With inflation figures continuing to be high and food inflation on items like bread, cereal and chocolate reported at 18.3% in July, everyone is feeling the pinch and we are aware that contributions to the Justice and Peace Project are under pressure too. However, we are keen to ensure those who are worst off in our community are not forgotten at this challenging time. We continue to rely heavily on your generosity both for donations of food and toiletries and for financial donations, which allow us to purchase items that we need for our clients. One big difference that can be made is for any taxpayer donating money to consider taking advantage of the government’s Gift Aid scheme. For those who are eligible it means that, for every pound donated, the Project can claim another 25p. This can make a huge difference over time and is quite a straightforward process. A Gift Aid Declaration form is available here or you can request one from marjory.knowles@gmail.com or 07929 343418.

Of course, inflation and increases in prices of food and toiletries are also hitting our clients, who have to manage on very little money. In recent weeks, several clients have expressed their gratitude for the items they regularly receive from the project and which help them survive. We continue to support growing numbers of asylum seekers, with new clients registering every month. In addition to food items, we particularly need toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorants, toothpaste and toothbrushes, in addition to sanitary products and washing powders. The full list of items required is available here. We are extremely grateful to the SVP and local supermarkets who provide us with a range of fresh foods for our clients. These are always very welcome additions to the staple items that we provide.

The Refugee Project is always pleased to connect with local schools. Azad, our Project Co-ordinator recently visited St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School in Heaton with one of our volunteers. Also, a group of pupils from the school visited the project. We hope to continue to develop these school links in the future.

Azad also works hard to connect with other organisations who can offer support to our clients, such as Action Foundation, who have offered support with housing applications and applications for Home Office support. Recently, Azad also made connection with JET to try to facilitate some work training opportunities for a group of clients. Although people seeking asylum in Britain are banned by the government from working, many are keen to find opportunities to train. JET is a charity that aims to support those newly arrived in the UK to overcome some of the challenges they face in searching for training and work experience, as well as integrating into their local community.

The Project continues to thrive and offer a range of facilities to clients when they visit. Several clients have benefitted from English lessons, which we now offer on Wednesdays and Fridays. There are now plans for the North-East Ambulance Service to provide awareness sessions to clients during their English lessons. We are happy to report that, following a plea for new volunteers, we have had several new volunteers starting at the project during July. We offer them a warm welcome and look forward to working with them.

We are thankful for and continue to rely on your generous financial support for our work. Details of our bank account (DHN Justice and Peace Refugee Project) can be found on our webpage. If your donation is by cheque please send this to St Vincent’s Centre, New Bridge Street, Newcastle NE1 2TQ for the attention of Azad Hasan. Please remember to include a contact name and address when sending in a financial donation to the centre, to ensure that we can acknowledge safe receipt of the funds you have kindly donated or if we need to get in touch.

For more details about our work and how you can assist, please contact Azad Hasan, Project Co-ordinator at azad.hasan@diocesehn.org.uk or 07407 091184 or visit our webpage which also gives details on how you can make financial donations.

Our task must be to free ourselves – by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty

Albert Einstein