"Innovative" Go For It backed projects announced

A Kirk project working with vulnerable people in Malta is just one of 10 programmes to benefit from an overall fund of more than £480,000 from the Church of Scotland.

View of Duddingston Glebe
The Glebe Project at Duddingston has transformed church land and involved the community

The new Go For It fund grants will allow churches across Scotland and beyond to nurture faith, address issues of poverty and strengthen community.

Of the 10 successful applicants, six are new main grants while the remainder are previously funded projects which have qualified for continuation grants.

Malta Microfinance

It is the first time that a congregation from the International Presbytery has successfully applied, following a change to eligibility rule from the General Assembly in 2017.

St Andrew's Scots Church will use its main grant to support Malta Microfinance, an initiative begun in 2013 to loan money to people who would ordinarily struggle to get one in Malta, such as asylum seekers and Maltese women.

It is inspired by the model created in 1983 by Nobel-prize winning economist Professor Muhammad Yunus and aims to prevent poverty levels from spiralling out of control.

Each loan is repayable after 12 months, and can be put towards someone starting or expanding a business, renting a flat, education fees, or helping someone through a temporary crisis.

Bringing the Bible to life

Other successful new Go For It fund applicants include Hamilton Old Parish Church, which will use the grant to stage imaginative theatre productions to bring the Bible to life and engage with the local community.

The cast at rehearsals
The cast from this year's Lanarkshire Passion Play organised by Hamilton Old Parish Church

They will build on the success of the Lanarkshire Passion Play, which this year the church staged using a cast of more than 50 people aged from 4 - 82 and was performed across different locations in the town.

Dementiacafé

St Andrew's Parish Church in Carluke will use their funding to enhance the services offered at their dementia café drop-in, which provides a relaxed and supportive environment for people with memory difficulties and their carers.

The monthly drop-in café began in 2012 working in partnership with NHS Lanarkshire and Alzheimer's Scotland.

Making Dundee Home

Another new main grant recipient is Dundee West Church who run Making Dundee Home, an initiative aiming to provide long-term support for vulnerable people by addressing inequality, poverty and hunger.

Through a regular communal meal, drop-in session, dance classes and 'Soul Space' they will work to address loneliness and provide support for those experiencing mental health difficulties alongside providing access to helpful services.

Kelso Quest

Go For It main grant recipient Kelso Quest will allow young people finishing primary school and aged up to 19 to meet with youth workers.

They will work with schools to provide opportunities for faith exploration, development, confidence building and engagement with people of different generations.

Ruchazie Transformation

The final successful main grant award has gone to Ruchazie Transformation, a project to replant a vibrant, worshipping, witnessing church at the heart of Ruchazie and transform the community.

Part of the development will include a sustainable energy project to address fuel and food poverty and a youth programme with a strong creative focus.

Innovative

Rev Jane Howitt, who is the Convener of Go For It, said: "At a time when finances are tight across the whole church, Go For It continues to be a valuable source of funding for congregations seeking to innovate creative ways of engaging missionally with their communities.

"Each of the projects funded in this round will challenge the prevailing secular view that the Church has had its day and will demonstrate that the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains every bit as much good news today as it always has been: good news that through the care and concern of these projects will bring healing, redress injustice and introduce people to new life in Christ."

Continuation grants

The following Go For It backed projects have been awarded continuation grants:

  • Duddingston Kirk - cultivating glebe land and promoting wellness
  • Cranhill Development Trust - providing a range of community based support activities and services to increase self-esteem and opportunity in an area of multiple deprivation.
  • Perth & District YMCA - empowering young people
  • Larkhall Parish Church - tackling poverty and supporting families, including through baby weaning and parenting classes in partnership with the NHS, an after school club and more