The Well, Multi-Cultural Resource Centre is situated in Govanhill – the most diverse community in the whole of Scotland, where at least 52 languages re spoken. It exists to: “serve our multi-cultural neighbours holistically, and enable others to do the same”
The Well’s roots go right back to 1963!
The Board of Home Mission of The Church of Scotland, recognised that Glasgow had many immigrants from the sub-continent, brought by the government of the time to fill gaps in the labour market.
As a church with responsibility for every parish, the Church of Scotland invited the Rev Emmanuel Johnson to come from the Church of Pakistan, to live and work among the Pakistani Community of Glasgow.
One of Emmanuel’s legacies was, along with Sewa Singh Kohlie and Balwant Singh Sagoo, to persuade the British Government to recognise marriages of other religions – which in the 1960s didn’t happen.
Part of Emmanuel’s work was to set up a bookshop in Allison Street in Govanhill, a place where people could read and purchase Christian literature.
When it became obvious that the bookshop was no longer fulfilling its purpose, it was sold and the Church of Scotland commissioned the community worker to carry out a needs’ survey.
The response was clear and obvious, when people were asked what they wanted and how the Christian church could serve them, again and again they replied that they needed somewhere to get information and advice.
And so The Well, Asian Information and Advice Centre began on the 23 March 1994.
The name “The Well” was chosen, as in John 4 Jesus had an encounter with a woman at a well. He was a Jew and she a Samaritan. Cultures and other boundaries were crossed and the woman went away with living water.
Between 1994 and 2011 The Well, helped hundreds / thousands of people with a wide range of issues, from benefits and utilities to English classes and personal support.
Men came. Women came. Young people came. Older people came. All found the same commitment among the staff and volunteers to offer the best help that they could.
Why? Why would people choose to come to a Christian based project, instead of going for help in their own community? Quite simply because The Well is not a part of their community! They like the fact that the volunteers and staff were not from their community, and so there was never any danger of a conflict of interests.
In February 2010 as a part of their own restructuring process, the now Mission & Discipleship Council of The Church of Scotland, decided that the time had come for The Well to become an independent charity.