Back2Work Project

Back2Work Project

One of the many issues in an area like Niddrie is long-term unemployment and the general lack of motivation for young (and older) people to find employment opportunities. At NCC we obviously place a premium on proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, but we believe it goes hand in hand with doing good deeds and providing opportunities for members of the community to ‘help themselves’ and not become overly dependent – and thus ‘disempowered’ – on us.

One of the ways we are seeking to do this is by opening a new project slap bang in the middle of the estate. We have managed to get a run down, derelict property from the council for the princely sum of £1 per year. This building was burned out 7 years ago and is in an absolute mess. It has 8 main rooms, 2 toilets, 2 bathrooms, 2 kitchens and 2 garages and a leaky roof. The plan has multiple facets, but to simplify we basically want to turn one side of the building (the horrible side) into an ‘on site training area’. So, people can be trained how to plaster, do woodwork, plumbing, electrics etc. The aim is to find qualified believers from churches in Edinburgh who would be willing to give a few hours of their time on a monthly basis to (1) train and (2) mentor/disciple some of these individuals. We are hoping, in time, to be able to offer validated training but for now we will go with a pilot scheme. It is unlikely that many people are going to find apprenticeships and/or full time employment as a direct result of our scheme, but we do feel it would be a step in the right direction toward leading a more productive life. Many of the faces we see are in the cafe from opening until closing and could do with developing a better work ethic (any work ethic in fact!).


On the other ‘nice’ side we would like to open a hair salon/nail bar for young ladies in the community to come and find some on site training. Again, we are looking for suitably qualified believers to come on board with this. We also hope to open a music studio/radio station (huge in this culture) and would be looking for help with this. We also aim to use one of the garages as a workshop for a ‘banger racing’ project which will cover mechanics in a fun and interesting way. Theses are our 3 main ideas at the moment and we are open to other considerations. We hope to do a community based survey to find out local needs in terms of other accessible training.

So, what we need is people with skills willing to share them and hard cash (otherwise known as ‘prayerful support’ in the more refined prayer letters). We are really excited about this project and believe it could open many doors for us in the community. We do have a comprehensive business plan, so we will hope to apply to trust funds too. I know churches have little funds in these austere times, but I believe we could do something groundbreaking here in terms of a Christian initiative which would make the world take notice (the world in its spiritual, local context, not global – in case you think I am having delusions of grandeur!).

Please pray for us and we will keep you posted with further details.

This is a side shot of the place. It looks like a WWII bunker but it is like a Tardis inside!

A lovely frontal shot. As you can see it is tastefully decorated with beautiful iron shutter work. Some of the local young people have helpfully coloured some of the drab brickwork in with imaginative drawings and carefully crafted penmanship!

This is one of the larger rooms on the ‘nice side’ of the building. It is really 2 separate but identical houses. The next photo will make it clear why this side has been designated ‘nice’.

If I was an estate agent I would say that this side is in need of ‘some TLC’. However, I am not, so this side really sucks and has been terribly fire damaged. The fire brigade came in 7 years ago, hosed the place, locked the doors and it has been left ever since. The man from the council looked a bit scared when he saw how excited I was by its obvious disrepair. As you’ll agree, ideal for rebuilding and remodelling!

The ensuite facilities are second to none and have been painted in what we would call ‘smoky white’.