Please donate to our appeal for the Grenfell Tower disaster
We have all been shocked by the Grenfell Tower disaster that took place in West London. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been affected by this horror.
It is estimated that up to 600 people might have been made homeless by this tragedy, and it is still unclear how many people have lost their lives.
HOPE worldwide have worked with vulnerable groups in West London for many years and want to help to support the recovery from this tragedy. We have set up this fundraising page to collect money which will be used to help those affected. Please give generously to this urgent need.
Read about Bruce Miller’s experience of volunteering at a night shelter
Many of the night shelters around London are organised on the basis of local churches grouped into multiples of seven, each agreeing to have homeless people stay for one night per week. This involves providing an evening meal and then distributing bedding for them to sleep in the church hall, providing breakfast the following morning and then storing the labeled bedding for the same time next week. This would go on for a period of about six months starting in October and finishing in March.
St John the Baptist Church, Isleworth where Bruce volunteered.
So there are opportunities to help with cooking the evening meal, preparation of the men’s beds for sleeping, supervising the night shift and helping with breakfast and clear up in the morning. My wife helped to cook the evening meal and this involved taking the food down to the shelter for about 7pm and collecting the empty, washed, container at about 10pm. Other volunteers were actually in the building serving the meal and washing and cleaning up afterwards. So there are lots of ways to serve.
I got the chance to volunteer on a Thursday morning for eight weeks, during February and March 2017, at a night shelter in St. John’s Church of England, Isleworth. The work involved being there from 6:00-7:45am supporting between twelve to fourteen homeless men along with another five or six volunteers.
Specifically this meant helping to set up the large breakfast table, then as each man woke up, putting each person’s mattress and bedding into the storage room; helping to prepare breakfast and sitting with the men and talking together over breakfast; clearing up after breakfast, then sweeping , cleaning and preparing the hall for the daycare and nursery session that was immediately to follow. It was physical work but very encouraging to engage with the homeless men and meet with other volunteers in the community. It was also sad, as I listened to their stories of how they came to be homeless.
I remember one morning feeling sorry for myself, having to get out of bed so early, then I remembered the guys that I was about to serve. They were in a hall, sleeping on a 2” thick sponge mattress, with no family around them, all their possessions in a rucksack, and living on the streets. I got out of bed with a better attitude; shame on me for complaining. Truly, it is better to give than to receive.
The time I spent quickly flew by and on the last Thursday morning I expressed to one of the other volunteers that I was sad it was finished. It felt so good to serve, and I hope that the relationships I have formed and this small act of service will be pleasing to God.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering at night shelters over the winter please contact Jane Whitworth at email@example.com
On the evening of Boxing Day 2016 my friend Alison Clark-Morris and I flew out to Delhi to spend two weeks at the Village of Hope; a village which has been built for Leprosy sufferers and their families. Ali is a podiatrist (or, as she became known in India, “the foot doctor”) who works at a chiropractic clinic in Pangbourne and Theale Wellbeing Centre, Berkshire. The Village is run by the charity Hope Worldwide.
What has been achieved over 25 years was inspirational. People with leprosy not only suffer from the illness but because of the associated stigma, the whole family lose their jobs, cannot marry and are cast out of the community, usually ending up as beggars. The Village provides not just a home but also microcredit loans to set up small businesses and training in computing, nursing and sewing. The children and grandchildren of the original 800 residents are now getting jobs and building lives outside the Village. We saw a busy, happy, vibrant place, with weddings, religious festivals and parties seemingly every day. (We were included in them all!).
Leprosy is now almost eliminated from India, only 127,326 new cases being diagnosed each year. Early detection is essential to avert disability. But for the previous generation, the infection left life-long neuropathy (nerve damage) in feet and hands leading to pain, disfigurement and loss of sensation. Loss of sensation leads to serious foot ulcers, similar to those sometimes seen on people with diabetes in the UK. It is these ulcers that, if not managed carefully, result in amputations and disability.
The bandaging clinic that treats the ulcers was where we worked alongside Raju. Raju contracted leprosy at 13 and ran away from home to protect his family and seek treatment. He was one of the lucky ones with no permanent damage. The Village trained him in wound care and while he cannot read or write he is a highly skilled medical technician, treating up to 100 patients a day. Ali’s very specialist skills made a real impact in just a fortnight, treating the ulcers and providing orthotic padding to relieve the pressure that causes the ulcers. She helped Raju further improve his skills and left a simple programme of education in self help for the residents to prevent new ulcers.
Our final job was to work with the charity to draw up an investment plan for the clinic to provide more up to date equipment (lights, steriliser, water supply etc.); a female assistant to work alongside Raju to deal with the many female leprosy sufferers who feel too ashamed to be treated by a man and finally the means for more professional podiatrists from the UK or elsewhere to visit as volunteers. Thankfully the first two of these three goals have already been achieved and there are plans for other podiatrists to go out next January. The picture below is of Raju and his new assistant.
Thank you to all those who have supported this worthwhile programme. If you would like to contribute to the continuing work of the Village of Hope please donate today.
10th June 2017
Venue: The Star of Kings, 126 York Way, Kings Cross, N1 0AX
Ticket Website: https://hopeworldwide.charitycheckout.co.uk/hopejam
Living proof that the process works.
Binnur (placement student) and Philip (housed in Jan 2016)
Philip began life in the small Irish town of Tipperary. Aged just 15, he travelled to London via the luggage compartment of a coach – arriving at Victoria. He had decided to move to London after realising there was not much work in Ireland and to move away from the wrong crowd he was with the time. He began working within a week – working from job to job as he travelled through the city. For him, London was an exciting place with so much to see and do.
