Activities and Events

Christmas can be a fun time but it can also be challenging for many, this year being no exception. VOCAL is offering a variety of free events and online activities to support carers over the Festive period and into the New Year.


Surviving the festive period: Carer workshops

The festive time can be difficult for carers. Share experiences and find out what support and services are available during this period. We are offering two dates for this session, one to be delivered face to face at the Carers Hub and another date for carers to join by Zoom.

Friday 11th December 10.30am-12.30am (live event at Carers Hub, 60 Leith Walk)

Wednesday 16th December 10am-11.30am (online, this session will take place via Zoom)

To register:

Visit:    Email

Call 0131 622 6666



Family Support Addictions: Online Discussion Group

Please join us to watch a 15-minute TED talk by Scottish writer Johann Hari: ‘Everything you know about addiction is wrong’.  The talk considers addiction from the point of view of our need for connections with others. It questions whether punishment and shame is the best approach for people with drug problems or whether a compassionate approach is more effective. Following the video there will be a group discussion focusing on the key themes such as exclusion, stigma and the role family and friends can have in promoting connections.

Wednesday 9th December 2.00pm-3.00pm (online, this session will take place via Zoom)


To register

Visit:    Email

Call 0131 622 6666



Wee Breaks – Carer short breaks and experiences

To note your interest for any of the events below please call VOCAL on 0131 622 6666 or you can request a space directly at Places are limited and you may only be able to access one activity so please state your preference when calling.

Please note your interest directly at for the Zoo and Botanics events by 4th December as places for these are very limited. If you do not hear back by Friday 11th December please assume you have not been successful. Keep an eye on and for other event opportunities.

Christmas at the Botanics

Escape the stresses of the season and enter into a botanical world festooned with illuminations and enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics. Watch as lights seem to tumble from the undergrowth and flash up trees like fizzing fireworks. There are giant baubles and snowflakes and clusters of trees wrapped in ever-changing ribbons of colour to be enjoyed. Take time for yourself and pause for some quiet reflection at the fire garden, aglow with hundreds of flickering flames.

VOCAL are offering a limited number of carers and a companion FREE tickets to enjoy this festive experience! We have x tickets available. These will be targeted at those on low incomes.

Dates TBC

*Christmas Nights at Edinburgh Zoo

Enjoy a magical journey to the North Pole and back. A spectacular light trail around the zoo will take you on an incredible voyage, passing through Penguins Rock by moonlight and exploring an enchanted ice forest. With stunning projections, twinkling fairy lights, candy canes, nutcrackers and much more you can glow all the way to the Arctic!

VOCAL are offering a limited number of carers and a companion FREE tickets to enjoy this festive experience! We have 12 adult tickets (carer and companion) and eight child tickets available. These will be targeted at those on low incomes.

A choice of dates is available throughout November, December 2020 and

January 2021

Wee Breaks – Dynamic Earth attraction visits

A visit to Dynamic Earth is like nothing else on Earth with a chance to experience the primeval forces of nature as they shaped our planet, to journey through space and time and even go on a 4DVENTURE around the world. You’ll be embarking on the interactive adventure of a lifetime – the lifetime of our planet.

VOCAL are offering carer and their companions (max 3) the opportunity to explore Dynamic Earth and enjoy some refreshments before/ after your adventure.

1st December 2020 (timeslots advised in advance)

20th January 2021 (timeslots advised in advance)

Wee Breaks Artist workshop with Rhona Jack, City Art Centre

Join Edinburgh Arts Festival and artist Rhona Jack at the City Art Centre as part of their Platform exhibition for contemporary emerging artists.

You will take a guided tour of the four artists in the exhibition, then explore Rhona’s work in art, craft and design, focusing on making craft through tactile sculptural installations.  Rhona will then further introduce her ideas through a weaving workshop, using recycled materials to explore ideas about sustainability and its relationship to the processes of arts and craft.

Places are limited to five adult carers only to enjoy the exhibition and workshop.

Sunday 29th November, 11.00am-2.00pm

Wee Breaks Vegetarian for Life – Festival Delights Cookery Demo

Roving Scottish Chef Claire Bannerman is back virtually via zoom with VOCAL to share more of her culinary expertise!

With another LIVE Cookery Demonstration getting us into the festive spirit in partnership with Vegetarian for Life.


Claire will take you through the steps and recipe to make a delicious vegetarian Festive gratin and vegan chocolate brownies.

