Now feels like a good time to take stock of all the opportunities that have come our way in the first quarter of the year (but, really, how can we already be in May?!).
We have been incredibly fortunate to receive a lot of goodwill and some much appreciated cold, hard cash in recent months. We’ve had generous donations collected at public events (huge thanks to Tooting Cares and all who came along to the incredibly moving screening of The White Helmets); a whole host of fundraising activity busily undertaken by our Civil Service Fast Stream team (supper clubs, bucket shakes, cake sales and, by their own account, the most miserable Three Peaks hike imaginable); and some grant success with contributions to our rent (the most mundane, but essential of things).
We’ve also been surprised and delighted by the incredible generosity of someone who wanted young people to enjoy traditional food from her home country, share it with friends and be able to have a celebration. She cooked an array of food at home herself, and fed 50 people at our Saturday drop-in.
And we continue to benefit from longstanding partnership with a whole host of wonderful people and organisations – Transition Town Tooting are championing all things garden-y, bringing their expertise in design, planting and community work to all of our groups; Kazzum continue to offer engaging new ways to communicate and enjoy each other’s company, whether or not we speak the same language; and Coram Children’s Legal Centre have been busily delivering much-needed immigration advice to ensure that young people understand their current situation, the possible outcomes available, and can take proactive steps towards securing a stable, safe future.
We’re off to exciting places too, with a trip to the circus happening this weekend and the first of three visits to The Grange happening next week. Both will bring ways to connect, share, laugh and build memories of common experiences, strengthening relationships and opening up possibilities.
All of this support helps us to see that the attitudes that led to the terrible attack on a 17-year-old boy in Croydon last month are fought against. Here at CARAS, we work with many people like that child. The majority of our young people are here without their families, like him, and across all of our work people have been uprooted, and continue to live with grief and loss. They are all rebuilding their lives, finding friendships, seeking out opportunities, and adjusting to living in a new community. We want to create a space where people are welcomed and accepted, where their talents can be shared, developed and celebrated, and where we all spend time benefitting from each other’s company. It’s through these connections that a community can grow, creating safety through knowing and caring about each other.
Thank you, everyone, for all that you do together to support this.