Meeting identified needs in the community

tackling poverty …


“I am not a client, a customer, nor a service user. I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar, nor a thief. I’m not a National Insurance Number or blip on a screen. I paid my dues, never a penny short, and proud to do so. I don’t tug the forelock, but look my neighbour in the eye and help him if I can. I don’t accept or seek charity. My name is Daniel Blake. I am a man, not a dog... read more

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Giving Thanks

‘Give thanks with a grateful heart’ is something which we sing regularly in the Church where I worship. If I’m honest, though, giving thanks is actually something which I feel I don’t do enough of. It’s something which we might think of in Church life around September or October. That’s when Harvest Thanksgiving comes round, whatever that might look like in urban Scotland today. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to say thank you – and I’ve been there too.

When you go to Google, and type in ‘saying thank you’ a whole range of answers pop up, from self-help, to life-coaching, and other insights from the corporate world... read more

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One bud at a time


Spring arrives slowly. One bud at a time. At first, you don’t even notice. A green shoot here, a snow drop there. And the mornings gradually getting lighter. But these small signs of new life are frequently obscured by grey clouds or the odd sleety shower. Or by the tiredness that our bodies have been nursing.

Sometimes we want to just jump ahead. Let it be summer! Let our lives be filled with sun and warmth. And yet, life gradually winds its way past obstacles to be negotiated and relationships to be nurtured... read more

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Changing Times


Bob Dylan wrote a song entitled “The Times They Are A-Changin”, and change is something that I’ve spent the last year reflecting about and pondering on. 2016 saw a lot of changes within our world: Brexit, the election of a new President in the United States of America, and a loss of so many of the “great and the good” from different walks of life, all spring to mind.

The effects of these changes are still being felt in the early months of 2017, and will continue to be felt far into the future... read more

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In Pursuit of Silence


‘Silence is a journey into the wilderness and into the dark. You can’t be sure what you’re going to encounter there, and I think many people are rightly wary of silence, because we use noise as a distraction and an evasion. Silence is a journey, right into the heart of your being.’
Pico Iyer
Film: In Pursuit of Silence

On Earth Day, 22 April 2005, Gordon Hempton placed a small red stone on a log in the middle of the Hoh Rainforest, at the Olympic National Park in Washington State, USA... read more

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It’s not much, but …


When we go on walks with our little boy, we often come home with a whole array of items found in the woods and beaches of Scotland. We even have an old plant pot full of foraged sticks, outside of our front door. Precariously full, I dread the day when there’s no more room in that pot. And since Scotland boasts more stick than space, I feel the inevitable will come. Perhaps by then it will be snail shell season and that’ll be a great distraction... read more

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Edinburgh Street Pastors don’t stand still


Edinburgh Street Pastors have been patrolling the city centre streets since 2009, and we continually set ambitious but achievable targets for ourselves. Initially, there were 12 Street Pastors, who went out in groups of three on Friday nights. For seven years, we’ve been walking the streets: listening, helping and caring. We’ve expanded our numbers to just over 50 Street Pastors, and developed an extensive training course that runs twice a year. About three years ago, after some successful Grant applications, we were able to employ a part time Coordinator, who works 22.5 hours a week... read more

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The Key to an Open Door

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In our first Go For It blog contribution in April 2014, I wrote about finding peace in the Kirkyard, as the Kirk building was kept locked. This year brings hope that open doors will become a reality, brought about by greater awareness of their value.

Space for reflection

Parton Kirk offers a flexible space, as there are no pews. Earlier this year, an artist friend and I took advantage of this, by staging an art event (pictured below). Each piece of her abstract art was matched with a framed poem of mine... read more

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Intergenerational Mentoring

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Later this month, I will meet the sixth student I will mentor.

According to the dictionary, a mentor is a wise and trusted counsellor or teacher. The first mentor was in Greek mythology, where Odysseus’s trusted counsellor, Athena, became the guardian and teacher of Telemarchus.

I’m a member of the Intergenerational Mentoring Programme, at Springburn Academy in Glasgow. At Springburn, any student in S5 who is studying for five Highers gets a mentor. We are matched based on our interests and academic background... read more

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What’s the time?

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It used to be the case that folk who had worked their whole life in one place were presented with a gold watch or carriage clock when they retired. This was a sign that the time they had given to their place of work, the time that they’d invested over their working life, was being given back to them, for them to enjoy. In today’s world of zero hours and agency contracts, and portfolio careers, the idea of a job for life is somewhat curious and unusual... read more

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