A key thread through all of Glasgow City Mission’s work is community. Our wonderful Urban volunteers get to know our members, and their stability and faithfulness helps relationships to grow. Group projects like jigsaws, running club, and art help break down barriers by creating a laid-back setting for conversation. Many International guests attend ou
English classes and Urban is an excellent place for them to practice – so much so that last year we began Glaswegian lessons which are very different from English language learning!

Being a part of community also means contributing, and recently we had an opportunity to facilitate this. Last year, the law regarding the right to vote in Scotland was expanded to include all those with Leave to Remain in the UK, meaning refugees. Urban Coordinator Clare, with the help of Mens International Project Worker Adam, was able to compile a list of guests who are newly eligible to vote. Some knew about this already – a couple had already registered to vote – but for some it was incredible news, which affirmed their sense of belonging in Scotland. One of our older guests, told us that he has never voted before – in any country.

The Scottish Refugee Council offered two Zoom sessions to explain the voting process. Fourteen guests attended, with two taking notes for friends or a partner. Afterwards, the team were able to help three people register online. Their enthusiasm was invigorating! Their feedback speaks for itself:

“Surely the people have the right to choose who and how their country should be managed. I loved what I realised.”

“(It’s) good to know that the Scottish community is accepting and thinking about the refugees by giving us the right to vote. As you know most of us came from non-democracy countries… it is going to be a good experience and a good feeling to know that your vote matters.”

“Today I am proud of myself. More than ever during these few years! I felt (more) confident than ever before (that) Scotland has accepted me as a citizen to be influential in the future plans.”

We look forward to many spirited political debates in the months to come!