In aid of St Petrock’s
The Junior School celebrated their Harvest Festival this week in Chapel, which went very well with the theme of the week, ‘generosity’. It was great to see pupils being so generous, coming in with either financial donations or bags full of goods to donate to our chosen charity this year.
The service began with an anthem from the Junior Singers, the choir for Form One and Upper One pupils, who sang Harvest Hymn beautifully.
Revd Tom then reminded pupils what Harvest is all about, explaining that it is the time of year when crops are gathered in. Harvest helps us to remember that food doesn’t just magically appear in the supermarkets, but it takes a lot of work to get from the fields to our plates. Recalling this, of course, helps us to be grateful for all that we have and this in turns makes us give to those in need with generosity.
The Chaplain’s Charity of the Year is St. Petrock’s, Exeter’s charity for the homeless or vulnerably housed. We were pleased to welcome Gill Luckings from the charity to talk to the pupils about the work they do. Gill told us that each year around 600 people in Exeter face becoming homeless and that they help many people who come to their centre on Cathedral Yard. She explained that people can become homeless for all sorts of reasons, but the biggest factors are poverty, relationship breakdown and the lack of affordable housing.
Gill talked about the way that St. Petrock’s endeavour to move people away from life on the streets as quickly as possible into affordable accommodation. The charity have their own housing projects, including a private rented housing service, an emergency four bedroom house, as well as flats from Exeter City Council. Last year they accommodated 243 people.
Every day St. Petrock’s supports between 55 to 65 people in their centre. While they are getting help to find somewhere to live, or getting support with their health or benefits, they take advantage of the chance to have a hot breakfast and lunch, a shower, doing their laundry, and getting clean clothes or a sleeping bag. In fact, each year St. Petrock’s prepare around 10,000 meals, so Gill expressed deep gratitude to Exeter School pupils for contributing so much to help with these.
After Gill had spoken, the school stood to sing ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter’, a traditional Harvest hymn. Thank you to all who contributed.
St. Petrock’s will be the Chaplain’s Charity throughout the year and we hope to make a real difference to this very worthy cause.