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Lord Provost reflects on twenty years of the One City Trust

Posted: 29th August 2023

The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, and President of the One City Trust (OCT), Robert Aldridge, looks back on two decades of the Trust and sets his sights on the future.

I am immensely proud of the work that the OCT has undertaken in the last twenty years. Since the Trust was established in 2003, we have delivered over £1.3m of grants to 265 projects across the Capital whilst promoting community benefits and social value amongst our city’s business and private sector community.

Over the years, we have enjoyed the support of notable ambassadors and supporters. These include Sir Ian Rankin, Irvine Welsh, Alexander McCall Smith, Sara Sheridan, Nadine Aisha Jassat, and Anne Hamilton; who last year collaborated to produce ‘The People’s City’, a celebration of Edinburgh’s literary heritage in aid of the Trust.

Unfortunately, we still face major challenges in the fight against poverty, inequality, and social exclusion across the city. The pandemic also cast these into sharp light and made us consider how we could reach and help our citizens in different ways.

Now, perhaps more than ever, the OCT and the organisations it supports are key to supporting our communities as we move forward. From Edinburgh Interfaith Association breaking down cultural barriers, to Fresh Start Pantry providing low-cost nutritious and healthy food to tackle holiday hunger and many more we are committed to helping our residents through these difficult times.

I would encourage anyone reading this to consider the ways that they can contribute whether that be through donations, community benefit partnerships, volunteering or spreading the word of the Trust and its affiliates.

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported and been involved in the activities of the OCT in the last twenty years.

Last Friday (August 25) it was a real privilege to host a civic reception at the City Chambers to mark twenty years since the establishment of the OCT. The event was attended by former Lord Provosts of the City of Edinburgh, partner organisations, key supporters, and other distinguished guests.

We were lucky enough to hear from a range of truly inspiring speakers who have been involved in the Trust over the years, and those who continue to undertake excellent work in the fight against poverty, inequality, and social exclusion here in Edinburgh. We heard a powerful speech from representatives of Jock Tamson’s Gairden at Duddingston Loch who are dedicated to providing an inclusive community garden that is open to all. Indeed, the famous phrase ‘We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s bairns’ perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the OCT and its goals.

We also heard about the work of the Edinburgh School Uniform Bank who make sure our schoolchildren are properly clothed regardless of circumstances. I continue to be inspired by the ways in which the Capital’s community groups look out for one another in these difficult times. Groups like these truly reflect the very best qualities of the individuals who make up our city.

Another highlight of the evening was hearing from Dr Jim McCormick, Chief Executive of the Robertson Trust, and former Chair of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission (2018-2020). This reminded us to remember the need for humanity, respect, and decency at the heart of every experience of poverty, inequality, and social exclusion. Each individual that we can help in Edinburgh is an important victory.

I’d also like to thank our partners Travis Perkins and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre for generously sponsoring the reception.

As Lord Provost my duty is first and foremost to the people of Edinburgh and I am committed to helping them in any way that I am able. I look forward to seeing the Trust continue its work in the next twenty years and beyond, and it is my sincere hope that we will be able to make a strong and lasting difference for our most vulnerable residents.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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