Great St Mary’s works with partners both at home and abroad. These community organisations are giving new life and hope to many who are destitute, providing shelter and skills training, enabling them to earn their living and lead a reasonable life.
Parishioners who have visited our partners speak of the tremendous spirit of love and care of those working in our projects; many in need coming from miles around because the projects really care for them.
The strong support of Great St Mary’s has enabled work to go ahead on some projects which otherwise would not have been possible. Our financial support goes hand-in-hand with ongoing relationships of friendship and care.
- Partners for Change – Ethiopia An innovative partnership scheme pioneering new approaches to community development and care of orphans. They believe that all communities have the capacity to bring change, hope and life. Their remarkable work is helping local people take the initiative and empower their own lives; exploring how communities can grow and develop. Specific projects which we support include the Village of Hope former leprosy colony where 16,000 people live in great poverty and a project in Somaliland working amongst displaced persons living in corrugated iron shelters with no basic facilities.
- Phoenix India provides shelter, education and skills training for street children and help in poor rural communities. Our support includes enabling the first basic nurses training course which now thrives and a pilot irrigation project to help combat the effects of erratic monsoons on young crops and thus help avoid the devastating consequences of harvest failure. Creating hope from despair.
- Institute for Rural Health Studies in India provides vital health care and training in poor, often remote, villages near Hyderabad. A unique part of their work is the award-winning Travellers’ Aid for the Sick Centre and Patient Counsellor programme at Hyderabad bus station. Here 2 patient counsellors patrol platforms and staff a small health care centre helping the sick with medical care and support, if necessary to hospitals. Life transforming.
- Medical Support in Romania (MSR) founded by Patrick Colquhoun of GSM 25 years ago pioneers co-development of medical support and training. It has achieved a great deal in a spirit of care and friendship, impacting national policies, and is now becoming self-sustaining. Many doctors from Cambridge visit and give their time and expertise free. Romanians also visit GSM. A special feature is a Patient Representative Scheme cross-fertilised from the Institute for Rural Health Studies project.
- Ntunungwe school in rural Zimbabwe has highly motivated staff and pupils (400); The school is also giving many orphans shelter and education and is the focal point for communities for miles around. Our funding has resulted in the school not having to lose staff, following Government cutbacks. We have also provided a generator to run two computers and lighting in the classrooms and an aerial for a mobile phone connection. Recently crop failure from lack of rain has led to major malnutrition for many pupils. We funded a large supply of porridge which provides vital nutrition; the school said our support was ‘an answer to prayer’.
- Kids for Kids, North Darfur, Sudan works in 78 very poor villages in harsh desert conditions, lifting whole communities out of abject poverty, giving them a real chance in life, also enabling basic health care and education. Most important of all, they provide a hand pump for a village which changes lives dramatically. A village leader says: ‘A hand pump does more than provide fresh, clean water. Children no longer have to walk for water each day (7 miles) and can go to school, so for the first time they have real hope for the future.’
- The Delhi Brotherhood Society works with many paid and voluntary helpers to provide shelter, medical care, training and education for the very poor living in slums and settlements. Their vision is to help, inspire and motivate people to realise their potential and create their own destiny by helping them to become self-reliant and independent. We have particularly supported a new home for boys and a night-shelter for street children linked to day-time skills. Bringing new life and hope.
- The Holy Land Institute for the Deaf at Salt in Jordan gives vital support and education without which many would have no means of communication. The Institute was visited by a GSM group in 2011. They were hugely impressed with the quality and extent of the work, the obvious happiness of the children and by the inspirational principal, Brother Andrew. Further, there are around 1.25 million Syrian refugees in Jordan and the Institute has helped some 1,800 children and elderly people with visual and hearing disabilities.
- Diocese of Egypt, N Africa and Horn of Africa with a small team reaches out to many in need including refugees, over a very wide area, at this challenging time of political instability, with many programmes, bringing new life and hope.
- Aradin Trust: a Christian organisation doing remarkable work that through culture and education is helping communities in the Middle East work together regardless of race and religion; bringing reconciliation, unity and peace. A true beacon of hope.
- Cambridge Churches Homelessness project; we provide supper, hospitality and overnight accommodation in the Church for up to 14 guests twice a month over the winter in collaboration with 8 other churches.
- Emmaus UK was launched at Great St Mary’s in 1990 by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie and Selwyn Image, a member of our congregation. Emmaus seeks to build self-esteem, skills for work, a sense of belonging, companionship and a home: a true social enterprise, giving away its surplus to those in greater need.
- Romsey Mill working with marginalised families and young people across Cambridgeshire. An important aspect of their work is the Aspire programme for those with autism. They are now helping Syrian families who have come to Cambridge.
- We support local organisations working with the homeless and those in need including:
- Church Urban Fund which tackles poverty and injustice in various parts of the UK, bringing hope and renewal, and healing the ‘brokenness’.
- Arts and Minds, hosting the weekly Michaelhouse Chorale, a group of singers including some with mental health issues. Arts and Minds are also a partner in our Heritage Education project.
- We participate in the International and Social Affairs Committee of the Churches’ Network (ISAC) which is small, autonomous and ecumenical, and is concerned with major social issues in Cambridge and the surrounding area.
- The Wider Concerns Committee is responsible for developing our work with partners in mission, raising funds and providing information and education for the congregation This ensures that we maintain a global dimension to our concern and our ministry as well as being involved with local social initiatives.