Last update: May 2020
We’ve written this page based on the questions that we’re most often asked. We’ve checked it out with our service users to make sure that it’s helpful. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please get in touch.
If there’s anything you think would be helpful to add, please let us know.
- social and learning activities (for people over 18)
- befriending (for people over 18)
- grants (for people of any age)
We use the Equality and Human Rights Commission definition:
“You are disabled under the Equality Act 2010 if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
- ‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial, e.g. it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task like getting dressed
- ‘long-term’ means 12 months or more, e.g. a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection.”
However, Ecas supports people only with a physical disability. The following conditions, on their own, do not meet the definition: psychiatric disorders, learning difficulties, behavioural disorders, developmental delay, Down’s syndrome, autism, visual or hearing impairment, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV and back pain.
You must live in Edinburgh or Lothian for activities and grants. You must live in Edinburgh for befriending.
You apply using the form for each service, which you can download here. We are happy to discuss beforehand.
- Email email@example.com
- Phone us on 0131 475 2344
- Visit us at Norton Park, 57 Albion Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5QY
Our office hours are Monday to Thursday 9am to 4.30pm and Friday 9am to 3.30pm.
Yes. We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. We have the necessary data protection policies and procedures. If you need more information about how we store and manage your data (name, address and so on) please contact us.
Ecas has a duty to protect all clients, volunteers and staff from abuse. We expect all clients, whatever service(s) or support they receive from us, to behave suitably, and to respect each other, staff and volunteers. If a client does not do so, we would discuss this with them.
We reserve the right, in the interests of other clients and to protect our staff and volunteers, to withdraw our services or support. We would do this as follows:
a. Verbal warning from the manager (we minute this)
b. Written warning by the manager
c. Panel meeting involving three directors and chief executive to consider withdrawing or suspending the Ecas service to the client
In exceptional circumstances, the manager, in consultation with the chief executive, could suspend a client immediately before the panel takes place.
Anyone who lives in Edinburgh or Lothian, who is over 18 and who is physically disabled (see FAQ 1.2). There is no upper age limit. Because of demand, we prefer to give the service to those who can’t access other similar services in their community. But we consider all applications which meet our criteria.
We offer art, craft, swimming, yoga, seated tai chi, music, reading and creative writing, and computing. The activities are run by qualified and experienced group leaders. They take place weekly, for 43 weeks a year. We provide materials for all activities.
From 17 August activities will be take place virtually via Zoom. Swimming remains suspended until further notice.
Activities cost £1.15 an hour. We ask you to pay this in advance for each term. We do not give refunds unless we cancel an activity or if you are in hospital for three weeks or more.
No – everyone pays the same amount.
Our activities are very popular. So, we allow each client to attend one activity for each subject (art and craft are one subject; all activities using a computer are one subject). You can sign up for a maximum of three activities. If we have spare places, you may be able to sign up for more. If so, we’d ask you to give this up if we need the space for someone new to get the chance to join in. We can help with transport costs for a maximum of two activities (see FAQ 2.8).
We will keep your place for you for six months, and for longer if there isn’t a waiting list.
We know that transport costs can stop people going to things. We can help meet the costs of attending a maximum of two activities. You can download the application form here. Note:
- We provide support with transport costs – we do not fully fund transport
- We allocate an amount for booking taxis or HcL (formerly Handicabs) on the Ecas account by arrangement with us
- We review grants every year. We check the spending monthly and if your transport expenses seem excessive, we’ll discuss this with you. We may have to suspend the arrangement
- We assume that clients use HcL for 50% (half) of their journeys, and that they use a taxicard for taxi journeys
- We expect clients with a car or power chair provided under Motability or who get the mobility component of either Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to use these towards their costs
- We do not give anyone more than £600 a year for each activity they attend (see also FAQ 2.6)
- If there is a choice of location for an activity, Ecas will provide support with transport costs for only the location nearest to your home
- If you think we haven’t given you enough to meet the costs of getting to our activities, you can ask our grants committee to review this, if what you are asking for is within the £600 limit. This may take up to five months. The committee’s decision is final
No. Ecas staff provide limited (and not intimate) assistance only. Ecas staff may have no training in moving and assisting and are not trained to provide personal care. You are welcome to bring your personal assistant/carer to activities. We may be able to help with the cost of having a personal assistant for activities. You must bring appropriate mobility aids to allow you to move unaided between your transport, the venue where the activities are held and other facilities.
