St Mary’s, Port Glasgow
Having worked in the shipyards his whole life and seen the impact of their closure, David McLelland knows the vital role the church plays in holding his community together.
We sometimes feel a bit like we’re a lost community in this uphill part of Port Glasgow. We need a place in the community. Every day there’s something happening in the church, and it’s there for everyone – religious or not. Without it, the impact would be disastrous. People who are really in need have received life-changing support that they just wouldn’t get elsewhere.”
“I have worked in the shipyards from age of 15 until retirement when I was 62. Three years after retirement I heard about the Clydemen Club and went along. I attend the Church of Scotland church and although I do not worship at St Mary’s I was made welcome at the club. All the men go on a regular basis, we all look forward to the meetings, reminiscing about the ‘yard’ days, meeting others and a ‘wee’ raffle. I have met up with friends from my past, I have made new friends, it is lovely.
People feel lost up here, but the club keeps people alive, they talk with pride and reminisce about their working the shipyard. Many come to the club although they are not religious, but that doesn’t matter, we are a big community.
Every day there is something happening in the church, it is a big community and people need it. The church is where everyone belongs – religious or not.
I am aware of a few people, for instance an ex-drunk, who are really in need that have had support from the church, where perhaps they would not get elsewhere.
Without the church, the impact would be disastrous. We need a place in the community. We feel we are a lost community in this uphill part of Port Glasgow. It is hard for many of our community to walk down the steep hill to the other half of the town. Public transport is not too good, buses do not start until after 10am on a Sunday so we need the church up here.
Religion is not out of the question, but it not a requirement to use the church facilities. Though it is the combination of the church and this needy community that makes it work. A village hall would not deliver the same things, they are for the younger generation, the church is for our generation. We need community spirit and we need the church, and jointly, together is what makes it work.”