Since 2016 we have been involved with the Welcome Box initiative too - providing a practical and personal welcome for refugees.
Fr Ralph has supported Saakshar since 2003, soon after it began. Saakshar (‘Literate’) helps slum children in India’s capital city, Delhi, to go to school and complete their education. It helps boys and girls, but particularly girls, who are very disadvantaged and often do not go to school in India. For slum children the absence of education is a life sentence of poverty. Parents who cannot read or write work long hours just to survive, and often cannot send their children to school. Saakshar provides a year of preparation for these poor children, then supports them throughout their school life. After that it gives guidance and invaluable skills training to help get them into valuable work. It helps their families too, teaching literacy to parents and providing training in computing and dressmaking. Fr Ralph visits Saakshar each year and will be there in February 2019. For more information see the Saakshar School Appeal website here
Our befriending service aims to match trained befriending volunteers with local families in need, to provide them with practical and emotional support in the challenges they face. The aim of befriending is to provide families and children in need with the tools to improve their circumstances and lead more fulfilling lives. We aim to foster independence by being there for families so that they do not have to face their challenges alone. A befriender might visit a family for at least six months to provide practical and emotional support if a family or child is struggling with Social isolation, Housing and money-related worries, Schoolwork or problems at school, Communication problems and risk of family breakdown, or General stress. We also provide mentoring, and mothers' support groups, and more. For more information see the Westminster Befriend a Family website here.
or phone 07540 418623
Revd Julie writes: 2017 was a great year for the Transformation (outreach) Group. We supported the work of three charities with links to people from our congregation, Saakshar, Telefono de la Esperanza and Spear. As part of linking our outreach with the wider church community, we enjoyed the Latin American quiz night, dinner and dancing. The event was enjoyed by all and over £1000.00 was raised in aid of Telefono de la Esperanza.
Christmas charities were Caxton Youth club who create a fun and supportive environment for young people with disabilities, Kids for Kids working with children in Darfur, and Open Doors supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East. As part of our Christmas giving, we once again hosted a lively, fun and moving Christmas party with Caxton youth club. The church raised £3870.00 in total for these wonderful charities.
The three 3 charities we have chosen to support for 2018 are Saakshar, Westminster Befriend a Family and The Reeve’s Foundation. Each of these has a personal link with the congregation and our hope is to build on these connections during the year. Along with giving 10% of our congregational giving to these three charities and Welcome Boxes, we will hold fundraising events this next year.
Welcome Boxes, St Peter’s befriending ministry with Asylum seekers and refugees, has been going now for almost two years. It has been a joy meeting people from around the world and helping them to feel welcome in their new home, offer friendship and help people connect with local services and activities. We have 15 visitors from St Peter’s and have visited over 25 people from a multitude of countries. In December we hosted our 4th social event, an international welcome party where people brought offerings from their home countries. It was a lovely afternoon with a variety food, meaningful conversation and even singing. The greatest aspect of Welcome Boxes, in my opinion, is our focus on building friendships. We’ve formed ongoing friendships with a number of people which has been a privilege for all of us. It is our hope that Welcome Boxes will continue to grow as it seeks to respond to the ever-increasing need to welcome refugees as Christ has welcomed us.
The outreach group continues to think of creative ways to engage with our local community. For the second time running we enjoyed passing out mince pies and singing Christmas carols with the school choir at Victoria Station and, once again, plan to shine shoes in the station on Maundy Thursday. On Friday the 27th of April we will be hosting a Sleep Out on the Portico in aid of The Passage. We are encouraging involvement from the entire congregation. Children are also welcome to attend as long as they are accompanied by adults. Participants will raise funds for The Passage through sponsorship and a Just Giving page will be set up for the event.
And finally, on Sunday the 29th of April the Transformation Group will host a Transformation Sunday. Guests from The Passage, Housing Justice and other organisations partnering with St Peter’s will be present. There will be information on the charities we support, our local outreach initiatives and volunteer opportunities.
or phone 07540 418623