Remember A Charity in Your Will Week Sept 10 – 16
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The College of St Barnabas was originally established to provide destitute, elderly and infirm Clergy – and in particular returning missionaries – with an alternative to life in the workhouse or to life on the streets. It was our founder’s response to “for the poor always ye have with you” and a reaction to the hardships he endured after a tough and demanding life as a missionary in Canada, Australia and New Zealand that he felt had left him “a broken man” for whom no practical help was available.
By the closing years of the 19th century, clerical poverty had reached alarming levels. There was no comfort or security in old age, unless you were rich. And although old age pensions were introduced for some early in the last century, it wasn’t until the inauguration of the NHS in 1948 that the majority of people began to benefit from improving health and social care. Everyone was to be cared for “from the cradle to the grave”.
You would be quite justified in asking why it is that more than 120 years since the College was founded and a full “three score years and ten” since the start of the welfare state, that that same old blight of clerical poverty is still with us?
Perhaps you feel that it is really quite incredible that in this day and age, in the fifth richest country on the planet, that there are sick, elderly, frail and vulnerable people who, without the means to do so themselves, cannot ensure that their basic human needs for shelter, warmth, sustenance and care are met. You might also feel it almost unbelievable that in this very position there are Clergy, people who have spent their lives in the service of others, for whom neither the Church nor the State, in this, the 70th anniversary year of the NHS, provide an adequate safety net.
You might even ask why is it, after all this time, that the College of St. Barnabas still exists? Quite simply, our very reason for being is the need among Clergy and other Anglicans that 120 years on is still not being met.
Did you also know that over the coming 10 – 15 years more and more elderly Clergy without adequate means will be going into retirement? Despite all the social change of the past 100 years and more, the College is still having to respond to clerical poverty right here, at home. And we have never been busier.
Every hour of every day we are looking after elderly people who are unable to meet the cost of their care themselves and towards which any contribution that may be received from the State is at best inadequate.
As a charity that receives no financial support whatsoever from the Church or the State, it is a growing challenge for us to meet the increasing number of people without means who are in need of full nursing care. This year we need to raise an additional £110,000 – £120,000 and, as you will have gathered I’m sure, recent changes to the law around data protection have had quite an adverse effect on our ability to attract new supporters.
We are confident that we will, in time and with considerable effort, find new people to help us, but the law changes do mean that it is going to take quite some time to recover the ground that has been lost.
As we do all that we can to identify, approach and recruit new supporters, we ask everyone to be ever-mindful of the gap and to help a little more. You can make a positive difference to the lives of our frailest and most vulnerable residents by helping fill the gap in with a gift to the College of St. Barnabas today.
You can donate through the Donations page on this website – www.st-barnabas.org.uk/how-to-help-us/gift. Would you please use “MTG18” as a reference, either electronically, or written on the back of your cheque?
Please accept, in advance, the thanks and best wishes of the whole College community for your thoughtfulness and generosity.
“No-one eligible is ever turned away for want of means”
You won’t see them on the street, sitting down facing the door of a fast food restaurant, huddled in a dark doorway or down on the pavement in front of a busy shop, but there are very poor elderly people, too, who no longer have the means to properly support themselves. And among them are elderly Clergy.
We are proud that no-one has ever been turned away from the College because of a lack of means. We are proud of the work we have carried out over the past 120 years to help relieve Clerical poverty, to provide shelter, warmth, sustenance and care for the poor, the sick and the vulnerable. It was why we were established.
But our pride is tinged with the sadness and regret of having to still be here, 120 years down the line. We are still here because the need never completely went away, and now Clerical poverty is back. Back with a vengeance. Determined to blight the twilight years of people whose devotion and commitment to others during their working lives has cost them comfort and ease in their retirement.
Without the College of St. Barnabas, these dedicated community servants, forced to scrape by on a few £s a week, with no property of their own and inadequate or non-existent pension provision, might well be living alone in substandard accommodation, or blocking a bed on an NHS ward. For them, the College is the provider of last resort. For them, there is nowhere else to go. Nowhere else they can be.
120 years ago, it would have been the workhouse for them, and of course it was. Finding elderly Clergy in the Workhouse spurred our founder on to establish the College. So that poor and elderly Clergy didn’t have to end up that way.
The workhouses have gone, but poverty hasn’t. That is precisely why the College of St. Barnabas is still here, looking after some of the frailest, poorest and most vulnerable members of the Anglican community.
They need your help, and will continue to need help for as long as Clerical poverty remains an issue.
Please do read the letter from Rowan Williams by clicking here, and watch his video, in the next news article.
On Sunday 2nd July, the Bishop of Southwark conducted a Service of Dedication and Thanksgiving to commemorate the completion of the refurbishment work to the College Central Block East.
The works, which were completed on time and within budget, included re-roofing a large part of the nursing wing, both chapels and the kitchens as well as adding large amounts of additional insulation, new double glazed windows and doors onto the balcony, as well as modernising the interiors.
The Chairman of the College, Sir Paul Britton, is delighted. “We have been able to finance all this work while also funding the Nursing Wing and maintaining the College finances in good shape,” he enthused. “This is the largest building project we have undertaken for decades and the building now looks marvellous. I warmly thank all who have contributed so generously to make this possible. Congratulations to everyone who has managed and executed the project so successfully.”
