Guest Blog – by Anne Heath:

January 2015 has heralded an awareness of something that we all knew was happening in the world but thought of it as happening somewhere else. Yes we have been moved by the plight of families in Syria, concerned by the number of journalists who are trying to do their job but are being thrown in prison for doing just that in any number of countries.

But the events in Paris were different, it could have been here. We perhaps do not have a satirical magazine such as Charlie Hebdo but we have Private Eye and have you looked at Steve Bell in the Guardian recently? Satire is a powerful tool, which is sometimes offensive and painful but killing the creator will not stop it – understanding, dialogue yes but not killing. To simultaneously take hostages and kill in a kosher supermarket where innocent people are buying their daily groceries can never be justified and certainly not in the name of Islam.

Thinking about how these events may affect the families we work with here in Westminster and also north Kensington is part of understanding our community but we also think about our team.

What is remarkable is the diversity of that small team of 5 people. 1 Muslim, 1 Jew, 1 Buddhist, 1 Anglican and led by a South African where ‘faith’ takes many forms! This is not religious engineering this is about having the best people and the best team for the job. And what a job they do!

If fundamentalism in different faiths is one buzzword of the moment then inequality is the other. And Westminster, where we work and have supported nearly 1000 families with over 2000 children in the last 5 years, has some of the most dramatic evidence of inequality in the UK. Of 625 London wards on the Child Poverty Measure Westminster has the most deprived ward, i.e. number 1, in Church Street and number 624 least deprived in Knightsbridge & Belgravia. There are 3 more Westminster wards in the top 20. In Church Street over 50% of children are defined as living in poverty – in Knightsbridge this is well under 5%. Poverty and great wealth live side by side in this diverse or shall we just say unequal part of our great city.

When we say our team with the group of 100+ volunteers supports ANY family with a child under 5 who needs us we mean it. Hoping to level the playing field and give everybody a better chance irrespective of their faith.

‘I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’

Evelyn Hall biographer of Voltaire.

  RSS 2.0

Leave a Reply