charities treefest benefits a variety of local charities each year, raising around £5,000 through the generosity of corporate and visitor donations. Please help us support this year’s charities, St Mary Redcliffe Community Development and Bridges for Communities, by making a donation. st mary redcliffe community development St Mary Redcliffe Church is passionate about making a difference within its parish and has recently employed a community development worker and youth community development worker to support its work in the local community. The community development team are working with the congregation, local residents and organisations, taking an asset-based community development approach to seek new ways for improving community relations and involvement across the whole Redcliffe neighbourhood. A key part of the church’s outreach into the community is the weekly Redcliffe Lunch Club, established over 30 years ago, which provides companionship, a hot meal and entertainment for older, and often isolated, people. It starts with the serving of a two-course meal (prepared by the neighbouring Hilton Hotel), followed by a raffle and some form of entertainment. The club is run by a team of committed volunteers who are part of the church congregation and is supported by student volunteers from St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School. The church has taken an active role in establishing and facilitating several community activities in the last few years, including a gardening club, film club, drama sessions and a story collecting project. They work in partnership with the Methodist Church to manage Faithspace, a community centre in south Redcliffe, where a number of these activities take place. Provision for children and young people is an important part of the church’s community development work. Child poverty is amongst the highest 1% in the country in the area immediately south of St Mary Redcliffe Church and the church is determined to develop services in the local area that children and young people want and need. The church are currently leading basketball sessions in courts outside the high rise flats and supporting local initiatives to encourage children to play outside with their parents. BRIDGES FOR COMMUNITIES Bridges for Communities Bridges for Communities exists to connect people from different cultures and faiths, giving them the opportunity to build friendships and understand one another better. We seek to challenge the stereotypes and prejudice that exist between different groups of people, and we do this by promoting interaction and friendship at a grass roots level. The charity was founded 8 years ago by Dan and Karen Green, who were living in the Middle East at the time and wanted to enable young people from the UK to meet with young people in that part of the world, facilitating better understanding and trust between Christians and Muslims at a time when narratives of fear only seemed to be gaining in strength. In 2012 they returned to the UK and began running regular ‘Peace Feasts’ - local events that connected people of different faiths and cultures over a meal. This in turn has led to opportunities for people to visit one another’s places of worship, and numerous other initiatives. 4 years ago, Bridges also began to work with refugees and asylum seekers through it’s b.friend project, and now provides one-to-one support for many who are socially isolated through local volunteers who want to help people who have recently arrived in the country to feel welcome and to integrate well into their local community. Our strategy is simple – we seek to give people who would not ordinarily meet the chance to do so. All of our programmes have this aim in mind, and they include: B.friend – We train and support volunteers to provide one-to-one support for refugees and asylum-seekers in Bristol who may be new to the city, isolated or struggling. Befriending is listening, drinking tea, being compassionate, hearing difficult stories, going for a walk together, laughing, learning from another culture… and it can have a profound impact on both the volunteer and the person they meet with! Peace Feasts – This is a simple way of bringing people together around food and conversation. They usually take place in restaurants or community centres, and they always involve lots of delicious food! They have proven to be really popular events. Each time we run a Peace Feast we are reminded that there is something really powerful about people sharing a meal together. Sharing Festivals - Religious festivals and holidays, like Ramadan and Christmas, are a great opportunity for relationship and partnership between people from different faith communities. They present a simple opportunity for us to share our special occasions with others and to experience something of theirs as well. Refugee Social Events - We organise special events and days out for refugees, asylum seekers, and our volunteers, giving them the chance to have a shared experience doing something fun together, and providing a break from the challenges of daily life. Cultural Exchange Trips - We organise trips to connect people in the UK and the Middle East, facilitating opportunities for perceptions to be changed, for friendships to be built, and a lot of fun to be had! All our cultural exchange programs are designed with a strong emphasis on relationship - they're not just about seeing the sites or learning about the history, they are about getting to know the people! Cultural Training - We provide cultural awareness training for people working cross-culturally, and refugee support training for groups working with refugees and asylum-seekers. Through all these connections and experiences, we seek to inspire and equip people to become active agents of change, building a more cohesive society where people are better neighbours, newcomers feel more welcome and cities are less segregated. We would love you to join us! www.bridgesforcommunities.com / Email: info@bridgesforcommunities.com donating During treefest you can make a donation via the donation boxes in the church or text TFST17 £5 (or other amount) to 70070 to donate via your mobile. You can also make a donation online via Just Giving using the button below. Alternatively, you can send a cheque, made out to: St Mary Redcliffe Church PCC, to St Mary Redcliffe Parish Office, 12 Colston Parade, Bristol BS1 6RA We really are grateful for your support. And don’t forget that if you are a UK tax payer, we can reclaim the tax on your donation so please let us know and we can provide you with a GiftAid envelope.