Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Greenock Drug and Alcohol Work - A story

Today we hear from Alan and his story about the work at Greenock

.. Alan, Greenock

I have had quite a journey since I first came into contact with the Salvation Army and without them I know I would not be here today to tell you about it.

I had been evicted from my flat, lost my family, job, dignity and self-esteem, all due to my alcoholism. I was suicidal and did not see any future for me at all.

Social Work referred me to Hope House, an environment that I knew nothing about. I spent almost 3 months there, at what was the worst time in my life.

The staff at Hope house continually tried to motivate me and never gave up on me. The chaplain put lots of time and energy into trying to help me. It is only now when I look back that I am grateful that they never gave up.

At this point I still needed alcohol everyday and I was a physical wreck, I was also mentally and spiritually bankrupt.

I had reached my gutter and it was then that staff informed me that if my conduct continued I would be asked to leave. (Looking back they were right: my behaviour was totally unacceptable.) My reply to this was ‘what do you want me to do?’ (I was beat)

Staff then took the time to speak to me and gave me some options. One of these options was Fewster House and the beginning of my path to recovery. The staff team threw their support behind me and ensured that I took up my place at Fewster House.
At Fewster House I learned about myself, my actions, responsibilities and the affect that my addiction had on myself and those around me. I learned to deal with issues one day at a time and started to build a life in recovery.
There were still many hurdles and anxieties to deal with: in particular moving into accommodation in the community.
This is when Greenock Floating Support Service came in. They worked with me to find appropriate accommodation and to support me through the transition of moving from Fewster House to a shared house (3 people) in a fantastic tenement in the west end of Greenock.
As well as supporting me to deal with any tenancy related issues they also continued support with my alcoholism. They never gave up on me and allowed me to see the potential within myself. I started volunteering at a Salvation Army shop and also went back to college to retrain and educate myself.
Now I am looking to get to work and to move to my own tenancy. I am at the final stages of hearing about a position with the Scottish Drugs Forum which will give me a paid placement to complete my SVQ in Social Care.
After 2902 days of sobriety, I am still taking it one day at a time.
Words can’t convey my gratitude or appreciation to the staff of the Salvation Army as they saved my life. They also supported me to see that I could have a future.
Thanks for not giving up on me.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Greenock Drug and Alcohol Work

This week we are going to be focussing on some of the work done at Greenock.

A very special meeting was held at the Greenock Salvation Army Corps which celebrated all that has been achieved over the past three years.

 A Covenant has existed between Greenock Corps and Greenock Floating Support Service since November 2011, building on a relationship established over many years. Integrated Mission is at the heart of the Salvation Army's work in Greenock.

This has led to:

  • permanent prayer/quiet room
  • joint Bible study and prayer events
  • twice weekly Community Cafe
  • "Lifetree" - staffed by corps volunteers and service users from Greenock Floating Support
  • corps based addiction worker (as part of the Scotland Drug and Alcohol Strategy)
  • Garage Project - providing weekly volunteer opportunities for service users and the chance to pick up a bargain or two
Just over a year ago the partnership was further enhanced when the Floating Support team relocated to new offices in the former quarters attached to the corps, establishing the first campus model in Scotland.

Likening the renewal of the Covenant to a renewal of vows and other lifelong commitments, the leader of the meeting, Divisional Commander, Major Russell Wyles, encouraged all of the congregation to be part of this ministry - corps members, service users, staff and volunteers - came forward to sign the Covenant, pledging to '"Share of ourselves, our resources and do together all that we can in order to fulfill God's Kingdom within the town and community of Greenock".

Friday, 24 April 2015

Gospel Concert

The National Youth Gospel Choir of the Netherlands Salvation Army (J-Unit) is doing a tour of a few corps in Scotland and the Northern division between 3rd May and 8th May.  For further information about them please visit

They will give a gospel praise concert at Edinburgh Gorgie on Sunday 3rd May at 5pm and on Monday 4th May they will be at Perth Corps.

