Christians in Winchester have a long track record of helping vulnerable families, both through their own churches’ pastoral activities and for the last 15 years or so through charities set up with a Christian ethos.
Winchester Basics Bank is a Christian project supported by local churches, caring organisations and Winchester City Council. We provide individuals and families in need with emergency food parcels of enough tinned and dried food for 5 days and good quality second hand clothes (men’s and women’s). Branches open on different days at Highcliffe (Tues and Fri), Weeke (Thurs), City centre (Mon) and soon at Stanmore. www.winchesterbasicsbank.co.uk
Friends of the Family is a charity for vulnerable families and their children who live in the Winchester district. It is managed by Trustees and run by professional staff and volunteers. It is a small, friendly organisation which was established in 1993, and is based at the Quaker Meeting House in the centre of Winchester. http://www.fotfwinchester.org
The Olive Branch seeks to provide a professional counselling service demonstrating the Christian principle of love and care for each individual. The Olive Branch exists to relieve people resident in Winchester and the surrounding area who are suffering from emotional or mental stress by providing a counselling service within a Christian ethos and by providing support and supervision to our counsellors. We do not impose our own faith on anyone, accepting that men and women who come to us may not share our beliefs. Many have low incomes and levels of distress that often need more time than the statutory services can offer.
The St Vincent de Paul Society (or as it is often known – the SVP) is an international Christian voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage by providing practical assistance to those in need – irrespective of ideology, faith, ethnicity, age or gender. Its branch in Winchester based at St Peters is particularly active supporting many families and individuals in the City.
http://svp.org.uk/ or http://www.hampshiredownswinchester.org/
We are fortunate that our city and county councils recognise the need but that need has grown and public sector grants as well as benefits have fallen in the past few years. Churches in Winchester fills some of that gap and goes further, offering an active and authentic Christian encounter to all those families in Winchester that need help.