NEW Scottish MPs were welcomed to London yesterday – by the city’s two Scottish charities, ScotsCare and Borderline, during an event at the House of Commons reminiscent of a tradition going back centuries.
ScotsCare (formerly the Royal Scottish Corporation) traces its origins back to the accession of James VI in 1603, when a ‘Scots Box’ was set up to help Scots newly arrived in London.
Today, ScotsCare provides vital support to hundreds of Scots in the UK capital every year. Its sister charity, Borderline, focuses on homeless Scots.
Scottish MPs (including around half of the new Scottish intake at Westminster) heard the event’s host and long-time supporter, Pete Wishart MP, the chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee and MP for Perth and North Perthshire, refer to the long-standing connection.
Many new MPs also pledged their support to the two charities.
They took the opportunity to informally swap practical tips about life in London with staff and volunteers, many of whom have lived there for decades.
ScotsCare offers a range of services which includes financial help and household items, Children’s holidays, student grants, advocacy sheltered accommodation and even ‘Blether Buddies’ who keep in regular contact with clients.
Borderline’s objective is to assist homeless Scots in London to find a secure tenancy and lead a healthy, independent life.
It offers a range of services, including information, advice and advocacy, accommodation and referrals to specialist agencies, and has a dedicated Scottish outreach worker.
It is supported by the Scottish Government.
Pete Wishart MP (pictured, centre) said: “It was brilliant to be able to meet up with the folk from ScotsCare and Borderline, to hear more about the projects both charities are involved in and to get the opportunity to thank them, staff and volunteers, for the fantastic and extremely important work that they are doing to support, in particular, vulnerable Scots in London.
“I wish them all every success for the future.
“I know that, both as individuals and as a group, my colleagues and I will want to maintain close links with these superb organisations.”
David Guild, chairt of ScotsCare (pictured at the back, next to ScotsCare banner) said: “As a charity that has supported Scots in London for over four centuries, and today is vital to so many Scots here, it is heartening to see the level of interest amongst Scottish MPs for the work we do.
“We look forward to developing that connection with them in the future.”
Shona Fleming, CEO of Borderline (standing right of Pete Wishart) said: “Around 13 per cent of London’s UK homeless are Scots, a shocking proportion.
“We rely on fundraising to help them, and the support of the Scottish Government is crucial.
“The response and commitment shown by Scottish MPs is a big boost to our staff and volunteers, who work every day with fellow-Scots who are unfortunate enough to be on the streets, to help them turn their lives around.
“We are very grateful for the MPs’ support.”
Willie Docherty, CEO ScotsCare: 07984 468 488, Shona Fleming, CEO Borderline: 07720 718 401, Etienne Duval, communications manager: 07785 346 356.
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