SSVP Scotland members serve local communities across Scotland.

The Catholic Church is divided into 8 Geographical areas known as Archdiocese/or Dioceses, within these Archdiocese/Dioceses, SSVP Scotland members from local catholic parishes serve their local communities. To find out more about what they each do select the links below:

See our latest Annual Report for full information:

  • 2018/2019 Annual Report

Aberdeen Diocese

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 1,093
  • Hospital Visits – 403
  • Families Assisted Financially – 28
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 200
  • People Transported to Mass – 554
  • Outings / Socials – 11

Nairn caravan

St Mary’s Conference in Nairn is very active with enthusiastic Members. The national caravan is located in Lochloy Park, Nairn at a beautiful site and some of the Conference Members look after it. We would like to encourage all Conferences to make more use of this excellent facility for those families in need of a holiday. Last year the caravan hosted 79 guests over 23 visits. During school holidays it is reserved for families with children.

More food parcels

Holy Family Conference in Mastrick have joined CFINE (Community Food Initiatives North East) who provide large amounts of food for food parcels and subsequently the Conference has been able to help more people in need. They gave out 498 more parcels than last year.

Musical afternoons

The latest project at St Mary’s, Nairn involves visiting care homes in the town to provide an afternoon of music. They have enlisted the help of 2 musicians, Andy and Jeannie, who play songs well loved by the care home residents on keyboard and guitar. These afternoon sessions are very well received by all.

Christmas gifts

St Mary’s Conference, Stonehaven organised a Parish giving tree at Christmas. People gave generously and 92 gifts were collected for children, teenagers and adults within the local community and Aberdeen city centre.

Help from local students

Students from Aberdeen University have been assisting St Mary’s Conference, Aberdeen with the distribution of clothes over the past year. In addition, the Conference gives out 95 food parcels each week alongside hot food for those in need in their local community.

Guidance from SSVP Rule & Manual

“The Conferences, through the appropriate Councils, can and should seek collaboration with other organisations, agencies or institutions that could assist their work, with benefit to the most deprived”.

Rule 6.7

SSVP Manual & Rule

Argyll & the Isles Diocese

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 8
  • Hospital Visits – 0
  • Families Assisted Financially – 31
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 10
  • People Transported to Mass – 0
  • Outings / Socials – 4

We have two Conferences in Argyll & the Isles located in Oban and Campbeltown. These Conferences continue to give their time, energy and love to people in need in the Diocese, often covering large distances to do so.

St Kieran’s Parish in Campbeltown have been assisting at a local foodbank this year and providing home visits to those in needs. Whilst St Columba’s Cathedral Conference Members in Oban, have been assisting those in need financially and providing furniture.

Archdiocese of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 11,688
  • Hospital Visits – 2,329
  • Families Assisted Financially – 925
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 2,084
  • People Transported to Mass – 3,994
  • Outings / Socials – 69

Our work in the Archdiocese of St. Andrews & Edinburgh continues to grow, and with that, we need to attract new Members, to help share the workload. We have been working hard behind the scenes to get the recruitment material in place. We hope to launch the campaign in Autumn 2019.

Caravan holidays and Furniture Project

Bob Murdoch ensures that the Caravans are running to almost full capacity over the summer. The caravans, and the Furniture Project van, continue to be our biggest outlay. The Furniture Project has acquired a new premises to help with storage which should enable us to respond to more requests for assistance. We are grateful to all our Conferences who work on a rota to maintain the caravans.

Foodbank and support

The “Fareshare” project in Fife continues to gather pace, as more supermarket’s are signing up to help us by giving out more food that they can’t move on. We’re now helping upwards of 40 families a week. Our Lady and St Andrews Conference in Galashiels work in conjunction with other churches at a local foodbank to provide for their local community. The Conference President is currently the Foodbank Co-ordinator.

Celebrations

Members attended a celebratory Mass, for Jim Healy of St. Margaret’s, Dunfermline, and Tom Canning of Holy Name, Oakley, for their dedication to the Church and SSVP, which in both cases, has exceeded fifty years. In addition, congratulations to Margaret Hall, Treasurer of Our Lady of Lourdes Conference on her award of a BEM in the Queen’s Honours list. Margaret was awarded a BEM for services to the community in Dunfermline and the Kuvela Othandweni Charity. Members of the Conference knit and send baby clothes to Africa.

