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On Saturday 25 February 2017 I attended a training event for Caritas representatives from across the diocese at Salford Cathedral Centre.

 

The event was hosted by Mark Wiggin (CEO Caritas Diocese of Salford), Tony Murray (Caritas Representative Co-ordinator) and Meriel Woodward (Fundraising Manager).


Some feedback was given regarding Caritas Sunday which was held on 29 January; to date £24,121 has been received from the second collection at 53 parishes with 86 parishes still to respond.  This is an improvement on previous years’ collections which is good news.


It was felt that many people still aren’t fully aware of the role of Caritas and whereas everyone recognises the brand CAFOD, Caritas remains a bit of a mystery.  There are however Caritas offices all over the world, from Athens to New Delhi, and they all have the same aim: supporting local people.


Caritas Salford is a diocesan charity, a network of expertise which can be made available to parishes within the Salford Diocese to help them set up their own groups and train parishes to become more missionary.


The focus for Caritas moving forward is to enable parishes to become more missionary and to identify what sort of help and support is needed within our local communities and then work with them to take action.  Caritas will provide advice and support to parishes and help schools, parishioners, priests and local charities all to work together to provide inclusion for all.


Some examples of successful projects across the diocese were discussed such as Bury Red Door Project and Mary’s Way. Bury Red Door Project helps adults who need some support; be it as simple as a chat and a cup of tea or help filling in benefit forms and help to find housing. A short film was shown about the project and it was clear to see how many people have benefitted from having somewhere to turn to when they feel they are alone.  The Mary’s Way Project is another successful community project which aims to carry out preventative work with families. Rather than reacting to situations its aim is to provide practical support to help families before things go badly wrong. It is based at a drop-in centre and is run by 2 qualified social workers.  This year alone they have received 274 referrals and have helped 221 families.  

Caritas works alongside other organisations, for example, Caritas is working with SVP to provide a Dementia Awareness and Training Day on Wednesday 5 April at Cathedral Centre, Salford.


The St Joseph’s Penny boxes are being distributed to participating schools this week (the appeal starts on Ash Wednesday, 1 March 2017) and funds raised from these boxes go towards helping family projects, particularly where families are broken or in need of support. It can be something as simple as helping families who are facing financial hardship find family days out which are free of charge.


In particular we are all being asked at the moment if our parish can support a refugee family. Do you think you could offer practical help?  If so, speak to Fr John or contact the parish secretary or myself.


I came away from the event feeling that I have a much better idea about what Caritas is all about and how the money it raises is spent.  If anyone in the parish would like any further information please contact me at my email address: clairelmunroe@gmail.com