Balornock’s Tron St Mary’s Church sits in the shadow of the Red Road flats – a famously brutalist 1966 social housing development.

Lauded when first constructed, the buildings gradually declined and became a magnet for vandalism and crime.

The estate became home for hundreds of vulnerable asylum seekers during the ‘dispersal’ programme of the 90s, which led to tensions between locals and newcomers.

On 7 March 2010, a family of three asylum seekers jumped to their death from one of the towers.

As such, the church has had to cope with an influx of asylum seekers with very immediate and basic needs, which they have tried to meet, while balancing the needs of their existing congregation – who live in an area with some of the highest levels of poverty in the UK.

Yet the church sees its diverse congregation as a strength. It has established a number of community projects, including a community café; English classes; a girl’s club; and an after school drop-in.

Many asylum seekers are now members of the congregation.

Tron St Mary’s is one of eight parishes working with the Church of Scotland’s four-year Chance to Thrive programme, which puts churches and their facilities at the heart of plans to regenerate some of the Scotland’s poorest areas.

A ‘Discovery’ group, made up of members of the congregation, have spent two years exploring the reasons behind the deprivation of the area, and designing possible solutions.

And as the flats are demolished, Tron St Mary’s are helping to create a new community.

Latest Posts

The Discovery Group

Posted by Helen Clifton on Wednesday 7.5.2014

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 […] | More

Tron St Mary’s Church

Posted by Helen Clifton on Wednesday 7.5.2014

For Reverend Jill Clancy of Tron St Mary’s Church *, the most important part of her job is being able to relate to the needs of her congregation. “How can I speak about the needs of this Parish if I don’t live here, see it for myself and become a part of it?” she asks. […] | More