On to New Challenges

by Gerry Lynch last modified 16 Dec, 2016 06:51 PM

Salisbury Christian charity leader creates space for more work with some of Europe's most disadvantaged young people

A Salisbury churchgoer is to move on to a new role in the charity sector after more than a decade at the helm of a charity that has become one of the best known in the country.

Chris Mould, who has been worshipping at St Paul’s in the city for a quarter of a century, is standing down as Chairman of the Trussell Trust to have more time to develop a charity working in South Eastern Europe which grew out of work by the Trussell Trust there.

“I have been leading the Trust in some form or other for ten years”, said Chris, “and chairing the board for 12. I will still be involved as a trustee, but it’s time for some fresh blood at the helm of Trussell Trust, and I’m creating space in my life for an organisation that is growing across South East Europe called the Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion (FSCI - website here).

“The Trussell Trust was a small local charity a decade ago. It’s now a large national charity, that still firmly stands on the roots of what started in Salisbury as a community project.

“FSCI was launched by the Trussell Trust in 2008-09 to develop the work we started in Bulgaria in 1997, although it’s now an independent charity with its own identity. In the last year, FSCI started to roll out its projects into Serbia, Croatia and Albania, and will likely to be moving into Moldova and Greece soon.

“FSCI runs residential training for vulnerable young people at risk of human trafficking and drug crime, mainly young people who are leaving state care or foster care which they’ve been brought up in. There’s a major problem. Several countries in the region are significant sources for trafficking into the sex industry and modern slavery in the UK and more widely across Western Europe.

“FSCI also works with communities in some of the largest Roma ghettoes in South East Europe, providing an early years programme and parenting skills courses.

“With my newly found free time, I want to build support for the initiative, work on fundraising, telling its story, and helping the local partners to develop. FSCI does a lot of leadership development with partners, who are usually small front-line charities.

“The work I do in South East Europe builds on experience gained in UK so, for example, FSCI helps its partners work with journalists to tell a story in the media, and produces operating manuals on how to run a charity programme.

“All this involves raising a lot of money, but FSCI presents a great opportunity to give for people who want to make a serious difference in a significant corner of the world. We have a great programme, that has a great reputation and adds high value. The prospects for young coming out of state care in the region are bleak.

“As I look back on the years involved with the Trussell Trust, I realise it is a remarkable organisation, immensely blessed by God. Through grace, the things we’ve attempted to do have had a great effect.

“I’ve learned an enormous amount about the goodness you’ll find in communities up and down the country and people’s willingness to help their neighbour when in trouble.

“The demand for emergency food assistance in the UK has not fallen. As we do the sums at the end of 2016, we expect to provide more of our three-day emergency food parcels than ever before: well over a million

“This is made possible by thousands of churches and tens of thousands of volunteers who give up time and resources every week. From the first foodbank in Salisbury, there are over a thousand now. There is not a corner of the UK which does not have a Trussell Trust foodbank.

“There’s a poem I’ve been musing on, written by Mark van Doren, significantly, in 1948. The first line is “In so much dark, no light is little”. If people look at the state of the world and worry about the future, I would just say your contribution is never too small.”

“All those foodbanks are small local community projects run by volunteers, many wondering each week if they’ll manage to keep going. Add it together you have a collection of people who’ve woken our country up to the reality that people here, in one of the richest countries in the world, are going hungry, helped them do something practical about it, and had this debated in public, in parliament, and got policy makers to pay attention.”

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