On Friday 21 and Saturday 22 June 2019, “Building the Kingdom”, the title of the SVP’s National Meeting, took place at Loughborough University in the diocese of Nottingham.
Members from the SVP, who last year alone made 442,847 visits to people in need, came from all over England and Wales to hear guest speakers share things their organisations are doing to make poverty history.
MP John Battle, in government for 23 years until 2010, chaired the event. Speakers from a host of organisations including De Paul International, the Trussell Trust, St Mary’s University, Loughborough University, the Daughters of Charity, SVP India, New Bridge Foundation, the SVP and many more spoke on how to work together to build God’s kingdom here on earth.
Amongst the SVP members in attendance at the Conference were Young Vincentians from the SVP group at University of Sussex. They contributed to presentations on the Young Vincentian programmes which encourage teenagers, university students as well as children to engage in their local communities up and down the country.
Johnson Varghese and Litto Palathingal came from India where the SVP has over 33,000 members in the State of Kerala alone. Members of the SVP’s National Twinnage Committee shared stories of poverty and life-saving work in SVP twinned countries around the world, and Kate Nightingale, Deputy CEO of SVP gave insight onto the important role of Community Support Projects helping locally across the country.
Delegates felt the meeting was insightful and helped them gain a better understanding of the potential for collaboration and innovation.
SVP National President Helen O’Shea said: “The world is in a poor state at the moment, with loneliness, conflict, hunger and homelessness rife not only in the UK, and in many other countries around the world where the SVP is present. That’s why we feel it is imperative to work collaboratively as much as possible, with other charitable organisations, government, and businesses, to improve things for the many people our members visit and support each and every day.
Looking forward we would encourage anyone who feels they would like to support us, because what we believe in is a better world for everyone, from every walk of life. We are determined to implement this while we are able, in ways we are able to do so. “
Richard Palmi, SVP member and trustee said: “It was fantastic to hear how the SVP with other organisations like the FamVin Homelessness alliance is helping people across the board, from very vulnerable sometimes even suicidal people in debt through our HMO in Sheringham, East Anglia, to prisoners who have lost their home because they are unable to pay their mortgages when they are in prison. I heard stories I’d never have believed were possible and it really opened my eyes even more on poverty that exists and how we can all do something to prevent it.”
Elizabeth Palmer, CEO of the SVP said: “It was fantastic to see our staff and members gather together at the weekend in celebration of building the kingdom in England and Wales, and around the world, and the partnerships through which we do this. If anyone would like to join the SVP or find out more we would love to hear from you.”
The meeting closed with a Mass celebrated by Fr Paul Roche, National Spiritual Adviser, assisted by altar server Alec Jewell, a member of the SVP’s Young Vincentians staff team. Members representing the 23 regional Central Councils which make the SVP in England and Wales, and a live band enriched the celebration.
Read more soon when a feature is published in the Catholic Universe, which we will share with you here.