One day started the work that has brought hope to many thousands of people over the last 35 years who are in a place of vulnerability, homelessness and isolation.

I realised that there was a disconnect between what we were preaching about in Church, such as in Matthew 25, and what we were doing.

“We were getting to the Church door and people were always asking for money. They were homeless and what they were wanting was not somewhere to stay but they also wanted something to drink. People were wanting money but what they really needed was accommodation and a change of pattern in their life.”

Bethany founders and husband and wife team, Alan and Anne Berry, recall the early days when they first began Bethany Christian Trust. After 35 years of Bethany Christian Trust working to end homelessness in Scotland, they explain that the organisation first began out of a simple need – people’s need for a place to stay and to belong. This was to be a place that would be like family.

“There were a lot of people in Leith that were living in accommodation that was absolutely awful.”

We initially started out the place to act as an extended Christian family to those that needed some extra help and support.

“To start with, our guests were really mixed. We had a few younger boys who came to stay, an older lady with a young boy and an older man who was on the streets, so it was a real mixed bag. It proved hard at the beginning because you had no credibility, no money and people saw us as ‘two dogooders’. It was quite hard because a lot of people were questioning our motives, but ultimately all we wanted to do was to help people.”

“There was one woman who felt moved to invest financially in the work at the beginning of the journey and was part of a group that made it possible to buy the first building. That same woman at the end of her life did the same in leaving a legacy.” – Alan & Anne Berry, Founders of Bethany Christian Trust

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