A GREENOCK church is launching a project to help people in Inverclyde who are struggling as a result of the recession.
The new i58 Project, which has two initial elements -- Inverclyde Foodbank and Cornerstone -- is being introduced by Greenock Elim Church at the end of the week.
Inverclyde Foodbank (IF) is a partnership between the church and the Trussell Trust, which has already successfully launched more than 200 Foodbanks in the UK in partnership with churches and Christian community groups.
Inverclyde Foodbank will provide emergency food supplies to those living under the poverty line in Inverclyde and will work in partnership with front-line agencies such as social work, benefits agencies, GPs, churches and other social action groups.
Individuals will be referred to IF from these agencies and be given a minimum three-day emergency supply of food. Volunteers working within IF will be trained in pointing individuals towards other avenues of help and support both within the community and in partnership with the church.
Cornerstone is a support group reaching out to people who are struggling to overcome their addictions, using a weekly support group and one-to-one counselling sessions.
Greenock Elim Minister Fraser Donaldson, said: “Greenock Elim wants to be a church that is relevant to the wider community and that makes a difference in the lives of the people of Inverclyde. Part of our ethos is that we exist as a church not just to serve the needs of our congregation but also to serve the needs of the community in which we are and the i58 Project helps us to fulfil this part of our vision.”
Inverclyde Foodbank Manager Steven O’Neill, pictured above, said: “Those referred to the Foodbank will be met with a friendly welcome and a listening ear. We will operate on a 100 per cent referral basis and already we have received widespread support from frontline agencies and have built up a strong referral base. We have also been able to build partnerships with local supermarkets who have agreed to hold ‘Supermarket Collection Days’ for the Foodbank.
“The first of these is on Saturday 11 August between 9.30am and 4.30pm at Morrisons supermarket in Greenock where members of the Foodbank Team will provide shoppers as they enter the store with a copy of the Foodbank Shopping list and ask if they would consider buying an item from the list and donating it to the Foodbank.
“We have a further collection day in Tesco Extra in Port Glasgow on Saturday 8 September and we are appealing to the community to look out for us on both occasions and to donate one or more items to help those in Inverclyde who are living under the poverty line.”
Qualified addictions counsellor Noelle Bonner, pictured above with Fraser Donaldson, will lead the Cornerstone element. She said: “Cornerstone is being launched to supplement the various existing drug and alcohol support groups in Inverclyde who are facing the growing demand for these services. The support group, like the Foodbank, will operate on a referral basis from frontline agencies. In many cases we realise that the best option for individuals is to consider rehab but there are those for whom rehab just simply isn’t an option and this is where we hope that Cornerstone can begin to help.
“Again, like Foodbank, we have been met with an eagerness from frontline agencies for such a group to begin and we have a nucleus of individuals within the church who have struggled with and combated addiction and who are ready to help and support those who are in similar positions to those they were once in.”
Both Inverclyde Foodbank and Cornerstone Support Group will be based at 64-66 West Blackhall Street in premises above the Bank of Scotland.
There will be an Open Day on Monday 27 August at 11am in the Foodbank premises in West Blackhall Street to which all agencies interested in finding out more about the project are invited to attend.
To confirm attendance at the open day or to find out more information about the i58 project – named after chapter 58 of the Bible book Isaiah -- call the Greenock Elim church office on 01475 787177 or visit www.thei58project.com.