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Huge Increase in Foodbank Demand & Christmas Services Invitation

From Ali Elder, Site Pastor, Stonehaven Catalyst Vineyard Church –

Catalyst Vineyard’s Church which has eight locations across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has seen a huge rise in demand on its Storehouse foodbank project since the pandemic started.

Last year between April and September, Storehouse distributed 5.2 tonnes of emergency food. In the same period this year it has provided more than 10 times that amount; 58 tonnes of emergency food to more than 1,200 men, women and children living in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

The Stonehaven Storehouse provided 8.4 tonnes of emergency food, equivalent to 20k meals to 56 local households containing 112 individuals, 32 of which are children.

Ali Elder, Pastor for Catalyst Vineyard Church Stonehaven said:

‘It’s an incredible privilege to be able to play our part and help people where we can. Many households have found themselves in real crisis, but the incredible thing is that we’ve seen the Stonehaven community pulling together and responding with staggering levels of generosity from individuals, local businesses and shops, schools and faith groups. As well as that, we have a sensational team of dedicated volunteers who have stepped up and risen to the challenge of operating a foodbank during the pandemic. We’ve heard some incredible stories of kindness and hope as well, such as volunteers buying gifts for a child’s birthday.

Online Services

Catalyst Vineyard Church has been live streaming its worship services since the start of the pandemic. The services, which have had thousands of views, have reached and brought hope to people who have never been part of church before.

The Christmas online services will be an opportunity for people to really get into the Christmas spirit. There are two services available and everyone is welcome to join either or both online at livestream.catalyst.vin or by searching for Catalyst Vineyard Church on YouTube.

  • An All Age Extravaganza at 5pm on Christmas Eve and
  • A Christmas Eve Watch Night Service at 11.15pm

James Duce, Site Pastor from Catalyst Vineyard Aberdeen Central, is keen for people to know they are warmly invited,

‘We could all do with an extra “special” Christmas this year. It’s been a tough year with so many challenges and restrictions and for many, we have experienced loss and grief. You may not be able to gather with those you would normally gather with, so let us be the extended family this year! We want to give you an hour of festive fun, hopefully hilarity, and an opportunity to celebrate the coming of peace and hope found in the Christmas story.’

Help With Debt and Money Management

The Transform team at Catalyst Vineyard delivers several other projects besides Storehouse across the North East, including free debt help, a money and budgeting course, a telephone befriending service and a community chaplaincy service which supports individuals being released from prison.

Ross Sutherland from the Transform team is keen to point out that the help doesn’t stop with emergency food.

‘The idea is that Storehouse acts like a gateway to other support which will help people to tackle some of the issues surrounding food poverty. Although several of our activities are on hold, we feel passionate about providing support beyond emergency food which helps restore hope and dignity, so we’ve found some new and innovative ways to deliver our core services despite current conditions.’

Impact of Covid-19 on jobs – and how you can help

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on jobs and household incomes. Government data shows the number of people claiming universal credit in Aberdeenshire has soared from 6,938 in March 2020 to 14,080 in October 2020, an increase of over 100%.

Across Stonehaven and Newtonhill the figure rose from 243 to 597 (146%).

People in need of emergency food can visit hello.catalyst.vin to request help.

People who wish to donate food can drop it off at the following times and locations

Mondays from 2-4pm & Thursdays from 6-8pm @ Stonehaven Community Centre (Robert Street car park).