Miriam, president of Birmingham University SVP 1833, had always been aware of the SVP, but it wasn’t until she started university in 2010 that she really got involved.
‘At my first meeting I felt immediately comfortable. Everyone there was trying to do something active with their faith. I started visiting St Joseph’s Care Home and I’ve been involved with the group ever since. I only really realised how large the SVP was when I went to the SVP 1833 Weekend Away later that year – meeting other young people doing the same thing from all over the UK was fantastic.’
‘As president, my job is to help people to find a way to put their Christian faith into action. We help out at St Chad’s Sanctuary, sorting out donations of food and clothing and preparing hygiene and baby-care packs for asylum-seekers. We also assist in the English classes. Two members work at SIFA Fireside, a drop-in centre for the homeless and those affected by alcohol misuse. They prepare food or simply sit and talk to the people who come for help. At St Joseph’s Care Home we visit a group of ladies who live in semi-sheltered accommodation, to chat about life and drink lots of tea. They really enjoy visits from the students, as it’s nice to hear from ‘young people’ – especially the boys! We also go upstairs to visit those who need extra care or who suffer from mental health difficulties. Some members help out with the Birmingham soup run, serving food and hot drinks to the homeless. Sometimes someone might share something of their life with you, or just come to say thanks, and it’s great to know that, for that evening at least, you’ve made that person’s life a tiny bit easier.’