Women reveal how Glasgow charity Salt and Light saved their lives

WHEN Anne Wallace first set out to help Glasgow's homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes she found herself handing out cups of tea and toiletries from the back of a car in the middle of the night on the city's streets.

WHEN Anne Wallace first set out to help Glasgow's homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes she found herself handing out cups of tea and toiletries from the back of a car in the middle of the night on the city's streets.

Not long afterwards, she became lost in her own problems - but 10 years ago, having dealt with her own issues, Anne set up Salt and Light.

Since then she and her team of volunteers have worked tirelessly to help dozens of men and women completely turn their lives around.

She now has a double-decker bus, which regularly heads out on to the streets of Glasgow to provide help and support and even has an office where women can drop in to receive practical help and guidance.

Anne, who won the Daily Record's Volunteer Hero Award in 2009, said: "It is hard to believe where we have come in 10 years.

"That first night we parked the car and within minutes we saw all these people coming out of lanes towards us, we had about 100 people coming to us."

The name Salt and Light is a biblical reference, from the Sermon on the Mount, and Anne says her faith plays a major part in her work.

She said: "My own life was healed thanks to God and I became determined to do more.

"When I first started going out with the double-decker bus on a Thursday night we would have 70 lassies come to our women-only drop-in.

"Now it is down to a trickle and so many of the girls have got their health, lives and even families back."

To celebrate the charity's success we spoke to two women who, with Anne's help and support, have overcome devastating starts in life to become Salt and Light volunteers.


I WOULD  HAVE DIED


Lynne McKissock's childhood was so hard to bear she put herself into care when she was aged just 12.

Adopted at three months, Lynne says she was abused from the age of seven.

She said: "It was all so horrible that I dialled the police when I was 12 to put myself into care."

But once she was in a children's home Lynne began hanging around with older teens and started taking drugs.

A boyfriend then introduced Lynne to prostitution. He took all the money and beat her for about four hours daily.

"I was really naive, I had never really known love so I just thought that was normal," said Lynne.

After four years, Lynne left her partner and ended up on the streets before coming to Glasgow to live in a hostel.

She said: "It was terrible, I couldn't even get a wash. Then I ended up prostituting myself again for money and my drug habit just got worse and worse."

Lynne says her life began to change the day she came across the Salt and Light bus in 2004.

She said: "I will never forget that day. Anne Wallace asked me to talk to her but I told her to go away because she was a Christian and I didn't believe in God. But she told me she would pray for me and when I went home that night I kept thinking about it and felt something change.

"I realised they would actually help me. It took a long time though."

Lynne has gradually worked out her problems. She has now been clean for a year and is volunteering for the charity which helped her.

Lynne said: "Without Salt and Light I would be dead. I can't thank them enough for what they have done for me."

I RESPECT MYSELF

Mum-of-four Annemarie Carrick checked into rehab for the first time when she was just 12-years-old.

Surrounded by abusive and alcoholic adults, she had learned from an early age that booze was the way to cope.

She said: "I had been drinking the dregs of cans or glasses of vodka that were lying about since I was about two or three.

"When things got bad for the adults they drank, so I did the same."

By the time Annemarie, now 44, went into rehab at the age of 12 she was in bad shape.

She was uprooted from her home when her mum married a man from Texas. Coming from Glasgow, Annemarie found it difficult to fit in and then when her mum split with her American husband, life got even worse for Annemarie.

She said: "He was the only thing close to a real father I had ever had.

"Mum was working in a bar. I was either inside the bar drinking or lying outside passed out drunk."

When Annemarie was 13, she came back to Scotland but she couldn't settle in school and once more started drinking and playing truant.

She said: "I finally got a job in a fruit shop when I was 15. Then for years afterwards my life was just a constant stream of parties."

But then Annemarie fell in love and hoped her life could change.

Together with her partner she had her first of three children but sadly the same old problems once more arose. Annemarie said: "We tried to give our kids a different life to the lives we had but looking back we didn't have the tools to beat our illnesses.

"Both of us drank heavily and we started taking drugs again."

Thanks to Salt and Light, Annemarie turned her life around and has now been clean for a year.

She said: "Salt and Light have given me my dignity and self-respect back.

"They saved my life and made me believe I'm worth something."

Salt and Light's 10th anniversary fundraising dinner is being held on September 16 at Hampden Park.

To book tickets, make donations or offer auction prizes click on www.salt-and-light.org or call 0141 423 1181.

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