Help is at hand seven days a week
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