Caritas St Joseph's

A safe place for adults with intellectual disabilities to learn - we recognise their gifts and talents and value their unique place in the world, and encourage them to participate fully in the life of their community and church

Year of St Joseph's

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The Dignity of Work “Work is the vocation of Man”

“Work is the vocation of Man” The definition of work is “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result,” Pope Francis told us that work is the vocation of all men and women in his homily on the Feast of St Joseph the Worker last year. This statement resonates with me particularly as so often the people that I serve do not hear it at all. Those with intellectual and physical disabilities are one of the most marginalised groups by society, not only being left out of the world of work but also of their local and faith communities. Fratelli Tutti,(22) the Pope’s encyclical on Fraternity and Social Friendship, tells us “It frequently becomes clear that, in practice, human rights are not equal for all.” Work is where we find not only monetary reward but also a sense of value and achievement and, more importantly, our sense of worth to our family and community. Our mental and physical wellbeing is at its greatest when we are entering into actions that not only give us a sense of achievement but also a sense that we are contributing to those around us and in doing that to the greater good of society. We have learned through our experience at Caritas St Joseph’s that work is an expression of our spirituality. Where sounds are not made coherently and communication is difficult, our inner self is transformed and our talents transmitted through the mediums of art, dance and horticulture to name but a few. The students in our Enterprise arm produce items that not only show their creativity and talent but also contain a piece of their self as a person that the world cannot see or hear in conventional ways. Those pieces are truly as beautiful as the students themselves, inside and out, are. In a society that leans towards physical and intellectual perfection to such a great extent that we use social media to filter and hide our reality from those who follow us; here at Caritas St Joseph’s we acknowledge those imperfections which make us unique and celebrate them. Our Enterprise courses were borne out of the realisation that the talents our students possessed were abundant and these should be shown to the world. Acknowledging that conventional employment may never be possible, we aim to create a safe and nurturing work environment, encouraging them and investing time in developing their skills. Our Enterprise arm consists of 13 different courses all using a different medium to help our students achieve what others can only dream about. Students on these courses are taught not only about the making of an item for sale but the whole process from the origins of the resources and materials used, to the finished end product being of a high standard so that it can be sold. “It makes me happy that someone wants to buy my vase I am really proud” Student in Our Ceramics course. The Pope has said, We forget that “there is no worse form of alienation than to feel uprooted, belonging to no one. A land will be fruitful, and its people bear fruit and give birth to the future, only to the extent that it can foster a sense of belonging among its members, create bonds of integration between generations and different communities, and avoid all that makes us insensitive to others and leads to further alienation”. Fratelli Tutti (53). With the securing of a grant from the Cardinal’s Appeal, we have enough money to expand our work programme to include others from our community. Our vision is to create a training based work placement for adults with intellectual disabilities where they will be supported to develop and grow in work and life skills in a safe and loving environment. The students will learn about all aspects of gardening and horticulture, drawing on all their senses in order to learn about the life cycles of a British garden throughout the year. In turn, this gives a much-needed pathway for those with intellectual disabilities to learn what it means to work. This will also provide the Centre with income not just for the jobs they are commissioned to undertake but other classes could also take part. Woodwork could make planters and bespoke garden furniture, horticulture would sow and grow the plants for them and Ceramics could make hanging baskets, giving the customers a bespoke and unique service with items designed specifically for them. This gives other students in our Centre who are not ready for work a chance to show their gifts and talents in other ways. This gives them a sense of belonging not only to the St Joseph’s community but also to wider society on a level that they could never have achieved before. The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity. Differences of colour, religion, talent, place of birth or residence, and so many others, cannot be used to justify the privileges of some over the rights of all. As a community, we have an obligation to ensure that every person lives with dignity and has sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development. Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti (118). Gail Williams Centre Manager Caritas St Joseph’s

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St Joseph expands work programme for adults with intellectual disability

Caritas St Joseph’s in Hendon has received funding from the Cardinal’s Appeal to expand its work programme. Part of Caritas Westminster, Caritas St Joseph’s is a lifelong learning centre for adults with intellectual disabilities. The work programme at Caritas St Joseph’s is a series of courses that offer students meaningful work and the dignity of contributing to society. The newest course in the work programme provides students with practical training in a variety of gardening skills. Students are given the opportunity to work in gardens outside of the centre, under the supervision of their tutor, including the garden of All Saints Church in Kenton. Gail Williams, Centre Manager at Caritas St Joseph’s, described how the grant will be used to expand the work programme: ‘With the securing of a grant from the Cardinal’s Appeal, we have enough money to expand our work programme to include others from our community. Our vision is to create a training-based work placement for adults with intellectual disabilities where they will be supported to develop and grow in work and life skills in a safe and loving environment. ‘The students will learn about all aspects of gardening and horticulture, drawing on all their senses in order to learn about the life cycles of a British garden throughout the year. In turn, this gives a much-needed pathway for those with intellectual disabilities to learn what it means to work. ‘This will also provide the Centre with income not just from the jobs they are commissioned to undertake, but other classes could also take part. Woodwork could make planters and bespoke garden furniture, horticulture would sow and grow the plants for them and Ceramics could make hanging baskets, giving the customers a bespoke and unique service with items designed specifically for them. ‘This gives other students in our Centre who are not ready for work a chance to show their gifts and talents in other ways. This gives them a sense of belonging not only to the St Joseph’s community but also to wider society on a level that they could never have achieved before.’ Banner image shows Gail Williams, Centre Manager at Caritas St Joseph's, giving Cardinal Vincent a tour of the gardens at the Caritas St Joseph's activity center in Hendon in 2017.

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Activities

We offer lifelong learning and a wide range of courses for all abilities. Come and make friends, take part in an activity - sport, music, painting, produce a play, explore words and numbers, get a qualification, join a book club - there is something for everyone.

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Caritas

As part of the RC Diocese of Westminster we also support parishes with training courses reaching out to people of all faiths or none; sacramental preparation; support and advice; regular Saturday Clubs and participation in the Diocese's pilgrimage to Lourdes every second year. The photo opposite was taken at this year's Our Lady of Lourdes Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

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Enterprise

Learn to work as a team, create a business that earns funds for Caritas St Joseph's. Make and sell our products both online and at selected fairs whilst enjoying the company of friends.

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Caritas St Joseph's 2021

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Community & Events

We have regular social and fund-raising activities - discos, barbecues, film nights, and also Rainbow clubs during the holidays - come and join in

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Friends for Friends

Visit our new charity, reaching out to people with learning disabilities

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