National Homelessness charity Bethany Christian Trust asks Christmas shoppers to make a difference by purchasing a gift voucher providing vital support for those without a home this winter.
The gift vouchers, which cost £21 each, are now available to purchase online and in Bethany Shops across Edinburgh and East Lothian. Every purchase provides someone who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets with access to a warm and safe en-suite bedroom, hot meals and 24-hour support at the Rapid Re-accommodation Welcome Centre in Edinburgh.
Guests also receive personalised support to help them move on to more stable accommodation. Council Housing Officers are on hand during the day to allow for effective referrals to housing and there is an extensive range of on-site visiting support from healthcare professionals and charitable partner organisations.
This year shoppers purchasing a voucher will receive an illustrated gift card that they can personalise to give to friends and family as an ethical present, with an optional colouring-in activity if it is for a child.
In 2020 Bethany modified the Care Shelter in partnership with the council, and supported by the Scottish Government, to become the new Rapid Re-Accommodation Welcome Centre. Bethany took what they learned from operating the Care Shelter since 1996 and combined it with a new opportunity to provide 24-hour support in en-suite rooms as a deliberate move away from congregate shelter provision.
City of Edinburgh Council is covering the cost of the room hire. Bethany is providing a large professional team to support people in crisis and is raising funds through Buy a Bed to enable this service. The Welcome Centre also relies on around 1,000 volunteers from churches across the Lothians who provide the catering and hot evening meals. The support provision at the Welcome Centre is also supported by the voluntary donations of trusts and foundations, individuals, local churches, companies, and communities, as well as local and national government grants.
Commenting on the Welcome Centre Christmas Gift, Alasdair Bennett, Chief Executive at Bethany Christian Trust said: “As we approach the season of giving, we may again think about giving a gift that will truly make a difference. Giving someone the opportunity to escape the cold into safe accommodation and receive a hot meal, with love and support can save lives. Your donation will provide our team with the means to help those most in need find a warm and loving place to stay this Christmas and support them to move on to further accommodation. When thinking of how you can make a difference this year, please think of Bethany.”
Established in 1983, Bethany Christian Trust supports almost 7,000 people each year across Scotland. The charity’s services focus on Homelessness Prevention, Crisis Intervention and Housing with Support, alleviating the suffering and meeting the long-term needs of homeless and vulnerable people in Scotland.
The Welcome Centre Christmas Gifts can be purchased online at https://www.bethanychristiantrust.com/support-work/buy-a-bed/