During the third week of the Lent Call, we are concentrating on three projects helping people within the Diocese of Southwark itself. These are the Sutton Women’s Centre, Christian CARE Merton and the Salmon Youth Centre.
The second of our local projects is Christian CARE in Merton, in the Kingston Episcopal Area.
Christian CARE is a charity working in the London Borough of Merton. Currently there are 60 volunteers from 18 different churches welcoming and helping anyone whatever their race, colour or religion. In 2018 they supported 175 families whose lives were in crisis.
The seeds of the organisation that was to become Christian CARE were sown during Lent 1967 when Christians from Churches Together in Merton Park, meeting in Lenten study groups, found themselves challenged to put their faith into practice. They started by befriending families in need within the local community. Now Christian CARE is a unique charity serving those living in poverty in the London Borough of Merton and working with families through five inter-related projects:
Christian CARE befrienders have always been there to offer support to families in need and their interventions are as varied as the causes of the crises – debt, immigration problems, eviction, benefit delays, domestic violence, bereavement.
Shoppers deliver groceries and fresh food to mothers fortnightly as they believe that no child should go hungry. They also take nappies, baby milk, toiletries and household supplies and often supply Oyster cards for travel to essential medical and legal appointments.
Christian CARE volunteers support children who feel different because they do not enjoy the things their peers take for granted. They remember their birthdays with a present, a card and cake and each year they organise a New Year Party and a seaside outing for parents and children
This project has been running for 25 years and is now the only source of free furniture in Merton. A team of volunteer drivers use a van to collect donated furniture and other household items and take them to families who cannot afford to replace equipment
Baby, Children’s and Household Project
A chance request from a social worker 7 years ago for winter clothes for 2 boys was the catalyst for this project, and Merton CARE now receives calls to meet the needs of children up to age 11. They also collect and distribute items for newborn babies, such as cots, buggies, baths and sterilisers
In the following short film, we hear from Gillian Thick, the CARE Coordinator, who talks about their work.