Parish Welfare


The parish employs a part-time Welfare Team who work in the name of the parish to bring practical help and support to the needy people of our town. A message can be left on the answer-phone from anyone with a special need of help e.g. food. The welfare team come from a variety of backgrounds and have many complementary skills and experience. They help support the elderly and disabled and housebound families, (not always "one parent") who are facing difficult times and especially their children. They support people recently released from prison, hospital or psychiatric care and those who simply find it difficult to meet the requirements of the twenty first century. They work closely with the SVP Conference on whom they rely for advice, support and funds. They are often contacted by local social workers in the knowledge that our parish and team is happy to try to extend their care to anyone in need in the local community.

Tins, jars, packets and cheese.

In the church porch at St Augustine's there is a special basket marked ‘Soup Bowl' and ‘SVP'. Each Sunday, but also on other days of the week, parishioners drop in tins of food, packs of cheese and sugar, jars of coffee, and other items which can be used in the ‘Soup Bowl', given out at the door of the Priests' House to those many who call, or taken round to people's homes by our Welfare Team and SVP.

Particularly welcome are tins of corned beef (easily opened by the homeless), tuna, cooked meats and cheese (for ‘Soup Bowl' sandwiches), soup (especially thick vegetable soup), tinned vegetables and fruit, and coffee and sugar. Any non-perishable foods, which can be easily cooked by needy families, are very welcome.

On ‘Tins Sunday' each year in October, we have our special brand of Harvest Festival, with hundreds of tins brought to church and laid before the altar before Mass and by the children at the Offertory, and hundreds more brought in from Harvest Services at local schools. This helps to keep us going for the year.

Christmas Dinner for the Needy and Lonely

Each year on Christmas Day, our parish provides a Christmas Dinner for anyone in our town who needs it - the homeless, the lonely, the needy. Each year we ask for volunteers to help with transport to and from the dinner, with catering and serving, preparing and clearing up. For the helpers it is not a chore, but a privilege and a joy to make people happy on Christmas Day.
This is currently held at the Age Concern Hall in Wood Street off Camden Road.

Helping the Homeless

It is a sad indictment of our society that in 21st century Britain and perhaps particularly in a prosperous town such as Tunbridge Wells, there are still street homeless, rough sleepers and sofa surfers.  The reasons for their situation are as varied as the people themselves, but common themes are:

It is too easy for people with one or more of these problems to fall through every safety net there is and, without the support of family and friends, on whom most of us depend, to spiral down to a place few can imagine.

They are largely invisible but can be found sleeping in car parks, disused railway tunnels, tents on the common or derelict cars.

Although there is now no emergency/direct access hostel in Tunbridge Wells, there are a number of agencies with the experience and the desire to help.

When the original Soup Bowl in Crescent Road closed in June 2012, Christians Together in Tunbridge Wells formed a steering committee with the aim of establishing a new 'Resource Centre'. After many meetings, much hard work and prayer it is hoped, soon, that a new venue, open on a daily basis will be announced.

CTTW is also responsible for the very necessary and worthwhile 'Winter Shelter' which, from January to March, opens nightly in a  different local church to offer a hot supper, clean bed, breakfast and, not least, the warmth of friendship that our guests so appreciate.

 

Resources for rough sleepers

A handbook provided by The Bridge Trust gives useful information if you find yourself homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in the West Kent area. It gives basic information about the network of services available to you, within the boroughs of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling, and Tunbridge Wells.

You can contact the agencies and services in the handbook yourself to ask for help and advice. In many cases people will be able to help you immediately or they may refer you to another organisation who can.

Click here to see handbook