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Get to know our charity partner, Caritas Salford/ Red Door Bury

FOG is proud to be a charity partner of Caritas Salford since 2014…


It all began with delivering rucksacks in response to Cornerstone’s appeal back in 2014. Since then, Cornerstone and the many other projects operated by Caritas Salford have played an enormous role in the journey of Financial Options Group as a charity supporter and, four years on from our first contact with Cornerstone, the establishment of our Charitable Foundation.


The more we have observed Caritas’ extraordinary work in the community, the more inspired we have become and the more we have wanted to provide ongoing direct support. We’ve been proud to fund client events, make frequent donations of clothes and toiletries as well as regular weekly donations helping to purchase much-needed food.


One of FOGCF’s chief aims in 2021 is assisting more charities which are located in the Bury, Greater Manchester area, thus we have been delighted to work with Caritas Red Door, Bury to support them in their incredible work – and to help spread the word about the centre’s tremendous impact on the community.


That’s why all this week our charity spotlight is on Caritas Salford and Red Door, Bury.


Caritas Salford and Red Door make an invaluable contribution to the lives of the vulnerable, homeless, marginalised and lonely, providing essential items, signposting and advocacy services as well as friendship and a caring, non-judgmental ear.


Caritas Salford operates more than a dozen community projects and centres, including the Lalley Centre and Community Allotment, Morning Star Hostel, Adoption Support Service, Refugee Sponsorship, Young Parents Accommodation, Anti-Trafficking support, Cornerstone Day Centre and more.

Thanks to the amazing energy and resilience of Caritas’ teams of staff, along with more than 1,000 volunteers, these services have continued even during the severest of lockdown restrictions.


In fact, last year the charity increased the total number of people receiving its services by 20% to 15,823.


Some other tremendous milestones of 2020 include:


· 52,719 visits to Cornerstone Day centre Manchester – with 643 people given housing advice and helped to find accommodation.

· 2,410 food parcels distributed by Cornerstone’s volunteers – a 15% increase on the previous year

· 2,137 visits to the foodbank at Lalley Welcome centre (Collyhurst) – a 22% increase

· 265 emergency food parcels distributed from LWC – an increase of 89%


These are just a handful of figures among many which quantify Caritas’ incredible impact in and around the community. What’s much more unquantifiable – but equally as important – are the smiles, the heartfelt caring, the talks and the laughter that lift the spirit and help people to feel connected.

We’re a better community for the work of Caritas and its many worthwhile projects. However, due to the prolonged impact of the pandemic on public fundraising activities as well as uncertainty around grand funding for core projects, its ability to maintain the same level of response is at risk.


Donations from individuals and businesses are more important than ever. We can help to ensure that Caritas Salford has the support it needs to maintain this level of outreach into the community.


Relationships Manager at Caritas Salford Rachel Taylor, told us, “Weekly donations, like those which the Financial Options Group Charitable Foundation has set up, are an enormous help to us. This generosity means that we can continue to offer a much needed practical response to individuals and families experiencing homelessness, poverty, loneliness and marginalisation.


“Demand for our services has risen dramatically over the past year, and this is especially challenging given that funding received through grants is under threat. We, like many other charities, are feeling the squeeze. Every donation and every hour spent volunteering makes a real, tangible difference to a person in the community. If you think you can help to support Caritas Salford please get in touch.”


About Caritas Diocese of Salford


Caritas Diocese of Salford is the official charity of the diocese, which reaches from Didsbury to Clitheroe. Its vision is that the lives of all people should be free from poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. Whether professionally commissioned by Local Authorities or volunteer-led, Caritas’ services and projects enable communities to get involved in actively helping and shaping their neighbourhoods.


One such project is Red Door Bury. Based in Peter Street, it helps rough sleepers, homeless and vulnerable adults, including those with drug and alcohol dependencies, providing much needed support in finding temporary and permanent accommodation, helping clients to access and appeal benefits and offer help with other services. It also provides a friendly drop-in centre where beneficiaries can have a shower, wash their clothes and socialise with other people.


The environment at Red Door is warm and welcoming, with a friendly community room where guests can share a cup of tea and warm bowl of soup. Individual benefits or debt advice, general support and information is available, as well as emergency dry food provisions and clothing if needed. Red Door is also home to a Women’s Group, computer area with online access and an Arts group.


‘I’d be lost without this place’


Read the stories of Alex and Brian* below, as these show how Red Door Bury has helped to transform the lives of those most in need of support…


Alex


An accident in his late teens having altered his behaviour dramatically, Alex, in his 30s, engaged in impulsive behaviour, alcohol dependence, aggressiveness and a breakdown in his relationship with his family. He attended Red Door regularly and appeared to be very vulnerable, often without money or food and routinely having lost his phone, coat and cigarettes. Staff worked to engage with him. Alex was often tearful and seemed frightened. He presented as dirty and unkempt and was always hungry.


After gaining Alex’s trust we were able to establish that he was being intimidated and financially abused, he was having his money taken from him regularly, as well as his phones, cigarettes and clothing. He was also threatened with and subject to violent attacks. Alex was living without electricity, heating or hot water. His flat had been ransacked.


Support staff were able to work with Alex to tidy up his flat, provide basic furniture and household items. Red Door provided him with somewhere to feel safe and supported, liaised with his landlord and ordered repairs and a lock change to help Alex control access to his home. It supported Alex with opening a bank account, and setting up payment arrangements for his utility debt and with ongoing access to food, and arranged a case conference with his landlord, alcohol and mental health workers. Today, Alex is no longer misusing alcohol, has reunited with his family and been rehoused closer to them.

Brian


A single man living with profound mental health problems, Brian was sleeping rough and did not have access to benefits. He had worked previously with accommodation provided. Support staff engaged with Brian and helped him access ABEN provision. He was offered a permanent tenancy and was supported with food, furniture, household items, clothing, benefits advice and opening a bank account.


When Brian received a significant payment, this led to him starting to misuse alcohol and drugs. His mental health was severely affected, and he was involved in a very serious incident of violent self-harm. Brian was sectioned and spent a significant amount of time in hospital. Support staff liaised with Brian’s landlord and mental health support worker, arranged access to clean up and clear out his flat which was in very poor condition, supported him to obtain a new bed, white goods and clothing. Brian’s recovery continues, he visits Red Door regularly and receives ongoing support with his correspondence, food, benefits, managing his income, engaging with his mental health worker, attending his medical appointments and sustaining his tenancy.


Other former clients of the centre said:


Michael – aged 49

“I have been coming here for 9 years. I would be lost without it. I have had help with food and with debt issues. It has helped me to get on with my life. I also like to come here to socialise”

Jamie – aged 52

“I have been coming to the Red Door service on and off for about 10 years. I feel like they are lifesavers. I have been helped with food, benefit advice/housing issues, post delivery address and I have been able to use the internet”

Carl – aged 36

“I’d be lost without this place”

Alan - aged 45

“The staff are considerate”

Anthony – aged 32

“I got help with food and other things I needed. They always make sure I’ve got a drink. I have never been refused help and would recommend the service to other people”

Phillip – aged 47

“It’s a light at the end of a dark tunnel. Staff are amazing, like a friend with hands to pick me up, helping with all the tools to make my life go forward”


To make a donation to Caritas Salford, or to learn more about volunteering with the charity, visit www.caritassalford.org.uk/service-view/red-door/


To find out more about the Financial Options Group Charitable Foundation, visit www.financialopts.co.uk/fog-foundation


*Names changed in interest of privacy.

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