Links to schools and young people

Many Conferences in the Archdiocese assist and work closely with young people in their communities and schools. Our Lady and St Ninian Conference in Bannockburn assist at every school Mass. The Holy Spirit and St Margaret Conference in Stirling also work closely with three primary schools in the area supplying clothing, shoes and toys specifically to autistic and additional support needs pupils.

Continued work with the Missionaries of Charity

The Archdiocese continues to work in partnership with The Missionaries of Charity, in the quest to alleviate poverty in our area. We have many Members from different Conferences assisting several nights a week for example at soup kitchens.

Guidance from SSVP Rule & Manual

“The Conferences, through the appropriate Councils, can and should seek collaboration with other organisations, agencies or institutions that could assist their work, with benefit to the most deprived”.

Rule 6.7

SSVP Manual & Rule

Diocese of Dunkeld

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 3,187
  • Hospital Visits – 614
  • Families Assisted Financially – 122
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 18
  • People Transported to Mass – 1,215
  • Outings / Socials – 10

Conferences across Dunkeld continue to give valuable support to people in need in their local areas. Our Lady of Sorrow’s Parish in Dundee have continued to assist at a lunch club for people in the community.

Working with young people

St Stephen’s Conference in Blairgowrie have a close relationship with the local children and Young People’s Social Work Department in Blairgowrie. The Conference continues to provide financial help to unfunded situations. This has included providing funding to decorate a child’s bedroom to enable the child to return from care.

In addition, the Conference funds taxis for some children to attend the daily St Stephen’s Primary School Rise and Shine Breakfast Club. Children are invited to attend for a period of time throughout the year and eat breakfast in a small nurturing environment with their peers and staff from the school. During this time they work on developing social and literacy skills.

Guidance from SSVP Rule & Manual

“No work of charity is foreign to the Society. It includes any form of help that alleviates suffering or depression and promotes human dignity and personal integrity in all their dimensions.”

Rule 1.3

SSVP Manual & Rule

Diocese of Galloway

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 3,562
  • Hospital Visits – 637
  • Families Assisted Financially – 715
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 246
  • People Transported to Mass – 1,461
  • Outings / Socials – 90

Working with schools

Sacred Heart Conference in Girvan have worked closely with the Headteacher of Sacred Heart Primary School to assist pupils in need. The Conference supported an initiative in the school to provide meals for immigrant pupils who do not qualify for free school meals.

St Mary’s, Irvine also responded to a need for help from St Mark’s Primary School. Some of the Conference Members assist with the Breakfast Club and at the start of the year the Conference donated stock to the school for the Breakfast Club.

SSVP Youth were invited to attend a Leadership Market for pupils at St Joseph’s Academy, Kilmarnock. This event provided an opportunity to highlight the work SSVP do in the local area and encourage young people to get involved.

155 years of SSVP in Kilmarnock

In June St. Joseph’s Conference, Kilmarnock, celebrated their 155th anniversary. Only ,after going through old records, did they realise they were 5 years older than they thought. A Mass concelebrated by Bishop William Nolan and Fr. Stephen McGrattan was dedicated to the celebration.

A warm welcome

St Bride’s Conference in West Kilbride are part of CHANA (Churches Homeless Action North Ayrshire) and work closely with vulnerable people in the local community who are homeless and commonly living in temporary accommodation. Every Friday, Members volunteer at a lunch club at Kirkgate Parish Church. The lunch club provides a hot meal and offers other services such as hairdressing and opportunities to talk to housing officers and other agencies.

Archdiocese of Glasgow

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 6,278
  • Hospital Visits – 2,125
  • Families Assisted Financially – 1,099
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 184
  • People Transported to Mass – 10,463
  • Outings / Socials – 116

At Conference level there continues to be a wide range of activity across the Archdiocese. We have a cafe operating in Partick for the local homeless, a Conference in Milton working with the local foodbank and clothing centre, bus runs supporting school children and the elderly, Christmas parties and theatre trips and visits to HM prisons in Glasgow.

Ozanam Centre

Outside of parish activity there is the Special Work Conference of Our Lady of the Wayside in the city centre running the Ozanam Centre which provides clothing on Wednesdays and Thursdays and meals on Sundays.

A team effort!

St.Vincent’s Conference for the Deaf brings together a small group, whose membership come from Blantyre, Baillieston, Bishopbriggs and Glasgow, who meet every fortnight in St Mary’s, Calton. They organise bus trips throughout the year and Christmas dinner for elderly deaf Catholics.

A bright future

To meet the challenge of new membership a small group of three or four Members have instigated a recruitment drive with visits to those parishes who have no SSVP presence with a view to increasing membership.

