Arbroath community outreach project hailed at Holyrood

Martin Fair
Rev Martin Fair. Image courtesy of The Courier

Staff and volunteers at an drop-in centre which helps people struggling with addictions have been applauded in the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs said they were delighted that the Havilah Project run by St Andrew’s Parish Church in Arbroath has secured £150,000 in Big Lottery Funding to continue doing important work.

The community outreach project, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, helps isolated people facing life challenging circumstances.

Based at Community Spirit, a St Andrew’s venture in the middle of Arbroath’s Fisheracre shops, Havilah offers free tea, coffee, biscuits and soup lunches between noon and 3pm, five days a week.

Clients can access advice that can help to break the destructive cycle of addiction.

Delight

A motion congratulating the project, signed by 13 parliamentarians so far, has been lodged at Holyrood by north-east Conservative MSP Liam Kerr.

Rev Martin Fair, minister at St Andrew’s Parish Church, said: “I am very pleased that the hard work of more than 20 volunteers who give their time selflessly has been recognised in the Scottish Parliament.

“It is a real encouragement and they will be absolutely delighted.

“None of them do it for reward or recognition but it is nice when people take notice of their hard work.”

Mr Fair said the Big Lottery Fund grant was very welcome.

“The money gives us some longer term security because until now we have managed to get by but it is always one year at a time,” he added.

“We were always trying to scratch together the money at the last minute.

“To have five years of funding means we can progress the project rather than have it just ticking over.

“This extra money will make all the difference in the world.”

Havilah is the name of an abundant area of land, mentioned in the book of Genesis, but Mr Fair insists that religion is never forced on anyone.

Huge difference

Mr Kerr said he was delighted to offer his support and congratulations to St Andrew's Parish Church's Havilah Project.

"The announcement of this funding from the Big Lottery Fund will come as a real boost for its community outreach work,” he added.

"The drop-in service provides much-needed support for people in the local area who may be isolated or facing difficult circumstances.

"Just a few hours can make a huge difference and I know that this additional income will help to sustain this project which brings a real benefit to the community.”