Unity at the Unity – 17 April 2018
What an evening we had at the Unity Grill – great food in a great place with great friends and guests! The surroundings and staff at the restaurant excelled.
The main purpose of our meeting there was to congratulate Angela McNay for achieving her ambition of opening a social enterprise restaurant in Ayr and to present her with a £200 cheque to support her remarkable cause. The restaurant operates as an attractive, non-profit-making, open-to-all, otherwise conventional restaurant with an excellent menu and price-list. Crucially however, its raison d’etre is to allow those in difficult financial circumstances, by prior discreet arrangement, to obtain a meal through a payment-in-kind involving a contribution to the day-to-day working of the restaurant or its ancillary social activities. Angela sees the enterprise eventually as much more than just a restaurant, but as a social hub offering a variety of support services.
The evening also saw the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Abbas Rest/Care and Share Charity and the Rotary Club of Ayr for the Water Borehole Project being undertaken, with support from Ayr Rotary, in Chiringa, Malawi. This project will eventually contribute to a clean and reliable water supply for the residents of Chiringa. Trustees Muriel Wilson (seated) and Madge Irving represented the Charity at the signing, with President Craig Wilson and Alex Thomson, International Convenor, officiating for the club.
Our principal guest for the evening was Major Linda Watson of the Salvation Army and minister of the SA Community Church in Ayr. An inspirational speaker with a wicked sense of humour, Linda told us about the many activities of the Church from food banks and prayer groups to community choirs, aerobics classes and digital skills programmes. Most importantly she reminded us that the Salvation Army was a Christian organisation and that love of God and fellow-man was paramount. Being serious for a moment she described her experience of the poverty and crime she had found in Ayr (‘a town in crisis’) and of the church’s important role in finding safe houses for victims of human trafficking. Church involvement in community is essential and such works would be impossible without the many committed volunteers in the Salvation Army. Linda praised these helpers and emphasised that the church was not just the minister but a congregation. The need was as great as ever and she was simply glad of the opportunity to help.
Katie Nicol, in an emotional vote of thanks, said that it had been a privilege to meet and talk to Linda – “a lady who lives her faith’.