The Society of St Vincent de Paul has hosted a series of Member Roadshows, visiting towns and cities across the province, to engage with members in person for the first time since March last year.
As well as providing representatives of more than 1,600 members from 167 SVP Conferences across Northern Ireland with an overview of the Society and how it has responded to the tens of thousands who have needed its support most in the past 18 months, together with its plans for Christmas 2021 and beyond, the events provided delegates with an opportunity to meet Mary Waide who was elected Regional President for the North Region at the beginning of the pandemic.
Following opening prayers and a welcome by Mary Waide, regional board members of SVP took to the stage to present various aspects of the Society’s work to assembled guests representing their local SVP Conferences. Following a thought provoking spiritual reflection, board members presented the Society’s retail strategy for its 33 Vincent’s shops in Northern Ireland, a report of the outreach into prisons, details of how each Conference should report on its finances and new ways of adhering to policies and procedures for those being assisted by the charity and those providing the assistance. An interactive element encouraged guests to engage in a healthy discussion with board members before closing prayers.
Speaking about the Member Roadshows, Mary Waide, Regional President of SVP North Region, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the success of this series of SVP Member Roadshows and the feedback from those who were able to attend. It was important for the SVP regional board to get out into our local communities having had such a long time apart from our members face to face. The focus of the roadshows were to primarily express our gratitude to our members for the sterling work they have been continuing to do on the ground to help those who have needed it most, during the most trying of times, and to share with them our SVP vision for the longer term. The dedication of members of SVP has never been more important than it has been in the past 18 months. I know from experience how daunting it has been trying to help the vulnerable in our community without compromising or risking the health of those who are supporting those in need.
“As we move forward, it is my hope that our Conferences in Fermanagh and Tyrone continue to go from strength to strength under the guidance of Frederic Ozanam who founded SVP almost 180 years ago.”
The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) is an international charity and the largest voluntary charity in Ireland. SVP members in Northern Ireland work in all communities to support people whatever their background, who are experiencing poverty and social exclusion, promoting self-sufficiency and working for social justice.
Every year SVP spends approximately £3 million to help those experiencing poverty in Northern Ireland. Last year, SVP responded to tens of thousands of calls for assistance from members of the public.