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Scotland: new initiative launches to tackle poverty

Some of Scotland’s best known Christian charities will today join forces to launch a new national initiative to tackle poverty and support their local communities more effectively ...

Some of Scotland’s best known Christian charities will today join forces to launch a new national initiative to tackle poverty and support their local communities more effectively.
Bethany Christian Trust, Glasgow City Mission, Blythswood Care, The Cinnamon Network, Redeeming Our Communities and Care for Scotland have joined the Evangelical Alliance in setting up Serve Scotland, an umbrella group to bring together the Christian voluntary sector in Scotland at both a local and national level.
The new organisation will be a contact point for MSPs, civil servants and media when they are seeking to connect with church-based community projects.
Based on the highly successful Gweini model in Wales, local pilot groups have now been launched in Glasgow, Dundee and the Highlands with conversations also taking place in the Western Isles and Edinburgh about local networks.

Serve Scotland will share best practice and resources and act as a point of contact for local authorities, who are increasingly seeking effective community partnership with churches in a time of increasing budget cuts.
Nationally, the Serve Scotland website will have a directory of effective resources from church-based projects across Scotland.
Commenting on the launch of Serve Scotland, Fred Drummond, Chair of the Serve Board and National Director of Evangelical Alliance Scotland, said:
“At a time of increased public sector budget cuts there has never been a more important time for churches to be effectively serving their local communities. There is already a huge amount of good work being done across Scotland from local lunch clubs, to night shelters, food banks and Street Pastors, but too often this is disjointed and there is no forum for people to share their work and see where the gaps are in our towns and cities.

"Additionally local authorities often have no idea who to speak to when they want to connect with the local church in their area. Serve Scotland addresses both of these problems and we believe it will be a significant tool in supporting communities and tackling poverty in Scotland.”
Iain Gordon, Chief Exec of the Bethany Christian Trust, said: “Serve Scotland is a fantastic initiative coming into being at just the right time; linking churches and others from across all sectors of society to serve some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our communities. By joining together and sharing our assets and resources we can truly support each other and our communities to thrive in times of austerity. Bethany is delighted to be able to play a small part in this huge undertaking.”
Grant Campbell, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Mission, added: “Serve Scotland is ready to empower and inspire the Christian family to engage broken communities in significant ways, bringing tangible hope to those combatting a poverty of resources, relationships and aspiration. Glasgow City Mission is honoured to partner with other like-minded Christian organisations and churches to share resources and expertise in order that we might see real breakthroughs for people struggling in our nation.’’
And James Campbell, Chief Excutive of Blythswood Care, said: "I’m delighted that Blythswood Care is part of this new initiative to encourage the Christian community to serve poor, vulnerable and marginalised people more effectively throughout Scotland. By working together we can see lives transformed by practical help that meets the needs of body and soul."

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