At Christmas, I often look back and reflect on the year that’s been. It has been a year of challenges for many, from the cost-of-living crisis and the lack of affordable housing to increasing levels of homelessness and struggling communities being pitted against each other. And yet…. during life’s most challenging times, I have had the joy of seeing hope and new beginnings being created, from Shoreditch to Shadwell and Whitechapel to Walthamstow.
Taking inspiration from recovery
Transformation is at the heart of what we do at SCT, and we have been celebrating this a lot in 2023. From our art exhibition and shop refurbishments to the continued development of our programmes and the planning we’ve done for our future.
We take our inspiration from the recovery journeys of those we support who, driven by hope and connected through community, move from homelessness and addiction to transform their lives.
Transformation is something we achieve together, and I’m always moved to hear our residents and students talk about the difference our support has made to them:
“SCT has been instrumental in maintaining my recovery. It’s the camaraderie, the connections with people who understand what I’ve been through, and the support from staff, who have not only offered me guidance with my artistic endeavours but have also helped me with practical things.”
“I have been coming to SCT more than a year now, and it plays a massive part in my recovery… We are all in recovery and talking about recovery is good and it’s helping me a lot to hear how the other people work their program, I may even find something which works for me too, but is the connection and that feeling of safety I have when I am here.”
Highlights in 2023
Over the last year (Oct 22 – Sep 23) 39 new residents moved into our Acorn House recovery hub and over 35% successfully completed this 6-month abstinence programme, we supported 20 people through our Housing First service and delivered over 520 art, digital skills, cooking, creative writing, literacy, gardening, woodwork and even barbering sessions!
We’ve worked, shared, been stretched, achieved, learned, mourned, commemorated and celebrated, together as a community.
The summer saw us come together with our volunteers to celebrate their vital contribution in making our services possible and helping to make SCT who we are! How fitting that the celebration was held in the Green Flag Award-winning gardens so lovingly and expertly tended by our Gardening Tutor and her dedicated team of volunteers!
September saw the wonderful exhibition of resident and student artwork inspired by the theme of ‘Transformation’ and spectacularly hosted by Shearman and Sterling law firm in the City! Our artists invested so much time, effort and passion to create a wonderful array of masterpieces – enjoyed and made possible by their vision and generosity and the support of family, friends, corporate sponsors, donors and staff.
In November, our residents and students put together a service with our neighbours at St Leonard’s to celebrate shared lives of recovery.
We have taken ‘Transformation’ as the focus of our latest winter campaign, raising awareness of the complex challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness and addiction and how together we build belief and foundations for fulfilling futures. Our students’ art has gone on public display across all our locations along with the publication of their work online, as well as our Transformations brochure showcasing residents’ and students’ art and creative writing.
Hope, Community and Transformation
Building understanding and connection with our community extends to those who want to stand with us and support those with whom we work. Standing together has never been more vital.
To support, celebrate and nurture those who others want to condemn takes courage and builds community. To embrace hope and reject division enriches us all.
Hope, Community, and Transformation have been the successive themes of our winter campaigns over the last 3 years. They underpin the strategy that we set out in 2023 to transform the support we provide to women experiencing homelessness and addiction as we plan to establish a multi-faceted residential rehab for women. Our strategy also focuses on taking our offer of hope, community, transformation and practical innovative initiatives into the neighbourhoods of East London where we are already embedded through the connections and relationships we have in our shop and social enterprise spaces.
It’s been a year full of challenge, opportunity and celebration. Those we work with rely on the support of our community to transform their lives. The donations we receive are a vital investment in our common good. This is going to be more important than ever in the coming year.
Thank you for standing with us and being part of our recovery community.
Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Chief Executive, Spitalfields Crypt Trust