Partnerships of hope

Our work is only possible thanks to the support of people, churches, and supporters across England, acting together so we can have the biggest impact

The number of people estimated to be sleeping rough for a single night rose in 2022, with the largest increase seen in London. The Reverend Nicholas Pye leads efforts at St Paul’s Finchley to fundraise for our work addressing homelessness.

The church has a tradition of donating 10% of unrestricted income to other charitable purposes, supporting a range of local, national and international causes. St Paul’s has been supporting CUF as one of the national charities that they work with since 2017.

In 2022 Reverend Pye joined forces with the staff and children of St Mary’s, their local Church of England primary school, to stage their fifth Sleep Out Challenge.

St Pauls Finchley Sleep Out Challenge 14 3 23 B Carrassco 8 Medium
St Pauls Finchley Sleep Out Challenge 14 3 23 B Carrassco 14 Medium

“The school’s decision to join with us was a direct outworking of its distinctive Christian vision and values, and a desire to help pupils become courageous advocates. Here in London, children are very aware of homelessness, and working together enabled them to take positive social action. Our Executive Headteacher invited years 5 and 6 to sleep in the school hall, and 38 children signed up. They watched a World Cup football match or a film, played games and drank hot chocolate.

I joined them for night prayer by candlelight, during which we recalled how Jesus was homeless, modelled compassionate care for those in need, and reflected on why we were doing the challenge. Before settling down in the hall for the night we watched a short video from Rob Wickham, our Area Bishop, who sent us

greetings and words of encouragement (Bishop Rob will join CUF as Chief Executive Officer in July 2023).

“It was a brilliant event and we invited the school community to give in sponsorship. Conscious of the cost-of-living crisis we were unsure what to expect, but the school and church members really got behind the children’s fundraising efforts. More than 100 donors supported the event and we raised over £4,000, more than we ever have for the Sleep Out Challenge. Seeing people come together to fundraise in this way with grandparents and family members leaving messages for pupils on the online giving page showed really positive engagement and support for an issue that clearly resonated with people.

"I believe this initiative enabled the pupils to see what it means to put one’s faith into practice and to serve the common good.

I look forward to building on this success, trusting that, in future years, the Sleep Out Challenge can help our church school develop a concern for justice and the confidence that it is possible for us to bring hope to those in need.”

Reverend Nicholas Pye

“The children could really see how we put our Christian values into practice. We talked about compassion, hope and thankfulness, and about, sometimes, while you’re doing things to help other people, you can have fun. At the same time you know will make a difference for people.”

Stefan Roos, Executive Headteacher, St Mary’s CE Primary School, Finchley

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