Green MSP for the West of Scotland and Bearsden Cross Church member Ross Greer praised the work of the church during a parliamentary debate on the charitable and social contribution of faith communities.

During the debate to celebrate the launch of Serve Scotland, a network of church-based charitable organisations, Ross spoke about the work being done by volunteers at his own church amongst many others. This includes a Mind That Song club for those with dementia and their carers, involvement in BEAM- Bearsden and Milngavie’s talking newspaper, and work alongside East Dunbartonshire Council to welcome four Syrian families earlier this year.

Ross Greer said “I’m immensely proud of the brilliant work my church and many others do within the community and it was a wonderful opportunity to talk about this in Parliament. I’m particularly pleased that Bearsden Cross have taken a lead in supporting Syrian refugees and referred in my speech to fantastic volunteers like Peter Drummond, who has given up to 40 hours of volunteering a week to help our new residents feel welcome in the community.”

“Of course the church doesn’t stand alone, there are many thousands of volunteers from other churches, faith groups and secular organisations working together across Scotland to make a difference. Without this amazing work we simply would not be able to cope and we should be grateful for it.”

Take for example our Mind That Song club - ran with Alzheimer’s Scotland - for those with dementia and their carers. The club uses singing to bring together those who can often feel isolated and overwhelmed – using the well documented ability of music to bring back long forgotten memories and give those with the condition a renewed sense of self.

And over the last few months our Church has worked with others across East Dunbartonshire to welcome four Syrian families who arrived earlier this year through the resettlement scheme. Every week the families meet in our church halls to learn English – adults and children – and to discuss the support they need to build their lives here.

Again- whilst working alongside paid staff of the local council – so much of this activity is driven by volunteers like my friend Peter Drummond who has given anything up to 40 hours a week recently doing everything he can to make our new community members feel welcome.

And these are relatively recent examples, for over 30 years our local churches have been involved in BEAM – Bearsden and Milngavie’s talking newspaper for those with sight and other accessibility challenges.”