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News CCS

Autumn/Winter 2013

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A Star of Hope Margaret Wilkinson Co-ordinator St Francis Family Centre. In 1999 a 3 year old boy first attended the nursery at St Francis Family Centre in Poplar with his brother. He came from a family who were moved into the area from north London and who found themselves completely isolated. A nun befriended them at Mass and suggested they contact us to see what services we could provide to help the children develop and the family feel part of the wider community. This year (14 years on) 17 year old Eyituoyo Awala returned to St Francis Family Centre to share with his “first teachers” an award he had received from St Michael’s Roman Catholic College, Bermondsey, for Outstanding Contribution to Music 2008-11. He dressed in his Prom suit and bought his cup for all to see. Eyituoyo is currently studying at The Centre for Young Musicians after winning a scholarship. He recently took his grade 5 exam in jazz piano and achieved a high merit pass. We send our congratulations to him on a marvellous achievement. Eyituoyo’s mother Consolata said “He is a wonderful son and I am very very proud of his achievements.’ Consolata has also celebrated her own achievements. She has come a long way during the last 13 years and recently under took toy librarian training and has been

awarded a certificate. Now she is able to help us by volunteering; helping to run our toy library while she seeks full time employment. Eyituoyo hopes to continue with his obvious musical talent but has his eye on bigger things and is looking to study to become a doctor of medicine. This summer he passed 11 GCSE’s (3A* 4A, 4B grades) We wish him well and will continue to support the family as they move forward as part of our community. Consalata said ‘When we first attended here I knew nobody. I was given the opportunity to plant seeds of hope at St Francis Family Centre and my family and myself have been able to grow.’ Your support helped to make this happen!


To “be a Star of Hope Shining Brightly” is to Make a Difference Dr Rosemary Keenan CEO As we journey through the liturgical year of the Church, we are invited to reflect upon the hope that our faith gives us. November is the month in which the Church especially remembers the dead. Despite the great sadness that remembering may bring us, it is nevertheless a time of great hope. On the first day of November we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints; those who are already in Heaven. On the following day we celebrate All Souls’ Day when we commemorate all the faithful departed. This is over and above remembering; it is preserving them in memory through our actions and words. There is a further dimension that is an expression of hope. I am reminded of a line from Karl Rahner’s reflection ‘God of the Living’ in Encounters with Silence, in which he prays that his love and faithfulness to those whom he loves, both living and dead, may be a pledge of his belief in the God of eternal life. At his address during the Angelus in St Peter’s Square on All Soul’s Day 2008, Pope Benedict XVI said, ‘Today we renew the hope in eternal life, truly founded on Christ’s death and Resurrection. “I am risen and I am with you always”, the Lord tells us, and my hand supports you. Wherever you may fall, you will fall into my hands and I will be there even to the gates of death. Where no one can accompany you any longer and where you can take nothing with you, there I will wait for you to transform for you the darkness into light. Christian hope, however, is not solely individual; it is also always a hope for others. Our lives are profoundly linked, one to the other, and the good and the bad that each of us does always affects others too. Hence, the prayer of a pilgrim soul in the world can help another soul that is being purified after death. This is why the Church invites us today to pray for our beloved deceased and to pause at their tombs

Pope Francis - “Be a star of hope shining brightly”.

in the cemeteries. Mary, Star of Hope, renders our faith in eternal life stronger and more authentic, and supports our prayer of suffrage for our deceased brethren.’ Pope Benedict’s address is not mournful - it is a message of hope! He reminds us that Christian hope is not solely individual, it is also always a hope for others. This is a message repeated by Pope Francis in his inaugural homily when he calls upon all of us to: “Be a star of hope shining brightly”. It is this hope that makes such a difference, a difference to our own life and to the lives of others. Having worked at the Catholic Children’s Society for the last 25 years, I know how efficiently and effectively our services have made a difference and brought hope to the lives of thousands of children and their families, just as they have for more than 150 years. There are many benefactors both living and dead who have enabled us to do this. Like them, I want to continue to make a difference and to bring hope to children and families in the future, even after I have died. To this end, when I made my will 17 years ago I included the Catholic Children’s Society as a beneficiary.

FACT: 1 in 5 of the children and families we support is funded thanks to legacies. You can ensure that your legacy lives by supporting our on going work. Leaving a gift in your Will is easy to do. Visit our website to see suggested wording to use. Or if you already have a Will you can fill in the codicil form enclosed with this newsletter and send it to your executor to act upon when necessary. Thank you for considering CCS.


