Befriending is at the heart of what we do – SVP in Beckenham

One of my favourite TV shows, is Undercover Boss which is based in the US. For those who have not seen the show, it deals with the CEO of a major corporation, the size of McDonalds or KFC for example, going undercover so that the employees do not know who he is. The CEO pretends that he wants to learn about the business, serving in the restaurant or in the backroom in a warehouse. During the course of his visit, around a week or more, he discovers some personal insights into his employees. These can range from an employee who has a close relative needing an urgent medical operation; or a single parent needing help with a child’s schooling or college fees etc.

The employee is then invited to meet the CEO at his HQ and discovers the truth about the CEO’s visit. The CEO expresses his deep concern about his employee’s hardships and difficulties in their personal lives and offers to alleviate the situation by giving funds to support his employee through the adversities they have to bear on a daily basis.

Well, the SVP Conference in Beckenham, provides the same service. Members are dedicated to tackling poverty in all its forms by providing practical assistance to people in need. There are many random acts of kindness sparking a chain of love. One instance recently which compares with the show is where a young child desperately sought a keyboard. With the assistance of the SVP not only did the child receive a brand-new keyboard but this was donated and delivered, entirely free of charge, by Yamaha of London. This is just one of many wonderful and uplifting stories of the SVP experience. But there is much more to the SVP work in supporting disadvantaged families: doing weekly shopping for the housebound, giving donations for free meals, including meal vouchers and weekly and monthly telephone support; advice and help with housing and legal issues. Each request for financial assistance is thoroughly reviewed and scrutinised by the Treasurer and the wider volunteer community before any funds are released.

The core befriending service is however at the heart of the SVP ethos. Hopefully this will return later this year, Covid permitting, with visits to the sick and elderly.

Our modest income comes largely from the 4 second collections at Masses throughout the year and so the last 12 months have seen a significant drop in our in-come and therefore our ability to respond to appeals for financial assistance. If you would like to support SVP Beckenham, you can make a one-off donation, or you may be interested in setting up a regular monthly or annual amount to help us continue to be able to respond at a similar level in the future.

Our account details are below, and please confirm your donation to who will send you a Gift Aid form to allow us to claim back the additional tax relief.

Sort Code 60-60-04

Account number 46076190

Deacon Duncan Aitkins, SVP Chaplain

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