On the Monday in Perth, the choir will give a gospel workshop from 2-5pm which will be followed be tea for anyone who attends and wishes to stay.  The workshop and the tea are FREE OF CHARGE.  The workshop is open to all ages.  In the evening at 7pm the choir will give a concert and admission is £5 on the door.  

This is a great opportunity to meet Salvationists from another territory and to sing/listen to some gospel music.  Those who attend the workshop will have opportunity to perform with the choir in the evening.

Monday, 20 April 2015



My wife and I moved to Scotland three weeks before the independence referendum last year. We couldn’t fail to notice something was happening! There was an incredible level of political engagement, and on referendum day itself almost 85 per cent of the electorate voted – the highest turnout in any British election since every adult was given the right to vote in 1928. By contrast, only 65 per cent of the electorate voted in the 2010 UK general election.

The high level of voting in Scotland was due to one straightforward reason: there was a huge issue at stake, which had the potential to change people’s lives dramatically. Perhaps there’s the clue to why the voter turnout in the last general election was so low. Many people believed there was nothing of importance at stake – that there was little to choose between the parties, so why bother making a choice? It may not be true that the choice was so narrow – but even if was, it is disappointing to think that a significant proportion of the population did not take their civic responsibility seriously.

God cares
It would be even more disappointing if Christians were among that number, because, as well as being a civic responsibility, it is a spiritual responsibility. Why so? First of all because we serve a God who is concerned about every aspect of our lives. Archbishop Desmond Tutu asks if the Bible says ‘that what happens in the market place, in the courtroom, or in Parliament is of no particular religious significance, and that all that matters to God is what is confined to the sacred sphere of the ecclesiastical?’ His answer, of course, is no! The Bible reveals a God who is passionately concerned about every aspect of people’s lives. He seeks the welfare of people in body, mind and soul – and so should we.

The common good
Political engagement, even at the most basic level of casting a vote, is also important because God made us to live in communities. The question we need to ask ourselves is: ‘what can I do to make my community better?’ Even if we are keen to vote, it is all too easy to focus on our own needs and interests. But Christians who take their responsibility seriously will look to the common good. We will think about the moral and social issues, and consider what kind of society God desires. This might also involve looking beyond our national interest to see what our country can be and do in the world.         

Lessons from history
There are many inspiring historical examples of Christian political engagement. One of the best known is that of William Wilberforce, who, as a member of parliament led the campaign to abolish the slave trade in the early nineteenth century. Another example is from our own Army history. When the Army’s leaders became aware of the extent of human trafficking and child prostitution, they took a leading role in highlighting the issue and raised a storm in Victorian Britain. A petition with 393,000 signatures was carried to Westminster by eight Salvation Army cadets and placed on the floor of the House of Commons. Parliament responded. The age of consent was raised from 13 to 16 and various measures were put in place to tackle the issue.    

What to do
Compared with such dramatic examples we might think our votes don’t really matter. But as we’ve seen, it is a responsibility we must not take lightly. So, how should we go about it?

·         Make sure you are registered to vote! The process has changed this year. Whereas before one person could register for the whole household, now each individual needs to do it. The deadline is TODAY!!! Go to for more information.
·         Find out about your candidates, their parties and their positions. You’re bound to get a leaflet though your door!  
·         Inform yourself about the issues. Get to know the facts, not just the headlines. You can do this by yourself, or there may be a study group you can join. Not all Christians will agree on every issue. We are influenced by our background, our experiences, our understanding of the Bible, and even our personalities. But all of us need to apply our hearts and minds to the matter of voting, and make a sincere response.   
·         You could write to your candidates expressing your views.
·         You might want to attend hustings to listen to what the candidates have to say, and perhaps ask them a question.
·         Vote on the 7th of May!
·         Continue to pray for politicians and for our country in the days beyond the election – and don’t forget the European and some local elections on 22nd May.
·         If you want to be more involved in politics then gives some helpful advice.

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts
Assistant to the Secretary for Scotland