Message from Castlemilk

The third Castlemilk collection since Covid travel restrictions were lifted was taken away on August 9th – a large van full of donations of second-hand baby items and children’s clothes and toys, bedding and towels from Dunblane families along with a sizeable amount of new ‘Back to School’ items donated by members of the St Mary’s congregation and the wider community. Thank you all for your generosity. The next collection with a focus on warm clothes, winter coats, boots and wellies for children of all ages will happen in mid September.

In the meantime, here is a little of the story of the of our church community which has been working with asylum seekers and refugees in Castlemilk for 20 years now.

The Castlemilk Churches Together Refugee Centre opened in the Baptist Church in response to Gilles from Africa, turning up at the Parish Church to ask for help for him and the other asylum seekers being delivered to our local flats by overnight buses from London.

We started with the practical help asked for: heaters for cold flat, winter clothes, English classes, a safe place to meet, somewhere to play football. We’ve grown and changed over the years but sadly the need for help for new arrivals is a great as ever. Fast forward to 2021 and we are still based in the Baptist Church. We’re now a mixed group of local Scottish people, well established “New Scots” refugees and asylum seekers all working together to help whoever comes in the door in need. Our new asylum seekers “settling in” programme of English classes, discussion and activity groups and international lunches has just been fully funded.

We also help local people who are struggling as well as our international friends, with furniture, household goods, baby/toddler equipment and clothes. It’s amazing that the donations we receive all the time enabled us to help over 350 households last year. For this we thank God and those he uses, such as our long-term supporters in Dunblane, for this generosity.
Two months ago we grieved with Wonder over the death of her brother in Africa. Last Sunday we rejoiced with her as she has now been granted leave to remain in the UK. This means she can start the process to have her 7 year old daughter join her. But we continue to pray for Aruba whose young children are still in Africa. “You don’t understand” she said to us recently “what I’m going though”.

Your prayers and support are appreciated.

Eileen Baxendale
Project Coordinator