On Monday 23rd March, 1990, our first service, ‘the coaches’, was officially launched, and 25 years later, around 300 people joined us in St Mary’s parish church, Watford, for our 25th birthday celebration service.
As you may be aware, our theme for 2015 is ‘Together, we are New Hope’. The service followed this theme, focusing on celebrating and thanking all the different people who are part of New Hope, including, staff, volunteers, supporters and, of course, our service users.
During the service there were opportunities for worship and celebration as well as a time to remember those who have passed away. The service featured: a video including footage from the launch in 1990; a drama which told the stories of three service users; a look at New Hope past, present and future and an address by the Bishop of St Albans.
Matthew Heasman, our CEO, said, ‘It was so wonderful to see so many people come together to celebrate 25 years of New Hope. St Mary’s was such an apt venue, as it was here, over 25 years ago, that Janet Hosier and Sheila Meaning met and were called to help the men and women they saw around St Mary’s who were homeless. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of the New Hope team, whether staff-member, volunteer, supporter or service user, over the past 25 years, and to thank everyone who played a part in the celebration service.’
All of us here at New Hope were thrilled to be joined by so many people – it was fantastic to see the church so packed – and we’re truly grateful to everyone who came along to celebrate with us. We were also overwhelmed by the amazing support of those who came – a staggering £3,271.88 was donated during the collection and a further £300 was raised through the sale of 25th anniversary mugs and new editions of Entertaining Angels, the book about our beginnings written by Janet. Thank you all so much!
If you would like to buy a mug or new edition of Entertaining Angels, please get in touch with the Fundraising and Communications team by phoning 01923 227 132 or emailing Supporter.Relations@newhope.org.uk. Copies of Entertaining Angels will also be available for sale in the Storehouse, Watford, from 1st April, and we will be officially launching this edition at the Storehouse on 25th April. Do join us there for your opportunity to buy a copy and have it signed by Sheila Meaning, our co-founder.