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Our Story

Our mission is to provide expert services that make a positive impact for people who require support with independent living.

withYOU officially became an independent Scottish charity in 2018, but our history is much longer. For over 40 years we’ve been involved in providing support to vulnerable people across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

We’ve been known by lots of names over the years: Edinvar, Edinvar Community Care, and (most recently) Places for People Scotland Care & Support.

Youth homelessness and disability: where it all began

It all started in 1981, when we opened the first Stopover emergency accommodation for young people. This partnership with Edinburgh Council set the groundwork for our next move, one year later in 1982. This is when we set up a housing project which allowed people with severe disabilities to live independently, with the help of technology.

These roots remain strong. We still provide services for young homeless people and those living with disabilities.

Taking the lead in barrier-free housing

We commissioned Scotland’s first mainstream, barrier-free housing development in 1985. ‘Barrier-free’ means buildings and facilities that can be approached, entered and used by anyone who has physical or sensory disabilities.

Our work in this area created a new design standard: quite literally! Seven years later, in 1992, we published Britain’s first barrier-free design guide.

In 1995, we were one of just five organisations within the Person Centred Planning Consortium. Funded by the Scottish Office, our group was given the job of promoting person-centred planning across the country.

St Leonards: our cutting-edge care home

In 1996 we opened our pioneering residential home at St Leonard’s in Edinburgh. This combined a community care resource centre and a SMART home for a mixed community to live in. The SMART home was the first of its kind in the UK. It originally started as a demonstration project, which we developed alongside The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

St Leonard’s is still in use today, as part of our older age care services.

Continuing to champion older people

Over the years, we’ve continued to innovate in older age care. In 2012 we developed the Being Me service to reshape the way support is delivered within care homes. A few years later, in 2015, we developed the You’re Never Too Old… programme for older people based in East Craigs, Edinburgh. This initiative is supported by paid staff, as well as local volunteers and volunteers from the Corstorphine Rotary Club.

Learning and development

In 2006 we joined forces with NHS Lothian to develop the Health and Social Care Academy. This trained people to work in the health and social care sector, making sure that people had the best qualifications.

We’re still passionate about learning and development, which is why we fund SVQ and other certifications for our staff, and have a well resourced internal Practice Development team to support learning, development and best practice.

Getting creative

Creativity can bring people from diverse backgrounds together, which is why we started dabbling in the arts in 2010. This is when we held our first event, ‘Gaun Yersel’. One year later we released two films and a play (‘Zombie or not Zombie?’, ‘Shooting Zombies’, ‘Me, You, We.’) In 2013 we worked with award-winning director Irvine Allan and playwright Ronan O’Donnell to film The Wayward Wind. This film was a collaboration between people from a range of backgrounds including people from Gowrie Care, pupils from Holyrood High School and older people in our care.

Where we are now

Our history is rich with innovation, passion and fun, and this continues to drive our work. Our website gives an insight into what we do now. If you would like to learn more about our services, please get in touch.