The team at the Rapid Re-accommodation Welcome Centre

Bethany Christian Trust are grateful for the assistance of partners and supporters after completing the first 30 week season of the new Rapid Re-accommodation Welcome Centre in Edinburgh.

860 people have been accommodated and supported through Bethany’s new service, with 8,403 service accesses.  That is the number of times our 860 guests were prevented from sleeping rough on the street over the 30 weeks.

The Welcome Centre was set up with dedicated accommodation funding from the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Government. Bethany’s extensive support provision at the Welcome Centre is generously funded by the voluntary donations of trusts and foundations, individuals, local churches, companies, schools and communities, as well as the Buy a Bed appeal.   

Up until this last year, Bethany Christian Trust has operated the Care Shelter in Edinburgh every winter since 1996, providing emergency shelter and care to people who would otherwise be sleeping rough. While this previous provision saved many lives it used a congregate style of sleeping and was solely a night-time service. Since the pandemic began Bethany have modified and enhanced the operation, opening a new 24 hour service in Covid-safe en-suite rooms in a hotel, in partnership with the local authority. 

The new Rapid Re-Accommodation Welcome Centre this year ran from 5 October 2020 until 3 May 2021 in the Haymarket Hub Hotel. People who presented to the Welcome Centre were assessed for all the support they may need and then helped to access this on-site through the professional support staff and a suite of visiting agencies offering support with physical health, mental health, legal issues, accommodation, move-on, benefits, addiction, harm reduction, immigration issues, support work, exploitation, leisure, digital connectivity, coaching, and Covid-19 testing and vaccinations.

An individual receiving support at the Welcome centre

The safe, caring environment created by staff and volunteers, along with wrap around support, saw hundreds of people not only move on to better accommodation but dramatically helped while they were in the service. 

One of the guests said:

“Thank you so much for your help, I deeply appreciate everything you have done for me at the Welcome Centre and getting me this flat!  I am totally overwhelmed by your guys’ kindness.”

Another said:

“I just want to say how lovely it is here.  It makes a big difference that the staff care and want to help you. Thank you.”

Although the specifics have yet to be laid out, the Centre will return for this year’s winter season.