We are asking for your financial support in favour of my forthcoming trip to Kala Patthar Mount Everest as part of a fund raising event for www.emmaus.org.uk on the 10th March 2016.
Emmaus have a strategic vision for:
‘A world in which everyone has a home and a sense of belonging’.
Their mission is:
‘To work together to overcome homelessness and social exclusion while using our voice to achieve social change.’ http://www.emmaus.org.uk/strategic_plan, last accessed 20.1.16
My brother Jack Portland (www.facebook.com/UnofficialJustJack ) died 27.12.15, aged 29 years. He had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, but that was only part of his story. He had amazing potential that was suffocated and supplanted by his relationship with drugs from his teenage years. He tried very hard to overcome his addictions and my family and I feel very strongly that he deserved better support. We tried for over fifteen years but our love and support was never enough, we couldn’t fight his addiction for him and the services in place are insufficient. If you know of anyone trying to end an addiction, you know it doesn’t play fair, you know it turns them into an abusive person that will erode all trust, faith and goodwill.
Jack’s plan was to join an Emmaus Community and the staff my parents and he spoke to offered the hope of rebuilding his life. ‘No man is an island’ however that’s exactly what an addict becomes when s/he tries to recover. They have burnt most family relationships; they cannot be trusted; the likelihood of their ‘new leaf’ coming good is tragically minimal. Nothing fits together; you can leave prison with poor mental health, no fixed abode and £46 to last you six weeks as you try and negotiate obtaining benefits. You can’t get a job without an address, the hostels are full, and full of desperate people. Society blames addicts for their sorry states, they feel they must have chosen this path. What isn’t clear or barely acknowledged, is the relationship between poor mental health as a predisposition towards self-medication; it isn’t clear how stressful situations can trigger a chemical imbalance that was waiting, like a cancer, to take over and control your destiny? Society needs new spectacles! It must take an objective look at health and demand equality of service and support for everyone.
While we wait for that to happen, charities such as Emmaus are doing an incredible job and using their funding effectively:
In 2012, a group of researchers talked to companions and staff members in seven communities across the UK, trying to establish the main outcomes of Emmaus’s work.
Their research found that for every £1 invested in an established Emmaus community, £11 is generated in social, environmental and economic returns.
The benefits included:
- Keeping people out of hospital, and helping them to be safe and well, saved the Department of Heath £1,478,506 for NHS and emergency service costs;
- Emmaus saved local government £2,447,612 which would have been spent on hostel accommodation, drug and alcohol services and landfill;
- Keeping people in work and out of prison saved the Ministry of Justice £778,435.
The report found that Emmaus communities successfully provide a place for people in vulnerable housing situations to rebuild their lives by offering them meaningful work and support. Significant benefits were linked to substantial improvements in companions’ physical and mental health, including reductions in substance misuse.
My fund raising journey is a public declaration to improve the life of others, in a way we couldn’t do for Jack.
My first donation came as a legacy from my brother; he had saved some money for his future life and gave it to my parent’s for safekeeping. The first £100, which I matched, was the deposit for the trip.
The congregation at my brother’s funeral raised a staggering £1,000. Now the rest is up to you. I hope I have given you food for thought and encouragement to lend your support. Please access our community page on facebook: Unofficial Just Jack. Read the Open Letter from my parents where they express their despair at being unable to help Jack, see how their lives have been impacted. If you help me to help Emmaus perhaps your friend in need will have a better chance?
I plan to write a blog that might inspire you to take up a challenge in the future. I think it’s going to be difficult both physically and mentally, but I need this too, a way to ease my grief and guilt. I also plan to host some local events and pledge to always advocate for others less fortunate than myself.
Thank you in advance for anything you are able to do to support us.