Thursday 10th December 2020, 2.00 – 3.00pm

Wee Breaks Edinburgh Carers Cafes

Come together online for a chat at the Wee Breaks Edinburgh Carers Café.  Share a cuppa and a cake or two and ‘see’ some familiar faces on screen!

The cafes will be run virtually via Zoom.  Once you have signed up you will be emailed a link to connect online.

Request your place online via Wee Breaks and you will be emailed joining details for the event.

10th December 2020, 10.00-11.00am

21 January 2020, 2.00-3.00pm

Request your Wee Breaks places online at

* Please note: the safety and wellbeing of carers, staff and volunteers is of the utmost importance to us. We have implemented a number of health and safety measures to enable you to take part with confidence. Due to the changing guidance around physical distancing and COVID 19 some events may be subject to change. Please be reassured that wherever possible we will notify you of any changes in advance and offer an alternative activity.


Open sessions at the Edinburgh Carers Hub


Edinburgh Carers’ Hub will open on 30 and 31 December this year for carers looking for some time away from home. If you would like to attend, please call 0131 622 6666 at least 30 minutes before you plan to arrive. You can visit any time between 10am-4pm on these days. If a lockdown scenario arises, these activities will be moved online.


Wednesday 30thDecember Thursday 31st December

Telephone support

Call us for info or support

10.00am – 4.00pm

Telephone support

Call us for info or support


10.00am -11.00am

Festive Coffee Morning

Join us for coffee and a chat at the Centre or by Zoom


10.00am -11.00am

Festive Coffee Morning

Join us for coffee and a chat at the Centre or by Zoom


11.00am – 12.30pm


Test your knowledge in the Christmas Customs around the (snow) Globe Quiz

In person or by zoom


11.00am – 12.30pm


Test your knowledge in the Big Quiz with Bells On

In person or by zoom


SMART Family and Friends Meeting*

Support for family of people using drugs or alcohol

*Online, this event will take place via Zoom

2.00 – 3.00pm

Festive Reminiscence Session

Chance to chat about your memories and experiences of the festive season


3.00 – 4.00pm

Guided meditation

Relax and unwind with a guided mediation



3.00 – 4.00pm

Guided meditation

Relax and unwind with a guided mediation



Winter Opening Hours

Edinburgh Carers’ Hub will close at 3pm on Thursday 24th December and will reopen on the following dates:


25th – 29th December Closed
30th December* Open

10.00am – 4.00pm

31st December* Open

10.00am – 4.00pm

1st – 4th January Closed
5th January Normal opening times resume


Please also note the Edinburgh Carers Hub will be open to ALL carers from Edinburgh and Midlothian!



Useful Contacts


Edinburgh Social Work: 0131 200 2324 / 0800 731 6969 (out of hours emergency)

NHS 24: Non emergencies dial 111 (or contact GP)

Police Scotland: Non emergencies dial 101

For emergencies (ambulance, fire and police): dial 999

Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E):

Aged 13 and over – Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh: 0131 563 1000

Under 13 years – Royal Hospital for Sick Children: 0131 536 0000

Samaritans: 116 123 (free from mobile and landline)

Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87

24h Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 027 1234

Edinburgh Crisis Centre (mental health): 0808 801 0414

Psychiatric Emergency Team: 0131 537 6000

Antisocial Behaviour Helpline: 0131 529 7050

If you smell Gas: 0800 111 999

Water supply emergencies: 0845 600 8855

Electricity power cuts:

  • Scottish Hydro: 0800 300 999
  • Energy Networks: call 105 to report power faults




New Year 2021


Online Craft Group These workshops will guide you to produce seasonal themed crafts. All materials are provided and sent out to your home Monday 18th –22nd February 10.30-11.30am
Caring for a child with Additional Support Needs and Challenging Behaviour Led by VOCAL and a Clinical Psychologist from CAHM’s this session explores challenging behaviour and shares tips and advice for coping with this Thursday 14th  – 21stJanuary 11.00am-12.30pm
Alcohol and Me January is known to some as dry January, reflect on your relationship with alcohol and make a plan to change habits Friday

29th  January

Beat the blues with Laughter yoga This Monday is known at blue Monday so try out a session of laughter yoga to laugh those blue feelings away. Monday

18th  January

Learn to Zoom Increase your confidence in using Zoom. VOCAL delivers its online training programme via Zoom so coming to the session will let you fully access our other courses. Thursday