We have a long history of providing innovative mental health support in a community setting. Penumbra began in 1985 by providing the first registered mental health supported accommodation services in Scotland, enabling people with long term mental health issues to live with independence.

We started then as we meant to go on – by providing innovative solutions to gaps in mental health support. Our approach is based on the rights of service users to choice, dignity and the expectation of recovery. Since then our growth has encompassed a range of new individual and group projects, as well as negotiating and tendering for work from statutory agencies.


I.ROC wellbeing launches.


New Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 published.

The Edinburgh Crisis Centre, run by Penumbra, celebrates its 10 year anniversary.

Penumbra named as the Aberdeen partner in the Scottish Government’s Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) pilot. The DBI is a short intervention for people in distress who do not need emergency medical treatment, in settings like A&E departments or GP surgeries.

New 1st Response services open in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. 1st Response services provide sensitive and non-judgmental support, information and signposting.


Penumbra Milestone, a new residential unit for people with alcohol related brain damage (ARBD), opens. The 10-bedded unit, jointly run by NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council and Penumbra, provides care for vulnerable men and women who no longer require hospital treatment but who are not yet ready to go directly home.

Open Scotland’s first community based skin camouflage clinic for people with self harm scarring, run in conjunction with Changing Faces.

2014   Winner of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) Care Accolade for investing in the workforce for our outcomes approach.

Nova Short Breaks launched, a service which provides flexible and personalised short breaks for people who are experiencing mental ill health.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Abertay University completed for I.ROC (Individual Recovery Outcomes Counter).

Highly Commended at the Scottish Awards for Business Excellence.


Penumbra awarded SSSC Care Accolade for Personalisation of Services.

I.ROC (Individual Recovery Outcomes Counter) is validated as a measure of recovery and launched with HOPE Toolkit enabling outcomes based approaches in all Penumbra Services

Penumbra begins to develop and deliver services through self-directed support, working with our SDS champions group to ensure that the people who use our services have an input into the design and planning of what we deliver.

2011   Commenced Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with University of Abertay, Dundee, to assess the reliability and validity of our personal outcomes measure.

Celebrate 25 years of success with a new logo and website.

New Homelessness Service in Aberdeen is opened.

NOVA Services in Angus and Aberdeen are launched.


Quality Scotland award Penumbra EFQM ‘Committed to Excellence’ status, recognising the quality of the services Penumbra provide.

Penumbra National Conference takes place, bringing together over 100 staff to discuss Penumbra’s future and the development of personalised care.


Launch innovative new NOVA service in Dundee to promote social inclusion by supporting people with mental health problems to access mainstream leisure, recreation and education services.

Partner with Women Onto Work to offer employment training for female Penumbra service users in Edinburgh

Support two young people as members of the Scottish Youth Parliament to represent mental health and wellbeing issues.


Edinburgh Crisis Centre launch in partnership with Edinburgh Carers Council, Edinburgh Users Forum, City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian.

Penumbra launch Scotland’s first formal peer support service – Plan 2 Change – in Edinburgh. The service employs people with a lived experience of mental ill health to support and guide those facing similar issues.

ARBD Learning Centre in Glasgow opens.

Penumbra open services in Dundee and Moray.


Host the Scottish Participation Development Worker funded by HeadsUpScotland to promote the involvement of young people in issues which affect their mental health and wellbeing.

New service to provide support to young people in West Lothian who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

2005   Self-Harm projects launch in Edinburgh, Fife and North Ayrshire in association with Choose Life.

Penumbra Youth Project opens in Kirkcaldy, Fife, as a community based mental health project working with young people aged 12 to 21.

Formation of the Aberdeen Self-Harm Project, funded by the Aberdeen Choose Life Initiative and the Daily Record’s Save our Kids Campaign.

Scottish Recovery Network formally launched to raise awareness of recovery from mental health problems.


Penumbra Supported Living Services in the Borders and Fife open.

Youth Project Workers appointed in West Lothian and Glasgow to develop services specifically for young people.

Penumbra helps to establish the award-winning ‘See Me’ anti stigma campaign.


New ARBD Service in Grampian launched and Supported Living Projects extended.

Results of Penumbra’s research project on the experiences and needs of young people who self harm pubilished.


Launch our Supported Living Service for those at risk of homelessness in partnership with West Lothian Council.

Open a dedicated Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD) Service in Edinburgh.

1999   Launch our National Young Person’s Development Programme
1998   Services expanded to over 170 supported accommodation places operating in ten local authority areas from the Central Belt to the Western Isles.
1996   New services in Grampian, including four supported accommodation projects and a respite care project in Aberdeen, developed.

Following the NHS and Community Care Act, Penumbra began to offer the first approved ‘Care at Home’ service in Lothian specifically for people experiencing mental ill health, a programme which developed into our current nation-wide supported living projects.

Young Person’s drop in service in Hawick opens.

First Penumbra service in Glasgow opens -a supported accommodation project in Carntyne for people moving from Gartloch Hospital.

1994   Pioneering Young People’s Project is launched in Galashiels to support 16 to 25 year olds in the Borders experiencing mental ill health and emotional distress.
1993   Develop a joint venture with the Romanian League for Mental health, called Estuar. Estuar is launched as a Romanian not for profit organisation offering supported accommodation and support for people with mental health problems initially in Bucharest. Partner in the European Exchange network with organisations from Italy, France, Holland and Belgium. This innovative network allowed organisations to develop house swaps so that service users could visit and holiday in other European countries.

Launch the UK’s first national residential respite care project for people with mental health problems at Cairdeas House in Edinburgh.

Establish first project in the West Central region.

1991   Develop and open two supported accommodation houses in Stornoway. These projects enable people to return to the Western Isles after many years in long term care in Craig Dunain Hospital in Inverness.
1989   Open three new supported accommodation houses in Edinburgh, and begin to offer services in West Lothian and East Lothian. Now providing tenancies for 57 people
1985   Open Scotland’s first supported accommodation project for people with long term mental health problems, providing a home for seven people in Edinburgh as an alternative to long stay hospital wards