Dramatic rise in the number of people using homeless facilities in Edinburgh this winter

By Rebekah Sawyers

A leading Edinburgh charity has announced that they have been forced to open their Care Shelter early this year due to a dramatic rise in the number of people who desperately seeking the service.

The Care Shelter, run by The Bethany Christian Trust is open for six months this year to provide essential shelter to homeless people during the winter months. It provides homeless people in Edinburgh with a place they can go for the night and receive shelter and a hot meal.

Housing Leader, Councillor Cammy Day, from the Edinburgh City Council said: ‘Tackling homelessness remains an important priority for the Council especially during the difficult winter months. This year we are continuing to work closely with our third sector partners to provide services for people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.’

The Bethany Christian Trust are promoting the sales of Caring Christmas Trees to fund the Care Shelter and tackle the homelessness crisis across Scotland. The charity have said that every tree sold will provide a bed and a hot meal for a homeless person.

Catherine Guthrie, a support worker for the Bethany Christian Trust said: ‘The caring Christmas Trees provide a real necessity to people during the coldest nights. No-one profits financially, all the money goes to the shelter. Then we have other fundraisers throughout the year to fund the Care Shelter. It wouldn’t work without the hundreds of volunteers that so generously offer up their time. We are always looking for new volunteers and people to get involved in our events.’

The Caring Christmas Trees are freshly cut Nordman firs, grown in sustainable, Scottish tree farms. They are grown especially to be Caring Christmas Trees and more trees are planted as soon as the grown ones are harvested.

The caring Christmas trees are farmed in a way that is good for the environment, and are recycled after Christmas via a home collection service.

The demand for homeless services, like those provided by The Bethany Christian Trust, are increasing. The Bethany Christian Trust are constantly appealing for volunteers.  The Caring Christmas Tree Order Hotline is 0845 111 8733, and the lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.