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Spring 2013

30 YEARS ON

what now for the next generation?

Transforming the lives of homeless and vulnerable people since 1983

Families and children: the hidden victims of homelessness

Our communities: are the good old days gone forever?

Life on a knife edge: fresh hope for homeless youth


ORDINARY PEOPLE CHANGING SCOTLAND FOR GOOD

Contents 2. A Message from Iain Gordon 4. Life on a Knife Edge 6. Bethany’s Services 8. From Survival to Success 12. More Blessed to Give 14. Sandy’s Sponsored Cycle 15. Fundraising 18. Children: The Unseen Victims 20. Foundations for the Future 22. Sanctuary on the Streets 25. The Care Shelter 26. The Good Old Days? 29. Community Voices 30. Step by Step: John’s Stoy 31. Giving Form

Welcome to Bethany’s 30th anniversary magazine. Like any birthday this is a chance to celebrate what has been achieved since the organisation was born, but it is so much more than that. You’ll see from our cover that we are using this opportunity to talk about the future too. The world is changing – economies in recession, welfare reform underway and big questions asked about how government, communities and individuals relate to each other. Bethany works with 4000 homeless and vulnerable people through many different services and in a growing number of places across Scotland. From very humble beginnings in Leith back in 1983, there is now an army of almost 3,000 volunteers, supported by a professional staff body of around 200, working day in and day out to make a positive and lasting difference in our communities. This magazine looks at a range of what we do but it’s also about what you do too. We hope you enjoy the stories of ordinary people – staff, volunteers and service users - who are finding that there really is a hope and a future which is changing Scotland for good.

Dan Reynolds Marketing and Development Manager

Please don’t just read our magazine. This is your chance to get involved. If you want to support our work, or have any questions, get in touch with us anytime by emailing supporters@bethanychristiantrust.com or by calling 0131 561 8930. 1

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Message from Iain Gordon Bethany Chief Executive

even see their already low levels of income being reduced as welfare reforms take hold. Some will even have to move out of their local area to find a property of appropriate size and cost, breaking supportive relationships apart. Stress on relationships and families places already vulnerable people at risk of losing their tenancies, their homes and their place in their local community. There are many root causes that render people vulnerable in our society. Whatever the cause of someone’s vulnerability, there is an increased risk of that vulnerability contributing to homelessness. This undoes so much fantastic work done in Scotland to tackle homelessness over the last ten years.

When Alan and Anne Berry first established Bethany and opened a hostel in Leith in 1983, they were seeking to meet an immediate need that they saw around them in Edinburgh at the time. While Bethany has certainly changed significantly over our thirty years, unfortunately the needs and issues faced by homeless and vulnerable people have not. The urgency of the need we see before us has not diminished and Bethany now offers a comprehensive range of services right across Scotland from Dumfries to Inverness. The landscape around us is changing fast; particularly for those who are vulnerable in our communities. Our recently volatile economy, although showing signs of improvement, is not doing so at a rate that can offer hope of full-time employment as a ready route out of homelessness. People who are either out of work or in low-paid employment and who are reliant on state benefits for their wellbeing may 2

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland

There is a real need in Scotland right now to enable vulnerable people to find support and advice in their local community that will prevent them from becoming homeless. As individuals, organisations and communities we must find ways to support people to overcome issues before an everyday issue becomes a full-blown crisis. All of us need to work together to bring change in Scotland; to Change Scotland for Good. We cannot do this on our own. We are working in partnership with others in the public, private and voluntary sectors. We’re also privileged to be able to count on the support of almost 3,000 volunteers. We need your support too. Pray for our work. Give to our work as part of our 30th anniversary appeal. Volunteer and you can strengthen our work. As you read through the articles and life stories here, think about how you can get involved. You too can Change Scotland for Good.


