The end of the calendar year is often a time for reflection. This is a brief roundup of some highlights from 2023….
Our New Building
The need for the services we provide to the people of Greater Govanhill has never diminished. We were increasingly aware that our office and Advice Centre space was no longer fit for purpose. After many years of looking, The Well secured a lease for 53 Niddrie Road. We were thrilled to make this dream a reality and welcomed clients to our new premises in April 2023. A big thank you to Sarah, our former Head of Partnerships and Communications, who worked so hard to fundraise for this massive project. It was a day of celebration and gratitude when the Lord Provost came to officially open the new office in October. Our favourite comment about the new building remains “The staff were always good, now the building is good too.”
The Advice Centre
Unsurprisingly the majority of our work is done via The Advice Centre. (You may have seen the queue that forms every weekday.) This year we have had people travel all the way from Northern Ireland because they heard we could help with the EU settlement scheme and they couldn’t find anywhere local to help them! We have had success stories of securing funding for families in difficult and unexpected situations who were in desperate need. We helped others secure housing and reduce debts which in turn led to increased confidence and enough financial security to be able to restart their business again. The Advice Centre ended the year looking a little different as Jan, our long time Receptionist, retired in October. We are grateful for the warm welcome and hospitality she provided over the years as she managed the reception area and helped keep the volunteers on time and on task!
Friendships are a big part of The Well. Sometimes friendships are helped along by the structure provided through our social groups, like Chai and Chat and Bubbles. These groups offer females a space to come together. We are excited about a new group aimed at Men, called Men at The Well, which will run through the winter months. Participants describe these groups as ‘beautiful’, ‘ it makes me feel included’ and ‘it helps me and my child make friends.’ Other times, friendships form over long term use of our Advice Centre services. This is an added bonus of repeat visits. One of our good friends has been to see us 108 times this year! And sometimes the relationships we build lead us to supporting clients outside the structure of the Advice Centre or social groups. Lastly we can’t forget the friendships and partnerships we have built with other local organisations. All of these friendships mean a great deal to us and we feel privileged to have them.
Funded by Baillie Gifford and Administered by Foundation Scotland, our ESOL classes go beyond teaching language skills. We go over practical life skills such as the different services provided by the NHS and how to make appointments. It gives us such joy when course participants proudly share how things like this have given them the confidence to practice these skills on their own, in real life settings. We were also proud when we learned that four ladies, who we supported in making applications to near nearby colleges, were accepted on community courses. Not all learning is done in the classroom. Thanks to our funders, the ESOL class participants were given the opportunity to take some fieldtrips around Glasgow this past summer to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the open top bus tour. We hope to have more field trips in 2024.
As 2023 draws to a close, we will continue to reflect on all that has happened. Here’s to 2024 and the opportunities to grow, to learn, to help and to continue being a friend and a blessing to the people of Greater Govanhill!