‘Community Resilience in Times of Need’ was the theme of the Annual Starter Packs Conference jointly hosted by CRNS and Scottish Churches Housing Action (SCHA), an organisation that brings together 12 Christian denominations and organisations in Scotland all with a commitment to ending homelessness.

For the 4th consecutive year CRNS and SCHA came together to facilitate another fantastic FREE learning and networking event aimed specifically, although not exclusively, at starter pack organisations and supporter projects. The event took place on Thursday 29 August 2019 in Falkirk at Falkirk Trinity Church and attracted over 50 delegates from 33 organisations, with the conference actually selling out a few weeks in advance.

Each year the programme is structured in such a way as to enable a variety of starter pack organisations from throughout Scotland to come together, network, share knowledge and learn from each other whilst giving a platform to several of these to tell their story in more depth.

This year we had highly topical and informative talks by Kevin Wilkie, Homelessness Policy Manager at the Scottish Government, and Mhairi McMahon of Crowdfund Scotland; three brilliant Spotlight sessions, showcasing the work of SHAX in Dumfries, Fresh Start East Dunbartonshire, supporting East Dunbartonshire Women’s Aid; and EACHa in East Ayrshire.  In addition, there was a choice of two Breakout sessions (‘The Importance of Resilience’; or ‘Telling Your Story’, on capturing and recording data), both of which received excellent feedback. The lovely lunch provided at Falkirk Trinity Church brought opportunities for participants to chat and network.

In the afternoon we were heard the story behind the award winning CRNS Reuse Consortium from both Michael Cook, CEO at CRNS and Consortium member Colin Bruce, Furniture Plus.  It was very impressive to hear of the benefits to recipients, positive impact on the planet and savings made for those LAs that have committed to changing the way that people in need are given access to the main household items, allowing them to move into a home or remain in their home. A really positive end to a great informative and networking day!

We are delighted to share the following delegate quotes, which will hopefully give a feel for how the event was received:

  • “It is a wonderful opportunity to meet with others who do similar work as us and learn from them”.
  • “I found the conference really useful – it’s amazing to hear other organisations doing fantastic work to help individuals – also clear to see we are all affected by the same challenges and barriers. Really enjoyed today – thank you!”
  • “We all thoroughly enjoyed yesterday, thank you for the opportunity to speak at the Conference and let our story be told. I am delighted to tell you that we have a new storage unit. We went this morning, chose one to meet our needs and came away all signed up. This is such a brilliant example of how we can all work together and help each other.”