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Life on a knife edge: Fresh hope for homeless youth

With 60% of young people aged 16-18 leaving care with no job and often poor educational outcomes, 20% of them will be homeless within a year. This story from West Lothian shows how a sudden event, combined with a backdrop of uncertainty, can cause homelessness. The knife edge is not an easy thing to live on. While most teenagers go through episodes of uncertainty as they wrestle with the growing responsibilities associated with independence, how well teenagers cope with this change can depend on numerous factors. We often speak of young people who go off the rails but this can mean different things for different people. “I was a normal teenager until tensions with my step-dad got out of control. I sometimes bunked off school and smoked some weed – but nothing huge. However, when my step-dad threatened to hit my Mum, I lost it and said some stuff I shouldn’t have. My parents decided that this was the last straw.” All teenagers get into scrapes with authority figures but Andrew’s* outburst had a context we need to factor in. Andrew was trying to defend his mum when he saw his stepdad assault her. Surrounded by an atmosphere of conflict and physical violence, Andrew was already losing the battle to live on the knife edge. Andrew was thrown out and became homeless. “As far as most people were 4

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland

concerned I was a piece of dirt on the floor” he told us. “The fun-loving teenager disappeared and I became what people expected of me – a nobody.” Andrew struggled to find stability. After periods in temporary accommodation, his one significant relationship, the one with his girlfriend, ended. Andrew’s sense of isolation and rejection grew as his relationship with his mother finally broke down and feelings of suicide set in. Thankfully, Andrew secured a place in one of Bethany’s residential units, a safe place specialising in supporting young men with a background of homelessness and instability. As he received care and support from the staff team, suicidal thoughts dissipated and Andrew was able to sense his self-worth and hope the future gradually return. A welcome boost came when Andrew passed an entrance exam at the local college. Staff continued to help Andrew rebuild his life. Andrew continues to work towards a stable life. He has moved on from Bethany’s care but stays in touch. Pinning a job down is something Andrew really wants to do. He’s looking at an apprenticeship as a mechanic. With new found hope “If I hadn’t have come here, I would be dead or in prison by now”.


IF I HADN’T HAVE COME HERE, I’D BE DEAD OR IN PRISON BY NOW

Managing life on the knife edge isn’t easy and there are no quick fixes. As we listened to Andrew, it was good to know that Bethany’s residential units offer a place where staff can provide security and stability until each young person is steady enough to move on to independent living. *name changed for anonymity


Bethany’s Services Emergency and Resettlement Services Care Van: Along with Edinburgh City Mission, the Care Van provides food, hot drinks, and blankets for 20-60 rough sleepers in Edinburgh city centre every night. Care Shelter: Established in 1996, this service, supported by around 500 volunteers, provides rough sleepers shelter and hot meals in Edinburgh. Social Furniture Project: Both the Homemaker and Gateway to Homes and Communities projects provide low income families and individuals with household items to help turn their houses into homes. Emergency Resettlement Unit: A residential stepping stone for individuals in transition from 24-hour care to an independent tenancy. Addictions Unit for Men: Bethany Christian Centre offers ways out of addiction by providing a variety of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes.

Community support services Passing the Baton: Works to prevent repeat homelessness by helping formerly homeless and vulnerable people to resettle into communities. There is also a Passing the Baton for Older People which works to combat isolation and loneliness so that older people can retain their independence. Community Education: Bethany’s Community Education service runs a full programme of drop-in sessions, such as IT courses and discussion groups, helping people to learn and to become more confident. Drop-ins: with the help of local churches, these offer five pathways out of homelessness: advice & information, accommodation and resettlement support, healthcare, work and related opportunities, social and personal support. Volunteering Opportunities: Allows people without employment to transition into a work routine through a variety of volunteer positions.

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Visiting support services Visiting Support: Provides support to those in housing crisis with the aim of moving people into settled accommodation, and preventing people who are in tenancies from becoming homeless. Supported Housing: Provides fully furnished, single accommodation, as well as training in practical skills, such as budgeting and addiction recovery to help people keep their tenancy going. Kharis Court: A place that offers residential support to men and women between the ages of 16 and 25 seeking an independent lifestyle, with visiting support in your new home.

