on, please visit the ELREC events page.

Our ongoing initiative within Equalities Engagement project is Diversity in Public Life, funded by the Scottish Government Equality fund. Diversity in Public Life aims to increase engagement of diverse members of communities in democratic processes and public life across the Edinburgh and Lothians. To find more about this project please visit:
If you are interested to get involved contact:
Mizan Rahman, Project Coordinator
Telephone: 0131 556 0441
*The nine Protected Characteristics in Equality Act of 2010 are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation