Recently, my colleague Fiona Bruce MP held a backbench debate on the contribution of faith organisations to the voluntary sector.
Fiona opened as follows:
Christians possess a rich heritage of social reform and charitable care which is alive today. In the 19th century, William Wilberforce and Lord Shaftesbury led campaigns for the abolition of slavery and child labour. Others, such as Barnardo and William and Catherine Booth, were involved in founding charitable organisations, covering every conceivable form of human need, as an expression of Christian love. The Christian principles that drove Wilberforce and Shaftesbury are still very much alive in Britain today and are as relevant as ever.
I wholeheartedly agree that local churches provide a multitude of benefits to communities. In Wycombe, we are blessed to have a variety of Christian groups actively engaging with those most in need, including:
- Wycombe Homeless Connection, which helped over 400 people in 2015 and helped to reduce the number of evictions in High Wycombe District by about 25 percent.
- The One Can Trust food bank, led by local Christians.
- Lighthouse, which helps parents in the first week of the summer holiday by hosting 6500 children from across Buckinghamshire to take part in activities.
- Monthly groups for special needs adults in which they come together to learn and enjoy themselves and as a result feel more confident integrating in society.
- Money courses provided by Christians Against Poverty, helping over a hundred people across Wycombe in 2015 with debt issues.
I am proud of the great work being done in Wycombe and I commend all those who volunteer locally to help those in need.