Inverness Aberdeenshire Aberdeen Dundee Perth Methil, Fife Dunfermline, Fife Edinburgh Bathgate, West Lothian Glasgow Dumfries 7

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ESCAPING THE PIT OF HOMELESSNESS ONCE AND FOR ALL


John Rodgers is Bethany’s Director of Operations. John knows all too well what being homeless is really like ‌ When did your personal journey with Bethany begin? My journey began back in 1987 when I came to Bethany. I had been sleeping rough on the streets of Edinburgh and prior to that had lived in a squat in Fife. I had become heavily dependent on alcohol to numb the pain in my life. I knew that if I was tanked up with drink then I would not need to face any of the pain of broken relationships, bereavement and the losses I had suffered. What is perhaps the worst thing about being homeless? For me it was the sense of there being no hope – the belief that this is as good as life gets and once you are down here in this pit of despair, there is no way out. It is frightening living on the streets sleeping rough. You are constantly looking over your shoulder watching out for your personal safety. The loneliness you experience of being estranged from family and friends is almost crippling at times. Wondering how I was going to survive another night out in the freezing cold is something I will never forget. When did things start to change for you? Things started to change for me not long after I was offered a bed at Bethany. I continued to drink for a number of months and abused the kindness shown to me in so many ways by dodging my rent, turning up in a drunken state and causing no end of disruption to the staff. The difference was that, unlike any other place I had experienced, they showed me love and wanted to help me out of this place of 9

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despair I was in. Through their consistent acts of love towards me, despite my drunkenness, they reached out to me and shared why they did what they did. Bethany Christian Trust is a faith-based organisation. What does that look like? The people who supported me so patiently did so because of their Christian faith. They didn’t preach and they didn’t judge. My heart gradually changed and I felt myself becoming less aggressive, less defensive and less suspicious. I found myself listening to them and looking at how they lived their lives. I started to understand why they lived the way they did. Through their love in action, they not only met my practical needs, but they helped me understand more of the emotional and spiritual dimension to life. I have an active Christian faith. I know where I have come from, but by God’s grace have moved on to better things. Every night when I lay my head on my pillow I thank God for the blessing of such simple things as a warm bed and a roof over my head. I now live my life trying to be Christ-like to my neighbour. Things have changed in Bethany’s 30 years but the need for residential services is still apparent. What role do residential programmes have today? Residential services offer a place of safety. You can come to terms with where life has taken you and take stock of your life. There is the opportunity to link in with other specialist agencies which may be required. Residents address life controlling issues and benefit from trusting relationships that ultimately lead on to living independently in society. Please consider how you will support Bethany in its 30th year. 10

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland


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BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland


We’re not always the best at asking for things – even when we need them. Sometimes we don’t ask for what we need, even when someone would willingly help us out. When it comes to asking for things, one taboo is firmly embedded in our culture: never ask for money. For this edition of our magazine, we have decided to do something about that. We’re going to be a little bit bolder than usual and make a direct appeal to all of our readers. In our 30th year, please invest £30 into our appeal to stop homelessness in Scotland. There – we did it. There is a lot of evidence that giving is liberating and that we humans actually enjoy it. The Bible itself tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. So, we’ll ask again: please invest £30 into our 30th anniversary appeal to stop homelessness in Scotland. All of us are aware of the circumstances we find ourselves in. If we are not affected personally by an increasing cost of living and a squeeze in our domestic budget, then the media will ensure that doom and gloom will hang over us, making sure that we look after Number One for fear of losing what we have. This is all very understandable. It’s a normal human reaction to revert to self-preservation. But there is another side to the story. It’s a story we wish we didn’t have to tell, but one that we must tell. It’s the story of people who have little or nothing and who are going to end up with even less. It’s the story of ordinary people who slip under the radar into poverty, loneliness and hopelessness. It’s the story of the people we could reach – if we had the resources. We’re going to ask one last time: please invest £30 into our 30th anniversary appeal to stop homelessness in Scotland. Now, more than ever, your generous gift is vital if we are to address the growing needs in our society.It is more blessed to give than to receive and we trust you will find it in your heart to transform a life in Scotland today.

