Diocese of Portsmouth

    Worshippers donate record amount to combat human trafficking and domestic abuse

    27 Nov. 2017

    GENEROUS worshippers donated more than £30,000 to help combat both human trafficking across the world and domestic abuse locally.

    The annual Bishop's Lent Appeal raised a record amount in 2017 – £31,505 – thanks to donations from churchgoers, who dug into their own pockets and organised fundraising events. Bishop Christopher presented the cheques to charities after an Evensong service at Portsmouth Cathedral.

    Cash raised by the annual fundraising drive is normally split 50:50 between a global charity and a local good cause. This year’s international charity was Stop the Traffik, a global movement of activists who try to prevent human trafficking. It received a total of £15,750, which it will use to improve its effectiveness in combatting the exploitation of people around the world.

    Stop the Traffik chief executive Ruth Dearnley, who received the cheque from the bishop, said: “Our work is far-reaching and we’re trying to be creative in preventing human trafficking. We want to help keep people safe and make communities more resilient.

    “We can’t do any of this without support and funding from people, especially from the Church. We’d love to come back and tell those worshippers who have donated this money how we are spending it, and we can work together to combat this issue.”

    The other half of the money raised by the Lent Appeal was split between local groups that help to combat domestic abuse, including Yellow Door, Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS), Southern Domestic Abuse Services (SDAS), Aurora New Dawn, the Hampton Trust and the You Trust. These groups are all based in Portsmouth, Fareham or Southampton.

    Shonagh Dillon, chief executive of Aurora New Dawn, said: “I’m really honoured that people have chosen this particular issue to raise a record amount of money. This will go towards the practical needs of our clients – if they have to move house at short notice, or need repairs, or if they are struggling to buy Christmas presents for their children.”

    Linda Stone, chair of trustees for Yellow Stone, said: “We’re grateful that Portsmouth churches have chosen to raise money for an organisation based in Southampton! We’ll be spending it on the children and young people who aren’t always able to access our services.”

    And Nikki Youern, chief executive of the You Trust, said: “We want to use the money to launch a new counselling service in Portsmouth, with qualified counsellors, which will be funded entirely from grants and donations. This money will go towards counselling the victims of domestic abuse.”

    And Bishop Christopher said: “It is heartening to have such a response to this year’s Lent Appeal, to support those who are victims of abuse and violence, and to aid those who work to help others. What place and voice we have in this world we are called to use on behalf of those whose voices have been silenced by circumstance and whose place has been taken away by injustice.”

    The total raised this year is slightly more than the previous record for the Bishop’s Lent Appeal. In 2015, a total of £31,400 was raised and split between the Bethlehem Arab Society for Reconciliation and local charities helping people with mental health problems. 

    Above: Some of the recipients receiving their cheques from the bishop. (left to right): Shonagh Dillon, chief executive of Aurora New Dawn; Linda Stone, chair of trustees from Yellow Door; Nicola Youern, chief executive of the You Trust; the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth; Kim Hosier, centre director of Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS); and Zarena Jacobs and Rachel Sawford, refuge project workers from Southern Domestic Abuse Service (SDAS).