The success of our Christmas Concert!
Our News in Brief
The success of our Christmas Concert!
Last week, we held our very first Christmas Concert! It was a fantastic evening, on Wednesday 27th November, with over 220 people in attendance and standing room only, and the feedback we’ve received has been wonderful.
Kicking off the night was the talented choir from local school, St Antony’s RC Primary. The students performed their own renditions of some classic Christmas carols, and were a perfect start to the show.
Bishop Thomas McMahon shared some of the history of Caritas Anchor House, which started out as a refuge for out-of-work seafarers. He also described the incredible transformation of the charity over the years, into a vital service having a huge impact of people’s lives.
Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir followed, and more than delivered! Their gospel tones and energy lifted the roof, and they got everyone participating in the song and dance moves – including Jeremy Paxman!
Jeremy said, “Having been a Patron of Caritas Anchor House since 2011, I have seen the charity grow from strength to strength and the scope of their services expand, always in response to the urgent needs of their residents and the local community. What has always remained constant is their treatment of each resident as an individual, with their own story, situation and aspirations.”
We also heard from the talented One Hope Project, who – among other songs - performed a very moving version of Bleak Midwinter. They led us to the grand finale with a mix-up of The Last Noel – and much to the guests surprise, were joined by a flash mob hidden in around the venue! The finale saw a wonderful mix of musicians – including a saxophonist, a trumpeter, an accordionist, and keyboard and guitar player – join the fantastic singers from Soul Sanctuary and One Hope for a real show-stopper!
Our concert celebrated all that has been achieved at Caritas Anchor House this year, thanks to our supporters. In particular, it marked one year since the launch of our Rough Sleepers Assessment Hub, which has gone from strength to strength in its 12 months of operation.
During the year, the hub more than doubled its number of bed spaces from 10 to 23, and many lives have been transformed. With official statistics reporting that the number of rough sleepers has increased 18% since last year, we know we must continue to respond to this growing need.
It was fitting that during the event, James – a former resident of the hub – shared his story.
“I was working in the media sector when I was made redundant, and around the same time, I lost my father who I was extremely close to.
I thought I’d bounce back and get a new job quickly, but days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. I fell into rental arrears and was evicted, and was homeless for two years.
Caritas Anchor House gave me what I had been missing all along: community.
They supported me to sort out my finances and improve my confidence. I’ve now got a new job and have moved into settled accommodation. They provided me with the welcoming space, structure, personal and professional support that I needed to get back in touch with who I really am and to remember that - homelessness is a condition and not an identity.”
It is important to celebrate the successes, of our residents and our charity, and this fantastic concert – the first of its kind that we have done – is certainly one of them. So much so, that it is likely to become an annual event!
We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that made the event possible, and of course, everyone that attended and supported Caritas Anchor House on the evening.
“I am so proud of what CAH deliver and provide in one of London’s poorest boroughs. Inspiring work!”
“What a wonderful carol service and welcoming of Christmas and all the community last night in St Margaret’s. The children from St Anthony’s provided so much joy and energy that it filled the church and all of us!”
“All the performances were excellent, the venue was full to bursting and the atmosphere was so positive.”