Over the next few months, we will be sharing several reports that expand our understanding of severe and multiple disadvantage – in different places and contexts – as a series called ‘Connected.’

This work builds on Hard Edges which was published in 2015 with Heriot-Watt University. It was the first statistical profile of severe and multiple disadvantage and showed that there were 58,000 people in England in simultaneous contact with homelessness, substance misuse and criminal justice services.

It has been influential in drawing attention to the ways in which social harms reinforce one another and cluster around many of the same people. However, whilst the analysis presented in Hard Edges is powerful, it does not present the last word on severe and multiple disadvantage. There is always room to increase our knowledge, explore different perspectives, and bring in other, and alternate views. So, based on a variety of directly commissioned and grant-funded work, we are publishing a new set of reports which both broaden and deepen the scope of our conversations. We are launching with Hard Edges Scotland, followed by experiences of severe and multiple disadvantage across:-

  • Ethnicity, faith and culture
  • Gender
  • LGBT community
  • Men, masculinity and violence
  • How the media covers severe and multiple disadvantage

Rather than being competing analyses, we want to consider their findings and implications together, as part of an interconnected whole.

The first to be shared is Hard Edges Scotland. The central aim of this study is to establish a statistical profile of the extent and nature of severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD) in Scotland. The full report and summary report can be found below.


Hard Edges Scotland

Hard Edges Scotland has been commissioned by Lankelly Chase and The Robertson Trust and authored by Heriot-Watt University.

The research highlights the complexity of the lives of people facing multiple disadvantage north of the border. It also details the challenges that charitable services and the public sector are facing. In particular, the report illustrates the mismatch between the multiple disadvantages people face and the fact that services are often set up to address ‘single issues’.

Hard Edges Scotland identifies that people are often not able to access services until they have reached crisis point. It also highlights the necessity for services to become more consistent and tailored to each person, taking trauma and underlying causes such as poverty and childhood experience into consideration, to address the current gaps which are locking people in extreme disadvantage.

The pervasive nature of multiple disadvantage can affect whole families and communities, and the research alerts the urgent need to find different ways to address these problems to ensure they are not inherited by future generations.

Distributed Launches

Coinciding with the launch of Hard Edges Scotland, £80,000 is being made available to communities and organisations across Scotland to encourage new conversations about severe and multiple disadvantage.

*To accompany the remaining pieces of ‘Connected’ research, we will be launching a UK wide ‘Distributed Launch’ grant between July and August. We shall let people know via social media and through our networks.*

Hard Edges Scotland Distributed Launch

For the launch of Hard Edges Scotland small grants of between £1,500 and £3,000 are being offered to support people, organisations and communities to hold new conversations about severe and multiple disadvantage. This feels like a more equal and participatory way of launching the research.

We are keen for people to connect and reflect on what the findings are telling us. We hope to hear different voices and perspectives, encourage new connections and actions between people, promote a sense of collective ownership and gather insights from across the wider system.

We don’t want to be too prescriptive about how the content from the report is used. However, we do encourage you to facilitate new conversations in creative, open and inclusive ways like interactive events, artistic workshops, mini launches, open space forums, exhibitions, debates etc. We are not offering funding for projects arising from the issues discussed in the report.

Who can apply?

There are no restrictions on what kind of organisations can take part: the programme is open to charities, community groups, networks, relevant statutory organisations, educational institutions and partnerships who want to use Hard Edges Scotland as the starting point of a new conversation about the nature and extent of severe social harm.

We are particularly interested in partnerships which cross-professional or traditional sector boundaries/silos.

Budget details

£1,500 is available for individual organisations planning to run an event, workshop or similar. For events planned and delivered in partnership, a small financial incentive takes the amount available up to £3,000.

There will only be a single grant-holder and we expect partnering organisations to agree their shares as appropriate.

Requests and restrictions

We ask that partners let us know what you are planning and to share your insights in the form of a blog, newspaper or photographs for example. We will also ask for a follow-up conversation about what you learnt and any interesting results. After the distributed launch programme has concluded, we may arrange a learning event to gather different partners together for a collective view on the work undertaken.

The grant is intended to cover any costs incurred in organising and running an activity or event – such as venue hire, catering, materials, and staff capacity. It is intended to give organisations freedom to act independently, and our capacity to provide further non-financial resources (eg staff time, promotional support, extra training etc) is limited. We cannot guarantee the availability of report authors from Heriot-Watt or staff members from Lankelly Chase/The Robertson Trust, so plans should not centre on our input.


On reflection, to give people as much time as possible to apply for grants we are opening up the application process beyond the initial July 24th deadline. Applications can be made either until September (as all activities need to be completed by October), or until the full £80,000 has been allocated.

We will be getting in touch with current applicants by 26th July. Thereafter it will be on a weekly basis.


Application process

There is a simple online application form here with a few questions asking for your thoughts on the report and your ideas for a new conversation.

If you would rather apply using a word document then download it here and email your response to communications@lankellychase.org.uk

We are also happy to receive short videos. Please answer the same questions on the form and email us at communications@lankellychase.org.uk.

We hope to support as many conversations as budget allows and will work on the initial assumption that all organisations who apply are equally capable. We have discussed the kind of conversations we want to see with partners at Glasgow Homelessness Network who contributed to the research; in the event of oversubscription we will look to these discussions for guidance.

We reserve the right to undertake light-touch due diligence should this be necessary/appropriate.


If you have any questions feel free to call us on 020 3747 9930.