Report to Ashby Churches Meeting 13th March 2019 on Christian Aid Fundraising
Frank Bedford Ashby Christian Aid Group
Some of you may recall that together with Martin Gage of Christian Aid, I attended and gave a report at your meeting on 29th June 2017. This followed the meeting in October 2016, when no delegates present were in favour of door to door collections continuing. This was also discussed at a subsequent Ministers Meeting, when those present supported that view.
At that meeting I gave the background to fundraising for Christian Aid in Ashby from the early 1990’s. We were not undertaking the house to house collection then, but holding a street collection in Market Street during Christian Aid week. We got very few volunteers for this, and the proceeds were disappointingly low – a few hundred pounds.
In 1994 a decision was made to hold the house to house collection for the first time. Since that time the house to house collection has raised about 70% of all the money raised both nationally and here in Ashby and some surrounding villages.
Those taking part in the house to house collection last year collected £6,775, again some 70% of the £10,570 we managed to raise in Ashby & District from this and the other events in the run up to and during Christian Aid Week to help and support the world’s poor.
We do not have enough collectors now to cover all of the newer housing developments, and additional volunteers would help us to increase the number of streets able to be covered. Obviously, many hands make lighter work, and there are many blessings to be had, from some conversations on the doorstep, and those that we do by raising funds for others less fortunate than ourselves.
We are well aware of the challenges that we face. Not simply being involved in organising this and our other fundraising events, recruiting volunteers, delivering and collecting envelopes, counting and banking monies.
We have an ageing and diminishing part of our congregations who are both prepared and able to collect.
We have many new houses to cover, many occupied by the younger generation, many with little Christian background, or involvement or concern for others they do not relate to.
Many people who support other charities or causes that they relate to, such as those organised and publicised through the media, including social media, and other modern means of communication.
We are moving rapidly to a cashless society, with people often unable to give a pound or two from their pocket or purse. We have many other demands on our Christian and secular lives and the lives of others.
We and Christian Aid as an organisation are only too aware of these and other issues that are making our efforts challenging, and that need to be addressed.
In the meantime, I ask you to help, either yourselves, in taking a lead by participating in some practical way, publicising and attending some of the social events we are putting on, or helping us in the house to house collection. Also, by encouraging others to do likewise.
Last year I collected on 17 roads and streets, in many cases calling back a second or even third time to those houses where no one answered the door. This involved about two hours each evening between 6 and 8 during the week. This is my choice.
But it is a great encouragement when others offer to help. Other than those of us on our small committee, we only ask for one or two roads to be covered, depending on the number of houses.
Thank you for listening. As it says on the Holy Trinity pulpit: ‘May we be doers of God’s work and not hearers only’. This, that people will believe in what we do, not in just what we say.