Historically RHWS has primarily developed into a grant giving trust rather than adopting a “hands on approach”. The trustees have reviewed this policy and decided to direct the charity’s principal activity to combating the existence of modern day slavery with the Sparrows Project with the following mission statement:-
We aim to raise awareness of the existence of modern day slavery in the area, to seek to counter it and to provide individually tailored support to survivors by assisting them to recover from their past experiences and to move on establishing themselves in society.
In seeking to achieve these goals we pledge to:-
- Put the survivors at the centre of what we do
- Demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus to all we seek to assist
- Accept all irrespective of race, creed, belief, age, gender, disability, history or personal characteristics
- Work in partnership with organisations with similar aims
- Behave towards all with integrity and transparency
- Conduct all activities in a professional manner
With this new direction the charity has been:
- Active in developing links with councils, charities, and other organisations seeking the same goal;
- Seeking to raise awareness of modern day slavery in businesses, faith groups and associations;
- Arranging training and awareness raising events for individuals and voluntary organisations;
- Highlighting the existence of slavery by the provision of events and activities within the wider community.
Restore Hope West Somerset (RHWS) was begun in 2008 by Christians in West Somerset to provide a drop-in centre providing compassion, care, comfort and companionship for homeless, disadvantaged and damaged people. The centre’s success attracted the notice of various parties including the local constabulary, council officials and others who provide financial and other support in the community.
RHWS became a fully registered charity in 2009 with the broad, but not exclusive, objectives of helping those suffering from homelessness, family problems and drug and alcohol abuse. It raised and donated funds for community groups throughout West Somerset. These organisations like RHWS, sought to address issues of poverty and problems of addiction and enhance the life of individuals including children through education, training. be-friending and the provision of recreational facilities.
The ethos of the charity stems from its interdenominational Christian belief that Jesus Christ loves everyone. It therefore seeks to provide support and assistance, and to work with all, irrespective of faith, belief gender or ethnicity and in an atmosphere of non-judgmental acceptance and respect. To this end RHWS has and is supporting a number of projects including but not limited to:
- The original drop in centre which today is a registered charity providing practical assistance, support and advice services particularly to those who are addicted, homeless or damaged – a charity which has been officially recognised with a number of awards.
- RHWS also worked with Home Start West Somerset which supports children and families in West Somerset, being amongst the supporters who enabled it to continue in the face of local authority funding cuts. In particular in 2012 RHWS funded the trial extension of their work amongst families with children aged up to seven years.
- An RHWS grant has also enabled extra swimming sessions to be provided to older members of the community, especially those with disability problems and further funding has been provided for the building of additional community rooms and non-slip floor coverings at a local school swimming pool.
- RHWS are pleased to have been able to support a local sea-scout group in the conversion of a derelict council building enabling the provision of toilet and changing facilities – facilities now utilised by many youth groups.
- RHWS were also pleased to be part of the funding package put together to purchase a replacement vehicle for a local charity’s furniture re-use project which helps supply good quality furniture to those on limited incomes whilst at the same time saving unwanted furniture being sent to landfill.
- RHWS have supported a local church outreach by providing funds for the purchase of equipment and furniture for a project which extended that church’s work in the community.
- RHWS has provided the finance for a soft play area for a church based family centre.
Rhonda describes herself primarily as a mother and wife who is also a freelance speaker, writer and life skills counsellor working to see lives of the disadvantaged transformed. As a graduate of bible college and trained in social care and social science she brings experience of working in the corporate sector, with local and central government and the charitable sector both in the UK and abroad. She has contributed to the development of programmes and guides for those working with the disadvantaged. Her experience and knowledge will be invaluable in maintaining and developing the scope of the charity’s activities.
Sofi worked in South Africa where she established and managed a community centre initially providing support for disadvantaged and at risk children. In the 10 years she worked there the project engaged and was supported by all ethnicities and grew to provide many services including a safe house, therapies, palliative care and a mobile clinic. She brings to Sparrows a wide range of skills including working with the community and involved authorities.
John became a trustee of Restore Hope West Somerset in 2019 after a career working as a lawyer seeking to give a voice to those who were excluded from society or otherwise disenfranchised. His experience in dealing with the policies and working of both local and national government as well as insights into regulatory issues will provide invaluable assistance in achieving the charity’s aims of combating modern day slavery.