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The Beacon St John's Foundation Est. 1174

Welcome to The Beacon

Every quarter, we invite you to discover the wealth of charitable activity and events happening at a local level in Bath and the surrounding area. In this edition, you can find an exclusive feature on Bath's innovative cancer community group, We Get It.

We particularly welcome stories and ideas from our readership and so, if you have any news you would like shared through The Beacon, please email thebeacon@stjohnsbath.org.uk

St John's News

Introducing our new Chairman of Trustees and CEO:

Set to help guide the charity's work is our new Chairman of Trustees, Ben Fletcher.

Currently European Region Managing Director for Clarks, Ben and his young family have recently re-located to Bath.

With responsibility in his ‘day job’ for leading business across 27 markets, Ben brings vast commercial knowledge to St John’s. Additionally, as a trustee of the National Literacy Trust, which works with some the UK’s most disadvantaged communities, he is extremely well-placed for his new role at St John’s.

“I am thrilled to be welcomed into the St John’s family. There are already some hugely exciting projects in the pipeline, and I am looking forward to helping the charity carve out the next five years of its strategic journey.”

CEO, David Hobdey

Having joined St John’s as Finance Director in 2016, David Hobdey stepped up to the role of interim CEO in the latter part of 2018. David’s measured, fair and thoughtful approach has made him popular with staff and trustees alike and consensus on his permanent appointment as CEO was unanimous.

David’s previous business career was finance-based, spanning professional practice, industry and commerce and the NHS.

Referencing the impact of budget cuts and deepening austerity on many parts of wider society, David said:

“It is important that St John’s doesn’t rest on its ancient laurels – we need to be progressive and our activities must better reflect the times we live in by supporting a broader cross section of the community.

I feel passionate about St John’s, its staff and all that it represents, and it is a great honour to have been appointed CEO”

Netball heroes!

On 4th June, a team from St John’s competed in the Mogers Drewett charity netball tournament- an annual mixed team competition for organisations across Bath to raise money for Dorothy House Hospice.

To give some perspective on our chances of winning, last year we managed to come last...

Clearly our pumped-up team were out to make amends and supporters were gripped as it went to extra time in both the semi -final and the final, with the 'St John's Dream Team' going on to win by two clear goals!

Huge congratulations and thank you to our wonderful team - with special thanks to our netball-guru, Hazel Nicholls, for being such an inspirational coach and organiser.

Bishop of Bath and Wells visits St John's to unveil our stunning, new stained-glass window

On Monday 29th April, residents, staff and trustees gathered at the Chapel of St Michael’s Within for Bishop Peter Hancock’s service of dedication.

Read the full article on this very special occasion here.

Hangin' Tough: 100 Second Challenge

On Friday 17th May, we joined forces with the fitness experts from Power 10 to host the '100 Second Challenge' - an event to raise awareness of local charity, Sporting Family Change. For a small entry fee, participants were able to test their strength and endurance as they took on the challenge of hanging from a bar for 100 seconds.

Over 40 people from St John’s, Sporting Family Change and Power10 took up the challenge - with the same number cheering on their colleagues and friends from the side lines. Our courtyard was packed, with several members of the public drawn in to see what was happening

Who knew that simply seeing if you could hang for 100 seconds from a metal bar, could engender such camaraderie, support and ‘togetherness’.

Commenting on the event, our Director of Funding and Impact, Louise Harvey said "This was one of the most uplifting and life-affirming happenings we’ve ever had at St John’s. It was wonderful to see such a mix of abilities, ages and life situations, all united in raising funds for the great charity that is Sporting Family Change"

With over £675 raised in just two hours, we are already planning the next one!

Find out more about the Hangin' Tough: 100 Second Challenge and all those involved by watching this short video produced by Meaningful Films.

St John's Networking Breakfast

Our next Networking Breakfast will take place on Thursday 27th June from 8am at Chapel Court.

Previous events have been extremely well-received, serving as an excellent opportunity for people to informally connect with local organisations and businesses .

Spaces are limited, and so please click here to reserve your free ticket.

Have you ever thought about fostering?

Last month, Foster Care fortnight highlighted the dedicated work and commitment of foster carers nationally. The Fostering Network says, “Despite the trauma experienced by children coming into care and their difficult start to life, good foster care can help to transform their lives and enable them to flourish. Fostering offers children a safe and caring home and plays a big part in supporting them to maintain links with their birth family”.

The Council held a celebration event on 8th May at the Guildhall to thank local foster carers and present awards for outstanding work and long service.

There are just under 200 children in care throughout Bath & North East Somerset; the vast majority placed with foster carers. When foster carers do not have vacancies, children have to be placed further afield; the Council strive to have enough carers for this to be rare.

They are particularly keen to hear from anybody able to think about fostering children aged 10+ and those who would be able to foster siblings, helping them to keep brothers and sisters together.

There are 55,000 foster families in the UK; the Fostering Network estimates a further 7,600 households are needed this year. Could you be one?

Find out more here.

Meeting the Need

Stephen Bland and the We Get It Team

Introducing We Get It

The cancer community for Bath and beyond

We Get It is a Bath-based network for anyone dealing with cancer. We Get It is different, they take a refreshing, honest approach to talking about cancer, offering a safe space to rant, laugh or cry, and making sure no one feels they have to say “I’m fine”. They take a proactive stance on living well with or after cancer, whatever the diagnosis, bringing like-minded folk together to get out and exercise, share tips on healthy eating and reclaim their identity.