Giving is simple. If you can’t afford £30 right now, be assured that little things add up to make a big difference. £3 a month would provide £36 of vital funds and if you are a UK taxpayer we can reclaim a further 25% through the Gift Aid scheme. You will find a giving form at the back of this magazine. Please help. 13

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Sandy’s Sponsored Cycle Sandy first came into contact with Bethany through one of Bethany’s hostels which helped him to get back on his feet at a difficult time. “I know what it’s like to not have a warm bed at night… I know what it’s like when you have to sleep out on the road”. Sandy admits that he still takes each day as it comes, but that the hand offered to him by Bethany has helped him up in life. Through his time in the Bethany hostel Sandy found a real sense of community, along with the opportunity to apply for permanent housing and become a regular volunteer in Bethany’s shops. Sandy has first-hand experience of the vital work of Bethany and as he has moved on from support he appreciates the opportunity to serve the Bethany cause in any way he can. One day Sandy decided to do something to fundraise for the winter care shelter. The care shelter provides rough sleepers with a place to go for the night where they can find shelter, a hot meal and a warm place to sleep. Sandy knows what it’s like to sleep rough on cold winter nights and with a desire to save others from the harsh winter nights Sandy organised a sponsored cycle to fundraise for the shelter. Sandy’s challenge saw him cycle the distance from Edinburgh to Newcastle, some 120 miles. Despite not having sat on a bike for 30 years, Sandy was 14

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland

determined to complete the distance. “I could have packed it in anytime but I thought, once you’ve started it, you’d better finish it” Sandy explained. Sandy was certainly pleased to have completed the challenge which he did on a fitness training bike in the Duke Street shop. Sandy is passionate about supporting the care shelter as he explains in his own words: “I know what they’re going through, I’ve been there”. It is fantastic to see an ex-service user who has made a positive move forward themselves and who is supporting the on-going work of Bethany in their own unique way. What will you do in our 30th anniversary year?


Fundraising Share your time, experience and practical skills to make a big difference to the lives of homeless and vulnerable people. We have opportunities for individuals, companies and churches so that you can fundraise in your own unique way.

What Could You Do? Here are some of the fun ways to fundraise with your friends: • Everyone loves a cuppa, so why not organise your own ‘Stop for tea’. We have loads of resources for you. Get the kettle on! • Be a Fashion Queen at your own clothes kitsch and switch party • Have a summer sizzler event with the neighbours - get that BBQ out! • A Girly pamper night- just don’t get the chocolate mixed up with the facemasks • Get your group together and arrange a bag pack in a local supermarket – it’s great fun • What about a fun day: tug-of-war, a quiz, a talent show, a bake sale, face painting, a car wash and so much more. We are never ever short of ideas and we love to encourage and support our

in Your Community fundraisers so please get in touch so that we can give you all the support you need. email: events@bethanychristiantrust.com or call Hannah on 0131 561 8925.

Fabulous Fundraisers ... Sandy cycled for homelessness As seen in our main article (left), ex-Bethany House resident and amazing Duke Street Shop volunteer Sandy contacted us to say he wanted to raise money for Bethany. He now loves to cycle and he raised over £700! Sandy we salute you! Alex ‘Dooked’ for Bethany Our very own super-support worker Alex decided to raise money for Bethany on New Year’s Day by running into the sea at South Queensferry as part of the Loony Dook! He raised over £200! Helen organised the Big Sing Helen led the Edinburgh University Music Society in organising the BIG SING. This amazing event was held in St. Cuthbert’s Church where a choir and orchestra learned and performed Handel’s Messiah under conductor Nick Fletcher. This wonderful musical event raised almost £700 for Bethany. We’ll sing to that! 15

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30

OF

HOPE

AND A FUTURE 16

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland


YEARS

GIVING

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CHILDREN : THE UNSEEN VICTIMS OF HOMELESSNESS 18

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland


Most people, if asked what

homelessness looks like, would picture a rough sleeper, sat on the pavement, perhaps asking passers-by for spare change. You could throw a dog into the equation too. Homelessness, however, reaches far beyond this stereotypical image that most of us see. This, the face of visible homelessness, is by no means the complete picture. Homelessness has no respect for individual vulnerabilities, capacity or age and children are often the unseen victims of homelessness. Last year, there were around 3,500 households with children in temporary accommodation across Scotland. A significant 30% of the 45,322 homeless applications made throughout Scotland were households with children. The main reason listed for those defined as priority need? The applicant has dependent children. A homelessness application to a local authority is counted just once – but each application can contain any number of people. Taking the statistics above, that’s just short of 14,000 applications with one, two and sometimes more children hidden within each of those applications. Homeless children wake up each day never knowing where they will be moved to next. Children suffer in cramped accommodation with disturbed sleep patterns, strange noises and a pervading sense of insecurity that many cannot explain. Homelessness leaves parents at breaking point and children’s lives in chaos. The disruption of living in temporary accommodation clearly has a damaging effect on children’s

