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Home  >  News  >  East Lothian Churches Launch Homelessness Project


East Lothian Churches Launch Homelessness Project

Wednesday October 25 2017

Left to right: Alastair Cameron, Chief Executive, Scottish Churches Housing Action; Ian Patterson, Homelessness Service Manager, ELC; Miriam McHardy, chair of the meeting; Biddy Kelly, Depute Managing Director, Fresh Start; and Tom Logan, Project Manager, Recycling First.

Churches in East Lothian are to set up a project helping formerly homeless people to establish themselves in new housing.

The starter pack project will provide basic household essentials to people as they settle into the community following a period of homelessness.

The project was agreed at a meeting last night organised by Scottish Churches Housing Action, which brought together representatives of local churches, homelessness projects and staff of East Lothian Council.

They heard a proposal from Recycling First, based in Macmerry, and Fresh Start in Edinburgh to work in partnership with the churches’ support. Ideas for further ways in which churches can help, such as befriending those who are isolated, were also put forward.

Miriam McHardy, a Musselburgh resident who sits on the SCHA board, chaired the meeting. She said: “Local congregations were asked to consider each appointing a volunteer to co‑ordinate the collection of good-quality donated goods. I’m delighted that the response was very positive.”

The meeting followed work carried out by SCHA on behalf of East Lothian Council to assess the potential for churches to contribute to local action to tackle the problems of homelessness.

SCHA Chief Executive Alastair Cameron said: “We know that local churches already do much to tackle homelessness and poverty, particularly by supporting foodbanks. But there was also a sense that more could be done. Starter packs are a very practical response to the needs of people experiencing homelessness, the vast majority of whom are from East Lothian.”

Church representatives agreed to take the idea back to their congregations and secure support for the work.

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