Bishop David's Lent visit to SWEET Project
21 March 2014 by Steve Squires

Bishop David's Lent visit to SWEET Project

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Bishop's menu of visits back Lent 'End Hunger Fast' Campaign

Birmingham’s Bishop, the Rt. Revd David Urquhart, will be serving breakfast, lunch and coffees as he visits projects across the region working with people facing food poverty and social isolation.

The Bishop has been supporting the End Hunger Fast initiative which is calling for work that pays a living wage, a welfare safety net for the most vulnerable and is urging the Government to investigate the food markets.

As part of the campaign, stories of food poverty and destitution are being collected in ‘Hunger Journals’ which will be presented to politicians.

Bishop David has pledged to spend time in Lent hearing the stories of people in Birmingham and Sandwell who face social exclusion and disadvantage.

Today, the Bishop’s first visit was to the SWEET project in Kings Norton which works with more than 300 families while providing training opportunities for social workers. The Bishop will have coffee with local residents and meet staff and students.

On Monday 24th March the Bishop will visit Smethwick where he will serve people with a free lunch in the town’s library as part of the new initiative ‘Smethwick in a Stew’ which has served over 600 hot meals in less than a month since it opened. The Bishop will also meet foodbank volunteers and visit the Dorothy Parkes centre where the stew is prepared.

Bishop David will be serving breakfast on Monday April 7th when he visits the SIFA Fireside centre in central Birmingham. The Bishop will join rugby players from Worcester Warriors to serve sausage sandwiches to people who are sleeping rough in the city. The End Hunger Fast campaign in Birmingham is aiming to raise pledges of £10,000 to ensure SIFA Fireside can continue to provide breakfast to homeless people in the city centre.

Speaking after the visit to the SWEET project, Bishop David said: “It was wonderful to meet staff, students and families at the project and hear stories of hope and perseverance in difficult circumstances.

“Christians across this city are working together with people of all faiths and people of good will to try and ensure that God’s love for all humankind is demonstrated in practical action and campaigns for policy changes.

“Jesus showed us how to live with love and compassion for one another, turning strangers into neighbours and including all those living on the margins of society. We cannot truly claim to be a follower of Christ and ignore the needs of our neighbour.”

Bishop David is chair of the city’s Social Inclusion Programme and recently helped launch the Birmingham Declaration which aims to shatter myths around deprivation and enable cities across the country to work together to tackle poverty. He was one of 27 Bishops who last month signed an open letter to the Government urging them to take action to end food poverty and reliance on foodbanks.