Just as there is poverty in different forms in countries all around the world, there is poverty here in Scotland too. We believe that it is important to take action against poverty here at home as well as abroad.
In 2014 we moved to Whitfield, a community in the Northeast of Dundee. Prior to this new beginning, we were based at the Mark Henderson Centre in the Hilltown (centre of Dundee), providing community facilities and services for more than a decade. This included offering free or low-cost office space for charities and community organisations. Signpost operated a community garden where local people grew vegetables made freely available to everyone in the community and Signpost also organised volunteer groups to bring physical regeneration to people’s homes and community spaces, including: litter picks, painting out graffiti and the redecoration of flats for the elderly/infirm.
What is the current state of the country?
Global Food Security Index Score
Considers the core issues of affordability, availability and quality across 113 countries, where 1 is the top scoring country. 3/113
Percentage of population unemployed
10.4% in Scotland, 13.7% in Dundee
Percentage of population on low income
24.8% in Scotland, 27.8% in Dundee
Number of 3-day emergency food supplies given out by food banks
145,865 parcels (2016-2017 in the UK)
The Signpost Centre
In 2014 we moved to the new Signpost Centre based in Whitfield (on the outskirts of Dundee). The area of Whitfield has previously been recognized by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation as being within the worst 15% of Scotland’s most deprived areas. The Signpost Centre – a large complex that was previously used by Dundee City Council, located right in the centre of Whitfield – is seen as an opportunity for Signpost International to start new community projects and partnerships. At present, the Signpost Centre is open to the community and hosts a twice weekly community hot lunch on a Monday and a Thursday. Addaction is also based at the Signpost Centre and they run various support groups and activities throughout the week.
This is a memorial garden for those who have lost their lives to substance abuse. We also have a weekly volunteer gardening group that is growing produce in our polytunnels to be used for Soul Garden’s community lunches. This project is helping those that attend to gain more skills and to build friendships within the community.
The building and the location provide us with much potential for growing our local work here in Dundee and we plan to see this develop within the coming months and years.
Away from the centre we continue to work alongside Monifieth High School, a local secondary school. There has been a link between the school and Signpost for over a decade and every second year a team of senior pupils have travelled overseas along with some of their teachers and Signpost staff. During a two week visit the team meet many people in the local community, helping out with practical projects and living with them in their day to day lives. They come home with a much clearer idea of what life is like for those in different countries, some of the challenges they face and how we in Scotland can perhaps help them, even though we live so far away. Many of the pupils have gained a new perspective, an increased appreciation and gratitude, and even changed their career choices.