The Church of Scotland has stepped in to safeguard the future of homeless charity Borderline, which helps Scots in London. Through their mediation with the Scottish government, the Church has secured an annual government grant until 2015 that will allow the charity to continue to operate.
Borderline, sometimes referred to as the ‘Scottish embassy in London’ helps Scots in London who are either homeless or have fallen on hard times. Last month it warned that it was facing closure after the Scottish government slashed its funding by 75 per cent.
But now a new agreement mediated by the Church of Scotland and the Scottish government has secured a £50,000 a year government pledge, providing that the Church of Scotland can match that amount through fundraising.
The scheme is the work of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Right Reverend David Arnott, who was deeply concerned by the charity’s predicament. He has called on the churches' congregations to raise at least £100 each for the charity.
He also arranged a meeting with Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond to request that the grant funding, which was slashed from £107,000 to £24,000 for the current financial year, be reconsidered. The match funding offer is a direct result of this meeting, the Scottish government advise.
Mr Arnott said: "I was moved when I heard of the good work Borderline do for homeless Scots in London. It is crucial that the Scottish community stands together to ensure that no vulnerable Scot in London is without the support they need.
The Church of Scotland is willing to do what it can and I am delighted the First Minister has stated the Scottish government will match whatever congregations raise."
Borderline's income is heavily reliant on government funding, with around half coming from grants and half from legacies, covenants and gift aid donations.
Chief Executive of Executive of Borderline, Willie Docherty, said: "There is a great need for support for vulnerable homeless Scots in London and had we not received this grant, it is highly likely that the Borderline would have closed its doors within months.
Recognition by the Scottish government that there is a need for this kind of support in London and re-instating our funding is very welcome and greatly appreciated.”
The Scottish government's funding has been made available from money confiscated from gangsters and fraudsters, recovered through the legislation process. Scottish housing minister Keith Brown said that by using the proceeds of crime, Scotland's budget for funding homelessness charities in Scotland would not be affected.
Founded in 1990 by the Church of Scotland London Advisory Service to support homeless and insecurely housed Scots in London, Borderline now operates as an independent charity.
March 7th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Riyaza Rodriguez