Edinburgh Helping Hands was founded by Jim Slaven and Bradley Welsh in 2014. They built a huge all-volunteer organisation which created change in working class communities throughout Edinburgh. Providing free, structured football and boxing sessions for thousands of young people. Collecting tonnes of food for local families. Distributing 1000 new kids bikes to families and over 100,000 cooked meals at the outbreak of Covid. And much, much more.
They built Helping Hands through Solidarity Not Charity.
Now, for the first time, we get the inside story of how and why they did it. The obstacles they faced, the battles they fought. How they built a winning team that transformed big ideas into positive outcomes.
Championing working class self-organisation and collective action over efforts led by middle class missionaries in the poverty industry. This book challenges negative stereotypes of Scotland’s housing schemes and celebrates the imagination, intelligence, and survival skills, of the people in our communities. It explores fundamental questions for grassroots organising. What is the difference between solidarity and charity? Why did Helping Hands refuse to accept state or corporate funding? How should we understand the role of the state in our communities? And, what part did the Guerrilla’s Gorilla play?
Slaven highlights the successes and failures of their work. Bringing together lessons from their experience to make an argument that there are no short cuts and no saviours. But there is a way forward. If we embrace Solidarity Not Charity.
Featuring an Introduction by Irvine Welsh and Foreword by John McGinn.
All profits from this book will go to independent community projects in Edinburgh as part of the Helping Hands legacy initiative.