well-being and children living in poor housing are almost twice as likely to suffer from poor health as other children. One man Bethany was able to help through the Homemaker project told us how he struggled to hold things together. Lacking the basic household equipment to wash his children’s school uniforms, a single father of two – embarrassed and ashamed – kept his children off school. This happened simply because he didn’t have a washing machine to provide clean clothes for his children. This cannot continue in the Scotland we all want to see. Living in overcrowded conditions, many children become sick or fall behind at school as they miss out on the space and privacy necessary for play, homework and proper sleep. Moving into and between temporary accommodation means that two thirds of homeless households report that their children have problems at school. With all these obstacles pitted against them during their formative years, children growing up in poor housing often spend the rest of their lives struggling to catch up. Evidence also suggests that those who suffer poor housing as children run an increased risk of homelessness in adulthood. Bethany is dedicated to seeing its services benefit the next generation, tackling homelessness at its root cause and reaching the most vulnerable. Something as simple as providing a washing machine to a single-parent household can make all the difference. What will you do to help? 19

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FOUNDATIONS

FOR THE FUTURE: One man’s lasting legacy Alan and Anne Berry arrived in Leith in the mid-1970s. Alan took up the role as Minister at South Leith Baptist church. As a family they were impacted by the levels of unemployment, poor housing and the decline of what was once a great port. It wasn’t long before Alan wanted to address these issues. Alan knew that homelessness and its associated problems were a huge issue, but rather than being intimidated by the size and scope of the issue, Alan decided that something had to be done. At the time, increasing numbers were coming to the church, not only for spiritual guidance, but for practical help with basic needs to do with poverty, housing and relationship breakdown. Alan’s faith was rooted in the idea that what he believed should be demonstrated in a practical, tangible way. Speaking from the pulpit to then being met by homeless people at the church doors strengthened Alan’s convictions that the Christian faith should be expressed not just in words but in action. The same founding principle is at the heart of the organisation today. Vision, mission and value statements set out the ethos of demonstrating unconditional love to everyone regardless of their background, race or religion. From this foundation, and with Alan’s long-standing involvement, Bethany has grown into what it is today. The work of Bethany Christian Trust today is as varied and wide-ranging as the people who need its services.

Staff, volunteers and service users at Bethany give thanks for the unique contribution and faithful service of Alan and Anne Berry, whose enduring convictions, selfless sacrifice and ongoing hard work have established and shaped the lives of so many homeless and vulnerable people since 1983.

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the

Care Van

a sanctuary on the streets

Aaron Elder has worked in Bethany shops. We sent him out to see one of Bethany’s services in action. Aaron writes: I join the team at Waverley bridge, the location of the first stop on the Care Van route. From the outset my overriding experience is the warmth of the volunteers and the thankfulness of those they are serving. This feeling continues throughout the night. The volunteer team remain eager to build bridges and the service users are vocal in their appreciation of Van. Long serving team leader Brian, and team member Janetta, from St Ninian’s church inform me that although this is a quieter night than usual, the focus was very much on meeting the immediate needs of the dozen or so rough sleepers they would meet during the night. For these individuals, the Care Van offers sanctuary on the streets; an opportunity to rest and to know security, comfort and that somebody does actually care. Staffed by around 750 people in 42 teams from churches across the Lothians, the service relies entirely on volunteers. The most significant role of the volunteers is their offer of care, conversation and a listening ear to those who are so often isolated and lonely. The team of church folk that I join have a real passion for those they are serving, making the Care Van a welcoming and safe place to be. For the team from St Ninian’s, preparation 22

