Crisis Response-The Churches of St Margaret's Benefice

Crisis Response

 email: if you want to be kept informed about current issues we are responding to.

We all have crises in our lives from time to time, and we get through them with our own personal strength, with the help and guidance of God, and with the kindness of others. St Margaret's Benefice has decided that we should be those "others" and to find practical ways to help those that find themselves in a crisis.  This page will provide details of current needs we are responding to and provide ways for anyone who wishes to make a difference.  

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There are also Dementia Friends, an Alzheimer's Society initiative. A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend. Whether you attend a face-to-face Dementia Friends Information Session or watch our online video, Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about Dementia Friends to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.

Everyone is invited to a meeting on 3rd January, 7.30pm to 9pm in the Channel Room, St Margaret's Village Hall to discuss dementia and broaden the understanding of it in our community.

The Kent Dementia Action Alliance are a group of Kent organisations who want to work together to better meet the needs of people with dementia so everyone can live well within their communities. 
A wide range of partners are now members of the Kent Dementia Action Alliance, a full list of members along with their individual action plans can be found on the Dementia Action Alliance website.  Their 24hour helpline is 0800 500 3014.

The membership of the Kent Dementia Action Alliance and the more local Alliances and Dementia friendly community forums are ‘open’ to all. Organisations, businesses, groups and residents can get involved at the level which best suits them. This could be by becoming Full members, Supporters or by joining a smaller local Dementia Friendly Community forum. 

There are, of course, many causes and types of dementia.  One cause can be alcohol abuse, with an increasingly strong link being identified between alcoholism and dementia.  Rehab Recovery are an organisation that specialise in rehab and detox services, from alcohol, drugs, eating disorders and gambling.  They have an article on their website written by Ollie Clark regarding alcoholism and dementia
which you can read here.. This article provides a clear insight into how alcoholism impacts the brain, and with the growing concern in the news regarding excessive, and often unrecognised, alcohol consumption in the middle aged, this is not something that should be ignored.

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You can leave your donations to Dover Foodbank in the box in St Margaret's Church porch - they particularly need the following items:
  • fruit juice - long life
  • fruit squash
  • milk - dried
  • biscuits
  • tinned fish

  • Though all non-perishable food items are happpily accepted.
  • deodorant
  • dog food
  • toilet rolls
  • washing up liquid
  • can openers

  • We have enough of : bottled water; - thank you
(list updated as at 3rd December 2018)

Dover Food Bank are asking people if they would like to put together a reverse Advent Calendar, adding 24 items to a hamper to make a festive donation for Christmas.  This is particularly valued by people who simply wouldn't be able to afford any Christmas treats otherwise.  If you want to know more about what could be included and how to get it to DFB, check on their website or click here.

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Migrant Help are a charity St Margaret's have worked closely with, and if you would like to be involced supporting refugees you need to go through their volunteering process.  This ensures the safety and welfare of everyone involved and provides the necessary trainign and support to enable you to be effective with your time.  If you would like to become a volunteer with Migrant Help, Diane has all the necessary forms, and their are a limited number of copies in the church porch.

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During her Sabbatical, Diane spent some time in Lesbos, a place particularly on the front-line of receiving refugees fleeing the Middle East over the last couple of years.  Summer is the peak time for crossings being attempted and the refugee camps are crowded.  The sunflower is a sign of hope in a garden at a day centre in Lesbos, and people come there daily from the over-crowded camp.


 There are more photos from Lesbos, but the computer doesn't seem to want to put them the right way up at the moment, and they look so much better not sideways!   As soon as I can figure out why it's not behaving itself, I'll post them here. 

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'Period Poverty' is a relatively new phrase that has been in the news recently - it means not being able to afford sanitary products which leads to girls and women missing out on school and work because there is no way they can keep themselves clean and hygienic out of the house, or resorting to using rags and even newspapers as alternatives.  We are not talking third world countries here.  This is happening in the UK, in our own towns and cities.  50% of the population are female, yet the realities of one week in four are still a tabboo - we can't talk about "womens' things".  Well we can, and we will.  Girls should not be missing out on school because they can't afford sanitary products.  They are an essential not a luxury.  Dover Smart Project has a collection box in St Margaret's Church porch just for donations of sanitary products, so please feel free to drop them in when you are passing.  We no longer live in an age where they are put in a brown paper bag so no-one knows what you've bought, so please do not feel uncomfortable either leaving them there or seeing them there.
Along similar lines, a great website resource is a life guide for teenage girls - which has great honest information and support for teenage girls, and honestly, it wouldn't hurt for boys to read it as well.

