Lifeline Glasgow church gets £200k upgrade
Published on 20 June, 2017
A Glasgow church which operates one of the city's largest food banks is celebrating completion of a £220,000 refurbishment.
A more welcoming space
The Church of Scotland's Blawarthill Church in Scotstoun has been transformed into a more welcoming space to serve the local community and enable more people to access its services.
Glasgow North West Foodbank is operated from the church in partnership with the Trussell Trust.
Last year saw large increases in the number of people being referred to the food bank and also in the amount of help they required. As well as the church premises, volunteers now operate two distribution centres in Maryhill.
In 2016, 2482 people were referred for emergency aid, up 36% on the previous year, and a total of 53 307 meals were provided, an increase of 46%.
Very Rev Dr John Chalmers, the recently retired Principal Clerk, attended a rededication service earlier this month.
Dignified and respectful
With new double-glazing, walls re-rendered, the roof re-covered, a new security system and new emergency door installed, Blawarthill's minister, Rev Melvyn Wood, said the church is now better able to serve the local congregation as well as the wider community.
He said: “We aim to meet our foodbank users’ needs in a dignified and respectful way and it helps enormously to have a base that’s attractive both to clients and volunteers.
"This has been a big project, and we now have an attractive building which is a credit to the community and the national church. We're delighted to be opening our doors and look forward to offering a warm welcome to more people coming to our church."
£200,000 of the funding came from the Kirk’s Priority Areas wing which supports Scotland’s poorest communities. £10,000 was raised by the congregation of the church.
Financial and technical support for the project was provided by the General Trustees of the Church of Scotland.
Its chairman, Raymond Young, said: “We follow the General Assembly’s will to support Scotland’s poorest communities. It’s the Church’s duty to share resources and I would urge other congregations with big ideas to come to us first and we could be able to not only provide funding, but also expertise on how to develop refurbishment projects.”
Scandal of child hunger
Rev Martin Johnstone, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, chaired the Scottish Government’s Independent Working Group on Food Poverty,called on political leaders from all parties to take action to reduce child poverty.
“It is a scandal that an estimated 1 in 5 children in the UK are at risk of going hungry because of poverty. These are not simply statistics; they represent children with names, faces and all too often empty stomachs.
“Foodbanks, breakfast clubs and community meals do a spectacular job trying to alleviate this crisis but we need to recognise that the fundamental problem is about the lack of money that families have to feed themselves.
“It is estimated that increasing child benefit by £5 per week would mean that 30,000 less children in Scotland would have to grow up in poverty. Surely this is the sort of bold and courageous leadership that these children need and deserve.”