Start-up Stirling

helping homeless people make a home

What is Start-Up?

Start-Up is a local charity, based in Stirling, Bridge of Allan and Dunblane which represents 21 churches (from 5 denominations). We have been active for over 20 years. The day-to-day running of the project is undertaken by a management committee appointed annually by the member churches.

What does Start-Up do?

The primary goal is to help people who are moving from a position of homelessness into a long-term tenancy, by providing some of the basic necessities they need at that time. These include small household goods, food and cleaning materials. Each church has appointed a contact person for the project, who has a list of the goods needed and who decides how these will be donated and collected.

Is there a real need for the packs?

The demand for packs has been constant for many years and has increased during the last 2 years. We donated over 80 packs last year in response to the needs identified by the staff at Quarriers, who work with vulnerable young people and at Stirling Council Homelessness Service, who provide help to others, including single people and families.

What is meant by 'homelessness'?

This terms should not be confused with rooflessness or ‘sleeping rough’. Stirling Council is required by legislation to provide people who fall into priority categories with temporary accommodation when they cannot continue to live in overcrowded or unsatisfactory conditions while waiting for a house and some will end up on the street. All suffer from uncertainty and insecurity and many from poverty and loneliness, as they wait for a permanent home.

Why are people homeless in 2019?

A major cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing for rent, due in part to the sale of council houses and the lack of new buildings to replace these during the last 20-30 years. Other reasons include the increase in breakdown of family life. Many homeless people have suffered the misfortune to divorce or bereavement and older men may find it especially hard to cope alone. Coming out of prison or long stay hospital may mean facing homelessness.

Are the packs appreciated?

Occasionally the committee have heard directly from recipients of the packs or from a staff member on their behalf. We have been moved by the extent of the gratitude expressed, particularly when the circumstances of the person concerned have been that of near destitution, isolation and vulnerability. Comments have included—

  • "I never thought people would care enough to do this"
  • "It’s a relief to be able to use cutlery again instead of my fingers"
  • "It's great to have a kettle—I was fed up eating from the chippie"

Where is Start-Up based?

Until recently the project was located in a vacant church gallery. We are now based in a small industrial unit in Stirling Enterprise Park, which is well suited to our need for a secure space to store and pack goods. This was made possible by a grant from Stirling Council.

Does Start-Up need gifts of money?

Donations of money are always welcome. Currently we spend about £10 on each pack, mainly on saucepans, frying pans and other items which are not donated. Also we have extended the range of goods provided to include duvets and electric kettles, which have to be purchased new. Up until this year, our funding has been by donations from Councils of churches, member congregations and individuals. Recently we have obtained funding from Stirling Council for rent for our premises an a grant towards the ‘new’ goods we now provide, but in future we will be responsible for finding funding for the goods.

What can people do to help?

We need people to donate items for the packs, preferably on a regular basis, perhaps by buying a few extra items of food or cleaning materials whilst shopping. Perhaps you know someone who is replacing cutlery, dishes or bed linen and would be willing to let us have their "old set" (provided it is in good condition). We have several teams of volunteer packers, each team undertaking a duty monthly. Offers of help are welcome. Your church, or one of its organisations, may wish to raise funds for or make a donation to Start-Up. Christmas is a time when homeless people are remembered especially in our churches. Another ‘special’ Sunday is Homelessness Sunday, marked on the last Sunday in January. Items urgently required now are - all food items, especially :

  • long grain rice
  • Tinned fruits and desserts
  • Household goods are always welcome
  • Single and double bed linen

If you can help START-UP please get in touch.

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