SSVP President joins calls for improved help for poor
The Society of St Vincent de Paul in Scotland (SSVP) has added its voice to calls for an "adequate social security system" to help combat the cost of living.
Vincentian charities across the UK issued a statement following the Autumn Budget announcement from the UK Government.
Danny Collins, National President of SSVP Scotland, said: “We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Vincentian brothers and sisters in challenging the social injustices imposed on those we serve.
"The Vincentian statement is a true reflection on how we must always challenge those responsible for implementing policies which further impoverish those most in need.”
The statement calls for:
- A clear vision to improve the adequacy of social security to support people both in and out of work.
- Ensuring protections for recipients of Universal Credit for whom full-time employment is not a workable option.
- A sustainable plan to address the systemic underfunding of local government
- A commitment to pursuing the Levelling Up agenda by providing details of upcoming targeted financial support for those areas most in need.
The St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) alone has supported over 55,000 people in the past year (England and Wales), and it reports worrying trends such as people on higher income accessing our foodbanks, and a 66% increase in the number of requests for help from 2020.
Elizabeth Palmer, CEO of the SVP in England and Wales, said: “The number of people seeking our help across the country is increasing every day.
The profile of the people seeking our help is also changing and is beginning to include those who were previously managing to cope without our help.”
Mark Choonara, CEO of Daughters of Charity Services, says: “We are in a recession. As we seek to restore our economic growth, we must ensure that equality and fairness are rooted at the heart of our efforts, revitalising our society along with our economy.”
The statement, Signed by groups including Company of Mission Priests and Congregation of the Mission, adds: "Catholic social teaching upholds the right for everyone to have dignity.
"We as Vincentian charities call on the government to provide adequate social protection that takes into consideration the basic necessities of life."
SSVP: daily support for those in need
The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) works all year around to support those in need in communities across Scotland.
Around 2000 SSVP volunteer members provide this assistance on a daily basis. Working in 300 groups, they assist people in need in the best way
SSVP member Richard Steinbach said: "It is important that our outreach and support for those in need is always available.
"With some shops and foodanks closed on Monday (19 Sep), if you're struggling to get by, or have a family to feed, please don't hesitate to get in touch with your local SSVP conference."
Alternatively, contact Richard on 07719 898 502 for assistance. To become a member of the SSVP contact your local parish. More at ssvpscotland.com
Society of St Vincent de Paul chief to visit Scotland
The President General of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) will visit the Archdiocese during a special trip to Scotland next week.
Renato Lima de Oliveira makes his first official visit to the country from 21-24 June with a tour taking in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Motherwell.
The President General will get to know the work of the charity, which has conferences in parishes across the Archdiocese and Scotland, during four days of activities.
In our Archdiocese it includes
- A welcome from Archbishop Leo Cushley and Archdiocesan SSVP President Richard Steinbach at St Margaret's Chapel, Gillis Centre, Edinburgh, on Tuesday 21 June where Mass will be celebrated at 11am. It will be livestreamed here.
- The President General will attend Mass to celebrate 175 years of the SSVP in Scotland at St Patrick's in the Cowgate, Edinburgh, on Friday 24 June at 7pm. It will be livestreamed here.
The programme for the visit includes liturgical celebrations, meetings with the Vincentian family and visits to see the special works of the SSVP across central Scotland.
After each Mass, President Renato will address Vincentians and the Catholic community.
Schedule of livestreamed events
All broadcasts: Sancta Familia.
Fife Furniture Project: helping those in need
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 toan energy/debt advic 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.
Work of SSVP continues throughout pandemic
Members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) have marked a year of working to serve those in need during the pandemic.
National President Danny Collins has called on members and those in parishes who support them, to continue their good work in the months ahead.
Speaking in the Ozanam News, the charity's magazine, he said: "Despite the serious challenges we have faced together during the past year, many acts of charity were delivered to those who we serve. This coming year will no doubt present us with even more challenges due to the circumstances created by the worldwide pandemic.
"However, I am confident that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Vincentian journey together towards holiness...we will learn from the past years' experience and continue to Serve in Hope."
