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Stirling Salvation Army: There when you need us, whoever you are

Alongside worship services, The Salvation Army in Stirling offers practical support to people who are vulnerable or in need within the local community.

The wide range of programmes and activities at the centre in Drip Road include The Valley furniture recycling project ,to support for people who are homeless, and helping people to overcome drug and alcohol addictions.

Family breakdown, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and drug and alcohol dependency are just some of the reasons why people can lose everything they value, including their dignity.

The Salvation Army is committed to working with those whose lives are damaged by homelessness and substance abuse, most notably to alcohol and drugs, offering help and practical support to individuals to overcome these problems.

including working in partnership with Stirling Council on a number of support programmes and providing considerable investment each year to ensure a consistently high standard of service for the most vulnerable people.

This partnership working and the approach taken to the outreach Stirling Corps carry out in the local community highlights the success that the programmes have in being able to reach people throughout the area who are not connecting with support services in the usual way but can do so through the environment Stirling Corps have created.

Envoy Billy McMurray of Stirling Corps, said: ‘People are at the heart of everything we do; we are devoted to working alongside people, offering practical support to those who are vulnerable or in need. Through the work we do, we see a range of needs to be tackled everyday, supporting individuals with chaotic lifestyles who need various help, including understanding the effect they are having on their own lives and on others around them.  We do this by building strong relationships, creating an environment of trust and encouragement. This allows us to learn their story, what their needs are and what support is required. It gives us great satisfaction to see the positive impact the services have and how each day they transform people’s lives within the communities in which we serve.’

Stirling Salvation Army provides an extensive range of services for those who are homeless or suffering from alcohol and drug abuse.  The Corps holds a weekly homeless drop in service (five days a week) as well as providing support services for those with addictions.  

Staff have established strong links with a range of partners and support agencies to facilitate recovery and social integration. This includes working with alcohol and drug rehabilitation agencies along with local health professionals such as the Doctor, Dentist and Podiatrist.

Laura MacKay, Alcohol and Drugs Project Worker at Stirling Corps, said: ‘ I was inspired to get involved in this type of work after the death of one of my family due to a drugs overdose. I wanted to help people at their point of need and put something back into society by helping others through the type of experience my family had faced.

The Salvation Army is different from other places I have worked they have a very personal approach to recovery. Every day is different and you meet so many different people and characters. Our focus is a on the whole person and not just the specific issue they face, where we not only meet the immediate needs of those we help but on the overall well-being of the people who attend our programmes.’

Throughout Christmas support was also offered through a free night shelter providing food and basic sleeping facilities to homeless people in the Stirling area every night from the 10th December until the 7th January.  This initiative is part of Stirling Councils commitment to making the local authority area homeless free during the festive period as well as helping to supplement the work already carried out by The Salvation Army to this client group.

The Corps also run ‘The Valley’ furniture recycling project which helps to divert thousands of tonnes of goods that would otherwise be heading to landfill. The project sells items of furniture for all rooms of the house with “white goods” also on offer. In addition to this, there is also a shop at the Corps Hall on Drip Road, selling small electrical items, clothing and general household products.

Everything is at a reasonable price, with all profits from the project going towards the work carried out by The Salvation Army in Forth Valley.

The Valley project also recently won an award with Stirling Council at the Scottish Community Payback Awards in 2012.

The Scottish Community Payback Awards are designed to acknowledge the best and most innovative community payback unpaid work and community service projects taking place across Scotland.  All the projects involved offenders who had been ordered by the Courts to undertake unpaid work in the community with the Stirling Community Payback team winning the Best Partnership Project award for their involvement in the Valley Project.  

Offenders are sent to the project as part of their community service and are involved in all aspects of the operation; revamping and renovating all kinds of household goods that previously would have gone to the local tip.  Not only have offenders acquired a range of practical skills, there have been significant benefits to the environment with thousands of tonnes of goods diverted from landfill sites.