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Catching Lives Latest News: June 2024

Prospective MPs visit Catching Lives

It’s been a really busy June at Catching Lives. As the UK gears up for a General Election on July 4th, we invited all the Parliamentary candidates for Canterbury to visit our Day Centre, hear about our work and sign Homeless Link’s pledge to End Homelessness. We have had visits from five prospective MPs so far; Henry Stanton from the Green Party, Rosie Duffield from the Labour Party, Luke Buchanan-Hodgman from the Social Democrat Party, Bridget Porter from Reform UK and Louise Harvey-Quirke from the Conservative Party. You can see photos and read more on our website.

We’ve also co-signed Homeless Link’s letter to party leaders, urging them to take decisive action on homelessness. Everyone needs a safe place to live, but homelessness is rising sharply. We are calling on the next Government to act to change this.

This month, we also helped six people who are homeless to register to vote ahead of the deadline. Our clients are able to use the Day Centre address to register for various services and can receive post here.

Meanwhile, we have also appointed four new Trustees to the board; Gülen Petty, Fran Ellis, Natalie Archer and Bernie Mayall.

Summer has arrived

Tasmin Maitland with Rosie Duffield (L) and Louise Harvey-Quirke (R)

The arrival of summer and the sunshine means more day trips for clients including to the Abbey Physic Garden in Faversham, Beach Creative in Herne Bay and the Herne Bay in Bloom garden in the Memorial Park. Thank you to all of you for hosting us and making us so welcome. Our garden, pictured above, is also looking lovely thanks to the hard work from clients and gardening volunteers.

As our brilliant fundraiser Nick Rendall nears the end of his 10km a day for 100 days running challenge, he’s been posting photos of some wonderful sunrises on his Instagram page. You can sponsor him here.

However, when it gets really hot like it has in the past week, it’s not all good news, especially for people experiencing homelessness. Rough sleepers especially are among the most vulnerable during weather warnings. At times like these, we welcome extra donations in kind such as refillable water bottles, small bottles of water and caps or hats. We’ve also published advice on how to help homeless people in hot weather. Thanks for your support. Financial donations are also gratefully received via our JustGiving page.

Meet the volunteers

Welcome to our new feature: Meet the volunteers, celebrating the amazing people at the heart of Catching Lives.

Val Elms has been a bookshop volunteer at Catching Lives for the past eight months.

How did you hear about the volunteering opportunity?

I saw an advert on Facebook for volunteers in the eBay team at the bookshop – and thought how interesting that sounded and something I felt I could help with and also enjoy.

Why choose Catching Lives?

I first heard about Catching Lives when we moved to Canterbury. I know someone who was involved with the night shelters that were hosted by local churches. You can’t live in Canterbury and be unaware of the importance of the work Catching Lives does.

What are some joys you have experienced since starting with Catching Lives?

I’ve met some amazing people – actually everyone has been lovely – the eBay Team, the Bookshop Team and those who work and volunteer at Catching Lives in Station Road – kind, friendly, and selfless.

My work – you never know what you’re going to uncover when researching books. It’s very interesting and great when you come across a book that can be listed on eBay to sell and make money for Catching Lives. It gives me a buzz!! It’s lovely to see so many different people coming into the bookshop from all over the world as well as many local people who support us.

What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering (with Catching Lives)?

It’s so worth while volunteering – you get back so much. Anyone can be homeless or in need of help through no fault of our own. If you can do a bit to make someone else’s life a little better or a bit brighter, go for it. It’s not just a sense of giving back – it’s so much more.

Outside of Catching Lives, how do you like to spend your time?

I enjoy spending time in the garden, though not necessarily gardening! I play the piano and am learning Spanish as well as trying to look after myself with Pilates and Personal Training. I also enjoy cooking.

What is your line of work/ previous line of work?

I’m now retired, or should I say I don’t do paid work anymore!! I was a volunteer at Ellenor Hospice in NW Kent for 15 years, as a Lay Chaplain and Trustee and previous to that I worked for the NHS.

What are your passions/ interests?

My greatest passion is my family.

Upcoming events

A reminder that Cranbrook Symphony Orchestra is holding a Charity Concert with Isata Kanneh-Mason at Hemsted Park in Cranbrook Sunday 7 July at 3pm. All profits will go to Catching Lives. Info and tickets here.

Our Chief Executive, Tasmin Maitland, will be speaking at the Homeless Link annual conference on Monday 8 July. More info here.

Thank you!

Thank you to Nick Rendall and Denise Smith for your ongoing fundraising efforts. Well done to Johnny Knight for smashing your fundraising target. A huge thanks to Linda, Bryan and colleagues from Hep C Trust, whose patience and partnership working has made a big difference to the health of people we support. Thank you NHS Find and Treat with support from partners including the Council’s Rough Sleeping (RSI) team for the TB screening day. Thanks to everyone who has donated, financially, in kind or time volunteering. We appreciate you so much.

If you’d like more regular updates, please do keep an eye on our website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more updates until we write to you again in July.

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To receive this newsletter in your inbox, you can sign up here. We post updates throughout the week on Facebook and Instagram.

Donate to Catching Lives via JustGiving.

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