Canon Simon Butler, Vicar of St Mary’s Battersea (and a trustee of KLS), has just written an update to the Coronavirus Angels volunteers. As we’re a partner in this group we thought we would share it here.
This is the last update. So a very BIG ‘THANK YOU’ to all the Angels. You’ve been, well, Angels!
It was great to see so many of you enjoying the (rare) summer sun at our Thank You party in September. Huge thanks to David Britten and Gary Fitzpatrick who did the bulk of the work to make it such a memorable and happy occasion.
This will be the last Coronavirus Angels Newsletter you receive from us, although we would very much like to keep in touch with many of you so that we can draw your attention to opportunities to serve our community through volunteering. Unfortunately, the dreaded GDPR means we have to cease using an email circulation when it is no longer being used for the purpose for which the data was collected, so we think this will mean that, if you want to carry on hearing from us, you’ll need to register for a separate Angels volunteering list. Please see below for that. But first….
To each and every one of you. The picture above shows Canon Simon Butler receiving an award from the Mayor of Wandsworth given to you all by the Battersea Volunteers group, who wished to honour local people who had contributed to the local response to the pandemic. Councillor Richard Field presented the certificate to Simon at a ceremony at Providence House near Clapham Junction, where people gathered to celebrate the culture of volunteering that had arisen in response to the pandemic. The Mayor paid tribute to everyone who stepped up to the plate to help people in need and wished it to be known to everyone who took part in the Angels just what a difference you made. Simon and the Mayor are pictured above with Aaron Barbour, CEO of Katherine Low Settlement, who sponsored the event. And then…
Just a few days later, Simon and Father David O’Malley (pic. above), two of the Angels coordinators, were invited to a reception at Wandsworth Town Hall with about 50 other community activists, leaders and representatives, where they were informed they had been awarded the Mayor’s pin badge and entry on the Mayor’s Roll of Honour for their service to the people of the Borough during the pandemic.
Simon said afterwards, “I was deeply touched to be nominated for this award, and must acknowledge the significant number of people who did so much behind the scenes to enable Coronavirus Angels to do what it was able to do for so many people. We have had such a strong response that it tells us something about the kindness that exists across our communities and the way in which churches, community groups, charities and individuals of goodwill can come together when strong links are built in partnership across the rich diversity we see in Battersea.”
A Volunteering Opportunity: Glass Door Winter Night Shelter
We’re not sitting on our laurels, though, even though the Coronavirus Angels is at an end. This winter, as pre-pandemic, Sacred Heart Church and St Mary’s Church are partnering with Katherine Low Settlement to host a night on one of the Glass Door charity’s winter night shelter circuits. The two churches will be hosting up to 30 homeless guests at KLS on Saturday nights from November to early April, providing them with hospitality, a cooked meal and a place to sleep out of the cold. The overnight element is always staffed by professionals, but the evening of welcome and food is provided by local volunteers.
If you would like to find out more, or sign up to volunteer, please do so by emailing [email protected] and we will add you to the growing list of people who want to help this winter.
On Friday 1st October a group of Battersea Coronavirus Angels volunteers slept out overnight at St Mary’s to raise money for Glass Door (see above – we will volunteer in the Glass Door shelter every Saturday night at KLS ). So they can continue their good work of reducing homelessness on our streets, by providing a winter night shelter and a hot meal every night from November to April. We only slept out for one night, to help prevent the less fortunate people from sleeping out all winter.
We have raised just over £2,000 at the time of going to press, please donate here if you can so Glass Door can continue this vital work in our community. We will be doing this again in 2022, so please join us next year!
And Finally…let’s carry on being Angels
From time to time, opportunities to volunteer or get involved in making a difference in our community come along, either in a massive way like Covid-19, or in more day-to-day ways, such as the Night Shelter. David O’Malley said the other evening that he’d like to see the idea of Battersea Angels continue (with or without the Coronavirus bit), and from time to time to offer people a chance to join in helping those in need in our neighbourhood, who are often hidden but who become visible to local charities, faith groups or other community figures. Because we can’t keep the original Angels list going for data protection reasons, we would love it if many of you would join a new Battersea Angels email list so we can approach you with volunteering opportunities from time to time.
One example emerging from the pandemic would give you the idea of the sort of thing that might emerge: some thought is going into developing the telephone befriending service into a more permanent befriending offer to local people and a group of folk are seeking funding to appoint someone to take a lead on developing that idea into something real. That’s exactly the sort of thing that we would love to approach you about. So, if that whets your appetite and you’d like to hear from time to time (not too often!) about opportunities like this, please CLICK this link to register.
So that’s it folks, from Battersea Coronavirus Angels. Thanks for all that you have done. It’s been a blast!
The Coronavirus Angels Coordinators