The Homeless Project
St Catharine’s Convent Homeless Project offers friendship and practical support to homeless and disadvantaged people. We provide morning and evening meals, toilet and shower facilities, and perhaps, more importantly, a warm welcome, a listening ear and a place to call ‘Home’.
The project is used by up to 200 people a day. These range from long-term homeless people who are sleeping rough or staying in hostels around the city, to old age pensioners who bus in from their flats in the Edinburgh estates for a meal and some company.
St. Catharine’s Mercy Centre is a place of Hospitality, Support, Prayer, Friendship and Oasis for all those in need.
What St Catharine’s offers…
The project is staffed by a rota of about 100 volunteers who, like our clients, come from all over Edinburgh and the world. Thus, the friendship and service provided by the project comes free of charge. The practical support (food, heating and lighting; the maintenance of cooking, dining, shower and toilet facilities) all cost money, all of which is given in donations by our generous benefactors.
- Breakfast / brunch
- Evening Meal
- Shower and toilet facilities
- Change of clothing
- Help in setting up house
- Guidance with job applications
- Letter writing
- Help seeking medical assistance
- Transport to hospitals
- Support groups for addict
- Visits to hospitals
- Visits to prisons
- Bereavement Services
- Talks to Schools and Churches
- Being a voice for the voiceless
Collaborative and Ecumenical Ministry:
Members of other religious congregations work with us in this ministry, they are Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Helpers of the Holy Spirit, the Society of Helpers of the Holy Soul, Sisters and Jesuit Tertians when on their Pastoral placements. Through the Episcopalian Franciscans links have been established with the Episcopalian church in Edinburgh and throughout Lothian. The Church of Scotland also give us tremendous support.
A number of Secondary Schools and Further Education Colleges are now using the project to further the education of some of their students to give them an experience in caring for the Homeless eg National Certificate and Community Involvement Modules, Duke of Edinburgh Award etc. The majority of the helpers on the project are from the Universities in the city.
As part of our Mercy Outreach we have an annual Service for the homeless in our chapel on Homelessness Sunday, when we remember by name and light a candle for each of them; those who have died during the year. This is attended by the homeless and the helpers.