Who we are

Established in 2002 The BIG Project supports children and young people aged 5-18 to learn, achieve, have fun and feel good about themselves.

Engendering a sense of stability and continuity for children and young people, many of whom experience social exclusion and discrimination at a variety of levels, we deliver ongoing, long-term support to help them overcome barriers and secure a positive future.

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Our team of full-time staff, specialist tutors, sessional workers and volunteers, span an age range of teens to sixties and come from a diverse variety of backgrounds and places. A significant strength of this organisation is its very low staff turnover which provides a great sense of stability and continuity for children and young people whose lives are often chaotic and uncertain.

This council ward has the highest percentage of child poverty (35%) out of all council wards in Edinburgh (Edinburgh Council Locality Insight Report 2016). Broomhouse is one of the more deprived areas in the city and in comparison with the rest of Scotland. The SIMD 2016 ranks Broomhouse 594 most deprived out of 7000 in Scotland and it rates in the worst 5% for employment, health, housing and income, and in the worst 2% for education/skills/training. 
Vandalism and incidents of fire-raising are significantly higher here than the rest of the city.

There are few opportunities and services available to children and young people in Broomhouse, and they and their families often have little motivation or funds to enable them to access these elsewhere. Domestic violence is prevalent, and children and young people live with the effects of poverty, alcohol and drugs on a daily basis. They often become more anxious as school holidays approach as this is an uncertain time for them.  Lacking positive role models, guidance and support, they are often left to their own devices, suffering neglect, inconsistent parenting skills and a lack of clear boundaries. Many live transient lives, families uproot to avoid conflict, partners come and go, and our local school has an annual turnover of 30% – the highest in the city. Children living here grow up with poverty, low aspirations, poor health and a general acceptance of their situation. More than one-third of those accessing The BIG Project last year were in the BME grouping, and in many homes, their parents speak little English.

The BIG Project delivers open access youth work, targeted work, projects and individual support and promotes activities and interests not as an end in themselves but as part of a wider developmental process.  Our programme offers children and young people a chance to go somewhere safe and supervised; take part in constructive activities; develop new interests; acquire new skills; make new friends; improve their health and fitness and get support and guidance from adults.

We support young people to be the best they can be and provide services which help to even out the inequalities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds by supporting their educational and social development, enriching their everyday experience and improving their chances in life.

Most children and young people want to join The BIG Project because they know it is a good place to be. Some come because their school, Social Worker, GP or other support service has referred them for more help. For more information on how to refer yourself or a child/young person you know, please contact us.