Our Lady of Kirkstall
Sara Forrest writes:
Parishioners undertook the workshops in Spring and are following it up with action in the Hawksworth estate area of Leeds. The parish includes the Hawksworth and Ireland Wood estates which both fall within the top 10% most deprived areas within England.
During the course they worked in three small groups, representing each of the churches and communities of worship within the parish. Two groups were interested in food poverty, especially during school holidays. We decided that we would have a greater impact if weworked as a parish team. From there it seemed a logical step to invite others to join us via Churches Together.
Michael Emly, one of our course participants, is our Parish representative at Abbey Churches Together. He arranged for us to address the next meeting. The Vicar for Hawksworth and others were happy to look at taking action and were keen that we involved those who live on the estate first. He reported that there can be a perception that other projects, which have invested in improving the situation on the Hawksworth estate are ‘doing to’ the community rather than ‘doing with’.
There was a general concern that available help through the Children’s Centre, Community Hub,
Food Bank and charities leaves gaps that people in need can fall through. The LCC (Leeds City Council) guide to help is no longer updated/published.
About 9 people from Churches Together agreed to hold a further meeting with others working in Hawksworth, to find out what is currently on offer and to consult members of the community, to find out what they need. Then we can look at working together to meet that need. Now that the main holiday season is over, we are fixing a date for that meeting. Once we have a clearer idea about what action will make a real difference, we can look to raising the funds and people to deliver whatever is needed.
Church Action on Poverty (CAP)
For our purposes there was a definite Catholic slant to a lot of the materials. They are in the process of making them more suitable for wider Christian audiences and will be launching the programme nationally under the banner ‘Faith, Poverty and Justice Workshops’. This is a great outcome for what started out as a relatively modest project by the Commission.