Monthly gathering to pray for the work of The Magdalene Project
Thank you so much for your support of Magdalene’s work.
The Project began in prayer and depends on prayer today. In 2016 we changed the arrangement for our monthly prayer gathering from an evening to a morning on a Thursday, anticipating that more people may be able to join us during the daytime to pray. We now meet for an hour on the 3rd Thursday each month from 9.30 to 10.30am. It has been a great encouragement and joy to share with other people now able to come at this new time.
We pray for specific concerns and situations connected with Magdalene, and have sometimes known immediate answers to prayer and other times have listened and waited.
There has been a deep sense of gratefulness to God throughout this year for his faithfulness from Magdalene’s beginnings, and the Lord’s faithfulness shown through individual people’s commitment often, behind the scenes over many years from Magdalene’s beginnings. Your prayer makes a difference.
Do join us if you can at Irwell Terrace, Bacup, if not for the whole hour then come when you can, and you are welcome to stay on to chat over a brew with others who can remain afterwards, or let us know you are joining with us in prayer from wherever you are. We encourage each other when we are together to pray.
2016, how, I wonder, would most people describe the year?
Troubles, wars, pain, suffering and despair? And yes, I guess that would be right for many people, and not just the ones in the news.
At Magdalene we could talk about many people who would describe their life thus..... Despairing! No Hope!
We are called to work for the God of Hope and Restoration. Saying this reminds me of a scripture I learnt as a very young person, when I didn't really understand what it meant.
“Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not unto you're own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
There is much that we may not understand, always needing guidance as we seek to serve the people that cross our doorstep. We can only do this as we live out this scripture. Doing this means every detail of our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Damaged lives can be restored! Hope blossoms and grows, self confidence grows as people are loved and listened to, and learn to love themselves. Ways forward open up as people gradually step out of the darkness of their trauma! Lives of turmoil left behind!
As workers in the project, we need to have peace in our hearts as we walk on the ways of God's love. For all of us working here, and those seeking help, is a need for acceptance, accepting each other as we are. This sometimes means really considering and changing attitudes, offering love and kindness with " No strings attached," For many of us we have to make real sacrifice, and not only of time, to fulfil the work we have been called to do.
There seems to be more and more anguish, pain and trauma being unearthed, people coming forward who have hidden their stories for so long, struggling to cope.
We at Magdalene are never left with nothing to do, quite the opposite. Life gets busier and busier as we seek to cope with all the trauma that comes our way. But, what a joy when we see people recovering, lives and relationships being restored!
So what has 2016 been like for The Magdalene Project? Well, to me it seems like a year when things seem to have, or are, coming together. There has been more deep and significant training undertaken, equipping us more and more for all the traumatic situations coming our way. Now, we are looking to embark on training to help people struggling with Gender Disphoria, which seems to be becoming more prominent in today's society.
Everyone in the project seeks to be more able and professional as the work continues to grow.
There seems to be more and more anguish, pain and trauma being unearthed; people coming forward who have hidden their stories for so long, struggling to cope.
We at Magdalene are never left with nothing to do, quite the opposite. Life gets busier and busier as we seek to cope with all that comes our way. But, what a joy when we see people recovering, lives and relationships being restored.
I would like to acknowledge at this point, the work of many individuals, churches and other organisations who offer us support in so many ways. “We appreciate you." and are most grateful to you, and it is so good to meet up with you from time to time. Please feel free to visit us.
For us here, if we serve God, we are called to serve people, to show loving kindness, help bring hope and restoration into lives that are distressed and despairing through a lot of prayer for, work and effort. Doing so with the best of understanding and ability we have been given.
There are very few organisations who can offer the services in which Magdalene specialises and so we remain much in demand and our resources are constantly being stretched. Our thanks go to our staff, our counsellors and our volunteers who continue to work with such dedication and who are often prepared to go the extra mile. We are blessed with the facilities we have in Bacup, but our work elsewhere in East Lancashire has seen us searching for new premises from which to operate. The search at this moment continues.
