Our History: 1966-1970
1966 – Father Anthony Ross and colleagues open Skippers Cafe – a night shelter for rough sleepers.
1968 – Skippers closes and Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust is formed. We buy a house in Broughton Place, Edinburgh, and designate it as a new type of community living model that eventually includes ‘all people in care for each other’.
1969 – BBC1 broadcasts a programme featuring the Broughton Place community. Capturing the Cyrenians’ ethos of ‘everyone matters’, residents agree to take part – as long as they can carry out the interviews!
Our History: 1970-1975
1970 – We buy Humbie Holdings – an eight-acre farm in West Lothian. Young homeless people and other volunteers run the farm, under the supervision of a volunteer manager.
1971 – We form a second city community, for young women.
1972 – Peter Yeo, former Skippers volunteer, community resident and social worker, becomes our first full time paid employee.
1973 – We register the farm and city communities as hostels under the Social Work (Scotland) Act. We hire more paid staff – but ensure they still live in the communities.
Our History: 1975-1980
1976 – We hire Bob Stewart as our Co-ordinator.
1976 – Our football team – the Cyros – plays their first match (although it takes a while to win our first game – against the Glasgow Simon Community)
1978 – We hire our first full-time farm manager and a flat is donated for volunteer residents and staff on days off. Until now, staff have stayed in the communities even when not working, to demonstrate our values: ‘everyone the same, everyone treated equally’.
Our History: 1980-1985
1980 – The Broughton Place community is upgraded and we acquire a new, larger flat for volunteer residents’ days off.
1984 – We hire a part-time administrator – our fourth salaried post.
Our History: 1985-1990
1988 – Des Ryan appointed as new director of Cyrenians.
1989 – Friends of Cyrenians is launched to encourage donations from individuals.
1989 – We start our first campaign – calling for more help for rough sleepers.
Our History: 1990-1995
1990 – Drive for Success – offering driving lessons to young unemployed people to help improve their job prospects.
1991 – We build a barn and polytunnels at the farm.
1992 – Tenants in Control – a chance for young homeless people to create their own housing co-operative.
1993 – Our charity shop in Portobello High Street opens.
Our History: 1995-2000
1996 – 1999 – New Opportunities: our first foray into preventative work; Smartmove: helps homeless people into private rented flats; New Deal, New Futures – an employer-led initiative and our first employability programmel; Rent Deposit Scheme. Our farm becomes a social enterprise.
1997 – We win the Scottish Employee Initiative Partnership award for our ongoing association with Standard Life.
1998 – The Broughton Place community moves to Ferry Road. We keep Broughton Place as emergency accommodation for young women.
Our History: 2000-2005
2000 – Fareshare opens in partnership with Crisis, and we run our first cooking classes for people living in hostels.
2001 – People with Potential: an employability project aiming to increase access to work and to give support to those in work.
2002 – West Lothian school education programme.
2003 – We expand Fareshare and the Rent Deposit Scheme to West Lothian.
2004 – We open the Edinburgh Refugee Centre in partnership with the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and St George’s West Church.
Our History: 2005-2007
2005 – Drugs Outreach project in West Lothian.
2006 – Safe Space created to provide tenancy and support specifically for those recovering from addictions. Amber, our conflict resolution service begins its work.
2007 – Des Ryan wins Scottish business in the Community Award for his work with the private sector on understanding the positive impact of corporate social responsibility.
Our History: 2008-2010
2008 – Cyrenians named as one of the UK’s leading homelessness charities by New Philanthropy Capital. Expanded into Falkirk to deliver employment programmes for people coming out of the Criminal Justice system.
2009 – Cyrenians biggest ever contract- to run the City of Edinburgh Council’s Homeless Prevention service. In the same year Amber cited by Scottish Government as “best practice” in prevention of homelessness. Our biggest Social Enterprise CORE – Cyrenians Organics Recycling Enterprise launched – recycling business food waste.
Our History: 2010-2011
2010 – Cyrenians work with over 3000 people Edinburgh, Lothian’s and Falkirk. Established our Key Worker Practice Model across the organisation. CORE wins the Green Business Fife best Newcomer award for a Green Product or Service. Cyrenians begin work at Royal Edinburgh Hospital Community garden.
