History of Aberdeen Cyrenians

Aberdeen Cyrenians began in 1968 as a soup kitchen run in the city’s Castlegate.


Organised by students from Aberdeen University, the soup kitchen provided basic food to a growing number of people. It became increasingly obvious that there was a high demand for further support services and eventually a night shelter was opened.

Over the next five decades Aberdeen Cyrenians has been a pioneer in delivering the first ever wet hostel in Britain, which permitted the safe use of alcohol with support to work towards recovery. A model that is now endorsed nationally, and is still one of our current services (Wernham House). We were also first to deliver a women’s only residential project in Aberdeen, the first to deliver the Rent Guarantee Scheme, the Leaving Home and Education Project, the first Homelessness Day Centre, and the lead partners in providing an integrated community drug rehabilitation service. In August 2018 we were successful in a consortium application, as lead partner, to the Housing First Scotland Fund and have since been delivering Housing First in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire later this year along with the four other partners.

An estimated 50,000 homeless people or people at risk of homelessness have been supported by Aberdeen Cyrenians over the past 50 years.

To mark 50 years of tackling homelessness we currently have a group of volunteers working to pull together a timeline and memories of the charity. Watch this space for more information over the coming months about our history and the people who have worked tirelessly to support those affected by homelessness.