Last week in the Commons there was a closing debate on war memorials and I was pleased to be able to refer to the individual plaques being put up on the houses of those who died in the Great War from Crawley Down. Constituency evidence make debates come alive and I enjoy sharing the best practice of our very active volunteer sector.
One excellent example I have raised previously is Horsham Matters. This charity undertakes invaluable work in the community including providing furniture and white goods to those who need it: all the way from single items to furnishing a new home from scratch. They are also able to provide fuel card top ups and run the Horsham District foodbank that provides emergency food for those in crisis.
Other projects include Youth Work and the Night Shelter. The Community Youth programme works with Parish Councils to provide opportunities for young people to have fun in a safe environment; to grow and develop social skills and achieve their highest potential. Horsham Matters also employ apprentices in their warehouse and shops, working with them to develop their employability skills to help them to secure long term employment. For the Horsham Winter Night Shelter, Horsham Matters works with Horsham Churches Together to provide a hot meal and overnight accommodation for those in need.
Whilst Horsham Matters have been successful in generating grant funds for specific projects what I was proud to be able to say in the Commons is that they fund their core costs through their trading activities – making them, providing their stores continue to have the support of local people, self-sustaining. Their Charity Superstore has moved relatively recently to Redkiln Close where trading activities are increasingly focussed. It provides a huge range of furniture and other goods and is well worth a visit. Purchases are not only often bargains but in buying at the store you know you are helping to support financially a lot of vital local activities. I am assured that those visiting over the Christmas period can also look forward to Christmas lights and a Christmas grotto!
Photo caption: Meeting David Sheldon and Ruth Hodgson of Horsham Matters earlier this year to discuss the varied local work the charity undertakes.