The Discovery Group

Posted by Helen Clifton on Wednesday 7.5.2014

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Tron St Mary’s has been selected as one of eight congregations in the most disadvantaged communities across Scotland to participate in the Church of Scotland’s Chance to Thrive scheme.

The scheme aims to develop community based partnership activities that provide assistance for families and involve communities in regeneration projects.

It is expected to last five years, and will combine the knowledge, needs and expertise of local people along with volunteers who have entrepreneurial experience, as well as community workers, businesses and local authorities.

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In charge of administering the project in Tron St Mary’s Parish is the Discovery Group – a small number of people who form the loyal core of St Mary’s Church’s congregation.

Their task is to get local groups involved in the long-term regeneration of their own community.

Many members have lived locally for over 20 years, whilst others live outside St Mary’s Parish, but are committed to helping the community.

Reverend Jill Clancy of Tron St Mary’s Church* is leading the group and says their priority should be the revival of a sense of community and pride in the area, despite the problems they face.

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“We are survivors here, whatever it is we will deal with it. But now we need to think ahead. There needs to be a new community life here, and not just houses.”

One of the main projects the Discovery group has been involved in has been to collate statistics to create a detailed community profile, including information on economic inactivity, suicide, overcrowding and poor health.

The profile, which was referenced in a Joseph Rowntree report, concludes that “The continuation and development of church-based projects can go a long way in providing a great deal of support [to local communities.]”

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The Red Road Flats which surround the church are soon to be demolished, and Jill hopes this will mark a new beginning, one in which the community can take control of its own regeneration.

“We need to mark that, we need to feel something new will come from it. A bit like Easter actually. It will be like a death followed by a resurrection.”

(*Since this research was carried out, Rev Jill Clancy has moved to another position)

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