2011 – Cyrenians enter a partnership with Mitie to run CORE.
Our History: 2012
Key to Success school pupil mentoring work begins in four schools. We are commissioned to run NHS Community Gardens in Edinburgh and Midlothian. Amber’s leading mediation work recognised with a UK Children and Young Peoples Charity family support award. Cyrenians.
Our History: 2013-2014
2013 – Begin leading work of Fort Kinnaird Recruitment Skills Centre. Golden years, our older peoples’ befriending service launched in West Lothian. Caz Alcorn steps up as acting CEO following the tragic death of Des Ryan.
2014 – Cyrenians first national service, the Scottish Centre for Conflict resolution launched. Benefits and Money Advice service begins as well as Re:D – Criminal Justice Peer mentoring. Ewan Aitken appointed CEO.
Our History: 2015
Cyrenians now running 24 projects in 7 local authorities journeying with over 4400 people each year. Cyrenians 5 year plan for growth begins; based on our new mission statement to support people excluded from family, home, work or community on their life journey we aim to grow the number of people we journey with and the time we journey with them, where we work, who we work with, the number of people who support us, the money we bring in and our ability to influence public policy. Veg Bag scheme begins.
Our History: 2016
Growth continues in 2016 as Cyrenians seeks to increase of the number of people we journey with, where we work and who we work with. A new older people’s befriending service in Edinburgh opens its doors in December. Our exciting partnership with JP Morgan and Scottish War Blinded to rejuvenate a disused Walled Garden in West Lothian begins. Produce from this garden to contribute to Cyrenians Farm Veg Bags. Farm and gardens working towards Organic Soil Association status. Cyrenians becomes a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation).
For nearly 50 years, Cyrenians has served those on the edge, working with the homeless and vulnerable to transform their lives by beginning with their story, helping them believe that they can change their lives, and walking with them as they lead their own transformation. The name Cyrenians comes from the biblical story of Simon the Cyrene but Cyrenians was founded as and remains a secular organisation.
Our Vision is an inclusive society in which we all have the opportunities to live valued and fulfilled lives. We work to make that vision a reality by our Mission to support people excluded from family, home, work or community on their life journey.
Our way of work is built on our four core values:
- Compassion: We believe that everyone should have the chance to change, no matter how long that might take.
- Respect: We believe in tolerance, acceptance, valuing diversity and treating each other as equals.
- Integrity: We are committed to the highest quality of work, grounded in honesty, generosity, sincerity and professionalism.
- Innovation: We are willing to take risks, challenge convention and be very creative in our search for new ways of working, in particular by taking account of the environmental impact of our decisions.
As part of our values driven approach we are working towards achieving the LGBT Charter Mark Award. Find out more about this work, and other valuable resources here.
How we work
We aim to offer consistently excellent service delivery across all locations and activities. We also want to provide clarity for purchasers that our services are effective, including evidence of the difference made in the lives of the people we support. We have adopted a way of working that includes, in particular, training in the interpersonal elements of building 1:1 relationships. Cyrenians Key Work can be defined by:
our attitude We treat people with the respect of equals (adult to adult). We respond to the whole person rather than just the evident problems.
our style We work with people, preferring where possible to work ‘at the shoulder’ rather than from the other side of a desk. We want to create independence, not dependency.
our practice We are flexible, tolerant and understanding. We are tenacious in the offer of help and, if we can’t help we will guide people to those who can.
Working predominantly in Edinburgh, Lothians, Falkirk, Borders and Stirling but also with Scotland-wide services, our work is organised around four targeted areas of service:
Family and People
Home and Housing
Work and Skills
Community and Food
Cyrenians is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), registered charity SC011052
Kathryn Reilly, Head of Finance and Corporate Services
Rachael Wallace-Lane, Head of Quality
Neil Hay, Head of Enterprise
Jane Saren, Head of Services
Amy Hutton, Head of Services
Michelle Lloyd, Head of Services
Ian Macmillan (Chair)