A guest SanKTus Welfare Project
Formerly Our Lady Help Of Christians Welfare Project
4 Lady Margaret Road,
London NW5 2XT
tel: 020 7485 9160
mobile: 07951 600451
email: sanktus.welfare@gmail.com
Charity No. 1136596

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The Welfare Project
A total of 5,863 separate visits were made to the project over the July 2017 - June 2018 period by our guests. Every Sunday afternoon a free food service is provided with bathing facilities and a change of clothing available. Every Wednesday between 2.00pm-15.30pm an afternoon tea with sandwiches and refreshments is available to all in the community. SanKTus is also working with Mind in Camden to run the Health Minds Programme providing Tai Chi, Yoga and Craft sessions. The Welfare Coordinator is on hand during the week to help with any welfare concerns and to refer people into statutory and community services. The Welfare Coordinator also supports those in food poverty by providing food vouchers for the Chalk Farm Food Bank.

Having surveyed our guests we have a clearer profile of who our guests are and what their circumstances are. The majority are older men but of working age, living alone in sub-standard housing; they don't work because of poor health, although we are aware through our support work that they feel totally unprepared to find work and fear the impact of recent benefit changes. They do not eat well or have any social life and a number of them have literacy issues.

We see a core of regulars who have attended the project for many years for the social connection they find just as much as the meal they receive; we encourage our guests to participate in the activities we provide such as the film club or the art classes or the Health Checks that the local NHS offers our guests at our premises every year.

The overarching differences we make at SanKTus are that we ensure our service users take part in and benefit from being better linked in members of mainstream society. For those who are homeless and vulnerably housed we try to move them on from the entrenched life choices they often make, build their confidence so they can secure work opportunities & stabilise their housing tenure. We want to give them the skills and self-confidence to sustain this level of independence for themselves.

Our Pensioners Activities
In addition to working with the Welfare Project's guests, we run a range of social and recreational activities every Tuesday for local pensioners including a lunch club with a two course meal, bingo, knitting and keep fit. The lunch club part of the day runs with a full capacity of 32 regulars and there is a waiting list to join; we also hold parties for Christmas and St Patricks Day and outings to the seaside in the summer.

Many of the elderly Irish people we support are widowed or living on their own, isolated by life limiting illness and poor mobility. They came to England with few resources to better their lot; many of their partners have now passed away. They were their link to the church, agencies and the community; this now leaves them isolated with little support. The level of social contact with the welfare and health advice we provide promotes their good physical and mental health.

We have been successful in outreaching to older Irish women because we are linked in with the local parish, but we recognise there is also a significant number of older Irish men that we need to identify and involve in our activities and we hope the Film Club and the choice of films might attract them to participate more in what we offer.

The Knitting Group is on every Tuesday in Don Bosco from 12.30 - 2.15pm

New members welcome for lively chats, knitting, crochet, sewing, bangle making and other crafts – you name it, we will have fun making it; all materials supplied plus tea and cakes served.

We are now looking towards Christmas – help us to make Christmas decorations and goodies to sell and all the money raised will to go towards our work with the homeless; we are also making Christmas puddings for the pensioners parties here, so come along and join in.

How you can help us
If you want to support SanKTus to continue its much-needed work, a financial donation is much needed and will be put towards the project’s food and equipment costs. There are two ways to make a donation.

By Credit/Debit card
Go to CAF Online search for Sanktus and follow the instructions to make a donation that will go straight to the project.

By Cheque
Please print off the donation form and return to SanKTus, 4 Lady Margaret Road, London NW5 2XT for the attention of The Welfare Coordinator.

ESP Logo Big Lottery Fund             Sport Relief Logo
Choir with no name

What we do:
The aims of SanKTus are the relief of poverty, the advancement of health and the relief of those in need by reasons of age, ill health, financial hardship and other disadvantages. The beneficiaries are homeless and vulnerable people, the elderly and those with support needs.

We provide nutritious food and refreshments for socially isolated people; this service is linked to the availability of our Welfare Coordinator to support them to access housing, health and social care services. We find emergency housing for rough sleepers and we offer facilities for those in need of a shower and a change of clothes. We be-friend regular guests in a welcoming environment; we have just started a men's talking group and are working with the Choir With No Name to improve our service users' social connections through their participation. We support over 60 volunteers to help us deliver these services.

In addition to working with this client group, we run a range of social and recreational activities every Tuesday for local pensioners including a lunch club; bingo, knitting and a keep fit class.

Our beginnings ...
SanKTus began life as Our Lady Help of Christians Welfare Project in February 1992 when parishioners of the local Catholic Church came together on Sundays to provide tea, sandwiches and companionship to the growing number of homeless people in the Kentish Town area, many of whom were Irish. The 32 original volunteers worked in volunteer teams and this laid down the foundations for how we work today.

As the number of the regular guests reliant on these services increased they were presenting volunteers with more complex issues to sort out, so the project's organisers successfully applied to the DION fund of Ireland to better resource the project to meet the growing needs of these marginalised people for food, respite and advice on other services which could improve their circumstances; now known as the Emigrant Support Programme, this fund remains the main source of support for SanKTus and it goes towards the running costs of the Welfare Project, the pensioners activities and the Welfare Coordinator's post.

SanKTus registered as a charity 6 years ago and is now managed by a board of trustees and although independent of Our Lady help of Christians Catholic Church, SanKTus remains the welfare project of the parish; it still benefits from the parish in terms of volunteers coming through to help deliver the services and the project's activities are based in the parish halls; this level of support represents a huge subsidy to SanKTus; the project still has the continued support of Ireland's ESP fund to meet the core costs of the project and recently we received funding from the Big Lottery's Awards For All to fund a Volunteer Coordinator and support our volunteers.

garden feast

Volunteers To do all we do we rely on volunteers and as our most valuable asset we continue to look at ways to enhance the experience of volunteering at SanKTus; volunteers fulfil a wide range of essential tasks at SanKTus including catering, befriending, caretaking and overseeing the running of our recreational activities. The work our volunteers do to support the homeless is well known locally and they were honoured with an official reception held in their honour by the Mayor of Camden 3 years ago at the Town Hall. (Please see annual reports files)

As the project develops and long-standing volunteers retire we need to find new ways of attracting new recruits to get involved in our work for the long term. Crucial to this is finding effective ways of enhancing their reliability and commitment when they sign up; we want volunteers to gain new skills that will help their employment prospects if that is what they are looking for as an outcome of their volunteering, or it they are looking for a social outlet if they are newly retired, SanKTus is a good place to connect with the local community.

If you are interested in volunteering at SanKTus please contact the Volunteer Coordinator by e-mail sanktus.welfare@gmail.com; there are always vacancies that might match the time and skills you have to offer the project.

What is involved in volunteering at SanKTus: We depend on volunteers to help us organise our food, shower and clothing services on a Sundays between 1pm and 4.30pm. You will take time to engage with our guests, to show concern for their welfare and to encourage them to participate in the project's activities. SanKTus also needs volunteers to help support the Men's Talking group helping with refreshments and engaging in conversation.

The time commitment varies from a minimum of one regular Sunday per month, or one session on a regular weekday. You will need to sign a Volunteer Contract to commit your involvement for a minimum of 6 months and to meet with member of the management committee and / or the Welfare Coordinator for an induction meeting.

You will work in a team of volunteers with a common purpose, so you will find volunteering at SanKTus a rewarding experience. If you are looking for work experience it offers pathways to support and community work also hospitality and catering jobs. We also welcome people who have worked in similar settings or have been involved in caring or bringing up a family. We also need volunteers to help us run our Pensioners activities on Tuesdays and this involves catering and serving roles.