Holy Trinity church officially supports four charities by donating a proportion of our income each year. The four charities we are supporting at the moment are Opportunity International, Asylum Welcome, Practical Compassion for Destitute Children and Archway.
Opportunity International UK is a Christian charity based in Oxford, with a staff of 12, whose motivation is Jesus’s call to love and serve the poor.
Offering a hand up rather than a hand-out, it makes loans to very poor families to help them grow their own small businesses or make the most of their land. Crucially, it provides them with training, support and financial services that the poor cannot usually access.
The UK branch of Opportunity supports its local partners in Africa, where 80% of their clients are women. Small businesses – hairdressing, tuck shops, market stalls, dressmaking – flourish with the initial small injection of capital, and agricultural loans – chiefly for fertilizers – typically increase yield by 30% Amazingly, 98% of loans are repaid, and the money recycled to help others. This means that a relatively small donation to Opportunity will be used again and again to help more poor families transform their lives.
Opportunity also helps those who live in very remote areas by providing Banks-on-Wheels – 4x 4 vehicles that visit villages on certain days – and by arranging loans to local groups to start schools when government schools are many miles away. The result has been that poor families have, many for the first time, finally been able to access education and healthcare.Any questions about Opportunity can be directed to Suzy Webster, who has been involved with the charity both here and in Africa for over 20 years.
Update July 2016: New video: Actress Adjoa Andoh visited her homeland of Ghana earlier this year to meet the communities you are benefiting.
Link Person: Suzy Webster
Asylum Welcome supports refugees, asylum seekers and immigration detainees in Oxford and Oxfordshire.
Our volunteers, members, and staff share values based on a common humanity and belief in social justice. Together we work to reduce poverty, suffering, and social isolation, and to enable asylum seekers and refugees to live with the respect and dignity to which they are entitled.
Based in our friendly, welcoming office in Magdalen Road, with a staff of only 2 full-time and 5 part-time members, and around 120 volunteers, Asylum Welcome helps asylum seekers and refugees locally by: visiting detainees in Campsfield House Immigration Detention Centre in Kidlington; giving information about social, legal, and health services for which clients may be eligible; helping clients find suitable education courses; providing one-to-one English tuition; running a Youth Club and providing advice and information for unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors; giving food parcels to the destitute; cooking a weekly hot meal; supplying such items as bicycles and baby equipment as necessary; and advocating publicly on behalf of asylum seekers and refugees and for policy change.
The office itself, open to clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, has a pleasant reception area, staffed by welcomers, with access to computers and the telephone, children’s toys, tea and coffee making facilities, and the chance to sit somewhere safe, warm, and dry.
This small charity is totally dependent on donations and is grateful to be one of Holy Trinity’s chosen charities.
Anyone wishing to support it individually can do so by becoming a member, for which the membership form can be downloaded from the website.
Update September 2016: Our own Mike Wooldridge narrates a remarkable new film about Asylum Welcome’s work. You can view it at http://www.asylum-welcome.org/ donate/films. The film is available in two versions, long (26 minutes) and short (6 minutes). Both provide a compelling account of the challenges facing asylum seekers and refugees as they arrive in Oxford, and the vital advice and support they receive from Asylum Welcome.
Link person: Lorna Hicks
Practical Compassion for Destitute Children
This is a small charity based in Tyneside which cares for children in the Holy Land.
Personal contact with each child is important, and they are helped regardless of religion/background. The Coordinator, trustees and others visit twice a year, paying their own expenses. They see the different schools, boarding houses and families; initial contact is made through the head-teachers.
The Jan. 2015 newsletter states:’ We have had appeals from several schools to help children whose lives have been affected by violence, death, divorce, tragedy, severe poverty or sickness. PCDC tries to keep the children going to school, and sustains their basic needs.’
‘At every school the fees have gone up again. Our payments came to £112,000. Still the Lord goes on providing. We trust God now and always, day by day. Every child is special; every need is brought before the Lord.’
Malcolm Jones, Coordinator, wrote after our last donation from the Lent Lunch:
‘Thank you SO much! Your kind donation will help 4 children, all at Talitha Kumi School. They are called Ibrahim Daoud, John and Saliba Khaliliel, and Rozeen Quaississiyeh. Your donation will help Ibrahim with school fees (£200), John with food (the family is often without any food, and PCDC sends a food parcel every month). (£100) Saliba needs a new school-uniform, and he also needs to see the dentist (£100); Rozeen needs help with school-fees (£100). Please thank all the people who made this wonderful gift possible. God bless you all,’ Malcolm.
Link person: Nell Slocock
“The whole purpose of Archway is to be alongside those who feel hurt by loneliness, to serve by offering support, friendship and a listening ear.”
– Paul S. Hawgood, Founder of The Archway Foundation.
Loneliness is an experience that many of us may go through at various points in our lives. These are feelings which affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Loneliness is a big issue. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, “Almost half of adults in England say they experience feelings of loneliness” and it has been widely quoted that “loneliness is as bad for
one’s health as smoking” (2015).
The Archway Foundation was established in Oxford in 1982 to help relieve some of the real distress that loneliness can cause. Via social groups and befriending, we connect those feeling alienated, with a diverse group of volunteers, many of whom know for themselves how damaging loneliness can be.
“I keep coming to Archway to try to help people who are in the same situation I was. I look forward to coming here. There are people here who need me – who are very pleased that I turn up and talk to them. Archway is an oasis for people. There’s always someone there to talk to you and be sympathetic, not judgemental.” (Danny)
“If it wasn’t for Archway holding their arms out and catching me I don’t
know where I’d be.” (Terry)
At least 8 members of Holy Trinity volunteer with Archway. Some help with the social events some by driving and some being present at the events. There is also a befriending service which visits people in their homes. Do ask me for any further information or look at the Archway website. We are so grateful for your support.
Link person: Sue Saville