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for the evening begins long before they head out onto the streets and they meet for prayer before they travel to collect the van. Faith is a central part of their motivation and everyone is keen to turn their beliefs into practical action. As I find out more about the Care Van, it becomes evident that is just one of the many volunteer-led, faith sector activities which are an essential part of our society. Providing hot soup, drinks and blankets, the Care Van is also about providing information to any number of rough sleepers in Edinburgh city centre every night, signposting them to ways to move out of homelessness and into a better way of life. Far from being a service that provides short-term solutions which create a dependence on hand-outs, it is a vital part of the range of services that meet people where they are and which create routes out of the endless cycle of homelessness into independent living. There is a real community around the Care Van, not just as relationships are built between volunteers and service users, but also amongst the various teams who serve. The group from St Ninian’s are part of the broader community of Care Van teams. The sense of excellence and obvious passion of the volunteers means that the Care Van is still going strong more than twenty years after its first outing. Scott explains that he has been volunteering for five years. He talks me through the route that the Care Van would


be travelling this evening. “The care van is really good. It’s humbling for me and the work it does is really important” he remarks. Scott is encouraged by the smaller than normal numbers of rough sleepers on the route, explaining that “it’s nice when it’s quiet because you know people have a bed for the night”. Run in partnership with Edinburgh City Mission, the Care Van can be seen on the streets of Edinburgh throughout the year providing for people in desperate need. The team from St Ninian’s tell me that they enjoy giving up their time but are also happy to collect the clothes, hats, scarves and blankets that are given away. Over the course of the evening there are a few visitors who take an extra layer for the night and the team tell me how even the little things like a pair of gloves make a huge difference. Janetta explains that

there are also some extraordinary requests. “One man took a white shirt so that he could attend a funeral” she informed me. Each night as the van goes out, it undeniably makes a lasting and positive impression on the lives of all of those that it touches. We soon meet a young man without a place to stay for the night. He approaches the Van, takes a drink and is directed to Bethany’s Winter Care Shelter where he will find a hot meal, a bed for the night and someone who can help with finding a more permanent solution to his needs. This is a striking example of how offering a first point of contact links naturally to other forms of support. I started to get a real grasp of how Bethany’s range of services relieves the immediate suffering people experience but also meets their long term needs.

DID YOU KNOW? The Care Van is out every night in Edinburgh City Centre. There are only two exceptions when the city centre is closed for Festival fireworks and for Hogmanay celebrations.

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Anything from 20 to 60 homeless people are served every night. For many, this is a vital chance to get warm and to have a blether with someone who will listen to them.

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The project relies on 750 volunteers who serve around 23,000 hot drinks each year. That’s enough tea given out in a year to last the average British tea drinker over 25 years.

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the

Care Shelter

of their lives but the kindness shown to them by the staff and volunteers increases their self-esteem and ultimately changes lives. We’re sure you’ll agree that the shelter is great example of how meeting people’s most basic immediate needs provides a route to finding more permanent solutions to even the most complex of long-term needs.

The work of the Care Van is closely linked to the Winter Care Shelter. For the past 16 years the Edinburgh-based Shelter has offered an immediate response to the most vulnerable men and women sleeping rough on the streets throughout the cold winter months. Open for 5 months each year it provides a refuge to those who would otherwise sleep in doorways, graveyards and parks during the harshest months of the year. The Winter Care Shelter is run by a small staff team and only made possible with the support of more than 70 local churches and over 750 volunteers. Everyone using the Shelter is greeted by smiling faces and met by a team of volunteers who generously provide a hot 2 course meal and warm drinks. Shelter users are given the opportunity to talk to staff before settling down for a safe night’s sleep. These conversations form the first step for many rough sleepers to begin to address the issues surrounding their homelessness and give them a chance to renew their hope and consider a brighter future. For us, it is vital that every person who uses the Shelter is met with acceptance and respect. Many are at the lowest point

THE CARE SHELTER WAS A GODSEND; THE TEMPERATURES WERE SUB-ZERO OUTSIDE. WE WERE GIVEN HOT FOOD AND A PLACE TO STAY. IN THE MORNING SOMEONE CAME TO DISCUSS OUR HOUSING SITUATION AND GAVE US GOOD ADVICE

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The Good

Old Days:

GONE FOREVER?


