Two of Scotland’s top chefs have joined a campaign to save an acclaimed Edinburgh community health scheme threatened by cuts. Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchin have backed a crowdfunding campaign which aims to raise £50,000 to keep the doors open at Pilton Community Health Project.

The project has provided support to vulnerable people across north Edinburgh, including some of Scotland’s most deprived areas for 35 years. But it faces having to close next month after Edinburgh’s health and social care body withdrew funding.

The Integration Joint Board (IJB) told the project in December that its funding would not be removed. But the decision has been greeted with bafflement by many in the north of Edinburgh who say the service’s blend of drop-in mental health support, support for victims of domestic abuse, childcare, cookery classes and art workshops is invaluable. Tom Kitchin and Martin Wishart said : “PCHP plays a really important role in ensuring everyone can access and cook healthy, nutritious meals. It’s vital that these and other services continue.”

The campaign says £50,000 will allow the project to run a much-reduced service for a year, but crucially will keep the doors open while longer-term funding is sought.

A spokeswoman for the PCHP said Edinburgh’ s IJB had also cut funding for six other charities in the north of the city “The short notice mean few will survive and it’s the people living in the most deprived areas of Edinburgh that will pay the price,” she said.

Edinburgh IJB says 152 grant applications for funding were received covering the next three financial years, totalling £31million, but it only had 14.1 million available to spend.

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