First Day of Crossreach Week


Monday morning 27 August. We had just finished breakfast, Martha looked at me and said, " its quarter to nine,they'll be here soon! " at that moment the door bell rang from then on in I knew these people are serious, organised, and ready to get on with their work. i refer to Crossreach, the Church of Scotland's social care Charity. For the next week we're going to be visiting a whole range of programmes and projects which employ collectively over 2,000 members of staff and hundreds of volunteers. It was Calum Murray one of the senior staff members who was ringing the bell. He was right on time ready to drive us to our first project of the week. We arrived at the Sunflower Garden Project, around 9.00am this programme works out of Simpson House in Queen Street in Edinburgh. Simpson House is named after Simpson the man who discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform and successfully introduced it for general medical use. this is the house in which he was born. We had a wonderful breakfast and met some of the children who benefit from this service. I sat beside a young teenager who told me this was a good place for her. she liked the people. it was a place where. She could express her feelings. the Sunflower Garden Project is all about helping children who find themselves in difficult and formidable situations often brought about by being around guardians or parents who are drug abusers or who find it hard to carry out all the demands of parenthood. We then moved off to Wallace House, is is a beautiful stone villa in the suburbs of Edinburgh which has been used as a counselling centre. It is a very interesting place to visit. One of the services that is offered at Wallace House is a counselling service that seeks to support women who have Post Natal Depression. It was interesting to note the statistic that 1 in every 6 woman find themselves in this situation and also that 1 in 10 men also display symptoms of post natal depression. At Wallace House the uniqueness of the se rice is that they supply a crèche for those attending counselling. It was then off to home territory. For the next four hours Crossreach used the Vine Trust Barge as a venue to host partner charities who work in the same sector. The lunch time reception was well received and it is hoped that greater co-operation and partnership opportunities will be developed in the future. After lunch a group of people working I'm the children's sector were invited to start a conversation that Crossreach hope will stimulate a greater awareness of the place of children in our society. Crossreach feel it is all important that the voices of children are heard. Too often it is the voice of adults speaking through children that is being heard. The over sexualisation of children in today's culture is creating confusion and conflict in the minds of children. Too often children are being robbed of their childhood and thrown into the turmoil of adolescence long before they need to be. Crossreach have an aspiration to galvanise the whole church and other partners to help us begin to listen to the views and opinions of children allowing them to grow and develop and contribute to society in their own right as members of our communities. This event was well attended and it was great to see children participating. One unexpected addition to the afternoon was the appearance of the celebrity chef Neil Forbes. Neil has been working with the staff of Crossreach this week to help promote in all our residential homes healthy eating habits. In this occasion he gathered the children around and taught them how to make bread. Afterwards he produced a few loaves that he had baked and gave every one a piece and jam. This was to highlight that some of the old time food of the past given to children was full of goodness and nourishment. This conversation about the place of children will continue of the next few months. Finally it was off to Glasgow Springburn to meet the staff and residents of the Mallard and Garratt Centres. I'll write more about this visit in my next post. But for now it's time to go the car awaits the Moderator.

Posted By: Helmut   On: 28 Aug 2012   At: 5:30pm

“Too often children are being robbed of their childhood and thrown into the turmoil of adolescence long before they need to be.”

This is so very true!


Posted By: Glenn Liddall   On: 28 Aug 2012   At: 4:45pm

Moderator - we were very happy to welcome you to Simpson House and grateful that you could meet some of the children & young people who get support through the Sunflower Garden. We appreciated your questions and Martha’s; especially around how to develop our work and make better links with parish churches. I look forward to exploring the suggestions you made. With kind regards, Glenn and the team at Simpson House / Sunflower Garden.

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