The project cost over £900,000 and took 32 weeks, with practical completion agreed on 28th April 2017. It was funded by a combination of grants from individuals and Trusts, in particular the Homes and Community Agency and the Garfield Weston Foundation, with additional help from the Almshouses Association, as well as our own reserves.
To read the Bishop’s address, click here
View this fascinating video to hear Fr George Wood’s World War II near-death experience over France. Not all our Residents are as fortunate as Fr George to have received help from the RAF Benevolent Fund.
The focus for this year’s Christmas appeal is the core work of our charity, the work we do day in, day out, 24 hours a day and every day of the year in providing our elderly and infirm residents with the level of care that they need.
The irony is that for many supporters the core work – that mundane stuff that needs to be done every day – is not particularly attractive. It is not snappy and exciting. It’s not sexy. It is not a wonderful, new initiative. But what it is, is essential. It is vital. It works.
And it makes a world of difference to the people who need it.
That’s why the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd. Justin Welby, is supporting this appeal. You can read his letter by clicking here.
Our fundamental purpose is to provide shelter and care to elderly and infirm Anglicans in need. For many the College has been – and still is – the provider of last resort.
This winter we are asking you to give – to give regularly if you possibly can – and to give as generously as you are able, to enable us to continue to help those who need us most by delivering on that fundamental purpose.
Last year we spent £1,845,111 on giving our Residents a better quality of life. That is quite a lot of money to a small charity like ours. Of this we raised £140,000 in donations and gifts.
Also last year we received 93 requests for help and information. That is the highest number we have on record and it indicates the urgency of the problem as well as the demand for the services we provide.
You might already know that more than 25% of Clergy are aged 60 years or above. But did you also know that this means the number of clergy retirements is set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years?
Not only that, local authorities are cutting back on the help they give. Government-funded care for older people is being increasingly rationed in England, leaving growing numbers to fend for themselves, according to a recent joint report by The Kings Fund and The Nuffield Trust.
Despite more people needing help because of the ageing population, the number of over-65s being helped by local authorities fell by 25% in the 4 years to 2014 and the number of older and elderly people left without help has risen.
On average it costs us about £930 a week to provide accommodation and nursing care for a Resident. More and more of our Residents need local authority help that is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.
What that all adds up to is this: we have to go beyond the £140,000 we raised last year by an additional £35,000. That means we have to raise just under an extra £14,600 a month, on average, to meet the costs of caring for those for whom the College is the final safety net.
Whether you choose to make a monthly donation by standing order, or choose to make single donations, together we can do it. Please click here to visit our webpage for easy donation options.
Our dream is that elderly and infirm Anglicans with little resources who find their way to our door can always be helped here with dignity and compassion; that we can continue to give hope to those in need; that people like our Residents David and Hope Haggan can always find at the College the care, the comfort, the shelter and the spiritual support they need in their old age. They were only too happy to contribute to our Summer Appeal.
Click here to read their story. Please do, and having read it, please decide what you can do to help. Only you know what is right for you to give, and every donation is vital. Even a penny could help, but whatever you give, please support our important work. Details of how to donate are at the end of the story.
I am very proud to be associated with the College as a Patron because it carries out its essential work in such a calm, understated way. It is a uniquely special place, full of special people.
Without fuss, it gets on with doing the job of caring for people in need and puts all of its energies and focus into that. And did you know, it has been doing that for an amazing 120 years?
I am writing to you precisely because of the Christian traditions and values of compassion and generosity that we share.
As you read Myrtle’s story you cannot help but be inspired by her commitment, by her achievements and by her faith, and you cannot help but be moved.
You may not know it but, sadly, there are many elderly Anglicans like Myrtle who need all sorts of help and support.
This is where the College steps in, doing a truly splendid job of looking after older and elderly Clergy, Clergy spouses, widows and widowers as well as lay Anglicans who are in need of accommodation, support and care.
I am an active supporter of the College’s work. I give because I believe in the value and importance of its work to care for older and elderly people like Myrtle.
People who have devoted their lives to the service of others.
Click here to read Myrtle’s story. Please do and, having read it, please decide what you can do to help. Only you know what it is right for you to give, and every donation is vital. Even a penny could help, but whatever you give, please do support this important work.
Thank you so very much.
Dame Judi Dench
As a member of the national Remember a Charity consortium, we are taking part in Remember a Charity in your Will Week this September to help raise awareness of the importance to smaller charities like ours of gifts left in Wills. Most of our funds come from the generosity of people like you and we hope that in time more and more of our supporters will consider leaving a charitable legacy to the College, to help us safeguard the future.
It’s a common myth that you have to be wealthy to help us by leaving a gift in your Will. Nothing could be further from the truth. After taking care of family and friends, it’s amazing what one final gift can do, no matter how big or small.
Whatever the size of the gift, we are extremely grateful for all charitable legacies left to us, as they help us to continue to provide a home and to care for elderly Anglicans in need.
Taking care of your loved ones and doing something legendary by making a final gift to the College in your Will is probably so much easier than you think.
Visit www.rememberacharity.org.uk for more information, or speak to your professional advisor about leaving a charitable legacy to the College in your Will.