Moderator pays tribute to "extraordinary" work of CrossReach staff

Crossreach staff
During CrossReach week the Moderator visited several care service sites across the country. Here Rt Rev Angus Morrison and Mrs Morrison are pictured with Crossreach staff.

Staff and volunteers who deliver an "extraordinary range of care and support services" on behalf of the Church of Scotland have been hailed by the Moderator of the General Assembly.

The Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison said it had been an "enormous privilege" to witness first-hand the tremendous work being carried out by CrossReach, which supports some of the weakest and most disadvantaged people in society.

Accompanied by his wife Marion, the Moderator has spent the last five days visiting a range of projects across Scotland run by the charity, which provides more than 70 services and this week celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Dr Morrison was in Stornoway in the Western Isles on Monday and spent time with staff and volunteers at the Lewis Street and Dochas projects to discuss the impact of their work to deal with homelessnessand substance misuse.

He also met Murdo MacIver, manager of the Shed project at Martins Memorial Church, which offers local people a bright and welcoming place to meet.

The project won the best church building project category of the Christian Funders Forum Awards on Thursday.

Dr Morrison paid a visit to Western Isles Council offices and met Dr Ron Culley, the head of health and social care services, to discuss a range of issues that CrossReach has a deep interest in.

On Tuesday, the Moderator and his wife visited Cameron House in Inverness, a residential care home for people living with dementia.

The couple met pupils from Bun Sgoil Gàidhlig Inbhir Nis who regularly visit residents and chat with them in their native Gaelic tongue.

They later went to Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club stadium where a Dementia Ambassadors conference was held.

CrossReach was the first organisation in Scotland to appoint a dementia ambassador in all its services for older people and is now introducing the role into learning disabilities services

On Wednesday, Dr Morrison and his wife met staff at Wallace House in Edinburgh, which provides counselling services, and later visited Simpson House and the Sunflower Garden – services which works with adults and children affected by drug or alcohol misuse.

They also visited Learning Disabilities'National Forum in Hamilton

Yesterday, the Morrisons met staff at Charis House in Edinburgh, the main office for the central services of CrossReach, before travelling to Perth to attend a manager's meeting and 10th birthday celebration at the Mustard Seed, a National Christian Outreach Centre.

The Moderator is today hosting a reception for CrossReach service users at his official residence in Edinburgh – an experience he described as a "joy".

Dr Morrison said: "It has been an enormous privilege to spend this past week with the Church's own wonderful charity, CrossReach, visiting various local centres of care provision, in Stornoway, Inverness and Edinburgh.

"We also attended and participated in conferences in Inverness and Hamilton.

"It has been a tremendous opportunity to learn more about the extraordinary range of care and support services which CrossReach provides across the country and to witness first-hand the professionalism and commitment of our staff and volunteers.

"The sheer quality of the care which is delivered is widely recognised and this is a clear reflection of the faith commitment which underlies and motivates all they do, in the service of Christ."

Reflecting on CrossReach's 10thanniversary, chief executive Peter Bailey said changing the name from the Church of Scotland's Board of Social Responsibility was a "significant step".

In an article for the Herald newspaper this week, he said the name CrossReach reflected the charity's values - active, inclusive, person-centred and providing support tailored to each individual we work with.

Mr Bailey wrote: "It conveys both our determination to reach people across Scotland who need support, and our understanding that our faith is the motivation for our work.

"In reflecting on the achievements celebrated and the challenges faced over the last decade, what strikes me above all else is the untrammeled passion my colleagues have for bringing about a better society.

"When I meet with colleagues working in CrossReach services who have devoted their careers to supporting people, their commitment for enabling people to live life to the full never fails to inspire.;

" Across Scotland they work in over 70 projects supporting people through Services to Older People, Adult Care Services and Children and Family Services."

Mr Bailey said CrossReach workers deserved "gratitude" for the work they are doing.

"Every day, they are supporting others to contribute to the community, overcome the challenges of disability, keep in touch with family, hold down a job and a myriad of other amazing outcomes," he added.

"Their work brings massive benefits economically, socially and individually.

"Looking back on the last decade in social care, and looking forward to the next ten years, I am convinced that, as a society, we need to re-examine the value we place on social care and on its dedicated workforce.;

"We must recognise and respect the benefits of social care, and ensure this recognition finds its way into public policymaking."