New figures reveal the incredible work of SSVP Scotland
Publication Date: 2017-03-31
Scotland’s archbishops praise the Society of St Vincent de Paul for helping those most in need
New figures revealed by the SCO show that the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) is carrying out an incredible 50,000 visits to the lonely and infirm in Scotland annually.
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow (top right) said the ‘sheer scale of human kindness and compassion hidden’ in the statistics is remarkable.
Figures for the most recent financial year 2015/2016 show that in Scotland’s eight dioceses 2,000 SSVP members carried out 53,493 home visits, 12,261 hospital visits and financially assisted 6,196 families.
A spokesperson for Volunteer Scotland said that while they didn’t retain statistics on volunteer numbers the SSVP’s 2000 were ‘a really large number’ that few Scottish charities would be able to match.
Archbishop Tartaglia said that each of these thousands of interactions ‘is a sign of Christ’s presence among us.’
“I wish to thank all the members of the St Vincent de Paul conferences across the country for their quiet, selfless commitment to those in need,” he said. “Pope Francis often speaks about the need to go out to the peripheries to find Christ suffering in our neighbour. The men, women and young people of the SSVP are putting that vision into practice every day of the year.”
Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh Archdiocese (below left) echoed the praise.
“These figures are yet another reminder of what a great force for good the Catholic Church is within contemporary Scottish society and of the great work that the Society of St Vincent de Paul undertakes day and daily in serving Christ amongst the most needy in our communities,” he said.
Jacqueline Laird, SSVP Scotland’s national office manager, said the figures showed the incredible work that goes on within the charity.
“This is the grassroots Church in action,’ she said. “It always strikes me that they know the local needs like no one else, because they are on the ground and uniquely able to respond to what’s needed where they are.”
The SSVP are most active in Motherwell Diocese by every measure, with the most home visits, hospital visits, financial assistance to families and people transported to Mass. St Andrews & Edinburgh is second on home visits with Glasgow second on transportation to Mass.
Last year, Jim McKendrick, national president of the Society of St Vincent de Paul Scotland, said comparable research from England suggested that the charity’s visits to lonely and isolated people is saving the Scottish Government more than £3 million a year.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said that ‘Charities and third sector organisations like the Society of St Vincent de Paul play a welcome and vital role in supporting our communities and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. Our Programme for Government recognises the third sector as a key strategic partner in the drive to reduce poverty, tackle inequality and create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland’.