In 2019 we gave particular support to three Charities: Red Thread (supporting at risk young people in London), New Bridge (befriending prisoners and ex-offenders) and Saakshar (providing education for slum community children in India).
As well as fundraising specifically for these charities we donate 10% of donations given to the church from stewardship and church collections - following the most ancient pattern of giving to those in need from the Sunday collection. We do this out of recognising our responsibility to give generously to others.
It has been a joy meeting people from around the world and helping them to feel welcome in their new home. We have 15 visitors from St Peter’s and have visited over 30 people from a multitude of countries. We host regular social events where people come together for fun and mutual support. The greatest aspect of Welcome Boxes, in my opinion, is our focus on building friendships. 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 Transformation group is always thinking of ways to connect with our parish. As part of this we are a collection point for the Westminster Food bank. We also plan various outreach events through out the year.
Kids for Kids works in the remote villages in Darfur, where children are living in extreme poverty (image above). Their holistic programme is tailored to each village, with input from the villagers themselves. They empower local people to run these projects for themselves and their community, so they can raise their families out of poverty long-term, and give their children hope of a better future. Kids for Kids will be holding their annual Christmas carol service Thursday the 5th of December. https://www.kidsforkids.org.uk
Health Poverty Action acts in solidarity with health workers, activists and communities worldwide to improve health and challenge the causes of poverty. Working practically alongside communities to support their struggle for health they believe in addressing all the factors that impact on health. They work alongside communities to support their daily struggle for health. Their initiatives range from making health clinics more accessible, to directly improving water, sanitation, and nutrition. https://www.healthpovertyaction.org
St. Vincent's Family Project is a resource centre for young families in Westminster. They address issues of parenting, child welfare and social exclusion by providing services for parents and children. SVFP works primarily amongst vulnerable families who are experiencing deprivation and the wider effects of poverty. Their aim is to offer an experience of community which inspires, supports and enables positive change in the lives of its service users. https://www.svfp.org.uk
The Xavier Project The Xavier Project offers support to refugee children in East Africa and has been recommended by our verger Callum. They aim to increase access to quality education delivered in a safe space for refugee children. By working in solidarity with community-run organisations, schools, they successfully deliver pioneering programmes to thousands of students across East Africa. This is achieved through school sponsorship, scholarship programmes and extra-curricular activities that enhance children’s learning opportunities in urban and settlement settings. https://xavierproject.org
The Passage St Peter’s has a long time connection with The Passage. Each year we, along with St Peter’s school, give a harvest donation of food and clothing and several people from our congregation regularly volunteer with The Passage. Their vision is to offer welcome, dignity and respect whilst providing homeless people with support to transform their own lives. They do this through running London’s largest voluntary sector resource centre helping up to 200 men and women each day. They offer professional advice and help according to the client’s need with the overall goal of supporting people out of homelessness. http://passage.org.uk
or phone 07540 418623
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. Based in four rented classrooms and employing ten teachers, over a hundred young children are given a year of preschool lessons before being 'mainstreamed' into local schools. After that it gives aftenoon tuition and support until '12th class' as well as guidance and invaluable skills training to help get them into valuable work.
Saakshar 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 2020. For more information see the Saakshar School Appeal website here