BY Ryan McDougall | November 2 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

The Wayside Club, Glasgow, Tuesday 11th Sept 2018.Jim White with some of the regulars having a read at the days papers before a game of bingo.Photo by and copyright of Paul Mc Sherry 07770 393960 @Paulmcsherry2

Catholic homelessness charity secretary is recognised with national award

The secretary for a Glasgow charity operated by the Legion of Mary has been awarded a Great Scot Award for his service to the city’s homeless.

Jim White is secretary and treasurer for The Wayside Club, which gives homeless people a place to get a meal, socialise and take a shower. Mr White has been involved in the charity for over 60 years.

After decades of helping alleviate the problems faced by those living on the streets of Scotland’s biggest city, he was honoured for his endeavours on Saturday October 27.

The Great Scot Awards, held annually, saw nominees from various walks of life all over Scotland in attendance, all of whom were recognised for different humanitarian or environmental acts. Mr White was one of five nominees given a Great Scot award.

In his acceptance speech, Mr White explained the extent of Glasgow’s homelessness crisis.

“It’s a terrible problem; always has been,” he said. “It’s not going away—sometimes the people who should know how to deal with it are not really dealing with it in a proper way.”

He added: “They used to think lodging houses was the answer. Places with maybe hundreds of people with serious problems, nobody looking after them and in an environment that would drive you to drink.

“But Glasgow has the reputation of being a caring city and fortunately it is.

“And places like the Wayside, we rely on individual donations from firms, and organisations to help us.

“We don’t have a regular income, but it does cost money to run these places.”

To a round of applause from the audience, he added: “So, if you’re feeling generous…”

On solving the city’s homelessness crisis, Mr White said: “I’ve been at it for 63 years, and I don’t know the answers, but care is certainly one of them.

“Take an interest in people and not in their problems. There’s a big hullaballoo at the moment about beggars and whatnot: some are professional beggars and want to be; but a lot of people, it’s not their choice.

“Nobody starts off or wants or has an ambition to be a drunkard or have alcohol problems or drug problems or gambling problems, and now we’re having refugee problems.”

Mr White explained how the crisis has unfortunately only grown in size since he started out with The Wayside Club.

“I used to have maybe 15 or 16 people to look after on one night, and now they’re in the 70s, so it’s not going away,” he said, adding that in the past there were very few women on the streets, but around a quarter of those he meets now are women.

The Wayside Club was established in 1932 in Anderston, but is now located at 32 Midland Street in Glasgow’s city centre.

On helping people who are homeless, Mr White suggested that rather than give them money, it is best to give them The Wayside Club’s address, where they will be able to have a bite to eat, some company, the chance to shower and a friendly chat.

Following the award ceremony, Lawrence McGarry, a volunteer at the Wayside Club who had attended the ceremony with Mr White, said that it was a ‘great night,’ and that they were ‘treated like royalty.’

He added: “It’s great to see such a positive thing happen with the Legion of Mary and with the Church here in Scotland.”



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