As a new year begins, Patrick O’Dowd, our director, looks ahead to another exciting year at Caritas….
A new year is always a time to look back at what has gone before, and make new plans and promises for the coming twelve months.
At Caritas we’re no different. 2023 was both exciting and challenging in many ways. The cost-of-living crisis meant that demand for our services increased significantly and, as a charity, we also faced difficulties as rising costs affected us too. Whether higher energy prices to heat our centres or greater costs for food to serve to people who access our services, rising amounts to run our vehicles or to maintain our buildings, we’ve not been immune to the challenges many other organisations have faced.
Though people have still continued to be as generous as they can be, despite pressures they too have been feeling, our fundraising efforts have been very challenging too. Councils and others who fund our work have seen budgets slashed and with greater competition for grants and trust support, we’ve had to continue making difficult decisions to ensure we can carry on supporting as many local people as possible.
Despite the obvious challenges, it was still a year that I’m really proud of. Our teams across all 12 of our services and the various departments that are important in supporting their work, delivered amazing support to individuals and families from right across Greater Manchester and Lancashire who were experiencing crisis.
Seeing people who have been able to transform their lives with dignity with us by their side is why we’re here and I’m pleased to say that we’ve been able to help many local people to do just that.
As 2024 begins, we’re really excited to continue that work and have ambitious plans to further develop our services and also the buildings and spaces they operate within. We want to make sure we remain a charity that is passionate about protecting the dignity of people experiencing crisis, making a tangible difference that helps change lives.
With the input of the people who come to our services, we want to continue developing what those services look like – to review, to study feedback, and to react in a timely and responsive way.
We will also continue to embrace and explore new innovations and creative ways to support people. We’ve already implemented new technologies that are helping us be more efficient and effective in addressing the challenges that people face in their lives.
Tackling the climate crisis is also an important priority not least because those who are experiencing poverty are the most significantly affected by the changes. As part of our works to ensure our centres represent the highest standards of welcome and support for people in need, we are prioritising sustainable practices in all our work.
We can only continue our work thanks to everyone in the wider Caritas community that gives their support. Whether that’s people in local parishes and community groups, schools, businesses, or individuals and families, you all enable us to carry out our work alongside people experiencing poverty, homelessness, discrimination and isolation, every time you donate, share our news, spread the word on social media, or engage with us in other ways.
It’s greatly appreciated and we never take it for granted.
Thank you and all best wishes for a healthy and happy 2024.