My name is Ryan Strachan, and I am the Goods and Services Manager at Fresh Start. In 1999 a group of different denominational churches came together and want to help those affected by homelessness; Fresh Start was established to “help people make a home for themselves.”
The group went out and spoke to people with lived experience about what would help as they moved on from homelessness. Since then, Fresh Start have been helping people across Edinburgh – those moving on from homelessness and those at risk of homelessness.
Here are some brief highlights of what we do …..
Currently we run a range of services across the city and last year we supported over 3,000 households.
There are many practical ways that the congregation could support Fresh Start through the services that we provide, which are:
- Starter packs – we repurpose households’ goods and provide vital starter packs to those moving on from homelessness. Last year we provided 13,020 packs to 1,860 households and diverted 90 tonnes from landfill.
- Hit Squads – painting and decorating service – our teams of volunteer’s paint 2 rooms in people’s homes.
- White goods – every year we have a campaign to raise funds which allows us to purchase new white goods for people moving into new tenancies.
- Award winning Community hub – we have a community pantry, welcome space and community kitchen that provides food with dignity, cooking classes and a wide range of support services to people in need.
- Growing spaces – we have 4 spaces across the city that are run by people who have used our services and the food is used in our cooking classes and community pantry.
- NESSie – North Edinburgh Support Services provides 1-1 bespoke support to people starting with where they are at.
And now back to our regular programming ….
Below is Biddy collecting an award from the Scottish Charity Awards, it’s a wonderful achievement for the Hub and long may it continue.
I would also like to introduce you to our latest service.
NESSie (North Edinburgh Support Services)
This new and innovative consortium led by Fresh Start, with North Edinburgh Arts, Move On and Spartans Community Football Academy.
The project is one of the first in Scotland to be developed from a ‘Human Learning System’ perspective. This is where it is different – we have no outcomes with our funders as we start with where people are at. We have no criteria – meaning we will work with all those who need our support and work in a real person-centred way. The purpose is to help people thrive, not survive, and most importantly, push for system change, as the current systems do not help, but hinder people.
To put it more plainly this service has been such an amazing help in the short time it’s been operating. Offering short-, medium- and long-term support means that clients arriving to collect starter packs can now receive help with benefit forms, mould issues and all the other complex needs that live throws at you. More importantly it can be done on site rather than sending somebody off across the city to another service, there is also cross referring between the four charities backing the pilot project.
Once Hit is back up to full strength the aim will be to take referrals from the Nessie Team, our policy of 6 months post homeless is wonderful but with I would like to expand the remit to prevention of homelessness just like starter packs. So many people are just eking out an existence and there is nothing currently available to help somebody breath life back into a property.
In the same vain we are also trialling a collaboration with West Granton Housing CO-OP , they have given us some money to provide and fit thermal curtains to combat fuel poverty, it’s a great endeavour and hopefully the data we get from it may lead to a handyman service id staff and budget allow it.
Another successful Ride to the Sun this year with the weather playing a massive part , I did not fancy the lengthy cycle ride, but I did cook the chilli for the finishers. Stick to what you are good at.
We just had our Community BBQ on Friday, it was a glorious day and a our way of thanking the volunteers for the tireless service they give year on year. We held in garden to the rear of our warehouse the staff team have turned the space into a beautiful and fruitful garden. We also catered for the community combining it with our very successful Meet and Eat project. I was again cooking, so far, no complaints.
Finally, you can all put a name to a face, this was me visiting Dundee Starter Pack, it’s been interesting and worthwhile seeing how similar charities do things in different cities. I hope to be working more closely with them in future and continuing to share ideas.
If you would like a member of staff to come and talk to your congregation please don’t hesitate to ask, if wish to hold a collection of goods for us I would be happy to send our vans to collect. If any of your members would like to volunteer in one of our services, please give them my details . And finally, any financial support would be gratefully received. FreshStart covers the entire city, and the need is only increasing.
Goods and Services Manager
22-24 Ferry Road Drive
Head office: 0131 476 7741
M: 07563 396274
To donate £5, text FRESHST to 70970
If you would like to support Fresh Start, please follow the link in our logo to our website: