As we begin 2023, we would like to wish you a very Happy New Year. We received an abundance of donated items over the Christmas period in the form of shoebox donations and food donations, all of which will be used to benefit our homeless clients over the coming months. Many churches, businesses, groups and individuals raised funds for us through a variety of fundraising activities and there are so many that we simply cannot mention them all in this newsletter, but please know if you are one of the people who donated items, donated funds, or held a fundraiser for us, we are grateful to you for your support.
An important part of 2022 was re-connecting with the local community, so being invited to many fundraising events throughout the year in aid of Catching Lives helped us a lot in terms of raising awareness surrounding homelessness in the Canterbury area.
2022 also brought a new schedule of activities for clients, who were provided with the opportunity to gain valuable skills and promote wellbeing, through cookery and art workshops, with exhibitions of client artwork held throughout the year at local galleries and church events.
Christmas at the day centre is always a special time, especially when we receive a visit from the armed forces, who bring with them their regimental band and military catering skills. This year, they created a video to highlight their support for Catching Lives showing the 3rd Battalion Princess of Wales Royal Regiment cooking a Christmas meal for clients, whilst they enjoyed listening to the Christmas carols played by the band. You can watch the video on YouTube, via the Forces News channel.
St Mary’s Church, Chilham held their annual Christmas Tree Festival in early December, with donations collected for Catching Lives and Pastos Verdes. The church was filled with colour and light, showing off the fantastic decorating skills of local businesses and groups.
The annual Carol Concert run by the City of Canterbury was held on the weekend of 17th December and they held a collection in aid of Catching Lives. The event was popular and well attended and in total, through donations and the sale of our 2023 calendar, £1085 was raised for Catching Lives from the event.
Free haircuts were proved to clients one Sunday in December by two barbers from Canterbury Barbers, who kindly donated their time and expertise to cut clients hair. Clients came away feeling a sense of pride in their appearance, with some having not received a haircut for many months.
For 2022-2023, our Winter Provision involves extending our opening hours into the evenings (including weekends) to provide additional hot meals in the evening, as well as activities and a warm place to stay until 9pm.
We will ensure anyone sleeping rough has adequate kit/clothing to stay warm and tailor our additional support to the needs of every client, to ensure each individual has access to the help and support needed to help them through the toughest months of the year.
In order to provide this additional service, we have received support from a fantastic team of volunteers throughout the winter so far. To join them, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and to read more about our winter provision, click here.
The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol is a humanitarian response to periods of severe weather conditions. This is usually implemented by Canterbury City Council when the temperature is forecasted to drop below zero degrees centigrade for more than three days in a row. When SWEP is in place within Canterbury, updates are provided on the Canterbury City Council Twitter page and anyone who is sleeping rough within Canterbury is eligible to receive SWEP provision. If you are aware of anyone who might need access to SWEP provision during activation periods, please ask them to contact us during the day or the Canterbury City Council out of hours number 01227 781879 between 5pm and 8am.
We were honoured to be featured in the first episode of a new podcast called ‘This Is Canterbury’, broadcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts last month. The podcast discusses the important work we do as a charity and is hosted by Edd Withers from the Canterbury Community Company – home of the Canterbury Residents Group and Canterbury Community Group on Facebook, both of which are long term supporters of Catching Lives, having raised over £4000 for the charity this Christmas. Edd plans to get to know the people, organisations and businesses around the Canterbury area in the coming months, by featuring them in the podcast. You can listen to the full episode here and don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest episodes waiting for you in your favourite podcast app.
With so many Christmas donations and fundraising events, we can’t possibly fit all of the people we would like to thank into this newsletter, but we appreciate every penny and every item donated to us throughout the festive season and below are some photos showing the generosity of our community throughout the Christmas period.