Thirtyone:eight, along with 18 other Christian charities, has called upon Boris Johnson to acknowledge the work of countless Christian charities and to ensure that funds are made available to assist them in their vital efforts to support the Church during this time affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter, the coalition of charities, which includes: Christians Against Poverty, Christian Aid, The Message Trust, Open Doors, World Vision, Thirtyone:eight and others, asks the Prime Minister to consider the unimaginable challenge created by the crisis, which is affecting families, the society and the economy.
Justin Humphreys, CEO at thirtyone:eight, says "Thankfully, this country has a resource which is used to stepping up, supporting and finding solutions. This resource is the Church: a body of people who know all about compassionately supporting people in their communities and inspiring others to do the same.
At a time when many families are struggling with financial, emotional and physical challenges, there is a real need to ensure that appropriate support can be provided to some of the most vulnerable in society. These would include children, young people and many adults; many of whom are reliant on the support that can be provided through the many local churches as they reach out to their surrounding communities”.
Continued funding is critical to many charities like ours, and the threat of the current measures to combat Coronavirus are already being felt by many charities who continue to offer assistance in different ways. Thirtyone:eight stands in solidarity with such charities and calls upon the government to not overlook the incredible value they offer the nation, not just now but as the nation recovers.
The letter to the Prime Minister asks him and the Chancellor to urgently commit to new ways to support the sector in the same way that businesses and others are already seeing help.
Dear Prime Minister,
We would like to start by thanking you for all you are doing to lead this nation through this unprecedented situation and for the incredible efforts you have made to keep us in touch with your plans.
Our world is in the thick of a crisis like no other; our families, our society, our economy are being challenged in previously unimaginable ways.
Thankfully, this country has a resource which is used to stepping up, supporting and finding solutions. This resource is the Church: a body of people who know all about compassionately supporting people in their communities and inspiring others to do the same.
Working hard alongside the churches are a myriad of Christian charities who exist to equip and support the Church as they look after those around them. Right now, in the most difficult of times, we are doing what Jesus told us to do: to love our neighbour.
The Church is an unequalled army of highly motivated and experienced volunteers, on the ground in every city, town and village. Equipped by the charities we represent, we see them:
- Help people manage their money and deal with personal debt
- Inform and support those needing government help
- Deliver food parcels to vulnerable people
- Ensure children in poverty are prioritised
- Reach those who are not online and ensure they are cared for
- Help people stay healthy and positive, especially those with poor mental health
- Connect those who want to give and volunteer with those in need
- Bring hope and address loneliness at a very local level
- Assist in safeguarding some of society's most vulnerable children
- Send support to and stand in solidarity with communities living in extreme poverty around the world
We know that a future economic downturn will mean that our care will be needed more than ever. The challenge is seeing our income plummet at the same time as circumstances dictate we step up, which diminishes our ability to support local churches in doing what they do best.
We appreciate the ways the Chancellor has helped families and businesses in this time of crisis and urgently ask that the same support may be found for the vital work of the charitable sector and the Church, as we continue to do all we can.
Amanda Bindon and Mike Royal, Cinnamon Network
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Christian Aid
Andy Hawthorne, The Message Trust
Catherine Healey, ACET International
Eustace Constance, Ascension Trust
Heather Keates, Community Money Advice
Henrietta Blyth, Open Doors UK & Ireland
Justin Humphreys, Thirtyone:eight
Kat Osborn, Safe Families
Mark Heasman, Christian Camping International
Mark Sheard, World Vision
Martin Charlesworth, Jubilee+
Patrick Regan, Kintsugi Hope
Paula Stringer, Christians Against Poverty UK
Peter Lynas, Evangelical Alliance
Roger Sutton, Gather Network
Stewart McCulloch, Stewardship
Tim Morfin, Transforming Lives for Good
Tom Jackson, Resurgo