When you have hope you have no option other than to Raise Your Voices.
Throughout November and December, Church Urban Fund (CUF) together with community projects, churches and schools is running Raise Your Voices, a music- based fundraiser, in aid of our work with people seeking asylum, people experiencing homelessness, families facing food poverty and financial exclusion, and people who feel they are on the edge, isolated and lonely.
Church Urban Fund is a social action charity working in local communities throughout England to tackle injustice and poverty including modern slavery. There are countless people in this country who feel voiceless and powerless, in need of help and support. Raise Your Voices is about offering these people hope through the work of Church Urban Fund.
One example of how the funds are being used is Transforming Communities Together, a partnership between the Anglican Diocese of Lichfield and the Church Urban Fund, are encouraging collaboration between the church, police and statutory agencies. Raising awareness of modern slavery as well as supporting victims, there are 12 churches across Wolverhampton on standby to act as reception centres for potential victims of modern slavery.
James Henderson, vice-chair of Wolverhampton’s Modern Slavery Partnership and Transforming Communities Together Development Worker said:
“Working with CUF is a great way to show to our community partners about how the church practically cares for and loves their neighbours. This partnership approach to tackling modern slavery is now being replicated in other areas.”
Over 50 Raise Your Voices events will take place across the country with thousands of people raising their voices. Six extra special events with acclaimed choirs are taking place in impressive venues and these tickets are on sale now. The events kick-off on the 8th November in Southwark Cathedral, featuring The Rolling Tones, London International Gospel Choir and The Memory Café. The Memory Café is a project run by St Cuthbert’s Church in North Wembley and funded by CUF through its core programme Near Neighbours. The Café brings people in the community together once a week who are impacted by issues such as memory loss or loneliness. At the Café visitors have food and refreshments, take part in arm chair aerobics, and raise their voices in the Memory Café choir. One participant said: ‘it has helped me a lot to forget my loneliness in particular, and my depression, and I’ve never known such a lovely place.’
The vicar, Revd Steve Morris, says: ‘The Church Urban Fund has had two real impacts, number one was the money…. Without the money we couldn’t have started. But as important as the money was having someone who believed in us. Memory Café has helped people to raise their voices, not just to raise their voices but to sing about the things that matter in life, to sing that they matter in life, to sing that love wins. This project is about hope and when you have hope you have no option other than to Raise Your Voices.’
CUF are encouraging communities to get involved in raising their voices and raising money for this great cause. Whether you’re from a church, cathedral, school, or community project there are so many ways to get involved. Hosting an event could mean a variety of different things as every Raise Your Voices event will be unique from organising a concert in your church or school with a local choir, taking a collection for Church Urban Fund at your usual Christmas carol service, putting on an end-of-term concert at your school with pupils performing Christmas carols and hits, or carol singing with a Raise Your Voices collection-bucket.
Paul Hackwood, Executive Director for CUF says, ‘The spirit of Raise Your Voices is really at the heart of what we’re all about at Church Urban Fund. These events are about bringing people together to make a stand against injustice. They’re about collectively doing something that will have a lasting legacy in transforming many lives and communities around the country. Of course, these events will be entertaining and fun, but at the core of them is something very important: a group of people prepared to raise their voices and make a difference.’
CUF are asking that people will get involved and help support all the work they do by buying tickets to their concerts across the country or by hosting their own fundraiser.
To find out more visit www.raiseyourvoices.org.uk