Scottish Churches Housing Action celebrates year of Starter Packs East Lothian partnership



A partnership formed to provide starter packs to people moving into a new tenancy in East Lothian is celebrating its first year.

Scottish Churches Housing Action (SCHA), in association with Recycling First, Fresh Start and East Lothian Council, launched the venture in April 2018.

The partnership has distributed 695 packs to 156 individuals and families, who had experienced or were at risk of homelessness. It is predicted that the demand is very likely to continue, if not increase.

The success of the project was dependent on the support of local churches providing regular donations, as well as East Lothian Council providing funds.

Recycling First collects furniture and other items from all parts of East Lothian and distributes goods to people in need. Fresh Start links in with the Edinburgh churches to collect and distribute smaller items such as pots and pans, bed linen, cutlery and crockery. A total of 11 East Lothian Churches are signed up, with more to follow. Congregations and communities are also being to commit to gathering goods and signing up.

Starter Packs are basic essential household goods to help set up and sustain a new home. The packs contain: cleaning products; crockery and cutlery; curtains; food; pots; kitchen utensils; single or double bedding; small electrical appliances; toiletries and towels.

Heather Zajac, development manager at SCHA, explained why the Starter Packs are needed: “When someone gets a house from the council or a housing association after they have been homeless, it is empty. They don’t get furniture, bedding, cooking essentials or cleaning equipment. And they don’t generally have money to kit their new home out.  Families may help, but often people are cut off from family. Churches are a crucial part of helping the community.

“We are encouraged and inspired by the response; we hope you will be able to support us.”

Biddy Kelly, Fresh Start director, said: “This is an innovative partnership between ELC, SCHA, Recycle First and Fresh Start that allows us to all utilise the skills, experience and knowledge that we have to work in real collaboration. This approach meant that we could hit the ground running and get quality goods out to people who need it quickly.  Fresh Start is delighted to be part of this partnership.”

Tom Logan, CEO Recycling First, added: “Thanks to the Local Churches, Scottish Churches Housing Action and Fresh Start for making this venture come together and to East Lothian Council for supporting and funding the service.

“Our dedicated team will ensure that people in our community with no money for basic household items will be able to access packs through our referral service, and has only been possible in the last year because of the generosity of local Churches and people in donating essential household items.”



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