The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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January 2017

CARIS Haringey

Rosemary Loyd

CARIS is an acronym for Christian Action & Response in Society, and the charity’s vision is to empower local homeless families and individuals, and to improve their welfare and quality of life. Their office is located at St. Philip’s Church in the Borough of Haringey. According to Government indices Haringey is the sixth most deprived borough in London, where over 3,000 homeless people live in temporary accommodation, including 5,700 children. There have been very large reductions in services previously provided by the Council (e.g. childcare, mental health and advocacy), and in provision of Council flats or houses.

Against this backdrop, CARIS’s director, Gloria Saffrey, and her small but dedicated team of workers have again been able to report a year of considerable success. The Family Support worker organised and delivered workshops and classes on a variety of subjects, including an eight week Psycho-Educational course to help reduce isolation and improve mental health for women living in temporary accommodation. She took on referrals of people in crisis from other agencies, providing advice, emotional support and practical help. Through supporting the parents of young children, they in turn engage and nurture their offspring during their early years, preparing them for school.

The CARIS mobile Toy Library is another valuable facility. The library visits hostels, children’s centres and homes with a wide range of good toys, books and DVD’s, and equipment. The librarian also shares resources with support workers in refuges, providing crates of toys and books to the children and their mothers.

Funding from local grants and other sources enabled CARIS to run their very popular Summer Play Scheme in July. Each year referrals are received for the scheme from local schools, health professions, children’s centres and services requesting places for children and parents who would benefit from this project. For the first three weeks of the school summer holidays, the charity provides a programme of music, art and drama activities, as well as the chance to learn about history and science through museum visits. There are coach trips to the seaside, and a day at a farm. All three trips are hugely popular. Local excursions this year included one to the Ladybird Books Exhibition. For most of the children who attend the summer play scheme, this is the only holiday they have, and a variety of academics, recent university graduates and specialists donated time and expertise in support of the project.

Other aspects of the charity’s work include (free) advice and advocacy in legal matters, language classes and the very popular weekly Drop In events at the centre. Opportunities to socialise and make new friends are much appreciated. This year CARIS again hosted two children’s Christmas parties, for which local churches, schools and faith groups provided over 300 presents.

Through our parish appeals, many of you have contributed food and children’s clothes, toys and books and household items. One behalf of the team at CARIS Haringey, thank you for your support - and also to Eva, Rebecca and John for help in transporting these donations.

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