As we move into the new decade the SVP continues to uphold the fundamental principle of its founder, Frederic Ozanam, to ‘love your neighbour’ by being an active Christian and to pursue its mission to seek out and help those in need; providing great works of charity in the community. The work of the SVP in 2019 has been varied, interesting, rewarding and beneficial to so many people across Hallam. A snapshot of what has been happening is detailed below.
The core work of SVP members is visiting those who are lonely, isolated, housebound, unwell or just in need of some company; and this is not exclusive to our older citizens either! SVP members in all Hallam conferences have been giving up their time to visit people in their community to bring them company, friendship, support and so much more. Visits have taken place at home, in residential centres and hospitals.
Visits usually involve meeting with individuals but members of one conference have taken their musical instruments into their local care home and ended up leading a group sing-a-long! When visiting, SVP members can expect to get involved in a range of activities. It is not unusual to end up going shopping, or carrying out minor repairs, but these only happen if the visiting SVP member is comfortable and capable of performing such duties. Additionally, SVP conferences have offered financial support where appropriate to help pay for groceries, household items, furniture and even transport if the beneficiary requires this sort of help.
Aside from visiting, SVP volunteers have also been a valuable support with peoples’ faith by providing lifts to church and also delivering Holy Communion to those unable to attend Mass. The church with its parish hall has also provided the focus for many social activities such as coffee mornings, lunches, afternoon tea parties and fish ‘n chip suppers. Such social activities have been supported by local schoolchildren. This is an excellent opportunity to help bring together members of the wider community to socialise and make new friends.
If SVP conferences can’t provide the right support they have been regularly liaising with other support agencies to ensure more expert assistance can be given, eg St Wilfrid’s, Roundabout housing charity and also social services, to name but a few. Some conferences have been involved in providing ‘babybanks’ to help those families who may be struggling to provide for their young ones. Others actively support foodbanks or go and help in local soup kitchens.
Some conferences have been supporting the growth and development of Mini Vinnies groups in their local primary schools. Additionally, many well established conferences have also continued their support for communities abroad through the SVP Twinnage scheme, sending both financial support and practical aid in the form of resources and material
This work will continue as this decade, indeed this century, progresses. If you know someone in your community who would benefit from support from the SVP – and they don’t have to be Catholic as the SVP will help anyone – please contact your local conference. If there is no conference please get in touch with Lance Philpott, the SVP Membership Development Officer for Hallam at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will pass on any referral. If you would like more information or are interested in joining the SVP please contact Lance on the email address above.