CHARITY NEWS ...
REFUGEE AID FROM TAUNTON - RAfT:
At last, we are beginning to open up again from the pandemic. Currently the centre at the Auction House, Canal Road is open for donations from 10am – 1pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Items needed are all types of clothing and shoes/boots, with most needed being small men’s sizes, blankets, sleeping bags, small tents, new knitted items, and medical equipment and sanitary wear. We have an outlet for the sale of books and can accept these.
Shipping has proved challenging for many months but, by changing to container rather than vans, goods have been able to reach Calais recently. Items for women and children stored from the beginning of lockdown have been sent to Moldova. Medical equipment and sanitary products can still be shipped to Syria. Sadly, we are still unable to welcome back our many volunteers as the lack of donations means there is a limited amount of work to be done and ventilation in the warehouse is poor. We have sent monetary donations to Lighthouse Relief in Greece and continue to raise funds through the sale of ‘designer brands’ unsuited to ‘camp life’.
We continue to support eight families settled locally. Two families have recently moved to the Birmingham area to be closer to relatives. We are happy for them, but sad to see them go.
Care and Relief for Young (C.R.Y.):
Every child, no matter where they were born, deserves opportunities. CRY gives thanks to supporters who enable thousands of children around the world to make this a reality. While the numbers are wonderful, each individual child and each individual story is important and precious.
The following items were highlighted:
Orphan and family support in Iraq providing medication to a poor family.
Fundraising efforts include one individual walking across Switzerland and another participating in the London Marathon in October.
Sure Foundations School – Nigeria. Helping a family who lost father to Covid-19 at the start of Pandemic. Help with funds for children to attend school and receive school meals. Provision of food parcels.
Link to donations page.
Further information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Action for Children:
Items covered include the following:
1. Judith Kirby, Children’s Services Manager of S.E. Wales Disability Service doing incredible work to keep service open during pandemic and lockdowns by supporting families and using ‘Teams’ sessions.
This is even more important after lockdown because of greater unemployment and Mental Health issues.
2. Extent of Child poverty in U.K. for families whose income is 60% below average. This was 31% before pandemic but this has now increased with London at 38% and N.E. England at a high level. Action for Children is urging the government to set out and deliver a plan to end child poverty. Supporters are being asked to write to their MPs on this issue.
3. Looking at ways of attracting more supporters. Request for volunteers to attend interviews online to see how work engaged and where there is common ground.
4. Take up challenge to walk / climb Snowdon Mountain any time between June and October and obtain sponsors raise money.
5. ‘Boycott your Bed’ event 9th July and spend night in unusual place.
6. Children’s drawing challenge for under 12’s. To think up and draw the most unusual place to spend a night.
More details at email@example.com
Raising Funds for the Local Air Ambulance:
For a number of years, Pat Gale has been encouraging us to donate our unwanted bras, and arranged their collection and delivery to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. It is difficult to imagine the volume that she has passed on – but all in a good cause (or rather, several good causes, as the bras collected also help needy individuals and families in West Africa, as well being recycled in an environmentally friendly way). So our thanks go to Pat, as she steps down from this task.
Lockdown has not been the ideal moment to continue this work, but we hope to ‘re-launch’ this appeal as we come out of lockdown in July. So as you refresh your wardrobe this summer, please consider donating your unwanted bras. They will be collected in the usual way at our churches, and most of the Rowbarton-based preachers will be able to bring those collections back. We will then deliver them on to the appropriate collection centres.
Charities and other Organisations Needing Your Support
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LOCAL PANTRY ROWBARTON:
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 Rowbartonpantry@gmail.com. You can also visit our Facebook page.
Traidcraft 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 - www.traidcraftshop.co.uk
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 www.safefamilies.uk, and - whether you are able to volunteer practically or not - we are encouraged to pray for their work.
TAUNTON FOOD BANK
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.
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.
ALL WE CAN
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.
YourNeighbour.org, 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
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.