We continue to offer support and services to local residents and Asylum Seekers and Refugees in North Glasgow. As time has gone on our services have changed to reflect the changes which have taken place since we first started over twelve years ago.
In those early years we would have up to 100 people waiting for our shop doors to open and we could only allow groups of about twenty through at a time. This, as you can imagine, was quite frustrating for our customers. As the number of residents has diminished in the area we have been able to make a drop-in café available to our clients, where they can come in, have a coffee and meet friends. Whilst waiting they can shop at our Food Co-op and then go into the charity shop in the afternoon - an altogether much more enjoyable experience.
Another unwelcome change has been in the increasing numbers of Asylum Seekers who have been made destitute and homeless when they have been unsuccessful in their claim. This failure may be simply from a lack of evidence which is difficult to obtain from their home country and they may eventually go on to receive Leave to Remain. We have been able to set up a Destitution Fund within the Project to support up to thirty individuals who are given grocery packs, a fruit and vegetable voucher and monthly clothing grant from our shop. Please pray that there is a change in Asylum policy so that people are supported until their case is fully determined.
We now have volunteers with Citizens’ Advice training who are available on a Tuesday morning for routine enquiries. If someone is needing help with a more complex issue, there is a Welfare Rights Officer from Citizens’ Advice who holds an afternoon surgery. Appointments can be made at the Church Office for anyone who wishes to talk to him.
Anyone who wishes to join us at our Wednesday Prayer Meeting is most welcome and will join with volunteers and members of Rehoboth, the Tamil church to pray for personal, Project and wider church issues.
Our Wednesday Computer Class still offers a range of services from basic tuition to the opportunity to surf the internet, so if you have never taken the plunge and want to get to grips with the new technology, come along and get some help.
We have been very fortunate to have a number of tutors who have committed to our ESOL class over the years allowing us to continue to offer a friendly conversational English class which is very popular with Mums especially, who cannot access college classes because of the lack of crèche provision. We have been able to obtain funding from the local Integration Network over the last few years to maintain crèche provision for this class, which is much appreciated. Also under the umbrella of the Project is a Men’s Football Team, run by Paul Wilson, which meets up at the Red Road Pitches on a Friday evening.
Although some of our services have changed over the years the ethos of the Project remains unchanged. The Project is an integral part of St Rollox’s outreach and mission in the local community. As the doors of the church open to welcome people from many different nations, so relationships are built and opportunities made and taken by the many committed Christians on our team to share the Gospel through word and action.
I would urge you to continue to pray for the Project. Give thanks for the many lives touched over the years and for the committed volunteers without whom the Project could not function. Pray that as changes occur in the Sighthill area and in Asylum policy that we are able to sensitively follow the Lord’s leading in the services which we should offer.