Action and Outreach

Action and Outreach

This is just to keep you in touch with what is happening in Action and Outreach. For further information on any of these please contact me.

AFIA holidays. We now have funding from a new source which enables us to give more holidays.There are some areas within our diocese which have received very few of these holidays.  If your branch knows of a family which would benefit from a short holiday please contact Margaret Crawforth as soon as possible.  Her email is and her telephone number is 0191 2632373.

Helping prisoners on their release from Acklington Prison, Northumberland.

Prisoners who have served their sentences. or who are being released on licence are discharged from Acklington prison each day.  The charity, North East Prisoners Aftercare Society (NEPACS) welcome these men and their families at the visitor centre situated in the prison grounds.  Some of these men are met by families or use their £48 grant and a travel pass to travel home.  Some, however, have no supportive contacts outside.  Of these about three men per week have no family support and leave lacking toiletries and a basic change of clothes.  They will go to a hostel if a place can be found for them, but these places are scarce.  If not, they may end up back on the street, or, if they are fortunate, sofa-surfing around friends.  MU member Norma Willmott, who has been volunteering at the NEPACS prison visitor centre for over seventeen years, is only too aware of the plight of some of these men.  Once released, those using the bus have to walk to the end of the road, some distance from the prison, to reach the bus stop.  If it is raining they could get soaked.  They leave prison in the clothes they were wearing when they were imprisoned, and some are left largely to fend for themselves once they have been released.

Norma hopes that Mothers’ Union members might be able to help.  If we could donate a small towel, change of underwear and socks, toiletries and the kind of things we put into the Christmas shoe boxes, it would have a positive impact on these men immediately after their release.  Ideally, the donations should be packed into a small backpack, which the men could carry for their journey while keeping the contents safe and dry.

Please contact me if you have any donations, or bring them with you to the next council meeting on March 31st.  We don’t need a large quantity at any one time, rather a regular supply which can be stored and given out when needed, so that they could bring a sense of hope for the released prisoners and give them an awareness of other people’s kindness. Linda Benneworth (email tel 0191 2903479

Volunteering at Acklington Prison Visitor Centre

The Mothers’ Union has a tradition of providing volunteers to help at Acklington prison visitor centre run by the charity NEPACS.  Because of its location it has become increasingly difficult to find enough members to volunteer at the visitor centre.  NEPACS has just opened a “departure lounge” where prisoners can wait each week day until their bus departure time, or until family or friends arrive to pick them up.  Refreshments are available both for those being released and those coming to meet them.  The departure lounge is in the visitor centre, but at an earlier time than scheduled visits.

MU members have also helped to look after the waiting visitors over the seven visiting sessions each week. The centre is open from 12.45pm until 4.15pm. Visiting starts at 1.45pm and finishes at 3.45pm. Many visitors have travelled long distances and really appreciate the refreshments provided and the toys etc lent to the young children.  A mileage allowance can be provided for those volunteers who live reasonably close to the prison. If you feel that you would like to be involved please contact Norma Willmott telephone 01665 577456.

CelebratingMothers” with the girls from GAP on Wednesday March 22nd 2017.                                      

Changing Lives” working as “Girls Are Proud” supports girls who are at risk from sexual exploitation. Some have had their children taken into care. As “Mothering Sunday” approached we were asked if Mothers’ Union could support an afternoon of craft activities and help fund an afternoon tea at Brunswick Methodist Church in the centre of Newcastle.

Volunteers from Mothers’ Union, (Sylvia Hickey, Margaret Crawforth, Susan Croome, Margaret Helmrich and Linda Benneworth)  set up tables offering jewellery making and card making.  Susan led the jewellery making, in which the girls were offered the opportunity to make bracelets; the more skilled also tried their hands at making earrings.My impression was that all the jewellery that the girls produced looked very professional and they were proud to be wearing it. Sylvia and Linda produced bracelets and felt an enormous sense of achievement when they were completed. The two Margarets helped the girls to make individualised and very attractive cards for mothers. Two also made a leaving card for one of the staffmembers who is leaving he GAP project.

Our small donation paid for afternoon teasof sandwiches and delicious scones served with jam and cream. I think we were all touched by the fact that the tea was served in china cups and saucers. The girls and helpers had bought, made and assembled the  refreshments

The organisers were swift to send their thanks stressing the sense of achievement which the girls gained from their craft work. They had also had a really fun afternoon which was hugely therapeutic. We hope to offer these craft activities to other groups in the future. ( pictures in the photo album)



Mosquito drives. If your branch would like to fight the Ziko virus by providing funding for mosquito nets then why not hold a mosquito drive? A single copy of the game sheet is available here or by email.  Any money raised should be sent direct to our treasurer.

We are still making up shoe boxes for the Peoples Kitchen and WERS for Christmas - see suggested list below. These are always most gratefully received.  This year, we are hoping to  have enough boxes to give some to the  “Walking With” project in Wallsend.

Warm hats for fishermen. Perhaps your branch would like to have a coffee morning to raise money to buy warm hats  and fingerless gloves for fishermen. These would be most welcome when the winter comes Thermal glove and hats can be bought  cheaply online. £10 will buy four hats or six pairs of gloves  including postage. Donations can be sent to Margaret Crawforth  who is happy to buy them for you .

Activity aprons and activity muffs for dementia sufferers.  Many people have welcomed the change of name for these. They are very popular in care homes and in people’s own homes and I’m delighted that our members continue to make them. We have been requested to ensure that these are checked to ensure that they are safe before they are given out. Carers also suggest that it would be good to add more activity features both inside and  on the outside of the muff  and possibly  put a small pocket inside to hold a handkerchief, Zips,  buttons ,  beads and ribbons  and  other things which are interesting  to touch, for example patches of suede, velvet or lace  would encourage activity.  






Christmas shoe boxes

Contents; Please include from the following.;

Hat, scarf and gloves.


Tee shirt

Boxer shorts (or knickers)

Toiletries (tooth brush & paste, deodorant – shampoo – soap etc)

Wipes – paper tissues.

Sweets – chocolate bar

Don’t forget to put a Christmas Card in your box and a plastic bag  to make it easier for the recipients to carry the box and/or contents away.

Please remember to label each gift wrapped box as MALE or FEMALE and attach a Mothers’ Union sticker.


Linda Benneworth,


About us
Webpage icon Choir news
Webpage icon Facts not Fiction
Webpage icon Faith and Policy
Webpage icon Our Mothers' Union Branches
Webpage icon Prayer and worship
Printer Printable Version