Registered Charity No. 283579
Caterham Overseas Aid Trust (COAT) is an ecumenical local charity with volunteers from St Mary’s, St John’s, the URC and the Sacred Heart churches working together with members of the local community to raise money to support carefully selected projects in the developing world. We finance simple, down-to-earth aid projects which are aimed at improving quality of life and use the maximum community self-help. We aim for our projects to become locally sustainable and we work through recognised non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We aim to donate £3,000 annually to each of our four main charities: Water Aid, Self Help Africa, VSO and Practical Action.
All the money raised goes directly to the projects and we have no administration expenses.*Not only did we miss out on our special Thanksgiving Service to celebrate 40 years of COAT, but we have now lost our Honorary Patron. Bishop Jonathan has retired and we never even met! He was so willing to take the service and had it all planned with hymns and readings etc, but it came to nothing because of the pandemic. Before him, Lord Howe was our Honorary Patron for many years. He did so much for us – taking books out to Kenya, a fundraising tour plus a question and answer session at the House of Lords: he never failed to ring or write after each newsletter checking that we were claiming gift aid etc. So, who will be our next Patron?
COAT has now had over two years without any fundraising events. We have been extremely concerned that we wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pledges to our chosen charities. In fact, we have honoured them all and have money for extra projects to be decided at our next committee meeting. This is when regular giving plays such an important part as we can plan to use what we know will be given. That, plus our Churches Christmas Appeal: it is not possible to express how grateful we are to the ministers of our four main churches (St. Mary’s, St. John’s, the Sacred Heart and the URC), themselves Patrons of COAT, for allowing this to take place.
We were delighted when Sally Dixon approached us to offer us the chance of raising funds through her father’s paintings. Peter Dixon will be known to many at St Mary’s as he was in the choir for many, many years. Peter is now frail and in Cherry Lodge Care Home and his house had to be sadly sold and emptied. Out of this sadness came such generosity. We do thank the family for their kindness. Not only did they let us have the paintings but they turned up at each venue to help. It had been a great pleasure to get to know them and, so far, over £2,000 has been raised. We are preparing a display about the work of COAT for the East Surrey Museum, starting after Easter. They are also celebrating their 40 years in existence so it seems very fitting. Do go and see it. We are being very positive about the future and have booked sites at both Caterham Carnival and the Caterham Rotary Fair. We are planning another Surrey Harmony concert and a quiz night at Caterham School. Watch out for details of these events.
Our four main projects have each had their £3,000 for this calendar year: Self Help Africa with the bee and honey production used to propagate the cashew nut orchards in Burkina Faso; Water Aid working in Dolakha, Nepal on 8 water supply schemes; Practical Action working on a huge fresh water dam in Zimbabwe which will provide year round clean water; and V.S.O. supporting pregnant women and new mothers in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia.
We are very pleased to welcome a new Committee Member, Moira Brohier, representing the Church of the Sacred Heart. We are working to update/improve our website: we have all agreed it needs to be more professional and this will cost money. In line with our beliefs*, the committee will pay for this between ourselves.
Thank you all for the tremendous support you give to COAT. Our moto is “Show Caterham Cares”: and I think we really do!
(Treasurer and St. Mary’s representative)