The Whitworth Trust is looking for new Trustees!
We're a very small group (6 people!) of volunteers, and are very keen to welcome new people with ideas and energy to join our team. Indeed, we're especially hoping to gather some new members at this time, to help with our campaign against the closure of Whitworth House.
Do you have experience with fundraising? OR Do you know your way around a website/social media? OR Do you have a little bit of spare time on your hands and would like to get involved with a small local charity?
Our current Chairperson, Ruth, comes to the end of her term this year, and we're looking for someone to take the charity forward when she steps down. This volunteer role is one that a person could really make their own, and would be an opportunity for someone with a vision for helping to alleviate homelessness and poverty among women in Cambridge to join with other local groups to make change.
Ruth is a member of the 'WHAG' (Women and Homelessness Action Group) team, which formed out of last year's 'It Takes a City' summit on homelessness in Cambridge. The Whitworth Trust as a whole is committed to working with other members of WHAG in their action to generate more provision for vulnerable women in our city, and we look forward to seeing what the group and other local agencies can achieve together in the coming months and years.
If you're a Cambridge resident who is interested in helping with our cause of raising money for vulnerable and homeless women, then we'd love to hear from you (and if you know someone who might fit the bill... please be in touch with them to tell them about us)! As well as aiming to fill our chairperson role, we're also looking for a vice-chairperson and a communications and fundraising officer.
Please drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you!
In January 2019, the housing association that owns and manages Whitworth House, announced that, following notification of funding cuts from Cambridgeshire County Council, it had decided to sell the property in June. The Whitworth Trust has written an Open Letter, attempting to open a dialogue between the Council, the housing association and the Trust to discuss alternatives to the House's closure.
You can read and sign the Open Letter here: bit.ly/whitworthletter
Following the news that Whitworth House has been threatened with closure, in light of funding cuts made by Cambridgeshire County Council, a current resident has started a petition to garner local support.
The Whitworth Trust would encourage locals to sign, and to stand with her in protest of the closure of this service, which we are certain is needed now more than ever.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
We at the Whitworth Trust are heartbroken to have to convey some news.
We have been informed by Orwell Housing that, after 20 years of working to help young and vulnerable women, Whitworth House will close in June this year.
As many of you know, for the 15 residents of the House (who are all women, 16 to 25 years of age), it offers safe, all-female supported residential accommodation in Cambridge. You can learn more about its history and the inception of the project here: http://www.friendsofwhitworthhouse.org/whitworth-house.html
We have been told that as part of a strategic review of housing provision by County Council Commissioners, Whitworth House is one of the services that has been chosen to have its funding cut.
According to a representative from Orwell Housing – the housing association who have managed and owned Whitworth House since 2000 – the justifications the council gave for the funding cuts were as follows:
(i) Whitworth House was not assessed as being a specialist service, acting as a resource for multiple areas or offering a service which is significantly different to anything else in the local area.
(ii) Stakeholders have also flagged an over provision of services for young people in the Cambridge City area.
The above has come to us from Orwell, and we haven't spoken to representatives from the County Council yet -- this will be a next priority for us at the Whitworth Trust.
Indeed, a full critique of the decision to cut funding to this service will be useful. The next steps for our committee will be to gather as much information as we can about the conditions, circumstances, and timescale of these proposed funding cuts, and their repercussions for the provision of safe, on-going support for young women in Cambridge, many of whom come from a background of domestic and sexual violence, where mixed sex accommodation may be problematic.
The committee welcomes any and all suggestions for strategies to help safeguard such provision for women. We believe that it is imperative that this vulnerable group is supported in our community. We are hoping something can be done.
We can easily call Whitworth House a ‘service’, but it has also been a home for hundreds of vulnerable and precariously-housed women over the past 20 years. Many residents moved on and into full time education, employment, and most importantly there is started to trust a system that had failed them. As an institution, we believe that it has worked to help many women in the long term.
Orwell Housing tell us that from their perspective, the only option appears to be to accept the funding withdrawal, and as a result they can see no solution other than to close and then sell the property.
You will note that this post, which contains provisional information, is on the blog 'news and events' section of our website. We hope to make a more constructive statement in the next couple of weeks, after the committee has met and discussed some strategies for the future of provision of homeless women in Cambridge.
In the meantime, our aim is to work with Orwell to find out how we as a charity can support the current residents of Whitworth House.
We are THRILLED that the Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group (CamCRAG) have invited us to collaborate with them for ** The Big Cambridge-Calais Sleep Out 2019 **
Put **Saturday the 26th January** in your diary. And visit http://camcrag.org.uk/sleepout2019/ to find out everything you need to know about this event, which is primed to raise money and awareness for marginalised & forgotten people who will be sleeping rough this Winter, wherever and whoever they are.
Our venue will be St Giles Church, and here's what's going on:
From 1:30 --- 4:30PM there will be a WINTER FAIR in the grounds of the church, which will feature stalls, refreshments, cake & entertainment.
At 6PM there will be a Vigil Eucharist service at St Giles, which all are welcome to attend.
And from 8PM onwards, a number of volunteers will be readying themselves to sleep out overnight in the grounds of St Giles, to raise money and awareness for local charities.
By clicking through the pages on http://camcrag.org.uk/sleepout2019/ you can to register to sleep out yourself! And you can also volunteer to help out at the fair in the daytime. We'd love to hear from you if you'd like to help run a stall.
And if you know any groups or communities who would be interested in organising a mini sleepout of their own (perfect for school-age children), then get in touch with the sleepout team via the CamCRAG website --- http://camcrag.org.uk/minisleepouts/.
We are currently fundraising to provide the residents of Whitworth House with :
> a small parcel containing festive food
> a personal gift voucher and Christmas card
> a Christmas meal out with staff members
This is something that the Trust has provided for a number of years, and we are extremely grateful for the continued support enabling it to happen!
If you would like to donate online, then you can use our CAF Donate page at the following link :
The Whitworth Trust warmly invites you to a GARDEN PARTY! We are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Whitworth House, which provides accommodation for vulnerable and homeless women in Cambridge.
We are very grateful to the Master of Magdalene College for hosting us for the evening.
TIME & DATE :: Saturday 14th July // 19:30-22:30
VENUE: The Master's Garden, Magdalene College
TICKETS :: we're asking for a suggested minimum donation of £30 PER PARTY-GOER. The party will be 'May Ball' style, and so this amount will cover unlimited drinks, food, and live music for the evening!
You can reserve a ticket for this glorious event by emailing us :: email@example.com.
Donations for tickets can be made in advance of the evening by cash, cheque or by bank transfer (details on request). Donations can also be made in cash on the night.
FACEBOOK EVENT:: https://www.facebook.com/events/2109968632570321/
Our annual general meeting will be held on Saturday 14th July 2018 at Magdalene College, Cambridge, at 6PM.
All are welcome!
The exact room location in Magdalene is tbc.
Join us for a lively evening of music and dancing in the impressive gothic surrounds of St Giles' Church.