The ‘STAR Project’ is an award winning community organisation that promotes sustainable and positive social advancement in Paisley and surrounding areas. It began in November 1999, delivering both group and individual support to the local area and residents, with the goal of ensuring that a stronger, more connected community is both created and maintained.
The charity is very proud to take a universal approach, meaning it is open to any and all in need of help and support.
Project Manager Sharon McAulay said: “There is no stigma attached. People leave labels at the door.” She went onto say that there are many reasons why someone would want to participate in one to one support, a business meeting, training, to volunteer, counselling, group work, or to simply pick up a leaflet. “We work hard to ensure everyone feels welcome, accepted and safe.”
There are many individual projects that the charity runs to enhance real and sustainable change and progress, to transform lives and allow people to express themselves, which they hope will create a domino effect, letting families thrive and communities strengthen.
The “Stigma Campaign Project” was launched to combat topics discussed in the Poverty Commission report. The report brought to attention the challenges and experiences faced by members of the public, who face economic challenge on a daily basis. Renfrewshire Council and STAR Project offer stigma reduction training to public facing staff.
When asked the most rewarding part of her career, Sharon responded: “My whole job is rewarding, I get to make a difference.
“I feel privileged every day that people trust me, and the Project staff, to let us into their lives.
“Someone once wrote in a card to me, ‘You’ve saved my life’. It doesn’t get more rewarding than that.”
Sharon also noted that it is a constant battle to keep enough money coming in to continue the work they do. STAR Project receives the majority of its funding from ‘Big Lottery’ and ‘Robertson Trust’ as well as some money from smaller funds such as STV Children’s Appeal. This funding, however, does not cover everything so they rely heavily on donations and fundraising.
“Unfortunately for us, the bigger and better known charities always get great financial support simply because they’re so well-known and can afford ad campaigns. They all do a great job too, but it’s very difficult for us to compete for support.”
The STAR project are always looking for volunteers to help deliver their services. All of the volunteer team are very well supported and receive great training opportunities. More information about STAR can be found at their website: http://www.star-project.org.uk/