left - right: Guy Insull, (Appeal Director), Revd Chantal Mason, Hassan (resident), Bishop Thomas McMahon, Richard (resident), Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Warren and Lavina (residents), Philip Tolhurst and Keith Fernett (Director, Caritas Anchor House)
The Catholic Bishop of Brentwood and the Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford visited East London based homeless charity Caritas Anchor House on Friday as part of 'Listen To God: Hear the Poor' week.
This joint initiative between Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols aims to highlight the efforts of Christians who work with those in need and runs from Passion Sunday on 6 April to Palm Sunday on 13 April.
Bishop Thomas McMahon and Bishop Stephen Cottrell spent the day visiting two flagship poverty fighting projects in their dioceses. The bishops visited Chelmsford Food Bank in the morning, before travelling to Caritas Anchor House in Canning Town, Newham - a homeless charity of which Bishop Thomas has been a significant supporter over the years.
Meeting with Director Keith Fernett and Appeal Director Guy Insull, they spoke about the organisation's work with the homeless and vulnerable in Newham and heard about the charity’s £9.3million Home and Hope Appeal, which aims to expand their facilities to meet the growing demand on their services.
A highlight of the day was meeting with Caritas Anchor House residents Hassan, Warren, Richard and Lavina. The four spoke openly of their experiences and told the bishops how much of a difference the charity has made to their lives, providing them with not just a home, but also the support and training they need to get back on their feet.
“Our charity is based in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK,” said Director Keith Fernett. “Newham is at the wrong end of every statistic including poverty, homelessness, health and employment, and we work with those at the very margins of society.
“Our aim is to put the Christian values for alleviating poverty and suffering into practice, and through our programme of services we are able to help those who have experienced much loss. Our residents are achieving great things - they are taking courses, volunteering and getting into work, and it’s fantastic to be able to share their stories with the Christian community.”
For more information about Caritas Anchor House, please go to www.caritasanchorhouse.org.uk. Alternatively, if you would like to make a donation towards their work, please send a cheque payable to Caritas Anchor House to Freepost – Homeless, 81 Barking Road, London E16 4HB.