Dealing with trauma Liz Lockwood – School Counsellor Team Leader The school counselling service continues to grow across the Diocese of Westminster and the impact of our intervention cannot be underestimated. The experienced and creative counsellors employed by the CCS offer a robust and in depth service in both school environments and family centres. The end of the summer term was a busy time for the therapists as they prepared endings with some clients, prepared others for the summer break, and produced extensive reports on their work for head teachers and school governors. At the end of term many of the therapists also enjoyed watching the children and young people they had supported engaging in school activities and productions. Due to their increased confidence and ability they were now fully able to engage with their school community. With other children the service had also included helping the family as a whole. I am particularly thinking about a family where there had been bereavement and the child referred for counselling had tragically lost a sibling which had impacted upon the whole family and the school. The child was

traumatised and unable to engage on any level in school with regards to learning or on a relational level with peers and teachers. Through closely working with the child, family and school, the therapist was able to support them through this difficult time, along with pastoral and spiritual input from the school and church community. Through an holistic approach and in depth work this child is now fully engaged in school and at home. The therapist’s work and support of the family has enabled them to share and to grow through understanding and empathising with each others sense of loss and bereavement. Nothing can change the loss and trauma this child and family have suffered, but the therapeutic input and support of the counsellor has enabled them to understand their feelings and emotions and to process these safely. This is where the school counselling service can become an essential element of the Catholic school ethos which promotes the well being of the child and the whole school community. Another success was, a child with learning difficulties in mainstream school who had low self esteem and other complex issues. The child had been accessing long term therapy. To his delight his submission won his school’s Science Fair. This was an incredible achievement on his part and the therapist was thrilled and extremely proud of him. Your support makes this possible.

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More referrals to Post Adoption and Aftercare thanks to television! Carol Roper – Head of Post Adoption & After Care Services The summer saw the return of two series to television, both of which had an impact on the numbers of enquiries received by the team: ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and ‘Long Lost Families’. These resulted in an increase of referrals from people who were in our care as children or who were placed for adoption by the Society.

These programmes show celebrities exploring their ancestry or people being reunited with a lost relative. Ancient myths and legends abound with stories about lost children being found and restored, think of Moses and Oedipus. Emotional reunions make for good television and many are fascinated by these stories.

It is positive that people now feel that it is ‘ok’ to wonder about their origins. But the happy endings illustrated in these TV series give only part of the picture. It is really quite a courageous thing to do to make an enquiry about a past you may know little about. Thoughts and feelings may surface which you were previously unaware of, and the experience can be challenging and unsettling. Ideas you had about what may have happened may be dispelled, involving a change in your thinking. People you had longed to meet may turn out to be quite different to what you had anticipated. However, many people reach a stage in their lives where they need to know what there is to be known, and in our experience, few regret taking the leap into the unknown, particularly with the support of their family and friends, as well as the post adoption or after care worker. The average age at which an adopted person may come to see us is around 30; older for former residents of our children’s homes. CCS Post Adoption - The Crusade of Rescue still here for you.


Thank You for your ongoing support Paul Winterbottom - Head of Communications & Fundraising Last year you helped to support over 3,000 deprived children & families living in the Diocese. Some received direct financial support through our Crisis Fund voucher scheme, others received counselling and advice, while in schools our counsellors worked with troubled children in over 60 schools. You also helped over 6,000 school children to take part in liturgical events at Westminster Cathedral. Our voluntary income averaged over the last 5 years breaks down as shown:

Your generosity has helped many people break free from the trap of poverty…… they have asked us to say a very sincere

THANK YOU!

We could do more, but income restricts our ability to reach out to others still in need. In addition to our appeals we increasingly rely on support from people from within our Catholic community donating to us through a regular standing order. Will you consider doing this? Just £5 per month (equivalent to a pint of beer or a cup of coffee and a cake) could make all the difference and give a child a future. To do so, simply fill in the ‘make a monthly donation’ on the back cover of this newsletter and it return it to us. In doing this you are making an important commitment to help give a child a future. Thank you.


Gift Appeal 2013

Julie Willoughby - Community Development Manager

Christmas time..... A joyful and indulgent time for most. However, for the thousands of children and families whom the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) assists each year, it can be a time of stress, misery and loneliness. Each year, Parishes, Schools and individuals within the Westminster Diocese help the Society to reach out to families at Christmas time by collecting gifts for 0-18yr olds, food items and vouchers. These are distributed to help children enjoy Christmas Day. As always, we are truly grateful for the support shown and we hope your Parish community will continue to support this appeal. If you would like to make a collection and help spread the spirit of Christmas to local families, please take a look at the following guidelines: We do not accept second hand items or food past its use or sell by date for any of the families whom we help. If you have second hand toys and clothes, please pass them to your local charity shop as we are unable to take them. Please do not wrap your gifts, it is vital that the staff here as the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) pass on age appropriate gifts so we need to see what is being given first.

