On Tuesday 21 May, schoolchildren from across Birmingham, Solihull and surrounding areas presented more than £14,000 they had raised to a charity helping local people in need.
Children from 42 schools across the city gathered at St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham to present their fantastic donation to Midland social care charity, Father Hudson’s Care. They had raised the money throughout Lent, through bake sales, non-uniform days, sponsored events, or by simply filling a collection box. One school alone raised £1,400 in aid of the charity.
They presented their gifts at the Cathedral in two celebratory Good Shepherd Masses celebrated by Bishop David McGough. The day was filled with colour, worship and song as schools from across the city and beyond filled St Chad’s. Holy Souls School in Acocks Green led the music in the morning, with St Peter’s Senior School and five Solihull primary schools in charge for the afternoon. Others took part in a procession during which they handed their donations to Bishop David.
Bishop David highlighted the need locally. “Wherever you live,” he said, “very close to you there are people struggling with ill health. Perhaps they can’t get out of the house. Perhaps their partner has died and their children, if they have them, live far away. There are families where mum or dad are unable to work, through no fault of their own. They might wonder where their next meal is coming from, or who will pay for the next school uniform. And there are people who came here from far away, who suffered unimaginable pain as their homes were ripped apart. They feel alone and forgotten. Who will care for them? I can say today that the children are caring for them. Father Hudson’s cares for all these people around the Archdiocese of Birmingham, and the children through their school collections raise the funds that enable Father Hudson’s to care.”
Andy Quinn, Chief Executive of Father Hudson’s Care, gave several examples of the work made possible by these funds. “Without your help,” he told the children, “Martin would still be living in a tent in the undergrowth on an island on the ring road in Birmingham. He lived there for two years because he was afraid. Now, at Tabor House – a night shelter provided by Father Hudson’s Care and partners – he can sleep safely at night. Martin recently had help to find a job and look for his own flat. He said that since moving there, the darkness has started to lift and he can see a future. And Amman would not have been given permission to stay by the British government. In 2017 her asylum claim had been turned down and she came to stay at Fatima House – another partnership project. In 2018 she was granted asylum. Finally, she was believed.”
Father Hudson’s Care works across Birmingham and the West Midlands, transforming the lives of people at their time of need. Together with community partners, they support homeless people, refugees and asylum seekers, isolated older people, vulnerable children and young people, disabled people and others who are isolated or disadvantaged. In the period before Easter, children from around 200 schools took part in fundraising activities for Father Hudson’s ‘Good Shepherd’ appeal. This is a tradition going back to the early part of the twentieth century, when schoolchildren started to collect coins for people in need.
To find out more about the work of Father Hudson’s Care, visit www.fatherhudsons.org.uk