Bethany Christian Trust

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Bethany Christian Trust is a Scottish charity based in Edinburgh, registered charity no SC003783. It was set up to relieve the suffering and meet the long-term needs of homeless and vulnerable people.

The Trust's vision is that through Christian love in action, homelessness will be reduced and vulnerable people empowered to live independently within society.

The Trust's partners include Edinburgh City Council, West Lothian Council, East Lothian Council, Fife Council, over 100 churches, Edinburgh City Mission, Christian Concern for the Homeless, CHAI, Rock Trust. Its areas of work are Edinburgh and the Lothians, Aberdeen (City & Shire), Dundee, Fife, Dumfries & Galloway and Glasgow.

The charity was established in 1983 by Rev Alan Berry, then a minister in Leith, Edinburgh, in response to the needs of the many homeless and vulnerable people he confronted daily.

Bethany supports around 4,000 homeless and vulnerable people every year through its services. Bethany has nearly 200 full-time and part-time staff and over 1000 volunteers. Its turnover was £5.6 million in 2012.

Bethany's Services[edit]

Street Work[edit]

Care Van[edit]

Operated in conjunction with Edinburgh City Mission, the Care Van offers rolls, soup, clothing, and support to Edinburgh's rough sleepers every night in the city centre. A team from one of over 30 churches staffs the van every night on a rota basis.

Care Shelter[edit]

Every night from late October to the end of March, the Care Shelter provides emergency accommodation in churches around Edinburgh for men and women over the age of 16 who have no other accommodation. A volunteer team provides and serves hot meals and Bethany staff provide professional advice and support to help move people off the streets and into longer-term accommodation. Anyone without a place to sleep may use the Shelter, which is free of charge. Edinburgh City Mission and local churches make this service possible.

Emergency accommodation - Bethany House[edit]

Bethany House is a resettlement unit for homeless men and women aged 16+. In order to use the services at Bethany House, the resident must cope with personal care, be claiming benefits and be willing to apply for more permanent housing.

Specialist Units[edit]

Bethany Christian Centre[edit]

Bethany Christian Centre is a supportive working community for men aged 17–70 that aims to help those in need to resettle back into a stable environment, free from alcohol and drugs. Aid in addiction issues, budgeting, legal matters, health issues, family relationships, housing applications, benefit claims, and contact with counselling services and other agencies are among a myriad of services the Centre provides. Residents learn to relate and work together as they participate in community meetings, cooking, cleaning, group activities and house holidays and are encouraged to get involved with further education and voluntary work placements within Bethany or further afield. Bethany Addiction Team offer group work and one-to-one counselling to residents. Most people are directed to the Centre through a referral agent, but it is possible to self-refer. Acceptance onto the programme and residency is agreed after an informal interview.

Kharis Court[edit]

The service provides accommodation for homeless young men and visiting support for young women in the community. An initial 12-week stay (that can be extended to a maximum of 36 weeks) gives residents 24-hour support with the goal of moving residents to their own tenancy. All residents are encouraged to participate in the support programme, which includes help on tenancy issues, group work, outings, sport, special interests, topical discussions, and house meetings. A full-time staff is always present, and each resident has a support worker to help him or her.

Visiting Support and Supported Housing[edit]

Bethany Housing Services provides fully furnished, single and shared accommodation for homeless and vulnerable people in Edinburgh, Dumfries and Fife as well as support provided to individuals in their own tenancies. Support and advice is available to help people adjust to independent living. Help with budgeting, addiction relapse prevention, independent living skills, emotional issues, benefits, household management and education and training is provided to clients in their own homes by the Supported Housing Team working in partnership with other relevant statutory and voluntary agencies in the community.

Addiction Support[edit]

The addiction team works with those men and women concerned with their addiction and wishing to address the problem. Regardless of whether or not he or she has stopped the addictive behaviour, the team combines a variety of counselling approaches to help the service user, including cognitive-behavioural treatment, coping skills training, relapse prevention and person-centred counselling.

Homemaking and Furniture Help[edit]

Bethany Homemaker helps families and individuals on low incomes gain access to furniture, appliances, and other essential household items. Clients have the opportunity to choose the items they need. An extensive range of both new and second hand goods are made sure to be in the highest standard possible, and all electrical appliances are guaranteed. Working on a referral basis, homemaker can help anyone on a low income or those on benefits. All clients are interviewed by project staff to assess their needs. Homemaker partners with Freshstart to provide Starter Packs containing crockery, pots & pans and bedding for free to every client who needs them.

Community Education[edit]

The Bethany Community Education Team runs a variety of groups and courses to provide opportunities for learning and to develop new skills and building confidence. Group attendees are encouraged to find their voice and realise their potential and role within the wider community.

Groups include: Basic computer skills; Adult literacy; help with reading, writing & numerical skills; Art group, Bugle Magazine group. Development work includes groups designed specifically for Women and for Men.

Community Integration[edit]

Bethany runs several community-based resettlement projects under the Passing the Baton umbrella. These projects engage volunteers from the local community to help people who have previously been homeless to resettle and put down roots by getting involved in the places they live. Passing the Baton members are encouraged to get involved in community social activities and supported by "hit-squads" to turn their houses into homes.

Bethany's Projects[edit]

Caring Christmas Trees[edit]

Caring Christmas Trees [1] is a social enterprise operated by Bethany Enterprises Ltd. Winner of the Institute of Fundraising Scotland’s Community Fundraising Award 2006, Caring Christmas Trees was set up by Scottish charity Bethany Christian Trust in 2005 to raise funds for their front-line services to help homeless people.

The Caring Christmas Trees scheme is a pre-order model, whereby customers select their preferred tree size, collection point and date for collection online.

The marketing campaign focuses on the concept that the cost of a Christmas tree is around the same cost of giving someone shelter, food and support. Customers are encouraged to think ethically about their Christmas tree buying and support Caring Christmas Trees because all the profits from tree sales go towards helping homeless people. Caring Christmas Trees are freshly cut, Scottish-grown, grade 1 standard, needle-last trees and are sourced from managed, sustainable forests operated by members of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association who ensure high environmental standards.

To keep costs down Caring Christmas Trees uses around 5000 volunteers to promote and distribute trees. This means the maximum profit from every tree helps provide services for homeless people.

The proceeds from Caring Christmas Tree sales help fund Bethany’s homelessness services in Scotland.

Big Sleep-Out[edit]

The Big Sleep-Out is an annual sponsored fundraising event to encourage the community to be active in combating homelessness across Scotland. The Sleep-Out raises awareness about Bethany's work with homeless and vulnerable people by giving participants an idea of what it is like to sleep rough for one night. First held in Edinburgh in 2002, the event takes place in Spring at various locations across Scotland.

External links[edit]