A snapshot of the year includes our annual flag day every August and our annual concert every May. Alongside our Ozanam lecture early in the year, these are regular occurrences.

Spirituality is at the heart of our work and reflecting this are our annual Masses. Firstly the canonisation of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, secondly our remembrance Mass in November for former Members and finally in December our Festival meeting in honour of Our Lady.

“Christianity is not about ideas but about deeds inspired by love.”

Blessed Frédéric Ozanam

Diocese of Motherwell

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 10,525
  • Hospital Visits – 3,320
  • Families Assisted Financially – 1,979
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 994
  • People Transported to Mass – 13,299
  • Outings / Socials – 307

Diocesan projects

The Members of the Diocesan Council carried out a review of our furniture and caravan projects and have now put in place administration systems. North Lanarkshire Council provided the Diocese with a supervisor and five men who are on the Community Payback project. They did an excellent job helping our drivers and Members of the Council in clearing out the furniture unit. A special thanks must go to the caravan convenor on the continued good work.

Youth SSVP

Rosaleen Steele has been working closely with schools to set up Mini Vinnie groups and develop links to Youth SSVP groups. New Mini Vinnie groups have been established in Carfin and Newarthill this year. The enthusiasm of all involved with the Mini Vinnies across the Diocese almost matches the enthusiasm of the children. Rosaleen welcomed Lucy Mason (Youth Development Co-ordiantor) to meet her Mini Vinnies group at St. Athanasius’ Primary School, Carluke to find out more about how they were helping their local community. During Advent, they took part in a reverse Advent calendar and collected food for a local foodbank and during Lent, they organised ‘40 challenges’. This involved the Mini Vinnies doing something nice for somebody else everyday. St Mary’s Conference in Larkhall also worked closely with their Mini Vinnies to issue 96 Easter eggs to their local community.

Ozanam Clubs

The Ozanam clubs in Viewpark and Carfin continue to provide a night of entertainment for adults and children, as well as respite for carers and families when needed. Members enjoy a range of activities including bingo, karaoke, arts and crafts and a weekly disco!

Recruitment

As a Diocese, we have produced a handout which is designed to make people more aware of SSVP and the work we do. Copies of this handout were sent out and distributed by parishes.

Festive food

Many Conferences provide food parcels at Christmas and this year St Edward’s Conference in Airdrie partnered up with Aldi UK to give food to those in need in their local area during the 2018 festive season.

Diocese of Paisley

Key Facts

  • Home Visits – 4,534
  • Hospital Visits – 1,025
  • Families Assisted Financially – 225
  • Families Assisted Furniture etc. – 143
  • People Transported to Mass – 4,275
  • Outings / Socials – 65

Christmas Dinner

The Holy Spirit Conference held a Christmas dinner in St. John the Baptist Church hall, Port Glasgow, on 28th December. Brother Farren reported that the dinner was a great success. 50 people attended, each of whom was fed and given a gift bag and clothing before leaving the hall. Transport was arranged to bring attendees to and from the Inverclyde Homeless Forum to the venue.

Working with the local community

Every Sunday in the church hall at St. Fergus, Paisley the Ferguslie Café is in action. Conference Members volunteer and provide a three course meal for visitors after the 11:30am Mass. The Café was originally set up for children and families but now they see more single people coming along. In partnership with Tesco,

Conference Members are able to pick up food on a Friday evening to give out to visitors. At the end of school terms, St. Fergus Conference provide a donation to St. Fergus’ Primary School to assist with necessities such as school uniforms.

New Members…

Fourteen individuals are at various recruitment stages at six Conferences within the Paisley area. The campaign is still ongoing and existing Members are invited to join the Recruitment Team to assist in this invaluable work.

Mini Vinnie’s hard work!

The Mini Vinnies group at St. Thomas’, Neilston have a Mini Vinnie Bin in the school and collect groceries, clothes and toiletries for distribution to the homeless and general community. They have also helped prepare the vegetables for soup which is served in the soup kitchen. Every couple of months the Mini Vinnie’s entertain the local senior citizens at a fish tea which is held in the church hall.

Young at heart

St John’s Conference, Barrhead welcomed their new young member, Ilona Geddes (18 years of age). Alongside welcoming their young member, they acknowledged the three longest serving active Members in the Conference; Bernard Lafferty, John Millar and Phil McKenna. Ilona was a Caritas student who continued as a volunteer and expressed an interest in joining SSVP