Lynne Galloway from the Society for Retreat Conductors has been in touch to let us know about their grants. The SRC has some funding for projects that fit within its objects, up to 50% of the cost of the project to a maximum of £17,000 for groups as well as awarding grants for individuals. The Society would like to fund creative projects which aid spirituality especially for those who are marginalised in some way.
The Society for Retreat Conductors aims to promote and enable training for the conducting of retreats and the ministry of spiritual direction within the tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola and to conduct retreats, provide spiritual direction and occasional conferences, and to assist those engaged in these ministries.
Suitable projects might include:
- Conferences promoting spirituality, spiritual direction, Christian ministry involving prayer and spiritual practice… (Ignatian and more)
- Creative ways of enabling access to retreats and spiritual accompaniment (online retreats, community projects involving spiritual practices …)
- Research projects studying creative ways of engaging people seeking spiritual growth
- Publishing of resources supporting those involved in the ministry of retreats, spiritual direction and spiritual practices (this may be in printed or electronic form)
- Other things we haven’t thought of!
These grants could be used to cover a wide range of projects, read on to learn about Street Talk, an example of a project that has previously received funding from the SRC.
SRC grant example project: Street Talk
By Pippa Hockton, founder of Street Talk (names of the women in this article have been changed)
Street Talk is tiny registered charity which takes therapy to women in street prostitution, women who have escaped from traffickers, and women with no recourse to public funds. The aim of the work is to enable women who have been dehumanised to encounter their own humanity. We take psychotherapy and art therapy into hostels and day centres in order to reach women who would not place enough value on themselves to come to us, or who would not have any sense of what therapy might offer. Street Talk was awarded a grant this year by the Society of Retreat Conductors, to enable us to take women to St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Wales.
Fr Roger invited me to bring women to St Beuno’s, for retreat, respite, to be cared for. It was a bold move, and I was hesitant to take women who live on the streets to St Beuno’s where I knew they would stand out.
Olga, who had been abused and trafficked, was one of the women we took to St Beuno’s. When we arrived, Fr Roger came out to meet us, welcoming both of us like much missed family members returning home. Over the five days we were there I watched a miracle unfold. I watched a lifetime of pain, fear and grief lift from Olga. I saw her smile for the first time. For the first time I listened to her remember the happy time in her life, the years before her mother’s death. She had been in therapy with me for years and I didn’t even know she had memories of those early years before the abuse began, they were awoken at St Beuno’s. Above all I watched her feel loved by her new friends.
“I feel like a good person here” she told me. “That’s all I want.”
I have taken Olga back to St Beuno’s over the years. The baby Olga had with her when I met her had been removed and placed for adoption and she had gone on to have three more babies, conceived in prostitution also removed, but after her days at St Beuno’s something shifted which years of therapy with me had not touched. She did go on to become pregnant again but this time she had glimpsed the good in herself, the shadow of the belief that she no longer deserved punishment and abuse. She tried to get away from the gangs who pimped her out, stopped using crack, stopped having to sell her body to buy the crack and although she spent the first seven months of her pregnancy living in a tent in Finsbury Park, until the temperature fell below zero in the winter when an attempt is made to bring the rough sleepers in, she had made enough progress to be allowed to keep her fifth child.
All of us at Street Talk are grateful to Fr Roger for inviting our women to St Beuno’s and to the entire community who welcome them without judgement and now also to the Society of Retreat Conductors for their help. If you want to know more about the work of Street Talk please visit our website www.street-talk.org.uk.