Published on: 16 Sep 2020 08:03

Written by: Maryhill Housing

This year's Scottish Housing Day aims to highlight the value of social housing.  As we remain in the middle of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there has arguably never been a more important time to demonstrate the difference the housing sector can make to people's lives.

At Maryhill Housing, we have always been about more than just providing housing and collecting rent.  Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government and the Food Fund back in March, we have been able to react to some of the devastation caused by COVID-19 in our communities. 

Throughout lockdown, not only have people been isolated and separated from their family and friends, but many have faced financial uncertainty with increased food bills and utility costs or a reduction in income due to losing jobs and/or being placed on furlough. 

The funding we received has been used to deliver the following activities and benefits to the communities of Maryhill and Ruchill:

  • Food vouchers dispersed by North United Communities for over 438 residents;

  • Weekly food deliveries from wholesalers to St Gregory’s daily foodbank which has helped over 2,100 residents during the last four months;

  • A ‘meals on wheels’ service from the G20 Youth Festival “Food from the Wood” project which delivered over 5,736 hot meals and 1,401 food parcels;

  • Assistance with paying fuel bills for 98 residents;

  • Continuation of mental health and wellbeing support from the Nu Me project where over 40 participants have benefited from online yoga sessions, weekly quizzes, group wellbeing sessions and 1-2-1 support calls;

  • 20 mobile devices were provided by The Women’s Centre for service users fleeing domestic violence;

  • 48 online mental health first aid sessions delivered over six weeks to families accessing the Home Start Glasgow North service;

  • 7 devices for children to do homework, Zoom subscriptions and mobile top-ups were provided to service users of Maryhill Integration Network;

It’s often difficult to capture and put into words the difference this kind of funding can make, so we asked some of our residents to explain just what these services have meant to them during lockdown:

  •  “This has lifted up my spirits. Even though I live alone, I realise that I'm not alone.”

  • “There are so many kind people out there! I don't feel so isolated anymore. Thank you so much!"

  • “I don’t have family and friends but have made new ones at Nu Me and, if I need any help, the Nu Me ladies are always there!”

  • “Thank you so, so much.  Honestly, you don’t understand how much the food vouchers have really helped me.” 

  • “The vouchers have been an absolute lifeline for our family during such a difficult time.”

  • “I can’t thank you enough for this support; I’d have been lost without it.”

We are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government and the Food Fund for providing us with this funding and are completely in awe and admiration of all of the fantastic local organisations who have helped deliver services throughout.  From the young people and staff volunteering their time at G20 Youth Festival to the volunteers servicing the daily foodbank at St Gregory’s Church and the staff at NUC and Nu Me who have literally being saving lives with the services they have delivered during a completely unprecedented and challenging time – we want to thank each and every one of you. 

A special ‘thank you’ also has to go to Maryhill Parish Church’s deacon, Jim Hamilton, who gave up his time to deliver food parcels and picked up shopping for residents when parcels were unsuitable due to medical/dietary requirements.