Whilst I know many of you and have exchanged correspondence/emails with some of you I have not had contact with everybody so can I start of by introducing myself. My name is Rob Jacobs and I am currently the Treasurer and Acting Chairman of the Thirsk Christian Aid Group.
I have recently been in touch by e mail with other members of the Group and with Steph Cooper who is our contact point at the Leeds Christian Aid Office regarding the fast moving position relating to Christian Aid Week for 2020 and the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Paul Rathbone, who as many of you will know is a member of the Thirsk Group, contacted me yesterday with a suggestion that I contact you all this week to ask if it will be possible for you to include something about the latest position re Christian Aid Week in your Parish Newsletters and Magazines which I understand are likely to be finalised and circulated in the coming week or two.
Christian Aid Week 2020 was scheduled for May 10-16 but as some of you may already know and others will not be surprised to hear, because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Week is not proceeding in anything like its normal format.
Christian Aid had decided last week that many of the “normal” fund raising activities that form the major part of the fundraising efforts should not proceed because of the potential risks to communities and volunteers. These cancelled activities included such things as house to house collections, Big Brekkies and Lent Lunches. The developments that have occurred this week with regard to social distancing etc confirm that these decisions were the correct ones.
Clearly these decisions and actions are going to have a huge impact on the financial position of Christian Aid and the work they do with communities around the world living in poverty. The spread of coronavirus into these communities is likely to hit them even harder than here because of extreme poverty, reduced health resilience and a lack of healthcare infrastructures needed to combat widespread diseases.
Christian Aid are looking at possible ways of some fundraising taking place safely during Christian Aid Week in different and creative ways and updates on these are expected in the near future. The Thirsk Christian Aid Group will be looking at the updates from Christian Aid to see if the Group can help in any way and it will also be exploring what other fundraising can be undertaken at a later date once it is safe to do so. In the meantime one way that people can continue to support the work of Christian Aid in these very difficult times is by making online or telephone ( 020 7523 2493 ) donations.
Many of your parishioners have been great supporters of Christian Aid for many years. In particular by distributing and collecting envelopes and making donations during Christian Aid week. In my four years as Treasurer of the Group these friends have helped raise a total of over £20,500 through the house to house collections. Whilst these friends will not be able to support Christian Aid this year in the ways they have previously done it will still be possible, if they wish, to make donations online or by telephone.
· As a consequence of the Coronavirus Pandemic Christian Aid Week 2020 will not be proceeding in the normal way with no distribution and collection of envelopes and no Lent Lunches,
· This will have a huge effect on the finances of Christian Aid and could significantly affect their ability to continue their work with some of the poorest communities in the world at a time when this work is needed more than ever,
· Friends and supporters of Christian Aid can still support their work by work by making donations, however big or small, online or by telephone ( 020 7523 2493 )
Many thanks for taking the time to read this letter.
Very best wishes