Crerar Hotels Trust has donated £7,188 to Fresh Start to support delivery of services from their Food Station to people who have experienced homelessness in Edinburgh, where Crerar Hotel’s head office is located. The donation will support the charity in helping homeless people in settle into a new home through providing food, cooking appliances and cookery classes in order to help them through the first difficult months of their tenancy. Sarah Firth, representative of Crerar Hotels Trust, presented a special cheque to staff, volunteers and clients of Fresh Start at their Food Station,on September 30th.  

Fresh Start works to support not only the resettlement in the community of people who have been homeless, but also by offering practical and emotional support during the difficult transitional period. All services are delivered by volunteers, allowing Fresh Start to address the social exclusion and isolation faced by people who have been homeless or are vulnerable in the community. Steven Stirling who has been attending the Food Station since early this year is  a regular garden volunteer, helping as one of a close team of volunteers once a week.  He’s long term unemployed and crosses the city to help out every Wednesday, regardless of the weather and benefits simply ‘as it gets him out of the house’.  The charity also runs a range of social and practical support services such as decorating, cooking classes and an allotment, all led by volunteers.

Adrienne Mee, Volunteer Co-ordinator said ‘We are hugely grateful for the funding from the Crerar Hotels Trust. Without it we would not be able to make the significant difference to the lives of the people we work with. Creating a space where they feel included, listened to and valued as an equal is hard to measure when so many of their experiences have been so different.’

‘The Trust’s support means we can tackle food poverty in a holistic way, allowing people who have experienced homelessness and isolation to learn the skills to help them settle into their home and their community’. Starter Packs of household goods are provided to new tenants to help them set up their home and improve the likelihood of them sustaining it, Fresh Start also provide cookers and carpets for these new tenants.

The £7,188 support from the Crerar Hotels Trust will allow Fresh Start to deliver services from the Food Station for the year beginning 1st September 2015.  During that year they will support 1170 vulnerable tenants in Edinburgh. Support will be provided by a pool of 60 volunteers who are drawn from churches, the Inner Wheel of the Edinburgh Rotarians, the wider community and are also keen to involve volunteers from their client group themselves. 

Chairman of Crerar Hotels Trust, Paddy Crerar, said supporting vulnerable people in our communities is a key priority for the trust.

“The work Fresh Start are doing to support those getting on their feet is so admirable and very much vital in Edinburgh,” Paddy said.