Christian charities write to First Minister to offer their support in dealing with coronavirus
Twelve Christian charities have written to the First Minister to offer their support in dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus.
Some of the charities work directly in areas such as poverty, homelessness or debt advice, while others are national bodies with connections to local churches across the country.
They include Christians Against Poverty, Glasgow City Mission, Edinburgh City Mission, Blythswood Care, Bethany Christian Trust, Alpha and the Evangelical Alliance.
In the joint letter they note that they are “used to stepping up and finding solutions, creating community, and inspiring and resourcing people to act compassionately” and that the church already has “an army of highly motivated and experienced volunteers” who are working in areas from delivering food parcels to supporting prison leavers to helping those suffering from loneliness, isolation or poor mental health.
They say: “We are working locally in communities across Scotland and we stand ready to work strategically in partnership with the Scottish Government and agencies at every level to ensure the best possible national response at this time.
“Please let us know how we can best work with the Scottish Government to direct our specialist resources and volunteer networks to most effective use.”
With the country facing a significant economic downturn as a result of the virus, the charities also note that their work will be needed more than ever, but they “anticipate reductions in our own income, as across the whole charity sector.”
They say: “We are committed for the long haul, but with this changing landscape we will also need the Scottish Government to stand with us in the coming months – not for our own sake but for those we serve – to ensure this valuable work can meet the growing need of the coming months and years.”
Emma Jackson, national director of Christians Against Poverty Scotland, commented: “The work that all of our charities do is vital and our reach across Scotland is significant.
“Together we are helping thousands of people, regardless of their background, at every level.
“We are feeding and supporting vulnerable children and adults, helping with personal finance and finding work, providing hope and social connection and, most of all, linking up those who want to give or volunteer with those in need.”
Fred Drummond, director of Evangelical Alliance Scotland, said: “Our local churches are made up of compassionate and motivated people who love their towns, cities and villages.
“They have already been making a huge difference in their communities to bring practical support and hope since the crisis started.”
A 2016 survey by the Cinnamon Network calculated that churches and other faith groups in Scotland were contributing the equivalent of more than £93m a year of time and resources through social action projects.