After many years of working and building a family in London, Philip became homeless following a relationship breakdown and began sleeping rough in a car he owned and occasionally staying at friend’s homes. This lasted for 2 and a half years and he describes the experience as being ‘very traumatic and eye opening’. Like many of us, he never thought he would be the one to fall into a position where he lost his home and had nowhere he could be safe.
While sleeping rough, Philip experienced the stigma of being homeless which brings a feeling of isolation from others. He says, “people look at homeless people like they are dirt”. The homeless are 13 times more likely to be a victim of crime and 47 more likely to be a victim of theft. He did his best to stay out of trouble by keeping to himself as much as possible. Over time the experience began to take its toll and eventually he started drinking heavily as a means of escaping from reality. On one occasion, he began drinking with a group, which ended in a fight that Philip was not a part of but witnessed. After this, he slowly gave up drinking as he thought “this is not the way.”
Despite the pressures of his situation, Philip stayed strong and positive – he didn’t just give up. He kept himself going through these rough times by praying and always having faith in that things will soon get better. After contacting a homeless centre, Philip was picked up from his car and taken to a homeless shelter called ‘No second night out’. He describes the experience of staying at the Hub as very scary. In a big room, you find a space on the floor and lay out your sleeping bag and get to sleep. You are surrounded by a room full of people all sleeping on the floor like you. The room is mixed with the smell of everyone sleeping there as well as the snoring sounds of sleepers so it is far from comfortable. His stay here lasted 3 weeks, after which he was referred to Hope Worldwide. After the appointment at the HOPE office he left with a ’good feeling’ of having his own place soon. Philip waited a week before he was housed and was able to move in. He was very grateful for the quick process and overjoyed that he had his own small space to cook, shower and sleep.
Philip feels that having his own place to stay that makes him feel safe and secure and is a big step forward in rebuilding his life. He is now looking to build on his current skills as a qualified electrician by attending college to gain a testing certificate and then go back to work. As well as moving his career forward, he is looking to rebuild the damage homelessness has done to the relationship with his children because when he was homeless it was difficult to remain in contact.
After experiencing homelessness, Philip has learnt to never take anything for granted and to be grateful for everything he has;he helps people that are street homeless by offering them advice, directing them the right way and by telling his story so that they can have faith that they too can rebuild their lives. Philip believes that nobody should not be looked down on because of their situation – “people are people and nobody deserves to be homeless”.
As Philip himself proudly states: “I am living proof that the process works.”
To help more people like Philip, why not take part in our sponsored walk on Sat April 16th. See http://www.everydayhero.co.uk/event/TwoStep2016 to register.
Come and join us on the morning of Sat 16th April as we walk from our homeless services (Two Step) office in Angel to our recovery services (ODAAT) near Oval to raise money to house the homeless.
For more details, registration and to order T-shirts please click/tap on this link Register here .
The need: Government cuts mean that there is less money to fund our service even as the the need is rising. We still want to help those vulnerable people who are desperate to find somewhere to live so we hope you can take part in the sponsored event this year.
Details of the walks:
Main Route: Two Step to Oval (9km) Arrive 9.30am – 10.30am at 360 City Road, EC1V 2PY and walk in a group of about 10.
Like last year, we will be inviting people housed by Two Step to participate so that our supporters can meet some of those helped by the programme. Click/tap here to see a 3 minute video of last year’s event to get an idea of what it will be like.
Sights along the way: Lincoln’s Inn Fields, St Martin’s in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, River Thames, London Eye, Battle of Britain memorial, Houses of Parliament, The Big Issue, Oval Cricket ground . A family-friendly quiz will be provided for the route.
Family Walk (4km) 10.45am at Embankment tube for 11.00am start – ‘Treasure Hunt’ sheet will be provided
Reduced mobility walk (3.5km) 10.45am for 11.00am start at Westminster tube
Short Walk (1km) 11.45am for 12noon start at Vauxhall Tube
Longer Walk (11km) Extra sights for the 11km walk are BFI IMAX, parliament square, Westminster Abbey and partner organisations in Victoria. Early bird start time of 9.30am recommended.
End of Walk Reception starts around 12.45pm. Venue: St. Marks Kennington SE11 4PW
Sign-in and collect T-Shirts (if not received already) from Two Step office from 9.30am on Sat 16th April. There will be a staggered start so those that arrive first will leave first. For safety reasons walkers will be encouraged to walk in small groups.
Directions and descriptions of sites along the way will be e-mailed out in advance and provided on the day if you need them.
(For those that are only able to walk part of the route, various options will be made available i.e. starting the walk at a point along the route – all participants are invited to a reception at St Mark’s Church at the end of the walk. If you are unable to join us on the day but would like to do a walk elsewhere instead that is fine – just sign up as usual and mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Be part of our future: We will also take the opportunity to update you on future plans, opportunities and challenges so that you can be part of our shared future. This will be a challenging and interesting year as we remodel our service in light of the funding challenges and changes to the benefit system. For example, we would like to explore ways of using volunteers to support homeless clients before and after they move into properties to help them settle into a new area and move on with their lives.
Registration details: We look forward to seeing you on Sat 16th April. To register and order T-shirts please click/tap on this link Register here .
Adult T-shirts costing £4 are available in S,M,L,XL and XXL. If you want to order children’s T-shirts costing £3, the dimensions of the various sizes are shown below in cm. You will need to pay a £1 registration fee to be able to order T-shirts.
If you already have a T-shirt from last year (pictured) or don’t want to buy a T-shirt you can register for free! Register here
Children’s T-shirt Dimensions in cm