A Challenge to Us All
Ruth Moore, Director of St Wilfrid’s Centre
Although my Dad is a retired Anglican priest, we’ve never been a family where bible quotations are part of our everyday life preferring, as my late Mum would advocate, to demonstrate our principles and beliefs through actions and words given in kindness to another.
It seems rather strange, therefore, that while drafting text about my 30 Challenge Sponsor a Spin, I started searching for bible verses that included the word ‘ride’. Now you are probably immediately thinking donkeys and trips to Bethlehem but instead what I was drawn to was Isaiah 58. This not only includes, ‘then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth’ which seemed quite appropriate for the 4.2 mile uphill section to Owlerbar roundabout, but perhaps more significantly, ‘Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house’.
As we journey through Lent and consider whether we are giving up chocolate or wine, it is a good time to think about not only what we can give up but also what challenge we can take on. To share our bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor in to a shelter is of course the founding principles of St Wilfrid’s Centre, the vision that Mgr Kilgannon realised 30 years ago. By taking on a new task, a caring action, donating to a good cause or completing a 30 challenge, we can continue that aim and demonstrate in some way our commitment to that vision.
Isaiah 58 is often linked with the well-known verse in Matthew, ‘for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me’, and the important message that, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
The well-known star fish story makes that clear. If you think about the boy who saw thousands of starfish washed onto the shore after a storm. He had begun throwing them back, when an old man questioned him and said that there must be tens of thousands of starfish on the beach and that the boy wouldn’t be able to make much of a difference. The boy picked up another starfish, threw it out to sea, smiled and said, ‘I made a difference to that one’.
If we can all just do one small thing this year, help one person, challenge one prejudice or feed one person, then together we can make a difference. I know that there will be times when 30 weeks of cycling seems ridiculous, when I’m wet and cold and unnerved by lorries speeding past but holding in my mind the impact of completing it (if people are willing to sponsor a spin of course) will keep me going. One day at a time is all it takes, one person fed or housed is a success, one kind word to someone can change everything. Together we could save more of the starfish, together we can make a bigger difference and together we can continue to welcome strangers, the hungry, the lonely, the vulnerable and the oppressed into St Wilfrid’s Centre and into our community. Thank you to everyone who continues to support us.
Louise Finnigan, Welfare Manager
I thought I’d give you a few stats about what workers have been doing this month with our clients.
We are staffing the Centre daily between 1-3pm for crisis welfare support. We have given out emergency food parcels and clothing to16 clients and 1 client has used the shower. 4 clients have been helped with accessing emergency benefits, 2 supported with applying for residency visas and 1 supported into health services.
Sheffield City Council is accommodating rough sleepers in hotels/hostels until the end March. As part of the Covid19 response group, St Wilfrid’s Centre has been ‘twinned’ with St Anne’s hostel to provide residents in need with food/clothing/toiletries and activities. To date we have sent 56 parcels of food, toiletries, warm socks, gloves and hats.
An average of 232 telephone calls to our current clients are made each week by the team and 13 visits were undertaken to clients of concern at their home to offer support and check on their wellbeing. 3 of these clients required an emergency food parcel.
129 newsletters were sent out to all clients with an address. 49 Activity packs of puzzles, quizzes and colouring have been sent out weekly. 34 clients are signed up for the dedicated daily Facebook page. One worker has used ‘facetime’ with 3 clients using a dedicated site set up for this purpose. One of the staff undertakes weekly deliveries of food/clothing from Ben’s Centre to their clients and this month has made 4 deliveries of food from St Wilfrid’s Centre to Gleadless Food Bank so it can be given out immediately to those in need.
Sadly, Pawel Betlowski, a previously homeless client the Centre had supported into accommodation and health services, died suddenly after a long struggle with alcohol dependency. Pawel had attended the Christmas party on 23 December, which he thoroughly enjoyed. May Pawel rest in peace.
We wish Davis Lusiisa, student, all the best with his future career as he finishes his 100 day placement with St Wilfrid’s Centre and qualifies as a social worker. Many thanks to Davis for all his work with clients.
Many thanks again for all your donations of money, food, clothing, activities… As you can see we are working with other agencies in the city to ensure that those in need are helped at this time.
Together, we can make a difference, one day at a time
Ruth’s Sponsor a Spin Challenge 30 – 30 weeks 30 miles a day
To try and lead the way with Challenge 30 as part of St Wilfrid’s Centre’s 30th Anniversary celebrations, Ruth Moore, our Director, is planning to cycle to the Centre for 30 weeks of 2021. 150 journeys, 30 miles (15 each way) will add up to a total of 4500 miles.
Although she is being honest about her use of an e-bike (she says the hills are too steep for her now!) she still has to pedal hard whatever the weather and has certainly set herself a difficult challenge. Everybody keeps asking why 30 days wasn’t enough!
Ruth is asking that you pick a date that might be special to you, and sponsor the spin that day. You can sponsor the day anonymously or have your name or short message added to the St Wilfrid’s website calendar, showing the support. If you prefer to reserve a day over the phone, please call 0114 2555720. Ruth will provide updates throughout the 30 weeks and hopefully some pictures of things she captures on the way.