Thank you for continuously showing the generosity of spirit that thrives in St Margaret's.

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Porchlighthave an emergency number available 24/7 for anyone who needs to access their services, either for themselves or someone else - 0800 567 7699

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This is a fantastic website and phone app (for Android and iOS) that enables you to report the presence of a rough-sleeper to a central agency, Street Link, who can then pass on the information to the relevant local services to go out and engage with that person.  It doesn't matter where you are in the UK, they have all the contact details, all you need to do is follow the simple instructions and give as accurate account of the situation as you can.  This will help the local services find the person you are reporting, as often they are in tucked-away, hidden from sight places to keep themselves safe.

Download the app, fill in your simple registration details and have it ever ready on your phone.  Time is often of the essence - it could make it more difficult to locate the person in need if you wait until you are home and at your PC.

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Seeking Sanctuary says "Treat migrants as human beings." 

In the perilous years of  World War II many refugees took the dangerous and uncertain route through the Alps out of France in search of safety and freedom. Many who made the journey in the freezing winter temperatures did not survive.


And 75 years later these journeys are being made again, but in the opposite direction. Many young migrants who have survived the hazards of the Mediterranean are now making the journey from Italy to France along tracks at altitudes as high as 1700 metres. Clad in unsuitable clothes and with light footwear, they are at risk of falling victim to the dangers of seeking sanctuary in one of the most severe winters in recent years. We have learnt of a young man who had to have both his feet amputated in France because of frostbite – but he was still deported to the frontier with Italy after his operation


Ben Bano, one of the Directors of 'Seeking Sanctuary', commented: On this day when Pope Francis has again asked the world to remember the suffering  and challenges faced by migrants every day, we appeal to all concerned by these experiences to put pressure on elected representatives and other authorities to resist the downward spiral of condemnation and vilification of migrants attempting to reach safety  and to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect. As Pope Francis again reminds us, 'every migrant has a name, a face and a story'.

Phil Kerton & Ben Bano,


'Seeking Sanctuary' aims to raise awareness about people displaced from their homes and to channel basic humanitarian assistance from Faith Communities and Community Organisations via partnerships with experienced aid workers. Our special concern is for those who arrive in north-western France, mistakenly expecting a welcome in the UK. Almost all the 8,000+ migrants in Calais in October 2016 were moved away, hopefully to better accommodation. 1616 unaccompanied minors also left, along with hundreds of vulnerable women and children, hoping  that claims to stay in the UK or France would be processed. Many judge that they have been let down, and hundreds have returned to sleep rough near Calais and along the coast. The Grande-Synthe camp near Dunkirk burnt down in April 2017, displacing around 1400 people, over 950 of them moved elsewhere, whilst the rest remain nearby, joined by scores of newcomers weekly.


They need food, good counsel and clothes, which are accepted, sorted and distributed by several Calais warehouses, which also supply needs further afield.


Further information from Ben Bano on 07887 651117 or Phil Kerton on 01474 873802. See our latest news at

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    There are three organisations working together in our area to support the refugees and asylum seekers in the South East:-
    • Migrant Help are a national organisation with offices in Dover who help vulnerable migrants across the UK feel protected, safe and supported so that they are able to move forwards with their lives.  They are supporting two Syrian refugee families who have been resettled in our area, and St Margaret's is liaising closely toprovide for their needs as part of our Crisis Response strategy.
    • Kent Refugee Action Network is an independent charity based in Canterbury that provides help and support to young unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees who have arrived int he UK, so they can feel safe, belong and to build hope for a better future.
    • Samphire is a Dover-based charity who have worked with the Dover Immigration Removal Centre supporting and advocating for ex-detainees who face destitution and hardship after detention.  It engages with communities to challenge widely held misconceptions about immigration.

    The Diocese of Canterbury, along with KRAN and Samphire, organised the recent #Just1Thing exhibition at St Mary's church - a great eaxmple of organisations coming together and demonstrating community engagement.