A STATUE depicting Jesus as a homeless person is set to be erected in Glasgow by Christmas.

After plans were approved by Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Churches Together, the group behind bringing the sculpture of Matthew 25, known as the Homeless Jesus, is now raising £15,000.

The life-size bronze statue of a shrouded Jesus lying on a bench was created by sculptor Timothy P Schmalz and cities across the world have vied to install his artwork on their streets.

Now with the sculpture to be installed next to St George’s Tron, just off Buchanan Street, Glasgow will be the first place in Scotland to see the sculpture later this year.

A total of £25,000 is required to bring the statue to the city and with £10,000 already raised there has been encouragement towards homeless groups in the city to get involved.

The plans were put in motion two years ago when the sculptor contacted Father Willy Slavin, formerly of St Simon’s in Partick.

Father Slavin said: “The artist contacted me around two years ago with the idea.

“He said he wanted his work to be set up in all corners of the world and asked if I was interested to taking on the Scottish project.

“I had just retired - I was chairman of Emmaus for 12 or 13 years - and I thought I was in a good position to take on the idea.”

It was then Father Slavin approached Glasgow Churches Together to help draw up the plans to take to Glasgow City Council. It was thought the best place to place the sculpture was close to Buchanan Street next to St George’s Tron.

The church’s clergyman Reverend Alistair Duncan also came on board with the plans.

“Alistair is behind the plans 101 per cent,” added Father Slavin.

“And it is important to recognise that this project has only come about through the help of Glasgow City Churches and St George’s Tron. The sculpture has a strong message and it’s right that more attention is brought to homelessness. With as many groups as possible getting involved the sculpture will arrive in November."

Elspeth Glasgow, of the charity Churches Together Glasgow, said: “It was brilliant when we were given approval for this plan.

“We had to take great care in out proposal given some of the stories of other cities not giving it permission. Getting approval the first time round was great.”