What we do:
The aims of SanKTus are the relief of poverty, the advancement of health and the relief of those in need by reasons of age, ill health, financial hardship and other disadvantages. The beneficiaries are homeless and vulnerable people, the elderly and those with support needs.
We provide nutritious food and refreshments for socially isolated people; this service is linked to the availability of our Welfare Coordinator to support them to access housing, health and social care services. We find emergency housing for rough sleepers and we offer facilities for those in need of a shower and a change of clothes. We be-friend regular guests in a welcoming environment; we have just started a film club and an art group to improve our service users' social connections through their participation. We support over 60 volunteers to help us deliver these services.
In addition to working with this client group, we run a range of social and recreational activities every Tuesday for local pensioners including a lunch club; bingo, knitting and a keep fit class.
Our beginnings ...
SanKTus began life as Our Lady Help of Christians Welfare Project in February 1992 when parishioners of the local Catholic Church came together on Sundays to provide tea, sandwiches and companionship to the growing number of homeless people in the Kentish Town area, many of whom were Irish. The 32 original volunteers worked in volunteer teams and this laid down the foundations for how we work today.
As the number of the regular guests reliant on these services increased they were presenting volunteers with more complex issues to sort out, so the project's organisers successfully applied to the DION fund of Ireland to better resource the project to meet the growing needs of these marginalised people for food, respite and advice on other services which could improve their circumstances; now known as the Emigrant Support Programme, this fund remains the main source of support for SanKTus and it goes towards the running costs of the Welfare Project, the pensioners activities and the Welfare Coordinator's post.
SanKTus registered as a charity 4 years ago and is now managed by a board of trustees and although independent of Our Lady help of Christians Catholic Church, SanKTus remains the welfare project of the parish; it still benefits from the parish in terms of volunteers coming through to help deliver the services and the project's activities are based in the parish halls; this level of support represents a huge subsidy to SanKTus; the project still has the continued support of Ireland's ESP fund to meet the core costs of the project and recently we received funding from the Big Lottery's Awards For All to run art activities and a film club; this funding award is also to go towards the Management Committee's business planning which they are working on at the moment to generate a more sustainable funding base to continue the project and maybe develop the services for the Welfare Project and the pensioners groups.
Volunteers To do all we do we rely on volunteers and as our most valuable asset we continue to look at ways to enhance the experience of volunteering at SanKTus; volunteers fulfil a wide range of essential tasks at SanKTus including catering, befriending, caretaking and overseeing the running of our recreational activities. The work our volunteers do to support the homeless is well known locally and they were honoured with an official reception held in their honour by the Mayor of Camden 3 years ago at the Town Hall. (Please see annual reports files)
As the project develops and long-standing volunteers retire we need to find new ways of attracting new recruits to get involved in our work for the long term. Crucial to this is finding effective ways of enhancing their reliability and commitment when they sign up; we want volunteers to gain new skills that will help their employment prospects if that is what they are looking for as an outcome of their volunteering, or it they are looking for a social outlet if they are newly retired, SanKTus is a good place to connect with the local community.
We plan to recruit a part time Volunteer Coordinator in October 2014 to identify and train volunteers to work across all our services and activities; we anticipate the outcome of this 12 month post will be a stronger volunteer base for us to take forward.
If you are interested in volunteering at SanKTus please contact Mona on her mobile or email; there are always vacancies that might match the time and skills you have to offer the project.
What is involved in volunteering at SanKTus: We depend on volunteers to help us organise our regular free food & support services on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays afternoons between 12pm and 3.30pm and/or on Sundays between 1pm and 4.30pm. You will take time to engage with our guests, to show concern for their welfare and to encourage them to participate in the project's activities.
The time commitment varies from a minimum of one regular Sunday per month, or one session on a regular weekday. You will need to sign a Volunteer Contract to commit your involvement for a minimum of 6 months and to meet with member of the management committee and / or the Welfare Coordinator for an induction meeting.
You will work in a team of volunteers with a common purpose, so you will find volunteering at SanKTus a rewarding experience. If you are looking for work experience it offers pathways to support and community work also hospitality and catering jobs. We also welcome people who have worked in similar settings or have been involved in caring or bringing up a family. We also need volunteers to help us run our Pensioners activities on Tuesdays and this involves catering and serving roles.