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A week in the life at Hays Community Hub with Suzanne Douglas

Hays Hub IMOW Header

The work our People carry out in the Communities we serve can be truly life-changing for those supported. A shining example of this is Hays Community Hub in Edinburgh which provides a range of services to help with everything from coffee mornings to cost of living support.

We spoke to Suzanne Douglas, Social Impact Officer, to learn more about what the day-to-day in the Hays Hub looks like – although no two are ever the same – and find out how it impacts the Customers she helps on a daily basis.

Based on a typical week, here’s a snapshot of seven days at Hays Community Hub and what it’s like to be involved in Suzanne’s own words.

A week in the life of Hays Community Hub


  • 09:00-10:00 - Prepping for the week. A donation from Morrisons was unpacked and sorted.
  • 10:00-15:00 - Grassroots run a session offering men's interview clothing. 
  • 13:00-15:00 - React deliver a Mental Health Awareness Course.
  • 12:30-14:30 - Community Renewal put on a Job Fair with 36 job seekers attending. 
  • 15:00-17:00 - Syrian Men’s group meets – time for socialising and an English lesson.


  • 09:00-15:00 - Capability Scotland joined us for a range of activities. 
  • 10:00-16:00 - Stitch in Time arrived to finish their memory bears for family members. 
  • 14:00-16:00 - Volunteers arrive to sort and stack our delivery from Fairshare. 
  • 17:00-19:00 - Starpic leads our first two youth sessions of the week. 


  • 09:00-11:00 - Volunteers go to local supermarkets collecting donations for Community Pantry Day. 
  • 10:00-12:00 - Digital drop-in, allowing Community members access to computers. 
  • 11:00-12:00 - Community Renewal advice session and drop-ins from police and housing officers. 
  • 11:00-14:00 - Community Pantry opens for Customers. 
  • 17:00-19:00 - Starpic runs the second youth session of the week.


  • 09:00-15:00 - Benefits drop in with Community Renewal and employability drop in with Wheatley.
  • 10:00-12:00 - Pet food bank open to the Community. 
  • 16:00-18:00 - Starpic delivers their last youth session of the week.
  • 19:00-22:00 – Woman’s Gathering Group, aimed at reducing social isolation and giving support.


  • 09:00-15:00 - Capability Scotland's communication group and newsletter group meeting.
  • 10:00-12:00 - Edinburgh Food Social deliver a cooking class.
  • 10:00-15:00 - Grassroots attend for another session offering men's interview clothing.


  • Saturday - Multicultural youth group and family activities.
  • Sunday - Sudanese Community Edinburgh runs activities including, tutoring, Pilates, and cooking.  

Now that’s a packed schedule. We talked to Suzanne to learn more about what it’s like to organise this beloved Community space.

How would you describe your role?

“Put simply, I’d say my main responsibility is looking after the Hays Hub, and that includes everything that goes with it. There’s always lots going on but it's great to see the support from the Community. We currently have 23 volunteers as well as a college placement with us every Thursday.

“Each week can have different drop-in events and services depending on what our customers are looking for as well as lots of one-off events. 

“My job is to make sure everything runs smoothly, and that anything the Customers need, within reason, can be materialised for them. I try and make sure that if they ask for anything like music classes, art classes, English classes, the hub will try and facilitate that for them.”

Hays Community Hub Pantry

It’s clearly an integral part of the local Community, how did it come about?

“The Hub used to be a commercial property before we got offered it, an energy company had the lease for it, and they went in the administration. It was a test of change at the time and that's how it started. 

“We were doing the cleaning ourselves; we procured all the furniture - it was second-hand, donated to us. Right now, if you were to see it, you can tell that everything's been repurposed - like a proper grassroots project. We built it from the ground up, it's not flashy, but that's why the Customers like it, because it's very welcoming and homely.”

What would you say the most rewarding part of working at the hub has been for you?

“I'm really lucky that I'm in a position where I get to see the impact we make every day. I'm there on the ground with the Customers. 

“We must have 300 people come during a week and that’s just the projects that we have in the hub I'm heavily involved in. For instance, we have the Community pantry in partnership with Community Renewal - I'm there every day talking to the Customers, taking in the deliveries and all the rest. 

“If they're coming to the pantry, often we can identify if there's any other issues. If they’ve not got any credit on their phone, we can help out with a SIM card, access to computers, we can provide support to people so they can update their universal credit journal. These insights allow us to put support in place where needed. We noticed that people were feeding their pets instead of feeding themselves, so we started up the Pet Food Bank." 

Hays Community Hub Community Centre

“I think that's probably the best thing for me. Actually being there and getting to see the difference made every day. So, rather than just reading about it or seeing the data – I get to see the impact we make on Customers’ lives.”

From your experience, who uses the hub’s services and what support are you able to offer?

“In the area where we’re based, there's huge poverty here and it's really noticeable.

“We have people in crisis every day, people approaching us for emergency food parcels and those who know that me and the team are here to provide support in really challenging times for them. 

“Although, with the ongoing cost of living crisis, we are seeing more and more issues daily - we are really lucky that we have such a great company that provides Customers with these opportunities for help and truly cares about supporting Communities.”

What response do you get from the Community for the work you do?

“We get wonderful feedback. We even get postcards from our Customers if they go away somewhere. 

“People are always saying to me, I wish my landlord did things like this and it’s a privilege to be in the position to offer support. We can provide them with furniture, energy advice, and guidance on issues that impact daily life for our Customers. They are always so grateful that we’re here to give them somewhere to go for a helping hand.”

Always prioritising the needs of Customers, Suzanne’s amazing work was recognised with a Commendation in the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards 2024 Community Champion category.

Hearing from our People providing frontline support is a great reminder of what Places for People stand for and why we’ll always put Communities first.

Read more heart-warming stories from our Customers and People

We hope you found this story inspirational. If you would like to read more stories from around the Places for People organisation, check out more of our In My Own Words stories.  

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