Over 82,000 people live in poverty in Edinburgh.
"Poverty means not being able to heat your home, pay your rent, or buy essentials for your children. It means waking up every day facing insecurity, uncertainty, and impossible decisions about money."
The City of Edinburgh Council
Edinburgh City Mission works in partnership with over sixty local referral agencies and a network of eight church-based “Basics Banks” foodbanks to provide food relief for anyone facing a financial crisis.
Over the past four years our referrals have more than doubled to over 1900 in 2019. 1900 referrals represents food provision for more than 9300 people, because many of the referrals are for families.
We go beyond poverty relief by stimulating and strengthening churches to love and befriend whoever is in need of help, enabling as many people as possible to experience God’s amazing love through a personal encounter with Jesus.
Due to the increase in those experiencing food poverty, we have grown our staff team. We are inviting people to become “Mission Enablers” - regular financial donors - to enable us to sustain our larger team. Please contact us if you support our vision and would like to get behind what we are doing, we would very much value your support and prayers.
- Duncan Cuthill, CEO
Sally’s (name changed) story might be hard for you to imagine, but sadly her story might be all too familiar to a lot of people in our city. The future is hopeful in Sally‘s story and with your support we can help more people to have hope despite their circumstances.
Sally was referred to us during her DTTO - a court order aimed at assisting offenders to reduce their drug use and related offending. This involved giving ‘clean’ samples when tested for drugs and actively engaging with drug treatment. Keeping busy has been recognised as an effective drug ‘treatment’ and having a coffee with a missionary was a welcome distraction.
As time went by Sally started to see the power of prayer. Staying ‘clean’ at the homeless hostel was a trial. The mission continued to pray for her and with her and we included her prayer requests, anonymously, in our emails to our faithful supporters.
The day that Sally had her final court appearance to come off her DTTO she asked one of our missionaries to ‘buddy’ her to court and to go for a celebratory coffee afterwards. In contrast to this, a neighbour at the hostel offered her a ‘crack pipe’ before court because; “they won’t test you anymore.” Sally had new strength though, could see things more clearly and knew how the drug scene worked. This is the harsh reality and we need to trust that God can break into every situation.
Our job is to show people Jesus’ love and to remain faithful. It is amazing news that we can celebrate our faithfulness in this story. Despite the barriers to recovery, Sally has managed to remain free from addiction after her DTTO finished. She continues to connect with the Mission and engage with the good news of the bible.
Louise learned about one of our projects during a service in her church. It took a while for her to respond to the call for volunteers, but when she was reflecting and praying about her work life/balance she sent us an email in which she wrote about why she wanted to help at her local Basics Bank. “I feel it's a really active contribution to people in need in our own community (and) something I had always wanted to do, but never had the time before.”
So Louise volunteered over the summer and was such a blessing to the team and to the people who arrived in need at our Basics Bank. Louise was struck by the amount of people her age who were in crisis and needing food support. Her socially aware generation are also suffering the effects of some dramatic changes in the world and have to face zero hour contracts and food banks in amongst it all.
Louise had initially helped over the summer but later in the year she remembered her initial idea; “To be able to balance paid work with service to God” This is the amazing mentality of ‘millenials’ who are seeing things differently and have a fresh ability to be bold in their actions in faith.
Edinburgh City Mission enjoys the mix of generations in our team and we appreciate the time given in amongst work, in retirement, or in between jobs and study. Louise has now been helping at her local Basics Bank for a year and we love the way she has incorporate this service into her work life balance.
“Having taken early retirement three years ago, I moved to a new city to help support a church plant, North Edinburgh RP Church. Volunteering at the Basics Bank on Tuesday mornings has been great for me. It helps give structure to my week. I get the opportunity to meet up with people from the local community over a cuppa, to chat, listen and build friendships.
During many Tuesday mornings I’ve had the opportunity to share the gospel, give an invitation to church and speak of my own personal faith and walk with God.
What a privilege it is to be able to do this. Volunteering with Edinburgh City Mission in this project not only helps physically, with food, which is vital to people in crisis, but also allows for the provision of spiritual food, which is for eternity. The gift of the gospel has no sell by date or best before“
I’m pleased to share a brief word with you about a very significant ministry which the congregation of Wilson Memorial have wholeheartedly embraced. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it is probably as close as we are going to get to fulfilling Jesus’ challenge to feed the hungry, to quench the thirsty, to welcome the stranger…(Matthew 25).
We work in close partnership with the Edinburgh City Mission, who provide a missionary each week. The Basics Bank is set up as a cafe, with tea/coffee provided, and lots of opportunities to chat. Lasting friendships have been established. In fact, two of our volunteers were once clients.
Our volunteers are members of our congregation, members of neighbouring churches, as well as folks from the community. Donations come from churches, individuals, schools and doctors surgeries in the local community.
I have been both humbled and challenged by this ministry. The most humbling experience was when we invited the clients to join us for our Christmas Party. I was so proud of Wilson Memorial - the way it embraced folks…we were just one family. I was challenged at a recent Basics Bank when a young guy told me that sometimes when he goes to his kitchen cupboards after he has been here he has to pinch himself. He had become so used to seeing empty cupboards he thought he was in the wrong flat! To anyone reading this it is not rocket science, and it is not difficult. It didn’t need a special initiative or a new project to get it going. It just needed people willing to take Jesus’ call seriously.