Ecas does not provide personal care, but welcomes any personal assistant you bring with you. Ecas is not registered with the Care Commission to provide intimate care. More at FAQs 2.9 and 2.11.
If you need a personal assistant in order to attend Ecas activities, we may be able to help you find funding. In exceptional cases, after consultation between Ecas and the care manager, we may be able to pay for a set number of hours at a rate acceptable to Ecas. This will take account of social care rates charged by recognised agencies.
For as long as you want and as long as you meet our criteria (see FAQ 1.2).
The same rules for behaviour (see FAQ 1.8) apply to taxis and other transport. See also FAQ 2.8.
We review and evaluate our work with clients who use our activities service to gather their views about our work. We also have a client consultation group (CCG) with a representative from each activity, chaired by an Ecas director. It meets when wider consultation is required.
If you want to make a formal complaint, it is best to use the complaints procedure. Copies are of the procedure are available to clients upon request. We aim to deal with all complaints quickly and fairly.
3. Ecas grants fund
Suspended as of 16/3/20 due to a sharp fall in portfolio value and uncertainty regarding future income. The Board of Directors will look to reintroduce the grants fund when Ecas’ financial position allows.
For support with transport costs see FAQ 2.8.
4. Befriending Service
The Ecas Befriending Service provides support to isolated, physically disabled adults aged over 18, and living in Edinburgh. By ‘isolated’ we mean people who do not get any support to attend activities, or take part in their community or leisure activities or whose social life is limited because of a physical disability. An example is someone who has few or no visits from family or friends.
Ecas checks the backgrounds of volunteers (disclosure checks) and trains volunteers to visit physically disabled adults at home, providing companionship and a chance to get involved in their community. Depending on what the befriender and befriendee agree, they might go on outings such as shopping, or visits to galleries, the cinema and so on. Ecas also provides support, such as transport costs, to help a client continue or renew their friendships (we call this service ‘facilitated friendship’). This is helpful for people who are finding it difficult to meet their friends, perhaps because they now live in different parts of the city.
There is more information on the website. Please contact us if you can’t find what you are looking for or if you’d like to discuss anything with us. We want to hear from you.
5.Young People’s Service
Our Young People’s Service, launched in January 2020, aims to work alongside physically disabled young people to identify individual pathways and navigate the options and opportunities available to them. These options can include, but are not restricted to, areas such as gaining independent living skills, employment, further education, understanding and knowledge of rights or just improving confidence and motivational levels. Even if you are not sure about what your goals are, we are happy to work with you to discuss the options.
Young people can self-refer or be referred by professionals or organisations.
Anyone who lives in Edinburgh and Lothian, who is aged between 18 – 30 and who has a physical disability (see FAQ 1.3)
We will work at your pace. We will work with you for as long as you need support with implementing and seeing through a plan. We will encourage ‘moving on’ from the service when the time is right for you.
There is no cost to participate in the one-to-one service
Initial meetings will be encouraged at our office in Norton Park. Meetings can also take place at a venue that you feel comfortable at such as a library, community centre, or local café.
There is no set time limit for the duration of meeting but as a general guidance you will meet with the Outreach Officer for approximately one hour.
You can decide if you want to meet weekly or bi-weekly. This can depend on your current schedule and what you feel comfortable committing to.
We may be able to help with transport costs depending on your circumstances. If you need help with transport costs you can discuss this with the Outreach Officer.
You can apply to access other Ecas services provided you meet the criteria. You can discuss this with the Outreach Officer if you are interested in finding out more.
You can look at the Young People’s page here to find out more, or you can phone or text the Outreach Officer, Megan, on 07464 871 733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 0131 475 2344.