On the 13th of November we marked our 11th Anniversary since opening our Centre. We are so thankful to have been able to serve local families and individuals through having our own dedicated building located behind Hope Church. This has only been possible due to generous donations, grants, fundraising and the many volunteering hours of wonderful helpers who have touched lives for the better.
Support for parents and adult educational courses have been a key feature providing life skills, mental health and trauma support. CAP Money Budgeting course, Job seeking clubs, IT and Nutrition are just samples, through to the SOS trauma recovery and Mental Health First Aid, to the current MOAT course which offers 1 to 1 coaching in the Management of Anxiety and Trauma.
Our primary project for much of this time is our East Dorset Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre. We provide a face to face free service in partnership with Hope Church and CAP Head Office in Bradford. While we do not pay the debt of our clients, we negotiate with creditors and put together an individualised budget. Holistic support is offered throughout their journey out of debt. Thus far we have supported 29 families and individuals in becoming debt free and starting afresh. A further 14 families have gone on to clearing their debt independently as a result of our support. Alongside this we offer the CAP Money Management course which is open to all to help people to budget and gain control over their finances.
Our after school and craft clubs have been enjoyed by many a family, as have our many years of running Friday night café until Covid sadly resulted in lockdown for all of us. Café was an opportune time for clients from all our projects to relax and enjoy wholesome low cost meals with friendly company. Hope Church Ferndown sponsored the meals for our CAP Debt service clients.
We continue to enjoy close links with Jean Read, who opened our Centre as part of her Mayoral duties 11 years ago. She often pops in to the Centre, and has been spied helping in the background during Christmas meals for our clients and volunteers. Our local police and police support officers have been involved over the years, often popping in to engage with staff and families when in the local area.
It’s been a privilege to have been chosen to receive various Dorset County Befriending Awards for volunteers. This has been a wonderful accolade to the calibre of volunteers who support our clients and ‘go the extra mile’.
As ever, our essentials Store Cupboard continues to be a major part of our support for local residents. This is stocked by donations from local stores and churches, providing practical support in increasingly challenging times. In addition we cooked and delivered hot meals and groceries to clients during various lockdowns in the Covid Pandemic and at Christmas.
Looking back it’s phenomenal to see what has grown from something that started with offering school parents a cuppa and a chat while they waited for the bus!
Our warmest thanks to all who’ve made this possible over these 11 years!