A Christmas message from our Chairman

As 2019 draws to a close, we reflect on what’s been a particularly busy year for the charity and give thanks to everyone who makes our work possible.

Our client base has grown considerably – we now support more than 100 families in and around Watford. This growth was really brought home to me last Saturday as I stood in Watford’s Quaker Meeting House with more than 20 other volunteers, surrounded by mountains of presents to be delivered later that day. Toiletries and treats for parents, games and stationery for teenagers and toys for children, all donated by Edge Grove School, Stanborough Park Church, Bushey & Oxhey Methodist Church, Watford Hygiene Bank, West Herts College and many others.    

Christmas presents piled high at Watford Quaker House, ready to go into gift boxes for all of our clients

This year we’ve tried to do more than ever to support children and teenagers as they settle in to a new way of life in the UK, with action-packed outings to the Olympic Park and Lee Valley White Water Centre giving youngsters the opportunity to try something different and make new friends. It was wonderful to see children whose families may not have money to spare for trips like these enjoying themselves and creating happy memories of their early summers in the UK.

Another highlight was the overwhelming response to our fundraising appeal in May, when more than £10,000 was raised to support Leave to Remain applications for clients Isla and Alamini and their three children. Today, the family is in a much stronger position and no longer at risk of deportation – a truly moving demonstration of what incredible supporters this charity has.

It’s been a difficult year for many of us too with the passing of our Secretary, Dorothy Knightley, whose enthusiasm, warmth, and business experience has shaped the charity and the way we work. We miss Dorothy dearly, and will strive to match her boundless energy when facing new opportunities and challenges in 2020 and beyond.

On behalf of myself, my fellow committee members, our trustees, and most importantly the families we support, thank you for all of your support this year.

Please do join us for our Annual General Meeting in March to find out about our priorities for the coming twelve months, but in the meantime, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Tim Whittaker