RAfT - Refugee Aid From Taunton

Many of you will have seen from the ‘County Gazette’ that a planning application has been issued for the demolition of the Old Auction House so that the site can be redeveloped. No precise date has been given for this but when it is RAfT will need to find a new home. This is more difficult than one might imagine. As a very small charity our resources are few and fundraising has been severely restricted as a result of the pandemic. RAfT doesn’t need a building as large as the Auction House but somewhere in Taunton, preferably at ‘peppercorn rent’ with parking for volunteers and access to allow vans and lorries for loading will be needed. If you know of anywhere that might fit the bill, please let us know.
In the meantime, the work continues, supporting local refugee families and providing clothing for both Afghan refugees in this country as well as those crossing the Channel. Overseas RAfT continues to support refugees in Northern France, Syria and in Yemen.

Elaine Dew

Action for Children – November News Summary

Secret Santa: Many vulnerable children, young people and families face a tough Christmas – one without food, warmth, or love. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that more children will miss out on the magical time they deserve. By being a Secret Santa, supporters can help families in need to buy food for their children and keep their houses warm. This can be a vital lifeline for even more vulnerable children. Details of how to make a gift are available on the website: secret-santa
Story of Nicole who had a difficult and abusive upbringing after losing her mother when 3 years old. After suffering depression, Nicole ended up living on the streets at age 16 and fell into spiral of drug and alcohol abuse. After a year she found Action for Children’s New Horizon Housing Service. Thanks to money raised by A for C supporters the staff could give Nicole a safe place to sleep and all the emotional support she required. Nicole now plans to go to college to become a young person’s practitioner in the homeless sector and build towards a brighter future.
Throughout the year, Methodists support our work with prayers and generous gifts. ‘We can’t thank you enough.’

Care and Relief for the Young (CRY) November News Summary

Update on Projects

1. Greece – Refugee Support.

Care for refugees continues and this brings changes in people’s lives. Help to integrate children into community by running fun learning activities such as pottery & painting; English Classes; Learning through play and Music.

2. Guinea – Jubilee International School

The school enables some of the poorest children receive a quality education by paying their fees. The school has thrived this year and children have excelled in exams, mainly due to continued peace in the country.

3. Turkey – Refugee Support

Befriending team, commenced in 2016, where a team of volunteers visit and support families living within Yalova. They befriend them, taking the time to build relationships, provide peer support and meet practical needs of clothing, food vouchers, nappies, and blankets.

For further information and ways of giving see:

Francis Lewis

Charities and other Organisations Needing Your Support
or That Can Offer Support to You ...


The local pantry is an initiative partnered with FareShare Southwest providing fresh and cupboard food to families at a fraction of the normal price. Fareshare works with large organisations to help bridge the gap between food producers, supermarkets and landfill to ensure good, fresh (but surplus) food is not wasted. This food is delivered to us every week and all the food is within its 'best before' date. Our members pay £3.50 per week for food worth between £20-£25, so they save money whilst saving perfectly good food from going to landfill.

Somerset County Council and Somerset West & Taunton Council provided the funding for the essential core costs of the pantry which is now run by local volunteers under a Team Leader, to support the residents of North Taunton.

The Pantry has now been running for 5 months and we have had very positive feedback from members who are still with us and those who have moved on. Members have moved on perhaps because they have had jobs reinstated and are in a better financial position. They have forwarded their thanks to the whole team of volunteers and have said that the experience was helpful - and enjoyable - as they were always met with kind words and smiling faces.

We still have 30 members on our books with a small waiting list.

As restrictions are being slowly lifted we are looking forward to involving the members in community projects. Just last week, Paula, from Zing Somerset came in and did some healthy cooking with 3 of our families, using the ingredients that had been delivered and some from the store cupboard. They spent an hour and a half making ideas for summer picnics and a good time was had by all. We are hoping that this will not be the last of these experiences, and when I talk to the members they are very enthusiastic about what could happen next.

The volunteers and members are remaining safe and careful, and are very optimistic about what the future may hold.

There is much support from all the volunteers and it is a real team effort, and we are all learning together how the Pantry works. We are always looking for anyone who may be able to help even if it’s one morning or afternoon a month. There are two shifts, the morning is 11.00 – 1.30 and the afternoon is 1.30 – 4.30. If you would like to join the scheme as a volunteer or member, please contact the team, by emailing You can also visit our Facebook page.

plc is a trading company which imports a huge variety of artisan products and groceries from the developing world. All the products are Fairly-traded, the profits going straight to the producers to help them to sustain their families through employment.

Temple supports and promotes the aims of TRAIDCRAFT. It is hoped at some time in the future Temple will be able to offer a limited selection TRAIDCRAFT goods. Until then TRAIDCRAFT catalogues are available to anyone who wishes to peruse at their leisure what TRAIDCRAFT offers or you can see all available products on the TRAIDCRAFT Website -

Safe Families are looking for volunteers in Somerset who might be able to support a family virtually through telephone or video calls. Certain people may also be free to pick up shopping, but staying in contact through this period of isolation is a priority need. There is a checking process, training and oversight for any volunteers. (Don't be put off by this - it probably just means joining a short virtual training session.)

If anyone feels they are in a position to help in this way, you are able to sign up on the volunteer website page.

You can find out more about the work of the charity from the website, and - whether you are able to volunteer practically or not - we are encouraged to pray for their work.

The latest update is that they are doing ok for volunteers and the Council has given them delivery vans and drivers. However, they would welcome additional supplies. Please find details on Taunton Foodbank website of their updated list of items to shop for and also how to donate if you are unable to go out shopping.

As up to date as possible, the printable A-Z Food Suppliers Directory can be found here: Coronavirus Community Help Taunton

Christian Aid Week 2021 is 10th - 16th May. It is unlikely that the usual door to door collections can take place due to COVID-19. It is hoped to hold virtual coffee mornings that week to help raise money. For details about Christian Aid Week see here.

In the world’s poorest communities people are having to face coronavirus without access to running water and soap. Living in cramped and unhygienic conditions, social distancing simply isn’t possible. All We Can and the Methodist Church in Britain have launched an Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to help equip vulnerable communities across the globe to combat coronavirus.

YOUR NEIGHBOUR, aims to support the work that churches are doing to be good neighbours in communities across the UK during the coronavirus crisis. They will support vulnerable, people working as a coordinated national response, partnering with the UK government and other agencies.

MHA are looking to recruit volunteers across the country to help them through the coronavirus crisis and support their clients. The roles are flexible and will be allocated dependent upon the needs of services in your local area. You can find details of the roles here.

Action for Children is helping to provide essentials to the most vulnerable families they support across the UK and those potentially affected in the future. You can read more here.

Taunton Welcomes Refugees:
As Covid restrictions are lifted there is a chance that some more refugees and asylum seekers will be resettled in Somerset and we have been asked by the council to be ready to help support them.

also see ...

Coronovirus (COVID-19) and Other Websites webpages