Inside Croydon today announces that its nominated charity for its 2023 Christmas Appeal is the Cassandra Centre, as it prepares to deliver some festive cheer to dozens of older members of the community.
We are asking our loyal readers to contribute towards the charity’s fund-raising to help pay towards the Cassandra Centre’s costs in providing the get-together and meal, which will be staged at St Paul’s Church Hall in Thornton Heath on December 14.
And we are asking businesses in Croydon to consider donating, too, but with gifts – old stock, excess inventory – which the Cassandra Centre can then wrap up as presents to bring a bit of Christmas magic to some of the borough’s poorest and most vulnerable.
In previous years, Inside Croydon and its generous readers have supported local causes including Croydon Nightwatch and the South Norwood Community Kitchen.
In 2022, thanks to our wonderful readers, we handed over more than £2,000 from our #KerswellBalls Fund – money collected within just a couple of days for a legal fees war chest when Croydon’s badly managed council came after this website for publishing… documents that the council had already published.
We won our case at the High Court, there was no injunction against Inside Croydon and (importantly) there was no order as to costs against the website or its editor. So we were able to redistribute the donations to some very good causes. Thanks again, council CEO Katherine Kerswell, Stephen Lawrence-Orumwense, the council’s legal chief, and of course to Mayor Perry!
This year, we are asking that our readers consider helping the Cassandra Centre, because the charity itself has had a rough few months.
The Cassandra Centre’s main area of activity is providing counselling, education and support to women and girls who suffer from or are at risk from domestic abuse. The registered charity was founded in 2007 by Jennifer McDermott following the murder of her 19-year-old Cassandra by her ex-boyfriend.
For many years, the Cassandra Centre operated out of offices above a bank on the high street in Norbury. It has suffered funding struggles, just as many smaller charities do, plus it had to contend with a series of break-ins by cruel thieves and vandals.
Through the covid pandemic, the Cassandra Centre expanded its operations for broader community care, while maintaining its important work on what is acronym-ised as VAWG.
Then, earlier this year Lloyd’s Bank, the charity’s long-time hosts, announced that they were going to close their branch and that the charity would have to move out of their offices.
McDermott and the charity have sought help in finding suitable new premises. Croydon Council has been no assistance at all.
Yet despite having no settled premises to operate from, she and her stalwart supporters at the Cassandra Centre are pushing on with their plans to provide their Celebration Festive Meal next month.
And we hope that Inside Croydon’s loyal readers will rally round to help.
Jennifer McDermott approached iC saying, “I need your help to raise funds for our Christmas dinner on December 14.
“For many of the elders they may not have another Christmas dinner during the festive season.
“We will be cooking a three-course Christmas meal as we have done on previous years.
“But the cost of living has gone up so much that we will struggle if we do not get some funds in to help us.”
McDermott’s appeals for gifts from businesses based in Croydon, including Amazon and Curry’s, have received no reply.
The Cassandra Centre’s Over-50s lunch club has members aged up to 102, drawn from all parts of Croydon.
The fortnightly meetings usually last for three hours and provide a hot meal, encouraging socialisation and trying to prevent isolation among a section of society which is often forgotten and excluded.
“Securing the event to its full potential isn’t proving easy. We are not funded for this project and rely on donations to continue.
“The money raised will ensure our members enjoy a three-course meal with all the trimmings, entertainment, prizes and an evening to remember.
“This is some of our members’ only Christmas celebration they will have.”
Each Christmas dinner ticket costs £20. You are very welcome to buy a ticket, or tickets, for yourselves (see the poster for booking details).
And we can all help the Cassandra Centre and their hard-working supporters bring some Christmas cheer into the lives of some of the older members of our community.
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