Christmas comes early for Gorbals & Pollok communities with £200,000 Lottery ‘win’

Grassroots community organisations in the Gorbals and Pollok areas of Glasgow have received £200,000 from Homeless Network Scotland thanks to a National Lottery Community Fund project which is designed to prevent homelessness in communities in Glasgow. The decision about what organisations received the funding was made by a panel of local people in each community.

The ‘Staying In’ project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, with Homeless Network Scotland and partners Unity and SCDC, joining local people and organisations on a panel to allocate funding based on innovative ideas and solutions to prevent homelessness where it starts – in communities – using a ‘place based’ model.

A place-based approach goes local, recognising that within a community there are existing resources, skills and a willingness to solve the issues experienced by people who live there.

Diaspora African Women Support Network (DAWSUN) received £34,800 to support vulnerable families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless. The drop in at the Adelphi Centre in Gorbals will be open twice a week for service users and will be a community-based early intervention program to help individuals who are at-risk of becoming homeless.

Dr Chioma Nwafur, Executive Director, Diaspora African Women Support Network (DAWSUN), said: “The ‘Staying In’ Gorbals funding has allowed us to provide wrap-around support for Ethnic minority families at risk of homelessness before they present as homeless. Our homelessness intervention hub is open on Thursdays and Fridays. The majority of families are asylum seekers, refugees and ethnic minorities who speak very little English, struggling with the challenges of overcrowding, squatting, low income and troubles with neighbours. The funding meant that DAWSUN could assign them individual caseworkers and teach English.”

SWAMP in Pollok is a Community Development Trust and charity, using training, outreach, film, music, digital technologies, gardening and the creative arts to bring about change. They received £45,000 from the fund.

Andy Peline from SWAMP said: “As a community-led development trust we understand our community and are well placed to address many of the issues within it. However, the hardest part is securing the resources to tackle local priorities. Thanks to the support of the National Lottery Community Fund, we will be in a better position to create local employment opportunities and directly address the causes of homelessness within our community. We plan to test a wraparound service that will not only remove the threat of eviction but will also support people to manage their tenancies in the future.”

Preventing homelessness is made easier by circumstances such as access to adequate income or some savings, positive relationships, social networks and support or advice, advocacy and information about available services. The ‘Staying In’ programme is about helping people to stay in their area if they are at risk of homelessness.

John Edmiston, Area Housing Manager with New Gorbals Housing Association, which received £40,000 funding, said: “This fund is to target and support people who might be at risk of homelessness or who have come from homelessness. For people who have that experience one of the biggest problems in a new flat is the lack of essential items and utilities everybody needs to set up and maintain a comfortable home.

“We’ll provide essential home items such as flooring, seating, beds, bedding, microwaves and window blinds as well as support with the first month’s food shop and initial gas and electricity payment. Thanks to this Lottery funding we have been able to develop our idea to help new tenants at risk of, or who have experienced, homelessness to remain in the local Gorbals community or settle in here.”

The National Lottery Community Fund’s Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said: “When we announced this package of funding back in June 2019, we hoped that it would support a wider change across the sector and support organisations to work more collaboratively to address the issue of homelessness in Glasgow.  I am delighted that, some two and a half years later, the first awards are being announced from the Community Trailblazers programme and that National Lottery funding will have such a lasting and positive impact.”

David Ramsay, Change Lead at Homeless Network Scotland, helped to facilitate the scheme and also grew up in Pollok. David said: “The best way to end homelessness is to stop it happening in the first place. This was close to my heart because of my ties to the area, I have seen so many situations where people had to move away from family networks and friends because of homelessness. We must help people stay in their communities where the right support is available.”