St Cuthberts Care works with marginalised people in our North East community, though evident all year round, is particularly acute during Advent, Christmas time and into the New Year. Over the past three years, the charity has enabled 19 parishes to set up community projects across our diocese, providing comfort, compassion and friendship to older and isolated members of our society.
The parish work extends the length and breadth of our Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, and our Parish and Community Enablement (PACE) projects are all sustained by dedicated teams of parish volunteers, now totalling over 400 in number. Three of the projects focus specifically upon homelessness, offering food, warmth, clothing and essential signposting services.
‘’Before coming here, I had no idea what I was going to do to get food”, said Jim, now a regular visitor to Open House, the PACE project in Sunderland, supporting more than 40 homeless individuals every week. He continued: ‘’As well as being able to come here, the volunteers have helped me find somewhere to go nearly every day of the week. That’s great and I can’t thank everyone enough.‘’
The effects of the economic recession have been keenly felt in the North, and resources are stretched but the charity continues to receive phenomenal support from parishioners, schools and key local businesses. St Cuthberts Care’s 5p Bus project has been operational for five years now and relies solely upon the generosity of these supporters. This innovative mobile project travels across the diocese visiting families on low incomes and those living in the most deprived areas. It offers children’s toys, clothes and other essential goods for just 5p an item.
Throughout November and December, the project distributes brand new toys to impoverished families, completely free of charge:
“Despite the hardship currently felt in the region, year on year we receive hundreds of toys and gifts in our appeal, for us to pass on to those less fortunate. This generosity and kindness reflect the true spirit of Christmas and it’s heart-warming to evidence,” said St Cuthberts Care Chief Executive, Austin Donohoe.
“This is charity in its truest form and we are grateful to everyone who contributes whether financially, in kind or through volunteering their time.”
You can find out more about St Cuthberts Care’s community work by visiting www.stcuthbertscare.org.uk.