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Salford Diocese

You may remember reading about the Community Support Group in the summer edition of the parish magazine. Since then much has been achieved which we would like to share with you.

We decided we needed a framework within which to work. This process is on-going and we have had support from Mark Wiggins,the director of Caritas Diocese of Salford in this.

The group have devised volunteer guidelines' to support all those who undertake the valuable work within our parish community. Although we are confident that all parish volunteers carryout their work to the highest standard it was felt important to demonstrate to the wider community that, as a parish, we respect the individual and wish to promote the dignity of all.

This year's Christmas Shoe Box Appeal was coordinated by the group who are also responsible for coordinating the Eucharistic Ministers.

At present there are over 60 people currently receiving Communion at home.This would not be possible without the support of the Eucharistic Ministers,recently 8 more people have been Commissioned to this valuable and rewarding Ministry.

Recent winters have been severe, in preparation for this year's potential bad weather volunteers were sought who would be prepared to shop for those who became housebound short term due to illness or bad weather. This winter has not been as severe as those of recent years' and so the service has not be used to its full potential but it is hoped, that when needed, we can call upon the volunteers year round. We would like to thank Peter Gattei who has agreed to coordinate the volunteers.

Currently the group have several on-going projects. We are examining ways to establish closer links between our parish and the Special Educational Needs Schools. A new transport scheme to enable the housebound get to church is being investigated. The group will coordinate a Mass for the sick during the summer. We are hoping to compile a reference guide of useful information. Finally, we are aiming to hold a summer social event. But a small steering group cannot do all this alone, we need your help!

Alongside the work we are already undertaking we are also looking to the future. You cannot fail to recognise that we are experiencing significant cuts in benefits and services; this will impact on all of us but especially to the vulnerable in our community.

Together with this we need to consider how we make a difference to the wider parish community, to those whop don’t attend Mass? There is wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences within the parish; the question is how can we use them?

If you would like to be involved in any of the future projects or have any suggestions for future projects please speak with Ft John or Maxine Pollard, we cannot do any of this without your help!

St Mary’s Community Support Group