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Charity of the Week – Sreepur Village

sreepur-village-logo[1]It seems a bit odd for us to cover a story about a village in Bangladesh but the charity Sreepur Village is based in Beckenham!

We’ve all heard of Bangladesh but where is it? It was originally Eastern Pakistan but became the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 1971 and became a democracy in 1990. It has a population of 161.3 million and has widespread poverty and overcrowding.

The Sreepur Village charity is firmly non-political and oversees Shishu Polli Plus (SPP) which translated means Childrens Village Plus. They work with destitute mothers and children and endeavour to give them knowledge, skills, and the standard of health they need to function in society. Over 150 mothers and 540 children are supported by SPP.

The charity is responsive to local needs and help support vulnerable children who may have been abandoned or trafficked. The environment they provide is safe and loving with food, clothing, and education so that the children and their mothers can look forward to having independent lives and not backwards at their former lives. They have recently set up a support centre in the Krurigram/Chilmari region of northern Bangladesh as women and children living on sand banks known as chars are having their lives threatened by climate change.

On arrival at Sreepur Village there are checks made to ensure that women with children seeking help fulfil the criteria to stay in the village and then spend a week in their clinic so that any illnesses can be spotted and treated.

The women hold regular meetings to talk about life, any problems that they may have and how to improve life at Shishu Polli. Whilst living there the women are paid an allowance and they join a compulsory savings scheme so that when they are ready to join society again they have funds for when they leave.

SPP ensure that the children who arrive without mothers have a good quality life. They feel that it is important to give them the skills and knowledge to take their place in society when the time is right. Boys over 11 are fostered with families in local villages which is beneficial for both the boys and the families.

The children are considered to be in the care of SPP until (in the case of boys) they have been successfully employed for six months in a permanent job or, for the girls, have been married successfully for two years.

Whilst Sreepur Village obviously needs support successful businesses are run from there. They make paper and greetings cards and both lines are very popular. The Guardian has said that their Christmas cards are the best! They also do a small range of other goods which you can see here.

If you’d like to see the village then take a photo tour!

SPP is a small charity that needs your support! You can see more about what Sreepur Village do on their website, follow them on Twitter or check out their Facebook page.

Charity of the Week – St Mark’s PTA

St Marks LogoSt. Mark’s is proud to be a welcoming school where a loving and caring community is created and the children at the centre of the community are encouraged to achieve their potential, growing in confidence and assurance as they go. As they learn about themselves and the world in which they live they are taught to be considerate of others. At the same time a spirit of adventure and enquiry is encouraged so that children are ready to meet the opportunities and challenges in a changing society.

Like many Parent Teacher Associations St Mark’s PTA, is there to support the school and to help make the educational experience of the children there as best as it can be. Working alongside and with staff, they raise additional funds for the school and seek to enhance a sense of community amongst the families of the children who go to the school.

Meetings are held each term and all parents are welcomed to share their ideas and hear about how the money raised is spent to support their child’s education. Parents are encourage to use their skills to make the annual events a success.

Money that is raised by the PTA goes directly to St Mark’s and has been used to refurbish the library, purchase playground equipment, food technology amongst other things.

The PTA raises money via the Easy Fundraising site and have had wine tasting events which prove very popular. The Winter and Summer Fairs are the main events that the PTA organise and there is a disco each term for the children.

Currently the PTA is looking for donations of Easter eggs for St. Mark’s Easter Raffle – any donations can be left at reception!

Social Enterprise Employment Company (SEEC)


It’s difficult at times to return to work after a period of absence or to find the right job but when you have to factor in an illness (either physical or mental) or a learning disability then it can be so much harder.

The Social Enterprise Employment Company (SEEC) is there to help people with mental and/or physical health problems or learning disabilities to gain the confidence and self-esteem needed to take their place in paid work.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust seed funded SEEC in 2012 in order to help support its clients to find employment and the services are managed and delivered by Twining Enterprise which is a specialist charity supporting well-being through work.

It wasn’t just support applying for roles but what hours would fit with my son, how this would affect my benefits, what I enjoyed doing and what my goals were- Susan saw me as a whole person.

They are essentially an independent organisation but continue to work in close partnership with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

SEEC support people who live in Bromley, Bexley & Greenwich and work on the principle that recovery is achievable and that the right job can be key to achieving that recovery.

Focussing on the aspirations and skills of their clients, SEEC work with them to find a job that they not only want but that they can sustain. Offering one-to-one support they help people to apply and find work rather than provide training or placements. Working with local businesses helps to find opportunities for volunteering as well as becoming aware of job vacancies. As a result of this SEEC has helped over 100 people get back to the workplace.

Throughout my 1-2-1 sessions I could slowly feel my confidence growing and I felt for the first time I had direction and a sense of purpose. We talked about what to disclose about my mental health and this helped me feel more confident to apply for jobs.

Though SEEC work with a large number of organisations in the area (one of which is Jobcentre Plus) they are always happy to explore working with more and it’s simple to get in touch if you would like more information about doing this.

Whilst linking closely with partners in bridging the gap between health and employment, SEEC ensures that their independence is maintained and that they stay true to their core values.

So if you are:

  • unemployed or looking to change careers,
  • have a mental health problem or a disability,
  • want to get back to work or into volunteering or training and
  • live in Bromley, Bexley or Greenwich

then SEEC could be a great port of call for you!

You can find out more about SEEC on their website or by following their Twitter account which is @SEEC_employment