How support of Edinburgh charity changed David ‘Monkey’ Kelbie’s life

For David, finding the support of Rowan Alba changed the way he lived his life.
For David, finding the support of Rowan Alba changed the way he lived his life.
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For David Kelbie finding the support of Rowan Alba changed the way he lived his life.

Surrounded by Elvis effigies, exotic birds and tropical fish, things he loved, he was finally settled, ending decades of chaos spent in fear on the streets of Edinburgh.

In Celtic mythology the Rowan tree was known as the “travellers’ tree” because it prevented people on a journey from getting lost. It is this philosophy that Helen Carlin, founder and CEO of the homeless charity harnessed when she identified a vital need to provide support for vulnerable people on the path to secure a home of their own.

READ MORE: Edinburgh set to say farewell to local character David ‘Monkey’ Kelbie

It began with Thorntree Street 12 years ago, which provides secure tenancies to older people who have had a history of homelessness and a long-term history of problematic alcohol use.

And along the way the charity has learnt and adapted, particularly Helen said, when it came to Davie Kelbie. She added: “It was a privilege to have known Mr Kelbie, and to be able to offer him the dignity, accommodation and compassion we all need to be a part of our society.

“Many saw him as an aggressor, but he, like many others who just ‘don’t fit in’ was in fact the victim of a system that fails to see the unique individuals that we are.”

As a small charity, Helen said they need all the help they can get and if anyone can “bung us a tenner” please visit here.