As a congregation we are committed to making this world a more fair place. We believe it is our responsibility to work for fairness and compassion in all things, at a local, national and international level. In particular at present, we are focusing our efforts on the good work of the following important initiatives: Sevenoaks Loaves and Fishes Foodbank; Kids Company; Fairtrade; Send-a-Child-to-Hucklow; and, The Shannon Trust.
Loaves and Fishes Foodbank
The Sevenoaks Loaves and Fishes foodbank operates from St John’s Church hall, supporting up to 30 families with young children by giving them a large bag of non-perishable food every week of the year.
Food is donated regularly by the congregations of all denominations across the district, as well as schools.
Families in need are recommended by local churches, head teachers of primary schools, and Social Services.
We, Sevenoaks Unitarians, support this charity and ask you to consider bringing a contribution or two to our ‘foodbasket’ each week, or whenever you can, which we will pass on to Loaves and Fishes. A list of suitable items are on the reverse of this leaflet, and the basket will be on the table in the vestibule.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
As a congregation, and as individuals, we have in 2012 made a commitment to choose
Fairtrade products in preference to other less sustainable options. We hold an annual Fairtrade Sunday Service, where we consider the social and spiritual benefits of supporting this principle more widely.
We were delighted to be awarded 'Fairtrade Church' status in November 2012.
“Send a Child to Hucklow” Fund is a Trust to arrange and administer holidays at the Unitarian Holiday Centre, Great Hucklow, Derbyshire in the United Kingdom for groups of disadvantaged children, having no regard to religious, political, racial and other considerations.
We have supported this charity for many years, and have raised over £1500 over the last year or so with charity concerts, lunches and other events.
The Shannon Trust
In 2008, the Prison Reform Trust reported that '48% of the prison population has a reading ability below that expected of an 11 year-old'. It has also been shown that an exceptionally high proportion of the 64% of prisoners that re-offend within two years of release have very poor reading skills. This is in large part a result of the fact that ex-offenders are three times more likely to re-offend if they are unemployed - and those who cannot read are generally unable to find a job.
As a congregation, we have raised funds for the Shannon Trust, who run the Toe-by-Toe Reading Plan, an award-winning peer mentoring programme which encourages and supports prisoners who can read to give one-to-one tuition to prisoners who struggle to read.
Sevenoaks Welcomes Refugees
Sevenoaks Welcomes Refugees is a local charity formed in 2017 originally to help support refugees from Syria resettling in the Sevenoaks district, as part what is now the UK Government's global UK Resettlement Scheme. We are also helping refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine to resettle in our area.
We are a small and growing organisation, with about 160 active volunteers. We are currently helping to support the resettlement of 12 refugee families from Syria and Afghanistan in the Sevenoaks district area, and we have been working directly with 50 Ukrainian families [see this Blog for the latest numbers].