The port town of Poole on the Jurassic coast has seen its share of intrigue over the years. As the birthplace of the Scouting movement and a venue for countless daring smuggling missions, the town’s harbour has seen more than its fair share of human drama.
Recent years have seen an upsurge in another cargo altogether. Fleeing persecution in war-torn nations, it has been people that have been making the headlines. Local schools and communities have heard the harrowing stories of refugees who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves on the run and looking for a safe harbour wherein they can rebuild their lives.
It can be a difficult transition, not only acclimatising to a new environment but also in coping with the judgments of those who are wholly ignorant of their plight and the dangers that they have endured, just so that they can live free from the fear of persecution and death.
The Saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ was familiar with the sense of being an outcast, adrift from the mainstream flow of society. The Son of Man was more than aware of what it felt like to have no place to lay His head (See Matthew 8:20). There can be no question, then, of His approval for the new initiative to support some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
The Poole England Stake, Unity in Vision, and The Rotary Club of Westbourne are working together to create a multi-use Food Hub in Boscombe, a town adjoining the better-known resort of Bournemouth. Initially, the hub will support 20 people who will participate in workshops covering topics such as business planning, registering a food business, marketing and pricing, food safety, health and safety, and first aid.
The scheme is aimed at refugees/asylum seekers/ethnic minority members of the local region and aims to give them skills, knowledge, and qualifications to become self-reliant and to remove barriers that stop them gaining employment. Following a successful application to LDS Charities, a grant has been awarded for the new hub to buy the much-needed equipment to be able to make this new adventure a great success for all those involved.
At a time of social and political upheaval, where division and polarisation have torn communities to shreds, it is refreshing to see the Church reach out in practical ways to lift those who have already suffered so much and in doing so, fulfil the scripture which aims for a time when we are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).