| North Staffs LinkLine |
- A Brief History
Fr. Stephen Fawcett at the time the Parish Priest at St. Werburgh's Roman Catholic Church in Clayton, is perhaps one of these rare people who make a difference.
An Aunt of Fr. Stephen was living in Bilston in the West Midlands and was unable to be fully a part of the community that she had been able to enjoy in her earlier life, this had left her feeling somewhat isolated and at times perhaps lonely and vulnerable too. Fr. Stephen was able to see at first hand, the benefits of the telephone befriending service his Aunt was receiving and the difference that this was bringing into her life. The seed was sown to begin a similar service in his own community.
After some time and several meetings being held in the Parish at Clayton, it was decided that it could be possible to begin such an undertaking. A Steering Committee of talented and experienced individuals was formed to set the wheels on the ground. Rooms and facilities were made available by the Parish and with kindly donated equipment, the decision to offer a new telephone befriending service was made. The aim was to provide support to isolated and vulnerable over 55's living within the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme.
..... North Staffs LinkLine had begun.
Who, What, Where, and When were only some of the decisions that would have to be considered and to Whom would these calls be made? A series of appeals for volunteers and requests for potential clients that might benefit from this kind of service was put into place. With a strong Christian ethos being the cornerstone of the Charity and with its aim to help all those who would benefit whatever their social background, beliefs or none, the first calls were made in July 2007 to just over a dozen individuals.
Sue McKenna was appointed as Project Manager and has seen the Charity grow from it's inception, to today where we support nearly 100 Clients each week (December 2013). Sue oversees the day to day management and promotes the Charity in meetings held with organisations and groups within and outside the Borough. Today we have 16 dedicated volunteers that are the core of the Charity making regular contact with those Clients.
Of course, we could not do all this without the support from the Parish that continues to furnish the rooms and facilities from which we operate and for which we are most grateful. We have also had the benefit of donations from many individuals, groups and organisation that have supported us so well. As some who have read local newspapers will know, we have also attracted further support from Newcastle Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council 'Well Being Fund' and from Robbie Williams "Give It Sum' Charity among the many that recognise the importance and impact of our work - all of which has contributed to making that difference.
Father Anton Made SCJj has happily continued the support of the Parish at Clayton and recently commented:
" This is not an end of life service, but a life enhancing service that is appreciated by all those that are receiving it."