Last week I accompanied a young woman to an appointment. We were early and so decided to have an ice-cream. She was so happy, and told me that she’d not had an ice-cream ‘outside’ in five years. She’d been little more than a servant in her marital home, but things have changed and now she is able to enjoy being outside!
On Tuesday of this week Jan spent ages trying to help a young man access his wages – which were now on a card, but he couldn’t pass the security to validate the card with his most recent salary amount, which he didn’t have. Finally on Wednesday he was able to get the information he needed, passed security and was a very happy young man. He said to Dougie “I’ll buy you a coffee!”
Yesterday Jaan was helping a young family who were in deep distress – I happened to be in the same office. Jaan did an amazing job of helping the young woman work through her anxiety. Later I said to the woman “Our Injil (gospel) says that we are not to worry about tomorrow, as each day has enough trouble of its own.” We discussed how at times we worry about things but actually we have no idea how they are going to turn out! I then asked her “so what is your worry for today?” She was silent for a few seconds, looked at me, smiled and said “honestly since I’ve been in here I feel my worries have gone and I just feel hope and peace!” I laughed, hugged her and said “I think your worry for today is “what am I going to give those kids for their dinner?” She burst out laughing and said “that’s exactly what I was thinking!”
There you go it’s just another week in The Well . . . if there’s such a thing! But we’ve got a real and urgent problem! These stories can only happen because of our dedicated team of wonderful volunteers, but we don’t have enough volunteers to cover all the shifts at the minute. Recently three of our volunteers moved away, or have family commitments and are no longer available, so we’ve lost cover for SIX shifts! Whilst the rest of the team has been willing to fill in the gaps as they can, that is not sustainable and for the first time in over 24 years we are looking at having to temporarily reduce the number of advice sessions, at the same time as the needs are growing.
Please pray about this and ask God to send us the right volunteers to fill in the gaps.
But it’s not just in the advice part that we’re struggling:-( Bubbles – our mother and toddler group – currently has no volunteers to work with Penny in the new session. No volunteers, means no Bubbles! The priority for Bubbles is the relationships that are built with the women and we know from the comments they make, that this is a vital service and part of our work – so another urgent prayer request for you!
Please get in touch if you want more information, or feel this might be for you!
At our final Chai & Chat Session for this year, after the women had spent time decorating Christmas Ginger Cookies – they looked amazing!
Afterwards we had our traditional Christmas Story time, and Penny told the women how one of her Bubbles mum had said “Christmas Parties are different here, you make it all about people.” Penny used this as her starting point to tell them about the people of the very first Christmas Story. You could have heard a pin drop. Afterwards we sang “Away in a manager” (Thanks Jaan for popping in at the right time!)
We wanted to thank the volunteers who make the Chai & Chat group happen, and this year we had a special thanks to Shanaz* for her help in the group – teaching them how to make teddybears! A first for her to take the lead, and she did exceptionally well!
After the formalities were all over we enjoyed the various snacks the women had brought – oh the advantage of working cross-culturally, such delicious homemade food and snacks!
“You make Christmas about the people.” I’ve been thinking about that, Christmas is about the people as Penny so aptly told the women, but I’ve also been reflecting and thinking on how the most important person of the Christmas story and actually who ever lived, makes it possible for The Well to be all about people – not just at Christmas time, but right throughout the year.
For the past year we have benefited from Sarah’s help with our funding applications.
Sarah fitted in quickly and easily to the team, and we certainly benefitted from her youthful enthusiasm, confidence and marketing experience.
So we were disappointed when Sarah got a new job, which meant she would no longer have the time to commit to The Well. We are thrilled for her, knowing that she was looking for a new challenge in her professional life, but we do feel her lose very keenly!
It does mean that we are once again having to look at how we manage the fundraising side of the work. Penny is able to commit one day a week, but we do need more than that, and just now we are considering a team approach – perhaps a group of volunteers who would be able to help out a couple of hours per week or month?
The schools in Glasgow go back tomorrow and or the first Monday in a very long time, The Well is quiet – I guess a lot of people are getting the last minute things sorted.
Various folks are also getting ready to restart all of our activities.
The Women’s English Class will start on Tuesday 22nd August and the Men’s English Class possibly will start on Wednesday 23rd August (to be confirmed.) Both in Govanhill Free Church
Chai & Chat hope to start on Tuesday 22nd August in The Well.
Bubbles for women and children will start on Thursday 24th August in Govanhill Free Church.
These activities all provide very important skills and opportunities for the folks who come, with virtually everyone seeing an increase in their confidence as a result of coming along. The relationships that are built in these groups are very special, with some becoming genuine friendships that last for years.
Recently we were given funding from St Margaret’s Scottish Episcopal Church in Newlands to run a parenting class for some of our Mums.
Since April we have been meeting every Wednesday morning in Govanhill Free Church, with a group of mums primarily from a Pakistani background, but also one Romanian mum was referred to us from The Space, a local agency that we share a common ethos with.
We have covered such subjects as “looking after yourself” “the importance of words” “boundaries” “listening” “play” and much more.
It was lovely every week to have Gail and Ailsa look after the children, and Shaida doing both the hospitality and translation as required.
I’m pretty sure that the children’s favourite thing was the messy play every week!
The mums thoroughly enjoyed our sessions and we had a special time today, encouraging them to build good memories with their children.
Next week our volunteers will be watching the film “I, Daniel Blake” as part of their training for the work in The Well. If you’ve not seen it, then I encourage you to watch it.
The harsh reality of sanctions and dealing with a system, which by its nature forces people into poverty, with little chance of escape is dealt with very powerfully in the film.
Kirsty has been working with us for the past couple of months and as she won’t be here next Friday, she watched it herself with her family – you can read what she thought of it in our June newsletter. As Kirsty says it should be compulsory viewing for everyone!
For the past 15 months we have been blessed to have had Ellen Cooke seconded from Interserve Scotland and Ireland, to help with our admin work in The Well.
As Ellen’s role in Interserve will come to an end with Interserve Scotland and Ireland merge their England and Wales counterparts to form Insterserve GBI, Ellen’s job will come to an end, and with her own family commitments she will no longer be able to work with us.
So! From the 1st May we are looking to recruit a part time admin worker. Our admin post is a unique role!(The Well is a unique place!) It doesn’t easily fit into the traditional admin type of work – that is included of course, but there’s more to it than that, it has been described as a “very bitsy role” from ensuring the rota is covered for every shift, to making posters, from writing thank you letters to giving a listening ear to volunteers. (That just happens!) The person will be an important member of the team of paid and volunteer staff, based in The Well.
Any interested person can request further information from Rhoda at The Well and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request the job description and further information. Application will be by CV and a task to be submitted by 5:00 on Monday 3rd April.
We work in close partnership with The Space in Govanhill. A local organisation who do a fantastic work with Romanian Roma Families in the area.
Recently Ailie from the People’s Bank of Govanhill asked if we would be willing to have a lunch for women in Govanhill, bringing together women from The Well and The Space. We were delighted to be a part of this. As The Well is so small, we were grateful to The Space for hosting the event.
As part of our development we’ve had a look at where our service users come from, the journeys they’ve taken, the churches that we have links with, and the partner organisations that we work with.
All of us who took part in the exercise found it encouraging, challenging and really quite amazing to see that so many from all over the world have come from there to here, and found a welcome in The Well.
The Well Multi-Cultural Resource Centre is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in Scotland (SC398700). Registered Office is 42-44 Albert Road, Glasgow G42 8DN. Registered as a Scottish Charity Number: SC042300
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