The St Vincent de Paul Society, England and Wales (SVP) have just had the opportunity to promote its work in the Houses of Parliament, with a week-long exhibition organised by Rt Hon John Battle, MP for Leeds West. This provided the Society with the platform to raise among the Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and also the many visitors passing through Parliament on a daily basis, an awareness of the work carried out by its members. The event was arranged following the Society’s entry in to a raffle style process supported by John Battle, himself a keen supporter of the work of the Society. John Battle said: “It was a great pleasure to see the SVP setting its stall out in the House of Commons. I know there is now a much deeper appreciation of the SVP’s depth of work and action at every level from people in the House of Lords, Members of Parliament and House of Commons staff, including people who work in the canteens and tea rooms! It was a successful event ensuring that the SVP establish a presence at the heart of politics.” SVP trustees, members and staff were on hand through the week at the exhibition, which featured literature and visual information displaying the variety of work carried out by the Society, to talk with any interested persons about what the Society does, both on a membership level, our numerous Special Community projects across the country and our work overseas. There was positive feedback and interest from many who visited the exhibition, which included surprise from some at the wide variety of work being carried out by the SVP nationwide, much of which goes unnoticed. The exhibition was officially opened on Tuesday morning by John Battle who formally welcomed the SVP into Parliament. On Thursday evening a special reception was held for a number of guests from the Catholic community, including Rev Mgr Malachy Keegan, Principal Catholic Chaplain for Prisons, and Rev Mgr Andrew Summersgill , former Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, and representatives from the Catholic press. Also attending were the various sponsors who kindly contributed towards the total cost of the event and the display materials, including representatives from construction company Taylor Woodrow, the Bulldog Trust and Quadrant Publishing. Everyone considered the exhibition to be a great success and an invaluable opportunity to raise the profile of the Society both within the influential halls of Parliament and nationwide. The St Vincent DePaul Society carries out a wide and varied range of work across England & Wales, from one-to-one befriending, to debt counselling and general advice, help with transport, furniture provision, overseas aid work, holiday provision, and work with groups such as asylum seekers and offenders/ex-offenders. The SVP currently has just under 10,000 voluntary members operating in England & Wales and is part of a larger international Society operating in 142 countries worldwide.
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