If you are short of ideas on what to buy as a gift, consider offering Gift vouchers/cards. These are welcomed by the Society and easy to purchase, importantly they give parents the dignity they deserve during Christmas by: • Empowering individuals to shop for themselves at a supermarket local to them • Making people feel part of our wider community • Purchasing what they know their family needs • Enabling easy carriage of goods to their homes on foot or by public transport • Take part in the excitement of wrapping gifts with their children Gift cards from all stores are welcome, but please consider teenage children for whom we receive few gifts. Stores such as WHSmith, Waterstones, Boots and Superdrug are ideal when purchasing vouchers for teenage gifts. Food Hampers are a good alternative donation. Non-perishable items such as tinned fruit, tinned vegetables, tinned meats, biscuits, cereals, UHT milk and pasta sauces are welcomed by our families. Baby wipes, nappy sacks and nappies are a huge benefit to families with young babies. Please deliver your collection by 13th December to allow hampers and presents to be distributed in time for Christmas. If you have any queries, please contact the Society on 020 8969 5305.


St Francis

Family Centre is Moving On... The building in which St Francis Family Centre is situated in Poplar, has previously served many purposes from a Catholic working men’s club, annex to a local primary school to a convent. St Francis Family Centre has been serving the community of Tower Hamlets for the last 26 years. The Borough has the highest rate of poverty in London and is the third most deprived nationally. As we started the new school term, we are preparing to spend our last year in our present building. In September 2014 we will be moving to a purpose built centre on the site of The new our Lady and St. Joseph School just a few streets away. It is with great excitement that we look forward to the extra space and facilities that the new centre will offer - allowing us not only to continue offering our outstanding care to families who are presently using our centre, but also to extend our services so that we can help many more.

enthusiasm, teachers and students alike worked tirelessly to transform this “jungle” into a beautiful garden filled with flowers and wooden pictures of animals. The children were so excited when they saw their new garden and parents said it is just like they had been given a Christmas present. The transformation in such a short time by so many hands was absolutely amazing!

“Jungle”, no more!

As the dark, cold nights slowly creep in, we are aware that fuel poverty is a major issue in Tower Hamlets. Our families who are on low incomes and living in hard to heat homes will once again be struggling to meet the ever rising costs of heating their homes. They will sacrifice buying food, clothes and even toys at Christmas in order to heat their homes for short periods of the day. Last year, through the generosity of others, who kindly donated food hampers and presents, we were able to help our families celebrate Christmas without the usual worry, stress and debt. The money they were able to save by not having to buy food and toys enabled them to shop at the local supermarkets for winter coats for their children. Parents said they had never seen their cupboards so full. To be able to give their children a choice of food was a new experience! The smile on a single father’s face when he unwrapped his present to reveal a mug saying “Worlds Best Dad” bought a tear to the eye. Your support makes this happen as well.

The clear up

But for our last summer at Flora Close we have been fortunate enough to receive help from the nearby school. Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate. In June they kindly fundraised for plants and wood chippings for our large (previously unusable) garden which the children called a “jungle” and passers by threw their rubbish into. Armed with garden tools and lots of

Foundations being laid at St Francis’ new site!


Donate and Make A Difference Make a Monthly donation Thank you for donating to the Catholic Children’s Society. You’ll be helping save children’s lives - not just today, but every day. Please note - you must have a UK bank account to set up standing orders with us. I’d like to donate £ ....................... per month Staring from (date) ........../........../.......... Please select a date at least one month from now Bank Name ...................................................... Bank Address .................................................................................... Sort code

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To Gift Aid your donation please complete the declaration below **

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**GIFT AID DECLARATION

I confrim I have paid or will pay an amount of income tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April one year to 5 April the next) that is at least equal to the amount of tax all charities (and community Amateur Sports Clubs) will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as Council tax and VAT do not qualify. You can increase the value of every donation you make to us, at no extra cost to you, by completing your name and home address details and signing and dating the form.

For every £1 you give we will be able to reclaim 25p back in tax I want the Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster) to treat all donations I have made in the past four years and all future gifts of money that I make from the date of this declaration as Gift Aid Donations. Note: If at any time int he future you no longer pay tax as above, please do let us know so we can cancel your declaration. Please also let us know if you change your name or address so that we can update your declarations. Title: ............................

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Please return your donation int he envelope provided to: The Catholic Children’s Society (Westminster), St Charles Square, London. W10 6EJ. Alternatively, please call us on 020 8969 5305 to make your donation or log on to www.cathchild.org.uk


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