What is Caritas Portsmouth?
16th May 2017
Kevin Gallagher, Director of Caritas Portsmouth writes...
Having begun work as Director of Caritas Portsmouth on March 1st and spending most of my time travelling round the diocese talking to various charities and organisations, one of the most common tasks is trying to answer the question just exactly what Caritas is?
For a quick sound bite explanation it would be appropriate to say “The Social Action Voice of the Catholic Church”. However, although being the second largest NGO worldwide next to the Red Cross, it does remain rather unknown in the UK.
Caritas has its origins in Germany in 1897 however did not develop to any great extent until after the second world war where it now has a presence in over 200 countries. As for what Caritas does, its role is to be an agency for social action, existing to improve the organisation or integration of social action in the diocese as well as assisting in the initiating of new projects. However the focus of the social action should be in areas where the needs are greatest, reaching out to the most vulnerable in society. At present in England Wales there are already 7 diocese with a Caritas presence. It must also be noted that Caritas efforts are for local social action, overseas action is under the management of CAFOD.
As for its present projects, these include the INSIGHT mental health drop-in centre at the Cathedral in Portsmouth, a children’s holiday club in Southampton, an English learning program in Reading and a project for seafarers in Fawley. Other projects will emerge in the coming months and years and parishes with new initiatives or those interested in repeating some of the existing Caritas projects are encouraged to get in touch.
As Caritas’s strategy and direction emerges in the coming months along with the establishment of new projects I hope to share these from time to time in the diocesan ENews. And of course for anyone with ideas or suggestions for Caritas feel free to get in touch.
For more information, you can visit the Caritas Portsmouth website.