It’s now official. Our wonderful new museum, the V&A, is open, thanks to a visit from William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Strathearn, on 29th January.
The following Monday was a dry, sunny day; still cold but the weekend snow had all but disappeared. A perfect day, then, for a first visit to the V&A, just in time to catch the Ocean Liners: Speed and Style exhibition before it is packed up and taken to its next venue.
Apart from the promise that you would be transported to a luxury cruise liner, mixing with the rich and famous, diving into the swimming pool, sunbathing in the lido, enjoying drinks in the first class lounge, etc. this is an exhibition that is highly relevant to Dundee, for it used to be a shipbuilding city. Many local people visiting will have worked in the shipyards or be related to people who did. It was big business and a big employer.
That’s all gone now, of course. This very week the future of McGill’s, a building services contractor which employs around 400 people at its Dundee branch, is looking extremely uncertain. On top of the projected closure of the Michelin plant, another big employer, things are not exactly rosy, though a little of the pain was soothed by the fact that William and Kate met and spoke with some of its workers. Not that that will put food on the table …
So my hope is that the V&A, as well as informing, entertaining and wowing, will bring prosperity to this city through those who will visit from outwith the area and need places to eat and sleep, besides other things to do while they are here. I recently visited two of the newest hotels and it was good to see that both were buzzing.
Church members may be dwindling in numbers, but the Church is still here, and we pray for those who can’t afford meals out, or holidays away from home. As I said to the young people the other Sunday, we’re not like a club - because we don’t charge a subscription. We ask for an offering – after all, we need money to function just like any other organisation – but the amount of each person’s offering is for them to decide.
As well as members’ regular financial giving, both congregations also support the Dundee Foodbank. At St Andrew’s we have a Give Box for new or good quality clothes and household items which goes to the Gate Church in the first instance. Through one of our our members, we have just started a collection of new socks for homeless people. Meadowside St Paul’s Wednesday Club offers free soup and sandwiches plus a friendly welcome and listening ear to those who need it.
Maybe we won’t change the world, but we can make a difference.