How a project is helping Pollokshaws be a vibrant and thriving community
A much needed drop-in to help local people access support and advice across a broad range of issues has been launched.
The Pollokshaws Support Project is a one stop shop for people in need who may not be aware of or otherwise currently lack direct access to this and more advanced support.
It also aims to develop a local volunteer base within the neighbourhood to build knowledge and expertise on current and long standing issues.
As a result of both, to build community capacity to cope with the complications of poverty and austerity, and community confidence to participate in decision making and producing a vibrant community culture.
The Pollokshaws Support Project emerged from discussions between some member organisations of the Pollokshaws Area Network – namely Pollokshaws Adult Literacy Network, Auldhouse Community Food Bank, Pollokshaws Community Hub and Garden, and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Newland – who recognised an increase in the number of participants in each organisation coming forward looking for basic assistance.
Nicky Patterson, project co-ordinator, said: “Together we felt a project focusing on addressing this would allow a comprehensive support service while relieving the workers at each organisation, often already working at or beyond capacity.
“A working group was established with support from James Dornan MSP’s office, and funding for a nine-month pilot was secured from St Margaret’s Newlands for a project co-ordinator, volunteer training, and running costs.
“In the first three months myself and Pollokshaws Area network co-ordinator Fiona Eadie organised training for 15 local volunteers in issues including communication skills, mental health awareness, equality, universal credit and housing rights.
“All staff and volunteers are local tenants, residents, and workers in the area.”
The project is there for anyone who needs help and advice across a wide range of issues.
“We run as a hub for access to support and advice for welfare and benefits, disability, money and debt, food and energy insecurity, health and wellbeing,” Nicky said.
“We help people understand and communicate through letters, phone calls, and appointments with the DWP, NHS, HMRC, Police Scotland, the courts, energy companies and so on.
“Crucially we offer people accompaniment to appointments to take reassure their anxieties and help them understand what is being said.
“We help people find information, online and in the Hub, on available services, employment, training, and learning opportunities, as well as introduce them to local activities they can participate in to build confidence and feel part of the community.
“The health and wellbeing outcomes of such work are well recorded, and reflect the recent turn towards tackling social isolation and loneliness in an age of austerity, fragmented communities, and marginalisation.”
Nicky continued: “Pollokshaws is neighbourhood that has been devastated by years of dysfunctional regeneration that has only made the impact of austerity and the complications of poverty worse.
“People’s health and self esteem is at a low ebb, and through this project, by developing our volunteers and helping local people, we hope to counteract that and build the community’s health and wellbeing back to the point where Pollokshaws is once again a vibrant and thriving community.
“We have had such a broad range of issues to work on so far, but every single participant through the door has left feeling much better than when they arrived, that’s the key!”
The drop-in runs on Wednesdays from noon to 2.30pm at the Pollokshaws Community Hub.
For further information, phone 07394 639 799, email [email protected] or visit