Most of us will have been there. We have stepped off a plane in a foreign country, our senses hit by new sights, smells and sounds. It can be easy to become quickly overwhelmed by how different our surroundings are. We can feel disorientated, isolated by our inability to communicate in the local language. This is the tip of the iceberg for some of the New Glaswegian guests we work with here at Glasgow City Mission, who arrive in Glasgow in the hope of finding refuge and starting a new life.
Starting afresh in a new country where you don’t speak the language, let alone know how to navigate systems, can be an overwhelming and alienating experience. For many of the men and women we work with, these feelings can be compounded by the trauma that being forcibly displaced can bring, or the traumatic events that all too often precede displacement. The asylum system can leave many feeling bruised, de-skilled, and even dehumanised. There can be fear or even hopelessness about the future.
As an organisation, we know that community and connection can bring healing, restore relationship, and help some people to regain their sense of self. We offer to walk with people as they navigate life in the UK, get to know new systems, as they start to put down roots. We have seen powerful examples of New Glaswegians engaging in community activities at Glasgow City Mission, who go on to flourish and thrive and take on meaningful roles within their communities. But more than this; we have been thrilled to see meaningful friendships develop amongst our New Glaswegian community, where others are held in prayer, encouraged and experiences are shared, and top tips given.
This week, we hope that you enjoy engaging with some of the experiences of our New Glaswegian community here at Glasgow City Mission, and gain fresh insight into what life as a New Glaswegian can look like, and how vital community and connection can be.