Newcastle North MP lends her support to Christian Aid Week

Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, has again lent her support to the important fundraising work of Christian Aid Week at a recent Christian Aid ‘Big Brekkie’ event held in Parliament.

This year, Christian Aid Week (13th-19th May) is encouraging the British public to stand together with the millions of displaced people who have been forced to leave their homes around the world, and Catherine attended the event in Parliament to hear more about the activities and events that will be taking place locally.

Last year, some £16,200 was raised in Newcastle North during Christian Aid Week – including by the Big Brekkie event Catherine attended at The Job Bulman pub in Gosforth, organised by the congregation of St Nicholas’ Church.

The 2018 theme of supporting displaced people is important as, today, more than 40 million people are internally displaced by conflict, accounting for approximately two thirds of those who find themselves forced from their homes.  A further 24 million were displaced by disasters in 2016 alone.  Yet, because they haven’t crossed a border, the general public rarely hear about them. And, despite the huge number of people affected, situations of internal displacement receive almost no political attention, funding or support.

Christian Aid works with local partner organisations around the world to help internally displaced people. This includes working with partners in Haiti, where thousands of people have been displaced by natural disasters in recent years – for example, Vilia, who was left homeless by the earthquake in 2010 and her mother was killed.  Bereaved and homeless, for Vilia, her husband and their seven children, life became a struggle.  They didn’t even have a safe place to sleep.  Christian Aid’s local partner, KORAL, helps local people prepare for disasters.  In the aftermath of the earthquake, it reached out to Vilia and built her and her family a new home, that was safe, stable and strong enough to stand up to natural disasters.

And, ahead of Hurricane Matthew, KORAL was able to warn local communities, helping to evacuate around 5,000 families and saving many lives. In the immediate aftermath, Christian Aid and KORAL distributed urgently-needed shelter materials, hygiene products such as soap, food seeds and cash, so people could buy other items that they really needed. Disaster-resistant homes were built, giving people safe, secure places to live. Of the dozens built before the hurricane hit, only one lost its roof in the disaster, and Vilia’s home was able to shelter 54 people over several days following the hurricane.

Catherine said:

‘I am really pleased to once again support Christian Aid Week, and to hear about the incredible work that is being done thanks to money raised by events held across Newcastle, and the rest of the country.

‘This year’s Christian Aid Week theme is so important for the millions of people forced to flee their homes around the world, and I would strongly encourage constituents to get involved in supporting local events in any way they can. Every Big Brekkie event held, no matter how small, will make such a big difference to the lives of others.’

Simon Kirkland, Christian Aid’s UK Parliamentary and Political Adviser, said:

‘We are very grateful for Catherine’s support for Christian Aid’s important fundraising events in Newcastle North. Everyone can do something to help this Christian Aid Week, whether it’s attending a local event, giving money or praying for the world’s many displaced people at this difficult time. Thank you to everyone who is able to take part in this year’s Christian Aid Week.’