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September Newsletter 2021

As we head towards the Autumn season, the cooler weather is starting to bring out the umbrellas, jumpers and socks – everything we need to stay dry and warm on our trips out of the house. With Autumn just a few short weeks away, only the most seasoned campers are still braving their sleeping bags to grab a glance of the moon from their tents.

Temperatures during October drop to an average of 7°c at night-time in the UK and according to the Government’s Public Health Matters blog (from 16th January 2019), being in temperatures below 18°c are most likely to cause health problems, including lowering the body’s ability to fight off infection and blood clotting issues, such as strokes & heart attacks. For anyone on the streets without a tent, it’s impossible to stay dry and warm and health risks are increased by poor nutrition and exposure to the elements.

This year to date, we have given out 39 tents, 80 sleeping bags and 10 blankets and duvets to rough sleepers in the Canterbury area, and we’re grateful to anyone who has donated equipment and vital funds to help keep clients warm and dry as the weather gets colder.

Our 2021 Harvest Campaign

Throughout September and October, we’re encouraging schools, businesses and other organisations to run fundraising activities for our Harvest campaign and leading up to World Homeless Day on 10th October. If you run a club or fundraise within a local organisation and would like to get your hands on our Fundraising Pack, please click this link to download it.

In the pack, it details inspiration for fundraising ideas and includes posters and certificates for participants as well as a sponsorship form. Ideas include sponsored events, such as a sponsored silence, sponsored walk/run, a Dance-A-Thon or Draw-A-Thon. Running a bake sale or holding an art fair are a great way of getting others involved and selling tickets to an event, such as a charity football match or quiz night are a great way of bringing the community together.

If you decide to run an event, please tell us all about it, we love hearing your ideas and can also arrange to come and visit your school/group to talk about the work we do. Our staff all hold a valid DBS certificate and we enjoy talking about our vital work for the homeless of East Kent.

Join our Board of Trustees
As a charity, we have been established for 10 years serving clients through our drop-in centre in Canterbury. We have a strong board but are looking to recruit 3 to 5 new trustees to broaden our diversity and to ensure a good pipeline of succession.
The Trustees are legally responsible for the charity and responsible for vision, mission and strategy of the charity. We meet monthly (usually at our drop-in centre), but since lockdown we have been meeting via Zoom. ⠀⠀
We are looking for candidates from either a legal, finance or human resource background. If you are interested in finding out more please visit our website.
If you think you could be a new member of our Board of Trustees, please send a personal statement of why you would be interested in the role and why you would be a suitable candidate to trustees@catchinglives.org.
Nominations begin for the Kent Volunteer Awards
The nominations for the Kent Volunteer Awards are well under way. At Catching Lives, we have volunteers who work in our commercial kitchen, preparing meals and serving them to clients, we have volunteers who help with client activities, volunteers working in our bookshop in Palace Street and volunteer mentors, as well as trained volunteer medical staff who come in to help our clients with any medical issues they might be having. We feel very lucky to have these volunteers and if you know an amazing volunteer, you can nominate them for an award via this link.
Volunteering Opportunities
Still looking for Weekend Volunteers at our Day Centre
Could you spare a few hours over the weekend to help out at the Catching Lives Day Centre, located next to Canterbury East Train Station? If you think you could, we would love to hear from you. As a volunteer, you can meet new people, feel valued and part of a team, get to know your local community, as well as gaining new skills, knowledge & experience. You really can make a difference to the lives of our clients at Catching Lives. Please get in touch with Simon via: volunteer@catchinglives.org to find out more.
Catching Lives Bookshop – Online Shop Volunteer
We are looking for two volunteers to join our growing online shop, where we sell rare and valuable books that have been donated to the charity bookshop. We currently have a three-hour shift on a Wednesday and a Friday that we are looking to fill. Your responsibilities will include posting orders and valuing donations. Full training will be provided and no prior experience is needed (although you will need to be comfortable using email, the internet and spreadsheets). You are welcome to bring your own laptop or laptops will be provided. We are looking for someone who can commit to come in every week and who has excellent attention to detail. If you are interested and want to join our fun and friendly team, please email catchinglivesbookshop@gmail.com.

Hope for Prison Leavers

The UK government recently unveiled plans to provide additional support to prison leavers, to aid in breaking the cycle of offenders having little support and nowhere to go once they leave prison, leading them to reoffend as a way to survive. This ‘revolving door’ prison system has needed reviewing for many years and is something we have discussed many times in our campaigning.

The new support system offers prison leavers basic, temporary accommodation upon leaving prison, an increase in the recruitment of ex-offenders within the Civil Service and additional investment in drug & alcohol treatment to rehabilitate offenders. There has also been an increase in the discharge grant from £46 to £76 (the first increase since 1996).

Given the number of prison leavers we see through our doors each year, the plan is a vital step in supporting prison leavers and in helping to break the reoffender cycle. We welcome this news, after campaigning for change alongside many other homeless charities for many years, since this gives hope to those leaving prison about their future, providing opportunities and a safe place to stay.

To read more about the Government’s plans, click here.

The fundraising activities you have been running this month have been fantastic. Youth groups associated with the National Citizenship Service have been giving up their spare time this Summer to run a variety of fundraising activities for Catching Lives, including sponsored walks and a bake sale, as well as organising toiletry boxes for our clients. In total, they raised £1194.88 for us throughout August which is a phenomenal amount considering the short space of time they had to raise funds. Thank you to everyone involved.
We would also like to extend our thanks to Sainsbury’s St Dunstan’s and Sainsbury’s Old Dover Road for their recent donations to Catching Lives and finally, to Canterbury East, Network Rail and Bam Nuttall for offering to paint our laundry room and for their fundraising activities.
If you have any news or activities you’d like to share for our next newsletter, please get in touch with sarah@catchinglives.org.

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