PLEASE NOTE – as the College is now in Tier 4 the decision has been taken to suspend all visits until further notice. There will be updates as and when they occur.
21 December 2020
Please read our 2020 Christmas Appeal letter which can be read by clicking on this link.
If you wish, you can always donate through our JustGiving page.
Please be assured that the College has taken all necessary measures to protect the health and well-being of our Residents and staff during these challenging times. These include making the difficult decision to close the College to all but essential visitors, including family visits, and non-essential external trips for our Residents. In addition we have implemented a social distancing policy throughout the College.
These decisions have not been taken lightly but with the health and well-being of our Residents and staff as our priority. We will continue to monitor and follow all Government guidelines.
Thank you for your help and understanding in these difficult times. Please feel free to call the College on 01342 870260 if you have any concerns.
The College of St Barnabas 1895 – 2020 : 125 years of caring for Anglicans
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the College of St. Barnabas by a former Missionary, Canon William Cooper, who spent most of his ministry in New Zealand, in the Australian outback and in the wilderness of Canada before returning in poverty and poor health to the UK. He pleaded with CMS in vain for help, describing himself as “a broken man” as a result of the physical hardships he had endured. Back in Britain, he came across other former missionaries and older Clergy living in abject poverty and ill-health, most notably in the Brighton Workhouse, and he determined to do something to alleviate their suffering.
The College is financially independent of the Church of England, and pre-dates Church of England Pensions Board Homes. This independence means we have to actively raise funds in order to achieve our charitable aims and objectives, and our 125th anniversary gives a great opportunity both to increase awareness of the College and to bring in some cash. A number of events are being planned throughout 2020 to mark this impressive milestone.
Mike Herbert, the College’s Head of Fundraising, is leading by example and doing a 125km sponsored walk from Gravesend to Eastbourne at the end of March, whilst another member of the staff will be cycling 125 miles along the Pilgrim’s Way later in the year. Says Mike “ the College does a great job in helping vulnerable elderly people in need”. He continues “It is clearly worth supporting, and because of the continuing demand it needs our help as much now as it ever did in Cooper’s day”.
If you would like to help the College by sponsoring Mike, you can do so online by clicking on JustGiving. Thank you.
Our Christmas Appeal is now live on JustGiving
We care for people like Peggy – the widow of a Clergyman – pictured below celebrating her 100th birthday at the College, and have been doing so for almost 125 years. We also care for people like Fr. Barry Thorley, pictured below, and for many other older, elderly, frail and vulnerable Anglicans in need.
Fr. Barry’s journey took him from his parish in multicultural Brixton to inner city Birmingham and then to Africa where he led a monastic life in Zanzibar, Senegal and Ghana, and ultimately via Bosnia to the College of St. Barnabas where, he says, he discovered that God left the best wine until last. In his lifetime Barry has experienced the heartache of being abandoned by his father, a black wartime GI, and the intense highs and lows of being an inner city priest, carrying out extensive work with young black people in the Handsworth area of Birmingham and viewing at first hand police harassment, death, drugs, crime, violence and riots, as well as experiencing the intense heartbreak of a lost love and a 7-year rift with the Church because of his sexuality.
In Africa he sunk wells, had a brush with Mugabe’s secret police and lived as a monk, building a hermitage on the Ashanti plain in Ghana, where he lived and explored his longing after God until ill-health forced his return to the UK, via the mountains of Central Bosnia.
Barry came to the College at a time of great personal need. Milked of his pensions during his time in Africa, and diagnosed with myeloma on his return to the UK, he quite literally had nowhere to go. Fortunately the College was able to help, providing Fr. Barry with a secure, safe environment in which to manage his illness and the space to pray in what he describes as a serious religious community.
In fact, it was precisely for Clergy like Fr Barry – priests returning penniless and in poor health after years of missionary work and ministry overseas, with no-one to turn to – that the College was established all those years ago. Time may moved on, but as Fr. Barry’s plight so clearly illustrates, the need is still there.
Indeed, we are as busy as we have ever been, helping some of the frailest and most vulnerable older and elderly people in the community, not just with the basics of care and accommodation, but with fellowship, a sense of being a valued part of a community and with a strong emphasis on engagement, involvement and social welfare.
The demand and need for the services we provide is unrelenting, and that is precisely why we need your help, to enable us to care for those who come to us as the provider of last resort, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.
Only you know what is right for you to give, but please do help our residents by giving as generously as you can.
You can donate by clicking on this JustGiving link. Thank you so much, in advance, for your kind and generous support.
The College of St Barnabas reaches its 125th anniversary of foundation next year, and will be holding its first Heritage Open Day on Saturday, September 21st from 10.00 to 16.00.
Visitors will have a chance to visit one of Surrey’s hidden treasures, the College of St Barnabas, a late Victorian home for retired Anglicans, set up by Canon William Cooper to ‘rescue’ clergy who had been abandoned in Victorian workhouses. Gain insight into the ongoing story of this fascinating place with tours of the College taking place in the Libraries, Refectory, and Chapels, including one with pre-Raphaelite paintings.
Plenty of entertainment for all the family with a miniature steam railway, model railway, a variety of talks, displays and ‘pop-up’ performances by the Collective, a diverse choir – and more. Refreshments will be available throughout the day.
Click here to view our poster and please re-visit the website for further information and updates over the next few weeks …
I feel fortunate to have visited the College on a number of occasions, to have met some of the Residents and, indeed, to have had the chance to get together with some of our fellow supporters.
I discovered that those of us who help the College are always as amazed as I am at just how efficiently the College goes about its business of caring for some of the oldest, frailest and most vulnerable people in the Anglican community with such respect, with such compassion and in such dignity.
Like many other supporters of the College, I have over the past year been truly inspired by Fr. George Wood’s incredible story of courage and survival and I take personal pride in the fact that we – as College supporters – are able to help George and other College Residents in their time of need.
I feel a sense of privilege to be in some small way a part of and connected to this truly unique caring community whose dedicated staff and volunteers are able, thanks to committed help from ourselves as supporters, to make a huge difference to the lives of the elderly Church people in their care.
I hope that you, too, feel a sense of pride and satisfaction in knowing that it is only our help that makes possible this amazing and incredibly important work to care for those most in need. Through the help we give we are transforming the lives of people in need, and the College relies on our increasing fundraising help more than ever if it is to keep pace with present day demand.
That’s why, as a fellow supporter of the College, I’m proud to put my name to the request to you for your help, which you can read on our JustGiving page and donate easily at the same time. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Yours very sincerely,
Remember A Charity in Your Will Week Sept 10 – 16
Try out HUMAN, the Charity-powered search engine at www.humansearchengine.org. Contact us for your free Will Guide
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.