Monday, 16 March 2020

Old Buckenham Women's Institute

On the subject of homelessness
The speaker at Old Buckenham Women’s Institute's latest meeting was Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martins Housing Trust. Also attending was Mike Bartlett who helps to raise astonishing amounts of money for St. Martins every year.
Starting with a video of some people talking about how they became rough sleepers and how the charity has helped them, Jan explained they offer hope, trust and safety to the rough sleepers of Norwich. Among the varied facilities owned by the trust 'Under One Roof' teaches life skills to enable them to gain confidence and make them feel human again. They are never given up on and some end up working for them.
The number of rough sleepers in Norwich has decreased from 35 in 2016 to 18 in 2019. Each story is unique and a recording was played from a woman who after a happy childhood told of a life of misery involving one drug dealer abusive husband, another abusive alcoholic husband, having her daughters taken away and twice attempting suicide which Jan described as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Saved by St Martins she now works for them and has her daughters back.
There are many such success stories at St Martins who help up to 200 people at any one time. Rough sleepers are the tip of the iceberg.
Several Old Buckenham members act as collectors outside various supermarkets and some knitted scarves for the recent 'house' erected in Norwich Cathedral. The 4,766 scarves represented the rough sleepers across the country in 2019 and included 600 black ones representing those who had died. Altogether an excellent and enlightening talk.
On Friday 24 April, to celebrate 'Women Walk the World Day' and to raise funds for the charity Associated Country Women of the World which supports women across the world to improve their lives, two walks are planned of five miles or two miles starting from the Village Hall. The cost of the walk is £2 and for another £5 a lunch of soup and a roll and a dessert is available afterwards. Start times are 10.30am for the 5 miles and 11.30am for the two miles. Anyone is welcome to walk or just come to lunch at the Village Hall at 12.30pm.
The next meeting is on Thursday 26 March when the subject of Rebecca Tate's talk will be 'Hats made from start to finish'. Then on Thursday 
23 April  the speaker is Liz Keable talking about 'A Pocket Full of Purpose'. Both meetings start at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall.

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