The financial challenge has not gone away. Our thanks once again go to those individuals and organisations, who have supported our work consistently over a prolonged period and without whom we would not have been able to function. As a Charity we continue to be a part of The Family and Wellbeing Consortium based in Blackburn, ELCCG’s preferred third sector provider of services in our area and provide services to clients under the IAPT programme. Funding from this has begun to provide us with a degree of financial certainty. But we cannot afford to be complacent as we search for further funding streams. We are in need of a dedicated fundraiser and were disappointed that this year our progress in this area did not produce the fruit we had hoped for. Our search continues.
2016 has seen significant strides in the development of our governance. Our intention to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation was fulfilled, giving the trustees a more secure basis from which to operate. We now have a rolling programme for reviewing our policies and procedures. In August 2016 we approved “A Risk Policy for Clients and Others.” At our February 2017 meeting we approved “A Procedure for Therapy for Transgender and Same Sex Attraction Clients” reflecting the sensitive nature of this area of our work and discussions we have had as Trustees during 2016. Salary reviews and payments for sessional counselling are now well embedded. We have agreed pension provision for staff. All of this has added to the professional foundation underpinning our work.
My thanks go to my fellow trustees – Harry Thompson, Jasper Gordon and Irene Alderson along with our Administrator Robin Jones for all their hard work over the past year. I believe we will be adding to this dedicated team in the coming year.
We face the future in good order and I commend the ongoing work of Magdalene, asking that whatever your role you continue to support us as we offer help to the many vulnerable clients who access our services.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
The trauma we work with at Magdalene and the complexities of a human life is far beyond our knowledge, skill and understanding. In these times, we seek the divine wisdom and revelation of our God. We are very privileged to be part of His healing work in broken lives. Who for many we are the last port of call and people come to us in a state of desperation. But thankfully, through trust, commitment, perseverance and hope we together find a place of healing.
Two counsellors have taken advantage of a small pot of money given to us, that along with their voluntary hours they can offer the project more counselling hours through sessional work and therefore lessen the waiting period.
In 2015 we were sorry to say goodbye to Lynne who retired from the work to move on to other commitments. We wish her well and thank her for the faithful years of voluntary service she gave to the work. At the end of the year, we celebrated with Sue on achieving the Advanced Diploma and welcome her as a professional counsellor to our valued team. Her skills, knowledge and life experience will be an asset to the work.
In August, we were required to move out of the Hub in Nelson. But thankfully, we were offered a reception and counselling room in The Salvation Army for a reduced cost.
In November seven counsellors attended an excellent training day with (PODS) Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors. Trauma, Dissociation and Recovery Healing the Brain. This was put together and presented so well and in clear language to understand the theory and how to use it. Personally speaking I have found it very useful in working with severe trauma, and can explain it to clients in a way they too can understand it and we can work together effectively.
The one thing I like about doing this job is that I am never bored. There is always something to do and together with the variety of tasks keeps me occupied and brain active.
The first newsworthy topic is that we achieved our goal of changing our charitable status to becoming a ‘Charitable Incorporated Organisation’ or CIO for short. This involved setting up a new charity and closing the old one; a prolonged process but worthwhile. So we now have a new registered charity number.
During the year we were unfortunate to pick up a very bad computer virus which we dealt with appropriately but the incident made us look at our computer processes and back up systems. The result of this was the approval of updating the computers and installing an automatic system backup which has now been completed.
As a consequence of this the management team reviewed the office arrangements, what the various rooms were used for and was that arrangement still suitable for our needs.
The final product, now almost completed, has meant Irene moving her office to one with a window, her old office becoming a resource centre for the counsellors and the finance office moving into the general office.
The payment of some sessional counselling has proved to be a success, so much so that the trustees have increased the budget in order to extend it.
Finally the IAPT work we provide for the NHS is continuing satisfactorily and is now accounting for approximately 30% of our income.