As inflation figures hit record highs and almost everyone is feeling the pinch, we are aware that contributions to the Justice and Peace Refugee Project are under pressure too. That’s why the government’s Gift Aid scheme is something that we would urge any taxpayer donating money to the project to consider. For those who are eligible it means that, for every pound donated, the Project can claim another 25p. This quickly mounts up and can make a huge difference over the year. The process is very straightforward, a Gift Aid Declaration form is available here, or you can request one from marjory.knowles@gmail.com or 07929 343418.

Once again, this month we have witnessed first-hand the difference your generosity and our volunteers make to the lives of those who encounter the project. For example, two clients who have recently arrived in Newcastle after a torturous 5-year journey from Darfur in Sudan, were clearly moved by the welcome and respect they received – things that were apparently sadly lacking during their travels through Libya, Malta, Italy and France. As they left the centre, having been greeted in their own language and received toiletries, food, clothing and a backpack, they had experienced the essence of our project – human kindness.

Another client in his early 20s informed us that the Home Office had given him a restricted right to work. He was delighted to find that one of our volunteers, who works in a care home, was able to provide him with advice and support in looking for a similar role. Another helping hand just when needed most.

We continue to see an increasing number of people using our services. For example, last month we had 24 new registrations, so your donations of food, toiletries and finance are very much in demand. We particularly need toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower gels, deodorants, shampoo, conditioners and washing powders as well as cooking oil, coffee and rice. The full list of items required is available here.

Fr Adrian Tuckwell, the Episcopal Vicar for Caritas, has asked us to pass on his thanks for all your contributions. He said,

For over 20 years the Justice and Peace Refugee Project has supported refugees and asylum seekers. It has become the biggest volunteer-led outreach project in the Diocese. We are truly blessed to have such generous support from individuals, parishes and schools right across our diocese. Your gifts to the Justice and Peace Refugee Project touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our local community. Sadly, the need for support continues to rise and so everything you do to help is so valuable. Thank you so much. I would also like to use this opportunity say thank you to two people in particular; Emma Bell from the SVP is moving to run a project in Gateshead and Tony Sacco is leaving the Steering Group, but will continue as a volunteer at the project. Thank you both for your dedication which has helped to bring the project through the difficulties of the Covid pandemic.

Details of our bank account (DHN Justice & 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 and please remember about the possibility of Gift-Aiding.

For more details about our work and how you can assist, please contact Azad Hasan by email: azad.hasan@diocesehn.org.uk or tel: 07407 091184 or visit our webpage.

The work of the project will feature as part of the National Justice and Peace Network meeting on Saturday 24 September in Darlington, where the focus is Refugees and Migrants.