Submitted by george.somers@… on

The Revd Helen Shannon has planted an estates church where she lives in North London, called church@five.

Helen talked to us about the continual challenges of everyday life, and how support from the Trust allows her to continue her crucial ministry on the estate.

"We live in an area of deprivation in East Finchley. We’re in a pocket of poverty with people in precarious situations. Some of them are just about hanging on to their homes and relationships. Many people on the estate are in huge need.

The door is constantly going, things are always happening, and you can't get away from it. It’s tough because of the trauma, addiction and abuse that some people are experiencing. You’re walking through that with them."

Helen, sat at a table with a laptop.

There in your time of need

"My husband, Mark is disabled and can't work. He had a stroke, and has a chronic back condition which affects his mobility.

I got Covid at the beginning of the pandemic, and it kicked off arthritis all over my body. I’ve got it in my hands, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and feet. It affects my mobility too, and I need help getting around. But it doesn’t stop me from doing my job, and we live off my clergy stipend.

Being able to have open and honest conversations with a Grants and Services Officer has made a big difference. She’s been able to talk us through different grants and guide us through the process.

The Emergency grants have really taken the pressure off. Knowing there’s somewhere to turn if the washing machine goes or the fridge goes; it takes the stress away and that’s brilliant."

"It's such a blessing"

"The Government funded a folding mobility scooter, that I keep in the car. The problem is that we can’t park outside where we live. When I was called out in the middle of the night, it was difficult to get to the car.

Clergy Support Trust funded a mobility scooter that I can keep at home. It’s just outside the door, with its own storage and electricity. I can just hop on and go anywhere on the estate and the neighbouring estate we work with. It’s not a cheap one that will fall apart, but a really good one that’s fit for purpose. It’s such a blessing."

Support for all the family

"During lockdown, my husband nearly died of Covid. We were having end-of-life conversations. Alongside my own mobility decline, it’s been a lot to come to terms with.

Having counselling available via the Trust - which wasn’t pushed on us, but encouraged - was a big support. I think I’d be looking for a less stressful job if it wasn’t for that. The Trust also funded counselling for my daughter. Being a clergy child can be tough, and alongside that, our children are also our carers."

Thank you to The Revd Helen Shannon and her family for sharing their story with us. We are here to serve those who serve, and there is no shame in contacting the Trust for assistance.

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