PEOPLE USED TO MIX BETTER; YOU WERE IN AND OUT OF EACH OTHER’S HOMES; YOU REALLY COULD DEPEND ON YOUR NEIGHBOURS

Words from one of the ladies at

Jamieson Place Sheltered Accommodation off Leith Walk reflect many people’s view that community was very different in the past. Even without the rose tinted spectacles, most people talk of stronger communities that no longer exist. This is where a new community project comes into its own. Inspiring Leith Link Up is a project led by Inspiring Scotland and run by Bethany in Leith.

runs the project. Bethany was approached thanks to a successful track record in tackling homelessness and transforming vulnerable people’s lives through a range of diverse but interlinked services. Inspiring Leith Link Up is a great opportunity for Bethany to engage with new groups and demonstrate the charity’s values in a very practical way. Leith community facilitator, Ian Dyson, spent considerable time listening to a wide range of local people hearing their views, stories and issues about local life. This led to the making of ‘The People’s Map of Leith’ - a textile guide to the area. The unveiling saw 65 people attend and learn more about the programme to get communities working for their own good.

With an innovative approach, the project enables local people to use their talents and strengths to build stronger, better connected communities. Helen Chambers from Inspiring Scotland says “I don’t buy into talk of broken Britain, but the fabric of our communities has worn thin and needs reweaving”. Local people are starting to take a lead in shaping their lives and with start-up funding available, a good idea can be put into practice pretty much straight away. In each area, a ‘host’ organisation with an understanding of the local area

The Friends of Lorne Primary were supported to start a ‘Playground Café’ so parents can get to know each other at the school gate. This helps isolated parents to build bridges. 27

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St Paul’s Garden Project will see local people transform an old church playground into a green oasis. A curry night has been held along with a community film showing of ‘Brave’ with an archery taster session to help bring different people together. The Casselkirk Neighbourhood Association has also been helped with community building events. It has been great to hear feedback on how the work has already made a difference. “Thanks for inviting me along and letting me meet people in my community that I wouldn’t meet otherwise. As a non-parent, I often am excluded from things like that, as we are all divided up into our different roles in the community. Thanks for a great wee night”. An older gentleman said “I really enjoy spending time with the families and the children, it’s a pleasure to be involved”. The final word goes to Andrew Sweeney of the Casselkirk Neighbourhood Association:

I WANT THERE TO BE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY LIKE WHEN I WAS A KID, WHERE OLD PEOPLE ARE NOT AFRAID TO OPEN THEIR DOOR AND WHERE I CAN TALK TO YOUNG PEOPLE BECAUSE I KNOW THEM

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For more information see www.inspiringscotland.org or keep up to date on facebook – ‘inspiring Leith’


COMMUNITY VOICES ...

Bethany’s community based services are a stepping stone out of homelessness. From Dumfries to Edinburgh, Fife, Dundee and Aberdeen, these services provide advice and information about health, accommodation and work-related opportunities as well as personal and social support. “I have been homeless a few times in my life. When I moved into my unfurnished flat in 2010 I had practically nothing; just some personal belongings with no furniture other than a camp bed. Very impractical as I have a medical condition called Fibromyalgia, chronic widespread pain, which affects the muscle tissues and ligaments. Another charity referred me to Bethany to make a fresh start in my new home. How grateful I was when two kind volunteers came and brought some items - a brand new microwave, fridge and a lovely red sofa, plus a welcome package with much needed household goods. I did not expect this at all. The generosity of the charity made it possible for me to settle myself in Leith. Sunshine on Leith indeed! Bethany has also helped me in another way as I have been happily involved with the Bugle magazine since November 2010. I love submitting my art work, poems or articles to the magazine. I enjoy the contact with the other team members and their antics. I love helping people by typing up their articles or with proofreading their submissions. I still use the job club within Bethany, as all the volunteers are always so friendly and patient. I feel valued as a person. Keep up the good work Bethany. Here’s to another 30 years.”

