Health: Lochee Parish Church

A church in Dundee is working to tackle drug problems and drug deaths in its local community.

Earlier this year it was reported that Dundee has the worst death rate in Scotland due to drug misuse. Last year there were 57 fatalities in Dundee - an increase from 38 the year before. Health has often been one of the most obvious indicators of poverty in Scotland, with huge differences in life expectancy between neighbouring communities.

Lochee Parish Church decided to tackle this head on and set up the Drop Inn Cafe which runs twice a week. Every Tuesday and Sunday, local people can get a free hot meal as well as accessing a range of support services.

Louise Davis is their community support worker and has a particular focus on one-to-one support for people in Lochee who are in recovery from substance misuse:

“Dundee has the unfortunate title of being the drug death capital of Europe at the moment. I think that a lot of the work the local communities do, like the churches and the community nurses, are really vital as being part of the solution to drug problems and drug deaths.”

People attending the cafe describe how one of the most significant factors has been helping them with their mental health. It can often be a struggle just to leave the house, but by having this community based support has made it easier to build relationships and then to access the services which can help make progress in other areas such as physical health and learning how to cook affordably.

One of the key partnerships has been with Catrina Boal who is the local community nurse. She explains why it’s important for her to work in this community context:

“For many years in health there was a focus on the medical model but there now seems to be a shift to the social model which is really encouraging. It’s encouraging people to be involved in groups like walking and relaxation.”

If you want to know more about this innovative and inspiring work check out Lochee Parish Church website.