In the lead up to World Day of the Poor on Sunday 14 November, we're highlighting the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) in our Archdiocese. Volunteers David Hunter and Moira McCrae (above pic, right) from the SSVP Furniture Project in Fife explain how it works.
"We took over responsibility for the running and management of the Furniture Project from John Barrett in 2012. The Project has grown exponentially since this time; however, it continues to be sustained by the kindness and generosity of parishioners, community volunteers, family and friends. This ethos remains central to its success."
"The Furniture Project operates on a non-denominational basis (we help everyone, not just Catholics) and works in collaboration with other charitable and community organisations.
"Our furniture storage facilities are provided free of charge by a local business owner. The Project has also provided opportunities for young people to undertake volunteering as part of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme."
Delivering the goods
"We have two vans which are used to uplift and the deliver donated furniture and other household goods. In-demand tems include beds, settees and white goods and we have also fully furnished homes.
"We have also been involved in supplying more uncommon items such as a mobility scooter, which helped a man's independence and integration into his community."
"We also provided sewing machines which are sought after and used by the refugee community. We have recently supported RE: ACT, a charity supporting refugees with resettlement and integration in Scotland. We work closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. which supports vulnerable people and families with food and financial issues."
An all-round approach
"The remit of the Project has expanded beyond supplying furniture. For example, we established links with local food banks when food poverty is identified, clothes banks where shortage of clothing is identified and where fuel poverty is identified clients are signposted/referred to an energy/debt advice service called Cosy Kingdom. This helps alleviate some of the day-to-day stresses that many vulnerable people experience."
"During the pandemic we were successful in securing a government grant for £6,000 from the Cora Project. These funds were used to purchase white goods, food and fuel vouchers, which were then distributed to members of the community.
"How do we find out about the people we help? Most referrals come from Social Work services as well as Housing Support Services, Criminal Justice Services and Mental Health Projects. Due to the close working relationship established with some of these agencies, a few of the recipients of our help have gone on to volunteer for the project!"
The Fife Furniture Project can be contacted on 07939 223680 or at firstname.lastname@example.org The annual SSVP Archdiocesan Mass takes place at 11am in St Patrick's, Cowgate, Edinburgh, on Saturday 20 November.