Bethany Christian Trust
In 2012 Mayfield Salisbury joined the list of churches who work with the Bethany Christian Trust (http://www.bethanychristiantrust.com/).
One thing which a group of Mayfield Salisbury volunteers do on several evenings a month is to staff the Care Van. Bethany provides this van throughout the year. It stops at several places in the city, for example on Waverley Bridge, the Grassmarket and North Bridge. At each stopping point it serves hot soup, tea, coffee, rolls, and offers its customers the chance for a chat. Living on the streets, particularly in winter in Edinburgh, means that cold is one of the main problems for people who are homeless, so warm clothing and blankets are also made available. Frequent donations of these items are made at churches, including ours, so there is a ready supply available.
Night time accomodation
Another thing which Mayfield Salisbury has been involved with is the scheme which provides night time accommodation in church halls for people who are homeless: a service Bethany operates between November and March. Thus, on three nights each winter, a team of our volunteers joined the team from Bethany in providing some of the people who are homeless in Edinburgh with somewhere to sleep. Numbers varied, but, for example, on one cold and drizzly night there were 40 sleepers. Perhaps one of the most surprising things was the number of younger people who came. Bethany confirmed that, these days, this was the usual pattern. These are often young people who have come to Scotland expecting to find work and a proportion fail to do so. After the evening meal had been served, the church helpers left, but members of the Bethany team remained throughout the night. In the morning breakfast was served early so sleepers left the premises before the usual daily happenings in a busy church hall started up again. At its night time accomodation venues Bethany enforces a strict code of zero tolerance on drug use, alcohol consumption, and any lack of respect for others, consequently the atmosphere throughout is peaceful and friendly. This allows volunteers to spend time not only preparing a meal but also chatting with people, listening to their stories.
Offering to help