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

This fund has now closed…thank you for all your applications.

Coinciding with the launch of Hard Edges Scotland, £80,000 has been 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 September and October. 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 were offered to support people, organisations and communities to hold new conversations about severe and multiple disadvantage.

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 also have encouraged people to facilitate new conversations in creative, open and inclusive ways like interactive events, artistic workshops, mini launches, open space forums, exhibitions, debates etc.

We will look to share the insights from these events from October 2019.