Page: Action & Outreach

Updated 13 June 2019

   Linked with Pacong - South Sudan, Kutigi - Nigeria, Southern Nyanza - Kenya, Ijesha North - Nigeria, Karnataka Central - South India

Mary Head

Action and Outreach, Our Local Work

Diocesan Projects report by Mary Head, Past President, Project Co-ordinator

Friends for Parents

This is another of our very long standing projects, our services have grown here because more wards have been added to what was originally agreed.

The sad part is that we only have one Mothers’ Union member, Gill Wilding, working there at the moment, although there is a team of ladies carrying out the work. To see more details under Friends for Parents Click here  If you would like to help please ring Gill on 0117 924 0864.

Our members are very good at donating the tea and coffee for the wards, as well as toiletries for the emergency bags.

We have recently had to stop supplying sachets of sugar, as this has been quite a big expense and had become a drain on our funds.  Taking this step we hope that we can break even and therefore continue to support The Children's Hospital in this way. This decision was made by the Trustees, as they are responsible for making sure our outgoings are covered by sufficient funds and each project relies on the donations received.  It is therefore important that we continue to donate the funds we have in the branch to Mothers' Union Projects when we can.  

The RISE Project

Much has changed here. When we began working with The Rise we were always searching for clothing and furniture and even food.  But the Rise Project has enabled so many families to get to a stage where they are more independent as they have learnt how to become more self-reliant which is good to see.

There is a collection point in Corsham which enables us to access clothes, bedding etc when they are needed and the people in the Chippenham Deanery rally round.  We still provide a coach or two to let the families go to Weston for a day, and this is for many the highlight of the year, some never having been outside their own area let alone to the seaside. Be sure that if we need something for The Rise, members will be informed.

MU Members, if you have any useful photos of MU activities you take part in and which would help to illustrate sections of this page, please contact Chris Hart

Cathedral Welcoming

We have had a presence in Bristol Cathedral for a very long time.

Although our membership has declined in the Diocese, we are still managing to find enough members to attend the Cathedral Mon-Fri and Saturday mornings.

The welcomers are much appreciated by the visitors and Cathedral staff alike.  We are a presence and are able to keep a watchful eye on what is going on in the cathedral, which is good for security purposes.

We also get to meet such interesting people from all over the world.

On the last Saturday I worked I welcomed over 250 visitors from places such as Oman, Spain, Portugal. Italy, Sweden, Texas USA. Germany, France, Australia as well as people from all over the United Kingdom.

You can find out more about what we do first hand. For more information ring Barbara Edwards (01454 250390)

Service Users Swindon Team

Closed in 2017

To round up

A very big thank you to every branch that has donated in money or kind for our projects and I know individual members make donations as well.

As our membership is declining it is more difficult to keep all our projects going.  So thank you all.

Mothers' Union is an ever changing organisation always ready to change with the times and needs of those around us.  I cannot thank you all enough for what you do and achieve as members of Mothers' Union.

Ashfield Prison

This is a new project which started in November 2016 and is being taken care of by Kingswood and South Gloucestershire Deanery.  We welcome visitors to the prison in Pucklechurch every Saturday afternoon, arriving at 1pm to serve tea/coffee biscuits and sometimes home-made cakes or cookies, all of which are much appreciated.

The tea and coffee are supplied by the Prison and members take the biscuits and cakes. The visitors are getting used to us being there and also we are getting to know some of the regulars as we are build up good relationships.

We have a great team of around 20 members helping on a rota at present, but we are always glad to have more volunteers.

Virtual   Babies          

For about the last three years volunteers in Swindon Deanery have been working with Salisbury Diocese to enable senior school children to have  a virtual baby to take home for the weekend.  They have to care for it in the same way as if it were a real baby.  The doll has been programmed to cry for feeds, wake in the night etc, just as a real baby would.  This all goes to make the students aware of what it is like to have a real baby to care for.  Hopefully this will help reduce teenage pregnancies and make them better parents when they are older.  Some members from Corsham branch are now involved in a similar project in the Chippenham/Corsham area.To see more details Click here Contact Anne Pope (Swindon) on 01793 722187 or Cathy Reynolds (Corsham) on 01225 811865 for more information.

Away From It All holidays (AFIA)

Pam Mills is working with Rosemary Thomas this year, hoping that Rosemary will be able to take on the role of AFIA coordinator from next year.  

As you all know we no longer routinely provide holidays for families, which had become very difficult to organise for various reasons.  It seemed to the Trustees that it was better to provide a coach and driver to some of the most deprived areas in our Diocese for families to have a day at the seaside.  Last year we provided an away day for 450 adults and children.  However, we are always ready to consider referrals for holidays and this year we have been requested to provide a holiday for one family with particular needs.  A week’s holiday has been arranged for them at Haven Holidays, Burnham on Sea. To see more details Click here

Some of our AFIA money has also gone to Friends for Parents to help families attending the hospital over long periods to have a day at Bristol Zoo.

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

I continue to keep in contact with the refugees and asylum seekers at the MalcolmX centre in Bristol.  When there is food donated (rice and tins of fish) I take this down and when there is money in the fund I do a Tesco Shop and make a delivery.

Like all our projects people are so grateful for anything we are able to give.

It is humbling to be able to take a car load of food and know that those who are destitute will have a meal that weekend.

Kingsmeadow Flat

This is a new project which is being run mainly be Holy Trinity Church, Kingswood.  Last year we provided 2 coaches for families to go to Weston for the day.  We know that there are many living in the area who are in need. Members have started to help by providing tooth brushes and toothpast, along with other toiletries and cleaning materials. Sometimes it is just something small that makes such a big difference.


A reminder that our link Diocese are: Pacong (South Sudan), Kutigi and Ijesha North (Nigeria), Southern Nyanza (Kenya) and Karnataka Central (South India).  To see more details under “Overseas Links” Click here Janet Donnelly has worked  hard trying to forge a link with any of our new links, but up until now has been unsuccessful in getting any response.  We will however, continue to send Christmas and Easter Cards with information about our Diocese and our prayer requests.

Janet is relinquishing this role as she needs to reduce her work load at church etc.  This means we are looking for someone to take over from her so if you feel you would like to have a go at trying to build a relationship with these far away Dioceses please let me know.  (Mary Head 01454 887870)

Knitting Project

This remains one of our most successful projects.  It is supported by knitting groups and single knitters in our diocese and surrounding areas.  Over 3400 knitted tops have been delivered overseas during five years.  There is also a need for knitted squares for blankets and small (not bulky) cot blankets.  Members also knit garments for the special care baby unit at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol and for the hospital in Swindon.

Cathedral Welcomers

These are representatives of the 60 or so volunteers from all over the Diocese who welcome visitors to Bristol Cathedral every day."

"The Cathedral held a celebration tea to mark the 30th Anniversary of Cathedral Welcomers. Three founder members shared cutting the cake