The SVP’s Awareness Month campaign runs throughout September and includes the feast days of the founder, Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, and the Society’s patron saint, St Vincent de Paul, on September 9 and 27 respectively. The SVP is calling on parishioners to become members, volunteer a few hours of their time, or donate to support people in need.
The SVP in East Anglia recently opened its second Home in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for people who would otherwise be homeless and unsupported and is well on the way to establishing a third.
East Anglia has a particularly strong connection with the SVP in that its first Director for Membership, Jon Cornwall, lives near Beccles in Suffolk. He joined the National Team three years ago having previously worked within several charities. His role is to support members and beneficiaries through training, resourcing and telling stories.
“In addition to being the Patron Saint of All Charities St Vincent de Paul is also the Patron Saint of the virtue of Kindness,” writes Jon Cornwall. “Strangely, he did not consider himself a kind person at all and would often be accused by friends (St Louise de Marillac especially) of having dark moods which he needed to work on. I think this is important, as like most Christians, SVP members tend not to boast of their good deeds and when offered compliments are inclined to correct misassumptions. Being told that we are kind, generous, or patient we are likely to explain that we are not really.
“St Vincent’s commitment to kindness is something similar: we devote effort to being better than we think we are for the benefit of those we serve and those we serve alongside. In modern parlance St Vincent could be the Patron Saint of ‘fake it until you make it’.”
Funding has recently been made available for a 20-strong team of regional Membership Support Officers who will assist the 10,000 members of the SVP, inspire growth of membership and extend the reach of Conferences. A post for East Anglia (15 hrs per week for £9,672) is currently being advertised here – www.svp.org.uk/work-with-us with a closing date of 13 September.
For further information on the SVP’s Awareness Month campaign or to donate, please visit www.svp.org.uk/help-svp or call 0207 703 3030.
Pictured above is a member of St Laurence SVP Conference sorting out donations from the parish’s Giving Tree – gifts for children and food hampers for families and individuals.