A Message from Henryhenry circle

Last week I came across a couple of pieces of paper on which I had written ‘Christmas 2017’.  I remembered that it was what I said I would like to see by the 2017 Christmas party.  As I read the notes, I was greatly encouraged to read that what I had written had pretty much happened!  For example; satellite centres in villages such as Linton and Clare, and although we don’t exactly have ‘satellite centres’ as such, we do have two great ladies working out in the community bringing hope and all the Reach resources via home visits to the rural areas.  Tina covers the villages from Haverhill into South Cambs, eg. Linton and Abington and Jo covers Haverhill and the surrounding villages eg. Wickhambrook and Clare etc [1].
From 1st April to 30th November we have seen a doubling of our foodbank use in the rural communities compared to the same period last year![2]  Whilst other support services in the villages have been cut, those that remain like schools and midwives have welcomed us, especially in South Cambs where Tina is receiving requests for help almost on a daily basis!
Meanwhile Jo (see below), who has only been with us since September is busy building links and supporting those struggling with poverty related issues; people like ‘Terry’ who was formerly homeless but now can rest in the knowledge of having a roof over his head this winter.
It really is an amazing privilege to work with such a great team in serving the local community, we really couldn’t do it without you.  A big thank you for all your support throughout 2017; we do have ambitious plans for 2018, but more of that next month. For now may I wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.

[1] Reach into the community
[2] Of the 968 people fed through the foodbank, 97 are from rural communities compared to last year where 784 people were fed and just 37 were from rural communities

Henry Wilson, 14/12/2017

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A Message from Jo 

Dear Friends, Jo circle

I was reminded this week of that old seasonal story, A Christmas Carol.  Maybe you too have been catching up on Christmas films or songs and have been enjoying watching re-runs of the classics? Well, it got me thinking about the work that is done here at Reach and the help we offer; quite often when we meet clients for the first time we are asking them to look back in time to see what has gone on in their past and we record what has gone on before that day.  Then we take a look at their current circumstances and see what is happening in their life at that present time and see where they are financially, socially and emotionally.  Then with those things in hand, we aim to look to their future to see where we can help.

Now I am not for one minute comparing any of us to the characters of Scrooge or Marley!! But for me as a Christian, I take hold of the thought that God takes me from the past, sees where I am in my current state and offers me the gift of light and hope for the future.  We could all do well to look back, look in and then look ahead.  What has brought us to where we are today and how are we going to move forward?

Well the good news is that the God I serve is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever - and I find that amazing!  The ever faithful and ever-loving God will always guide us, will forever love us and will never leave us.  So here within the work of Reach we can also take those thoughts on board and apply them to us as a charity.  This year God has brought us from being four staff to now being seven, we have expanded the areas in which we now work and our community work is reaching vulnerable in villages in Suffolk, Essex & South Cambs.  Also our volunteers’ base has grown, which is fantastic, as we actually couldn’t do the work we do without them.  God, who is ever faithful, has brought the whole idea of Reach into fruition, is our constant source of daily help, and gives us fresh vision for all that He would have us do in the future.

So, as this year comes to a close, may we take the opportunity to thank you for all your support for Reach – we really couldn’t do all that we do without the prayer support we receive from so many – and we will continue to serve our communities in the best way that we can….

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  Proverbs 31:8-9
A very Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!
From all at Reach Community Projects.
….We’ll praise Him for all that is past and trust Him for all that’s to come…. (Traditional Hymn)

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Henry's Blogspot

As I write this, it is literally 12 years to the day that I began working as a debt counsellor for Christians Against Poverty.  In my first year we helped 36 families or individuals with debt related issues, today we are helping hundreds of families every year with debt, food, furniture and more.  We are seeing some great success stories too, like Janet who is featured in our annual review[1] and became debt free this year!  Or Mark & Liz who also became debt free this year; to me this is why we do it and despite the difficulties of fundraising and ensuring we have enough food in to help those struggling, these stories just make it so worthwhile!
Despite our successes, we’re not content to sit back when there are people struggling with poverty related issues, who cannot come in to see us and it doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s a lack of income, a change of benefit or debt, we want to help. To enable us to do this we have launched a new project called ‘Reach into the Community’. We are thrilled to have Tina who is looking after the villages into South Cambs and Jo who is looking after Haverhill and the surrounding villages, bringing Reach resources out into the community.
We have many challenges ahead, not least Universal Credit[2] – the Governments new way of supporting low income families and some of the most vulnerable in our community.  As of 18th October Haverhill will become a full UC area meaning that those claiming it for the first time will have to wait up to 6 weeks (longer sometimes) before they receive any money.  Claimants will be offered a short term benefit advance, but sadly we are expecting an increased demand on our foodbank than usual and therefore we have been preparing ourselves for this.  We are quite relieved that it Harvest time where we receive lots of food from schools and churches and are hoping for a good ‘harvest’ to replenish our depleted stocks.  If you would like to know our current needs in terms of food, these can be found on our website - alternatively sign up to receive our weekly email by contacting Corrine at
Other challenges include our surround our finances.  We are so pleased to receive the support of a number of private individuals and companies who support us regularly via our regular giving scheme.  This is a great way to support us and helps us become more sustainable going forward and helps us with our budgeting.  If this something that you feel that you too are able to do, please visit our website for more information.
Lastly, I just want to say a big thank you for helping us support local people struggling with poverty related issues in and around Haverhill.  It’s been an amazing 12 years and we know there are many more people who need our help, however you help us, whether it’s food, finance or volunteering we really couldn’t do it without you.
[1] Annual Review
[2] Universal Credit


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Maxine's Blog

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Maxine, I have lived in Haverhill for the last nine years having moved from Peterborough. I am married and have two gorgeous children.  For the last fifteen years I have dedicated my life to my family doing a variety of part-time jobs that have fitted around school. Last year I returned to college, achieving a diploma which has enabled me to secure a placement at Anglia Ruskin University studying BA (Hons) in Social Policy.  I am super excited to be starting my new position at Reach Community Projects.



Tell us about your new position at Reach?

My new position at Reach Community Projects is Resource Centre Supervisor.  This is a temporary three month contract whilst Ann takes a well deserved break.  This involves liaising with the warehouse to ensure that we have adequate supplies at the Centre to meet the needs of the local community, ensuring the Centre is fully staffed and general administration duties.


Are you looking forward to starting your new position at Reach?

I am super excited to be starting my new position at Reach Community Projects.  I started volunteering here in January 2017 one afternoon a week as an advisor and this is a great opportunity for me to continue the hard work and dedication that Ann has put into this wonderful charity helping the local community.


What are you looking to gain from Reach?

During my time with Reach Community Projects I hope to gain greater insight into the daily struggles that our local community deal with every day.  I hope that as I gain experience I will be able to make a difference to the community.  I am hoping that my experiences here will assist with my future studies and also that my studies will be of future use to Reach Community Projects.


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