The variety of social action work which Conferences and volunteers have been doing across the Diocese during the pandemic gives an idea of the continuing creativity of SVP.
In North Norfolk a Conference has helped temporarily house a man and support him with essential groceries. The Dereham Conference has helped several families referred via housing and debt support officers. In both of these cases, the St Edmunds fund has helped with grants.
Meanwhile debt relief orders, funded by the SVP, have been paid to help families struggling with a financial crisis.
St Laurence’s in Cambridge has helped with parish-donated items, such as a bicycle, items for babies and gardening tools. The Conference helped an ex-offender, who was recently relocated to Cambridge, with heating costs and continues to offer regular support to an elderly couple. Additionally, a large number of donations were received from the parish for Christmas, which were distributed to families (as well as some to other local charities) during the festive period.
Over on the east coast, the Great Yarmouth Conference has been keeping in touch with people by phone and this year offered modified Christmas hampers to over 30 families and elderly parishioners, including grocery vouchers and help with heating costs.
Similarly, Ely Conference helped a family with a donated tumble drier and Christmas gifts for the children and have undertaken some other fundraising for children at Christmas. Other Conferences across the region have also been busy supporting beneficiaries with Christmas hampers, gifts and grocery vouchers.
Conferences have been holding meetings mostly via Zoom and helping those in need via the phone or socially distanced visits.
Christine Knight, National Treasurer for the SVP, adds:
The SVP National Office has agreed to purchase a second property in East Anglia, this time in Cromer. It will have a similar function to the one currently operating in Sheringham, but it will support single men who are temporarily homeless. A suitable house has been identified and it is hoped that the purchase will be completed within the next couple of months. Local SVP members are crucial to the success of this venture, and to support those who will benefit from this housing.
SVP members across East Anglia have demonstrated resilience, determination and kindness throughout the year, and particularly during these most challenging of times.
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.