Field House Help the Homeless
This Christmas and New Year, Field House have been helping the homeless. At the beginning of the Autumn Term, the House identified five organisations that would greatly benefit from support this winter. Those charities were CIRDIC (Churches In Reading Drop-In Centre), Christian Community Action, The Salvation Army, St. Mungo’s and The Cowshed.
Once 120 collection bags had been distributed to Field House students, an appeal to the wider community was put out for winter warm packs, children’s stocking fillers and treats for those in temporary accommodation.
Year 11 students, Millie, Erin and Sofia reflected, “We organised and separated all the donations collected and loaded them up into the school minibus then dropped off items at Christian Community Action and The Salvation Army, both on the Oxford Road. The other charity we support is Mind, which we donated lots of clothes, blankets and shoes to. We learned about the importance of each charity we were donating to and the work they did in the local community. It was a really enjoyable and important experience. We would love to go again.”
Discussing the motives of CIRDIC and Christian Community Action, Jakki Marr, Housemistress of Field House, said “Both of these organisations are working hard to support getting the homeless back into permanent accommodation.” Not letting anything go to waste, the Field family also donated leftover food such as fruit, cake and biscuits before the Sixth Form centre went quiet for the holidays.
“CIRDIC was very grateful for the donations of food which they added to their packed lunch and packed tea. Over the Christmas period there were less volunteers and therefore packed lunches were made for the 60-70 homeless people that CIRDIC support daily. We also took trousers, socks and some sleeping bags donated by Leighton Park’s DofE department.”
Jakki continued, “We have been collecting items for Willow House which is for people in temporary accommodation through the Salvation Army, and St. Mungo’s which are a charity that have outreach teams going out each night to meet people who are homeless and to help them off the streets. They work to prevent homelessness and support people at every step of their recovery from homelessness.”
When organising care packs for Willow House and the 40 St. Mungo’s pods in Reading, the group made sure that they included useful items and gifts for men and women so that everyone had something they could open up on Christmas Day. Willow House and St Mungo’s are linked organisations committed to helping the homeless get back into permanent accommodation (when they are ready) and have the use of the following services; first time housing, drop-in centres, nap pads, outreach services, addiction services and night shelters.
“We have also chosen to support The Cowshed which is a new local charity which provides support to people of all backgrounds in a time of personal crisis. It was established in 2018 in Reading and their referrals come from health visitors, social services, foodbanks, schools, refugees, churches and doctors.” Reflected Jakki.