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Annual Report for Social Concerns 2013

This group throughout 2013 continued to be a forum, for representatives of our churches, to be concerned with and involved with the Community in which we live and to report back to their individual churches.

Loneliness and isolation, especially in rural communities and amongst those who are marginalised remain issues which we have time for discussion and prayer. Also befriending and advertising the needs of The Voluntary Care Service at Winton House.

In March Terry Thraves shared with us his experience of the E.H.A.S Befriending Scheme operating from the Tilmore Centre. The Salvation Army and other members of the Social Concerns Group were well placed to know what the needs in the Community were and were also in touch with what goes on in the Community.

We also learnt about the Good Neighbours Support Service (GNSS) funded by the NHS, HCC and Portsmouth Diocese, whose role though secular, is set up to sustain and develop Good Neighbour Groups including The Voluntary Care Group in Petersfield operating from Winton House. GNSS groups are there for people who may not have anyone to give them a bit of help. A solitary person may be lonely, have low self-worth and lack social connections.

Those in rural communities have particular problems:

We are involved with the organisation of the popular Christmas Day Lunch for those who would otherwise be on their own. For the second year running Marika Kyovska and Katie Wigley (nee Packett) provided a meal for about 80 people including two who were homeless and four housebound. This report comes too early to report in any detail. Suffice it to say that Marika cooked a beautiful meal almost single handed and Katie was ably supported by Tom James, Hattie Hughes and representatives of other churches.

A big thank you to Captain Linda Reid for her stalwart help serving food during the meal .

To Rosemary Davis and her husband John for tirelessly washing up in difficult circumstances and for their son Adam who made sure that everyone had drinks throughout the meal. Money has again been pledged by Waitrose for a second year so funding for the Christmas Day Lunch is secure for future years!

Brian Edwards from The Salvation Army Church works tirelessly with all aspects of the Food Bank lodged with them. In February E.H.D.C. Food Standards Agency gave the Food Bank a Very Good- rating 5! His diligence and impeccable recording means that at our bi-monthly meetings The Social Concerns Group are kept up to date with the operation, needs and finances linked with the Food Bank.

The Social Concerns Group, Notes of meetings; the Food Bank and the Christmas Day Lunch are all featured on the website of the Petersfield Churches Together at www.pact.org.uk

The group encourages a sharing of information and resources, as well as providing feedback to our congregations and the promotion of the value of and need for volunteering in the Community; so it is helpful to include as many churches in P.A.C.T as possible.
Hilary Bonney

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