Health, disability & well-being

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Lifeline Pregnancy Counselling (Scotland) is a small Edinburgh based charity committed to providing relief, care and assistance – in particular, professional counselling – for anyone in need or suffering in any way either physically or psychologically as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, abortion or miscarriage and to supply material aid, as appropriate.

To this end, we employ seven part time staff and 35 volunteers. We run two charity shops to raise both funds and awareness for Lifeline and this presently accounts for approximately two-thirds of our income. We are entirely dependent upon income from these two well-established shops and any other grants or funding we are able to secure. Our specific project is to open a third shop to provide Lifeline with greater financial independence.

Our immediate impact in the local community is huge. In an area of deprivation, we are often the only source of support for a newly pregnant woman, or for someone experiencing distress after abortion or miscarriage. We offer trained counsellors to provide unbiased and non-judgemental therapy for a woman to come to terms with her present or past experience. In particular, we provide ‘decision counselling’ where a woman will be seen within a few days of contact in order to address her particular situation.

Lifeline is small and independent. The only other source of support for these women is the NHS Sexual Health Clinic, which is an uncomfortable place for many women to visit. Many of our clients are refugees, or do not speak English, and have no recourse to public funds. We work to help the child, the woman, and the family, and in so doing, we help the greater community.

We also offer material aid when a baby is born, comprising clothes, nappies, equipment and toys. This can be delivered, if required, thereby addressing the initial needs of the new-born and relieving the financial pressure from the new mother at a stressful and emotional time. In this regard, Lifeline is proactive and substantial in its contribution: an example from this morning (21 April 2015) was an emergency call from a Social Worker, concerned for a mother, recently arrived in Edinburgh with a five month old baby boy. She has no clothes, equipment or even bottles to feed him. We were able to put together all the necessary items from our donated stock, and await the imminent arrival of the Social Worker to collect and distribute to this needy mother. Before lunchtime, her baby will be clothed and wrapped with clean and cared for items. This is, sadly, not an unusual request.

We are also able to supply Christmas presents for local children in need every year, including buying specific items for disabled children with particular requirements.

Some of our clients are simply poor, and struggle to raise another child in their family. Some are victims of domestic abuse, and have no support network to turn to. Our priority is the mother and child both surviving and flourishing. In turn, this leads to a stronger community for all of us. Third Force News published an article on 17April 2015 discussing the new report from the Child Poverty Action Group, stating that the “ . . . newly elected government will be confronted by a child poverty crisis – with 700,000 more children in relative poverty by 2020 than there were in 2010 . . . “ (Robert Amour, TFN). This is an ongoing and immediate situation of need.

In 2014, we experienced financial difficulty, and sought every means to continue with our work. Our staff and volunteers were stellar in their efforts to keep Lifeline going. Although financially stronger in 2015, we have learned not to rely on fate to allow our support to continue, and have decided to open a third shop to assure our financial self-reliance. A third shop would increase awareness in the local community and improve accessibility for delivering material aid to new mothers.


Moment of Pride

We put forward this submission with pride from our present standing in the local community. This has been gained through dedicated hard work by many volunteers and staff since we began in 1976. We work to address injustice on an immediate and local level.

Location: Edinburgh