As part of the Rise and Reach summer programme, on August 15th, September 3rd, and October 24th of 2020, a group consisting of youth, young single adults and full time missionaries of the Church in Walworth, London, undertook service projects for Thames Reach at three different sites. Thames Reach is a charitable organisation that supports homeless and vulnerable individuals, some with mental health concerns, to access housing, training, and employment opportunities.
For various reasons, including the national lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, no gardening had taken place at the charity’s sites for a long time and so the gardens were much in need of care. Thus, when the offer of help was made, the Manager of facilities for Thames Reach, Amy, readily accepted.
The tasks for the volunteers involved cutting back overgrown foliage, tree branches, weeds, and litter-picking around the properties. The efforts of volunteers resulted in very noticeable differences in the appearance of the gardens.
Amy was delighted with the results. She remarked that finally the residents would be able to use the gardens again. She said the residents were very pleased with the transformation. Thanks to the tremendous hard work of this group of volunteers, the residents at the homes could now enjoy their outdoor spaces more fully.
Following completion of the second project Bishop Abdul Rollings-Kamara of Peckham Ward, received an email from the Volunteers Programmes Manager of Thames Reach. She informed him that the volunteers had been nominated for a Volunteer Hero Award and had won. This was in recognition of the work they had undertaken. This certainly came as a surprise to everyone. A Certificate of Achievement was subsequently awarded, along with a gift voucher. These were presented by Bill Tidnam, Chief Executive Officer of Thames Reach, on 24 October 2020.
Through their service the volunteers have exemplified the Rise and Reach motto to ‘Go and Do’, by going out and doing good for their community. Although their service was unconditional, they received a wonderful and unexpected award. Bishop Rollings-Kamara used the voucher to purchase foodstuff which he donated to Pecan Foodbank. Pecan is a charitable organisation that is based in Peckham, Southwark, South London. They work to support the community practically and emotionally by offering a range of interventions, including, careers service, women’s service, Family Works (which works to support parents into employment) and the foodbank.