Whether you’re facing or finished with treatment, or whether you’re a carer in need of support, you can sign up for We Get It events, get local recommendations for everything from specialist salons to fitness instructors, or meet up with other people who know exactly how you feel.

We Get It Founder, Laura Phillips

The organisation was founded by Bath local Laura Phillips, who felt a need to fill a gap she’d noticed when she was going through treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:

“I needed to be part of a cancer community, to discuss my concerns with other people affected by cancer and share ideas on recovery. That’s why I decided to create my own support service for people in Bath who are dealing with cancer. We Get It provides information on nutrition, movement, emotional support and local events, and connects people to resources in their community that can help. We want to make sure that no one feels alone during or after their treatment.”

Laura has recently welcomed Bob Crampton, former journalist and TV presenter, as patron for We Get It. He says:

“What makes the newly formed cancer support group special is that it’s run by people who've experienced cancer or are still being treated. The organisation offers help to those just diagnosed, patients facing up to life after NHS care and all those touched by cancer – whether patients themselves or those caring for them. Most importantly, they organise gatherings where patients and former patients can meet in the Bath area.”
We Get It panel event

Happenings in Bath

The We Get It team runs regular events, workshops and meet-ups. Recent highlights included a panel event with Deborah James, columnist, podcaster and cancer campaigner, followed by an evening with Stephen Bland to talk about life with and without the inspirational Rachael Bland. We Get It also organised a fantastic restorative yoga series with Diane Lee from Bath Yoga Studio.

There is a popular weekly Get-Together, held every Friday at Cafe Walcot from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Drop in without booking for a relaxed chat over brunch or coffee and talk about anything related to living with cancer. That’s diagnosis, ongoing treatments, recovery, long-term effects on health, the impact on work and relationships, or even the trials of being a cancer carer. There’s no agenda and no judgement – it’s just a wonderful safe space where you can chat to others, share advice and listen to expert guests, such as counselling professionals, nutritionists and cancer care specialists.

Here’s what Get-Together regular Debbie has to say:

“I’ve finished cancer treatment but that doesn’t mean I’ve left cancer behind, as I live daily with the effects it has had on my life. And that’s really where the weekly meet-up comes in – a chance to meet with others who are going through a similar experience, a safe place to offload, seek advice or even help others who are more recently diagnosed. The venue makes it a truly pleasurable ex- perience too; a bright, stylish cafe with amazing food and drink on offer. The weekly meet-up is what I look forward to all week!”
Weekly get-together at Cafe Walcot

Hear from the community that gets it

To hear from local people who have been touched by cancer, check out the stories on wegetit.org.uk. If you’d like to submit your own experience, get in touch via the website at wegetit.org.uk/contact.

You can also join the conversation and hear more from We Get It on their social media channels:

Twitter @wegetittogether

Facebook @wegetit.org.uk

Instagram @wegetittogether

Did you know?

Beneath St John’s busy city centre offices, there are a staggering 215 metres of archive shelving filled with historical records. The records span twelve collections and five centuries of the charity’s history.

The archive is populated by records created through the Foundation’s routine business, as well as work produced for special events. There is a printed book collection and even some 18th and 19th century documents, which were found in a basement during renovation work.

Small elements of the historical collections have been displayed at exhibitions, talks and events over the last decade. Unfortunately, to ensure the preservation of fragile unique originals, much of the collection cannot be shown, but the Holborn Museum was recently able to display three of our silver artefacts (dated 1674 - 1735).

Silver Chalice (1674 - 5), Flagon (1735) and Paten (1638)

The Archive

Although St John’s was founded in 1174, the oldest record held in our archives dates from 1610. Nonetheless, it offers a valuable insight into the Foundation’s history.

There are records of the organisation’s administration ranging from financial ledgers, board minutes and property deeds. There is also a wealth of social history as the voice and lives of those granted support shines through in letters and application forms. What strikes many visitors is how little has changed from the challenges faced by society today. Particularly prominent is the working poor, a headline in many news features, but also shown throughout our history as applicants describe their efforts to make ends meet.

Our enduring participation with the communities of Bath is also captured. As a key landlord, there are maps and architectural drawings showing the development of Bath as a city and the history of local buildings. We also hold records for Bath’s charitable history, including Bath Municipal Charities, St Saviour’s Relief in Sickness Fund, Bath Dispensary Charity and Bath District Benevolent Institution.

The Modern Record Store

The modern record store contains the records that are no longer needed on a regular basis by staff, but that may be needed for future reference. These are kept for a time designated by legal and business need.

Once that period has expired, which could be as long as 40 years, a member of staff from that area and the archivist review the documents to see if they are still needed and to decide whether they are of a historical interest. A large volume of records are then securely destroyed, while some are moved to the permanent archive.

Although the modern record store is restricted access, members of staff regularly request records to reference and use in their work today.

Although the archive isn’t a key part of our charitable work, our heritage is an integral part of St John’s. The purpose of the archive and modern record store is to support modern decision-making and to act as a memory for the charity. However, anyone is welcome to visit and view archive records. For further information on making an appointment, fees and access, please click here.

Next time you walk through St John’s courtyard and gaze around at the historical buildings and beautiful chapel, you will know that there’s yet more history beneath your feet.

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Credits:

Anna Barclay Photography

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