“I came across Bethany in 2008 after my housing support was stopped. I was assessed and told that I was too independent. It was then that I joined Bethany’s community education group. I’m involved with the Bugle magazine, the discussion group, the Scots music group and the Men’s group. I get something out of all of these things. I got involved in the music group by a tutor nagging me to death. I had a speech problem and I didn’t think I would be able to fit in. Singing has helped my speech enormously and it also helped my confidence tremendously. My song, ‘Twa Fields of Dreams’ started off as a poem. It got more and more verses and I thought it could be made into a song. I asked one of the tutors about it who said I could ask Scott Murray, the tutor in charge, what he thought. Then Scott made it into a song for me. Late last year, the discussion group was taped and everyone who wanted a copy received one. I have attempted to learn computers and that is on-going. Coming to Bethany is the best thing I ever did. My opinion of the staff is that they are highly professional. Hopefully, in the future, I can repay the patient tutors who I have had trying to help me learn and finally be able to use the computers!” 29

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 www.bethanychristiantrust.com


I applied for relevant grants, sorted my benefits and registered with a doctor. My support worker then referred me to ‘Passing the Baton’. Over the past year, I’ve built up a great relationship with Hugo, my ‘Passing the Baton’ buddy. Hugo has helped me to apply for jobs and has helped me manage my finances. Many times my wages were actually less than what I would have received on job seekers allowance but I kept going, determined to find other work.

“I had drunk most of my life from a young teenager. In early 2011, I gave up my flat in Ayrshire to make some changes in my life ... Things were out of control. I knew I couldn’t beat my addiction staying where I was. Giving up my place to move into Bethany Christian Centre is the best thing I’ve ever done. With the support of staff within the Centre I learned to manage my addiction and began to pull my life back together again. My new found faith helped me to believe that I had a second chance and that this time I could succeed. I left the Centre and moved into my flat. With input from Bethany’s Visiting Support, I started to live independently. 30

BETHANY CHRISTIAN TRUST 2013 30 years of work with homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland

At the end of 2012, I was ready to move on from support. Each of Bethany’s services played a role in my on-going recovery. Looking back on my journey, this is the advice I would give you: take whatever support is available to help you move on. Folk were there to give me help and I took it. I now don’t feel I need the support ‘cause I’m ready to move on.”

THINGS WERE OUT OF CONTROL. I KNEW I COULDN’T BEAT MY ADDICTION STAYING WHERE I WAS. GIVING UP MY PLACE TO MOVE INTO BETHANY CHRISTIAN CENTRE IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER DONE


Giving is simple. You can transform a life in any of the following ways:

Use the form overleaf to give £30 today or to spread your gift over a year at £3 per month. If you are a UK taxpayer, please tick the box to make your gift go even further.

Go online and visit www.bethanychristiantrust.com and click donate.

If it suits you better, why not keep a jar for your loose change – every penny counts.


Giving Form – I want to help stop homelessness in Scotland Title

First Name

Surname

Address Postcode Telephone Email

Gift aid declaration: I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. I understand the charity will reclaim 28p of tax on every £1 that I gave up to 5 April 2008 and will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give on or after 6 April 2008. (please tick) Yes No Date Please tick if you require an acknowledgement

Add your email address above.

For donations via Self-Assessment Tax Returns quote charity code VAA10BG.

I want to support Bethany with a regular donation of £ Every (please tick):

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Date of First Payment (DDMMYYYY) Bank/Building Society Account Number Branch Sort Code

Account Name

Name of your Bank or Building Society Branch Address Postcode This cancels any existing Standing Order I have (to account number 01443009 or 00146403) – Y/N* (*delete as appropriate).

To the Manager: (Bank/Building Society), please pay Bank of Scotland, 13 Newkirkgate, Edinburgh EH6 6AD the amount stated above as I have indicated until further notice, for the credit of Bethany Christian Trust (Account number: 01443009, Sort Code: 800271) Account Holder’s Signature

Date

I want to support Bethany with a single donation of £ By *Cheque/Postal Order/Visa/MasterCard/CAF (*delete as appropriate) Please make cheques/postal orders payable to ‘Bethany Christian Trust’ Card No Issue No Security Code

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Please return to: Bethany Christian Trust, 65 Bonnington Road, Edinburgh, EH6 5JQ.


Bethany Christian Trust is a Limited Company Registered in Scotland. Company number 228528. Charity number SC003783. Registered Office: 65 Bonnington Road, Edinburgh, EH6 5JQ Tel: 0131 561 8930 Fax: 0131 561 8902. info@bethanychristiantrust.com www.bethanychristiantrust.com

Designed by Elizabeth Clark (eclark67@gmail.com) Photos by Julie Bull, Laurence Winram, and Dorit Fugh (www.a-picture-a-day.com)


30th anniversary spring magazine