May Gilchrist – SeAscape – 13 February 2018

SeAscape is a local charity, set up to help people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, to access and maintain accommodation which allows them to be independent. It assists people with all categories of accommodation: Homeless Emergency Accommodation, Homeless Temporary Furnished, Council Accommodation, Housing Association Accommodation and Private Rented Accommodation.

May Gilchrist, SeAscape’s fundraising manager, came to talk to the club about the services provided by the organisation. These will depend on the person’s individual needs, and range from basic advice and guidance to development of a tailored support plan. May explained that, on joining SeAscape, she had been shocked to discover the level of poverty in South Ayrshire and Ayr itself. She outlined the problems faced by ‘the working poor’ and the plight of many children who became homeless as soon as they left school.

Through a variety of SeAscape initiatives, desperate people were able to stay in their own homes or were assisted in finding suitable accommodation. Schemes such as ‘pass-it-on’ (recycling of used articles) also enabled people to obtain many of the necessities of modern life.

SeAscape also offered ways of helping people in fuel poverty. The recent cold weather and the impact of the newly-introduced Universal Credit scheme meant that more people were struggling to meet payments.

May finished up by explaining how the charity depended mainly on the good will of its sponsors and its volunteers. She was concerned that the current Oxfam controversy might have a detrimental and potentially catastrophic effect on personal donations and general support for smaller charities.

John Ewing, in his vote of thanks, emphasised that with SeAscape being a local charity, there was none more deserving of our help.