The SVP recently held a very successful training day for new and current members across the Diocese. The event was hosted by the Mother of God Church in Sheffield and was delivered by Kevin McCready, a long-time member of SVP and volunteer at the SVP Furniture Store on Queen’s Road, as well as an accredited trainer.
The day started with Mass, then attendees from St Mary’s, High Green – a new conference, St William’s, Sheffield, Holy Rood, Barnsley and Mother of God listened to Kevin give an entertaining and engaging presentation on different aspects of SVP.
He started with the history of the organisation focusing on its founder, Blessed Frederick Ozanam, who started it all in Paris in 1833 and the influence of its patron, St Vincent who worked with the poor 200 years earlier. This was developed to consider the impact and progress of the SVP in England and Wales from the first conference in London in 1844. Next the spirituality of the SVP was explored as Frederick Ozanam based his work on the fundamental Christian principle of ‘loving one’s neighbour’ and that to help those in need is to serve Christ. It is this spirituality that continues to underpin the work of the SVP as members look to put ‘their faith into action’ by helping those in need.
This led onto the next topic of recognising need and the importance of understanding that need is not just about money. It covers a range of aspects including housing and furniture, friendship and company, education and literacy. Indeed the SVP is there to help whatever and wherever the need.
Recognising need has resulted in the SVP developing a diverse range of support activities and whilst the bedrock of SVP activity is visiting, in Hallam the SVP also offers Furniture Stores and Community Shops that provide free or affordable goods to those in need. Nationally the SVP provides holiday facilities for children and families who would benefit from some time away, as well as special projects such as accommodation for the homeless and hostels for ex-offenders to help them make the transition back into the community.
The day concluded with a look at the issues involved in visiting to ensure it is a safe, meaningful and positive experience for both the volunteers and those being visited.
Further training days are planned for later in the year but if you are interested in joining the SVP or would just like more information please get in touch with your parish SVP conference or contact Lance Philpott, SVP Membership and Development Officer for Hallam Diocese: Lancep@svp.org.uk.