National homelessness charity Bethany Christian Trust and local partner Edinburgh City Mission launch new Care Van in aid of Edinburgh’s homeless

 On 10 June, national homeless charity, Bethany Christian Trust and local partner Edinburgh City Mission, launched their new Care Van at a dedication service held at Bethany’s offices in Leith. The Care Van is a mobile community hub outreach service which engages with people at their point of need on the streets of Edinburgh, providing them with a friendly listening ear, move on advice, signposting, sustenance and warm donated goods.

The new Care Van, which was funded by a corporate donor, was custom designed with state of the art professional internal features and fitted by contractor and fellow Bethany supporter, Daniel Haddow.

Run in partnership with Edinburgh City Mission, the Care Van reaches out to people who are homeless every evening and four lunchtimes each week. Starting back in 1990 as an Evening Care Van which distributed hot drinks, food and blankets to rough sleepers, today it also operates a lunchtime service providing healthy meals and mobile support to people who are homeless and rough sleeping or staying in temporary homeless accommodation without access to cooking facilities during the day.

Care Van Volunteer, Mary Craig, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, said:

I volunteer on the Care Van because I was once homeless myself and I believe God has now called me to volunteer. I want to show love, care and compassion to those in need. The new van is lovely! The dedication service was very touching. The volunteering team aren’t just a team, they are a family.

Over 750 volunteers, including 50 teams from across Edinburgh and surrounding areas, are largely responsible for the smooth operation of the Care Van. The previous van will soon operate in Glasgow as part of a new daytime Care Van project which is scheduled to launch in the next few months, reaching out to people in deprived areas of the city.

Commenting on the new Care Van, Alasdair Bennett, Chief Executive at Bethany Christian Trust said: “The Care Van partnership not only offers sustenance, practical support, emergency intervention and on-street outreach, but crucially communicates compassion and offers living hope to men and women on our streets.  We are very grateful for the new Care Van and we are privileged to partner with Edinburgh City Mission, 42 local churches, and a range of businesses in the provision of this vital service.

Duncan Cuthill, CEO of Edinburgh City Mission, said:

We are very grateful for the new van which will enable us to continue to provide people who are homeless with a really good, reliable service. The unique partnership with Bethany Christian Trust and local churches is a very tangible demonstration of God’s generosity and love in Edinburgh. We are particularly grateful to the many volunteers who selflessly go out in the van.