The charity, which has conferences (groups) in parishes across the Archdiocese and Scotland, highlights work on social justice, with youth groups and more in the latest edition of the Ozanam News, the magazine named after its founder Frederic Ozanam.
Read the Easter 2021 edition of the Ozanam News here.
Society of St Vincent de Paul prepares for landmark year
The coming year will be a big one for the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) in Scotland - and is of special significance to our Archdiocese.
The foundation of the charity's first conference was at St Patrick’s in Edinburgh, way back on 25th May, 1845.
National President Danny Collins said: "As the time draws close to the end of 2019, we can reflect on the personal spiritual blessings that we received during this year and humbly recall the many acts of charity delivered to those in need that we gladly serve. The New Year is of particular significance in the historical journey of the SSVP as we celebrate our 175th anniversary.
"The coming year also marks the 50th anniversary of the National Council of Scotland, instituted in 1970."
The aim of the Society is to provide a means for members to practice Christianity by showing God’s love to their neighbours who are in need. Its work in our Archdiocese includes prison visits, providing caravan holidays and helping people in financial difficulties on a person to person basis.
This Christmas, many SSVP conferences are providing food hampers and toys to individuals and families who are in need of a helping hand.
They include the Most Holy Trinity Parish, based at St John & St Columba's Church in Rosyth. Margaret Wilson (above) and fellow members have been busy collecting Christmas hampers, following kind donations from parishioners and the West Fife community.
In the far west of the Archdiocese, SSVP conferences will help distribute nearly 100 parcels collected at St Maurice's High School.
Writing in the latest edition of the Ozanam News, the society's magazine, Mr Collins added: "I wish to express my appreciation to all those involved with the SSVP in Scotland and hope that everyone has a Holy Joyful Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year 2020."
Nationally, next year will see events across the country to help celebrate the 175-years milestone, including:
Mon 25th May 2020: 175th Anniversary event St Patrick’s, Edinburgh.
Sat 13th June 2020: Annual Mass St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow.
Sat. 29th August 2020: Annual Meeting Corn Exchange, Edinburgh.
To read the latest edition of the Ozanam News click here.
Parishioners thanked on feast day of St Vincent de Paul
Parishioners across the Archdiocese have been thanked for supporting the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP).
SSVP President for St Andrews & Edinburgh, Richard Steinbach, said: "On this Feast Day of St Vincent de Paul, it's a great opportunity to say how grateful we are for parishioners' continued support. The money you put into the SSVP box after Mass makes a huge difference.
"It means we can provide food for those who need a helping hand feeding their family and give funds to local people suffering financial crisis.
"It also supports our popular furniture project as well as our caravan project which gives a holiday to those who might not get one.
Richard, who is also the Society's national vice-president, added: "Please keep the work of the Society in your prayers as we continue to do our best to follow the Christ-like example of St Vincent de Paul, and our founder Blessed Frederic Ozanam."
Visit ssvpscotland.com for more information on its work.
Archdiocese hosts annual Mass for Society of St Vincent de Paul
Archbishop Leo Cushley joined members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) on Saturday at its annual national Mass in Edinburgh.
In St Margaret’s Chapel, Gillis Centre, he encouraged members to continue their good work in helping the poor and to take inspiration from the Blessed Virgin Mary’s “compassionate love”.
On the Feast Day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he said: “Be compassionate as Our Lady is compassionate towards all our brothers and sisters, no matter who they are, no matter what they are, no matter the circumstances.”
Following Mass, members had the opportunity to venerate the relic of St Vincent de Paul before enjoying a buffet.
Organiser Richard Steinbach, the society’s diocesan president for St Andrews & Edinburgh, and vice national president (pictured second from left), said: “Our national Mass reminds us that the work of the society is rooted in the following Christ and His message to help our neighbour and anyone in need.
"Our faith informs our practical activities - this includes providing furniture and white goods to those who need it, caravan holidays for families, groceries, home and hospital visits and so much more. We are there for people in their time of need."
National President Danny Collins (right in picture) added: “Thanks to everyone for attending. It’s great to catch-up with members from across Scotland on what is such a special day for the society.”
The SSVP is a Catholic lay organisation where members carry out their faith by helping those in need. To find out more, visit ssvpscotland.com