17th November 2011
Brand new update…. we have raised £800 in sponsorship. Thanks guys for all your hard work and training!!
25th October 2011
We would like to thank our great friends Nigel Simons, Nic Clark and Paul Shaw who ran the Bupa Birmingham Half Marathon on 23rd October 2011 to raise money for St. Chad’s Sanctuary.
They all made it round the gruelling course in good times. If you want to see the progress of the day, check out facebook or Twitter as Nigel tweeted comments and pictures as he ran round the course.
We havent got a total amount raised yet but will be announcing that within the next week or so. We know that we have raised at least £500!!!
3rd October 2011
We launched the fundraising on Sunday when both Nic and Nigel met with some of the parishioners from the Cathedral.
Nigel ran the half marathon last year for one of our partner organisations, Birmingham Law Centre, so knows the route well! Nic has not run the Birmingham event before but got into running while working in Rwanda where he also ran a half marathon!! Not a mean feat in the hot sun!! Nic recently posted the following comment on Facebook!
“10 days on holiday without running. atleast 10 beers at the weekend. atleast 250grams of turkish delight waiting to be eaten. 19 days until the Birmingham half marathon. luckily maths was never my strong point…” Dont worry Nic we have faith in you!
At the lauch event on Sunday we had the pleasure of listening to Ali (one of our regular visitors to the Sanctuary) talking about his experiences here in the UK and the invaluable help and support St. Chad’s Sanctuary has provided him. We also heard a wonderful speech from Nigel, which highlighted the plight of the people we work with and why our work is so essential. That is why we have added it here;
“I became aware of the reasons why St. Chad’s Sanctuary is such an important and necessary project, after being voluntarily “Destitute for a Day” for a Refugee Council fundraiser. It was not quite a full 24-hourday, but quite long enough to get an insight into what being destitute is like. It was a priceless experience; a glimpse into what being destitute is reallylike.
For the participants, most of whom worked for the Refugee Council, destitution was a word they would write on forms with an uneasy regularity, something they might see their clients suffering the effects of, as they fell asleep in the unaccustomed warmth of the waiting room, or as they coughed uncontrollably in an interview booth while they filled in yet another form, with the vain hope of gaining some respite from the relentless struggle to find food and shelter.
Destitute asylum seekers are people outcaste from, and invisible to, most of the population of the UK: prevented from working to support themselves, prevented from receiving any financial support from any government agency. People prevented from returning to their homeland through their being no safe route to do so, or to face certain persecution or worse. Prevented from conducting their life with any sense of dignity, forced to beg for destitution handouts. Permanently trapped in an unending Kafkaesque limbo.
“No recourse to public funds.” Five words of jargon that mean little to the man on the street but mean everything to the man who lives on the street. Five words that mean you are barred from the multitude of homeless hostels that are there for other destitute people, other destitute people that have one small thing you don’t have, a number that provides a social safety net, a national insurance number. Without which you are banished to a shadowy nether world, where each waking hour becomes a waking nightmare, where hours last like days, and weeks stretch to an unbearable infinity. You see the world through a window that has you on one side with your hunger, your thirst, and your need for a bed, a bed that does not double during the day as a phone box, or a bus shelter, or a toilet. On the other side of the glass, you see a world full of small ordinary things denied to you; small things, that others people find so routine, so ordinary, that they probably don’t notice them, just like they don’t notice you, small things such as: A cup of tea, a choice of which sandwich to have for lunch, a bowl of soup, a bus ticket, a television that works, shoes that don’t leak, hair that doesn’t need cutting, an aspirin for a headache, a phone call home, or even the simple but necessary pleasure of seeing your children smile.
A bearable existence is not filled with wants or desires, but just simple needs, a basic need for food, a drink, and somewhere safe and dry to sleep. Things that are not necessary because they are an invention of the modern age, they are the same needs that the first man had, and needs people have always instinctively sought to provide for their families, their neighbours, their guests, and strangers seeking help and sanctuary. Yet here, in, (let us not forget), one of the most affluent countries on the planet, the government now pro-actively denies some of these people the right to work and access to any other state assistance, so that they might obtain food, drink and shelter while they seek sanctuary our shores from: persecution, degrading treatment, intolerance, discrimination, trafficking. People who, let us not forget, are exercising their human rights, one of the absolute basic human rights, as defined in the United Nations Refugee Convention of 1951, and reinforced by the European Convention on Human Rights. So that is why this project is so vitally important, as it helps people to survive with dignity, as it provides not only food and other necessities, but humanity, support, and a sense of community, and most important of all it makes people feel welcome and wanted in our city.”
Thank you Nigel!
One comment on this post:
That’s a very affecting speech, Nigel, and it really brings home the reality of the situation. Good on you and Nic for running the Half Marathon. More power to your elbows (and ankles!) We will be delighted to sponsor you. Good luck! D&J