The Parish Nursing service at The Steeple started up in 2008, with just one part-time nurse. Our aim is to support people to achieve and maintain whole-person wellbeing, because body, mind and soul cannot be separated.
Most of our work involves reaching out to people for whom life has become very complex, and often chaotic. Sometimes, but not always, that may involve homelessness, poor mental health, problematic substance use, fractured relationships. Through the pandemic, folk have come along who were just so lonely and they needed to speak with a real person.
The lives of a lot of the folk who come to our drop-in sessions and other groups could be described as ‘broken’. We cannot magically ‘fix’ everything for people, but we can walk alongside them, encouraging them as they take steps towards a more purposeful and healthy life. Sadly, Dundee has a sad record for drug-related deaths. We try to work closely with lots of other organisations, statutory and voluntary, who have their specific roles in supporting people on their recovery journey. That’s not usually a straightforward route, and people need support, love and second chances, and third chances, and fourth…
As Parish Nurses it is not our role to convert people to Christianity – that’s God’s work. But we try to demonstrate His compassion, mercy, patience, inclusiveness and love in the way we relate with folk who come along. We have time to get to know people, to build trusting relationships, made easier because we’re not giving out medicines or doing complicated clinical procedures.
Rachel McReady developed the Dundee Recovery Road Map, now accessible as a mobile app. It gives details of approximately a hundred agencies in Dundee with whom people may engage as part of their life’s recovery journey. This extremely useful tool is widely used throughout the city both by people on all sorts of recovery journeys and by organisations seeking to support them. Click here to access the app. Click here to access the Apple version.
Our team includes three Parish Nurses:
Barbara MacFarlane, a former lecturer in Nursing at Dundee Uni, who set up the service in 2008. She works part-time in a voluntary capacity. Barbara felt a real calling into this work and is pretty passionate about it.
Kirsty Nelson, a former District Nurse, joined us part-time in 2017, but from June she is full-time. This means she is really focussed on our work. We’ve been praying that God will make it really clear how He wants the service to develop as we move ahead. The focus is going to be very much recovery-orientated, using the Roadmap and local resources to help people to achieve better wellness. Kirsty’s also good at all things IT and is a wizard at de-cluttering Barbara no longer has 30,000 polypockets in the filing cabinet. All that apart, Kirsty has a passion for Parish Nursing and all the people about whom we’re privileged to care so deeply.
Rachel McReady joined us seven+ years ago and recently moved to a new full-time NHS post. When she can she may help us out, if her shift patterns permit. We miss her loads.
Our work at the drop-in sessions is supported by a team of about 15 Volunteers, people who are amazingly generous with their time and talents, They welcome folk to the drop-in and serve up a lot more than just good food – they really care about the folk who come along too.
Right through the pandemic we have worked alongside Eagles Wings, a Christian charity reaching out to many of the same folk that we see at Parish Nursing. By combining our people resources we’ve been able to continue face-to-face support for our folk, out on the street right through the worst of the winter. And with God’s protection plus vaccinations, none of us has had Covid-19, for which we are grateful.
Eventually we want to have our own web pages. We’ll be able to share ways that you may donate to support our work. When that happens we’ll post the new link here, It’ll also be able to direct you to finding more information about Parish Nursing Ministries UK, our professional organisation.