Help is at hand seven days a week

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY STE­WART PATER­SON

LODG­ING House Mis­sion has been help­ing peo­ple in Glas­gow for more than 100 years.

The rea­sons peo­ple need help may have changed, as drugs, and so­cial se­cu­rity is­sues have come into play, and the ser­vices to help may have de­vel­oped but the mis­sion is the same, to help peo­ple in need.

On the Friday be­fore Christ­mas, the cen­tre is busy with many peo­ple in the hall.

Some have been at the Win­ter Night Shel­ter the night be­fore and are stay­ing on for warmth and food, oth­ers are in for com­pany and help with prob­lems.

Lodg­ing House Mis­sion hosts the night shel­ter on its premises and staff and vol­un­teers from Glas­gow City Mis­sion op­er­ate it.

There are seven staff and two more at week­ends plus a bank of 50 vol­un­teers that the ser­vice de­pends on to op­er­ate seven days a week.

Go­van Law Cen­tre is in to of­fer ad­vice, of­ten on hous­ing is­sues but also on asy­lum rights and em­ploy­ment and ben­e­fit prob­lems for peo­ple from EU coun­tries.

Man­ager Stephen Mitchell said they are open ev­ery day.

In his of­fice there are 100 bags filled with new cloth­ing and other items to be handed out at Christ­mas presents to peo­ple.

He said: “Peo­ple can get free meals here, a shower and a change of clothes. Other agen­cies come in and of­fer their ser­vices in­clud­ing Go­van Law Cen­tre, So­cial Work and health ser­vices.

“We are con­stantly busy, there can be be­tween 80 and 120 peo­ple a day.

“We have a lot of home­less peo­ple but more than half of the peo­ple we see are in set­tled ten­an­cies but are vul­ner­a­ble in other ways.

“Is­sues of so­cial iso­la­tion, food and fuel poverty and ben­e­fit sanc­tions. Many peo­ple feel so­cially ex­cluded and they feel they be­long to a com­mu­nity here.”

An­gel Vance, sup­port worker, at­tends the weekly in­ter agency meet­ing which in­cludes so­cial work, Si­mon Com­mu­nity and Glas­gow City Mis­sion to share in­for­ma­tion and try to pre­vent some­one fall­ing through any gaps.

She said: “Many peo­ple have ad­dic­tions and the drug trends have changed. Death is some­thing you en­counter in this job and since 2016 there has been more deaths with the rise in street val­ium. A few years ago we had a prob­lem with le­gal highs.”

The prob­lems may man­i­fest them­selves as home­less­ness, drug or al­co­hol de­pen­dency but there is a wider so­ci­etal prob­lem, Stephen thinks. He said: “Modern so­ci­ety is squeez­ing more peo­ple and more peo­ple are be­ing bro­ken.

“So­ci­ety is more in­su­lar and many peo­ple do not have the same fam­ily cir­cle or com­mu­nity net­work that pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions had. Peo­ple are liv­ing in iso­la­tion.”

The prob­lems may change but while there’s need Lodg­ing house Mis­sion will be there to sup­port.

David Mitchell and Steven Thompson (wear­ing cap) cut­ting hair at the Lodg­ing House Mis­sion on East Camp­bell Street

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