The Devon and Cornwall St Vincent de Paul Society is part of an international Catholic society dedicated to the relief of the poor in whatever form that poverty takes. The Society was founded in Paris in 1833 by a group of young laymen, led by Frederick Oznam (beatified in 1977) to address the needs of the poor. They took as their inspiration and Patron, the Apostle of Charity, St. Vincent who, two centuries earlier, had founded the Order of the Daughters of Charity. They set up orphanages and soup kitchens to alleviate the conditions prevalent in France at that time. The Society rapidly spread globally and today is active in 140 countries.
In Cornwall there are five SVP Conferences in Falmouth, Camborne, Truro, Bodmin and Launceston. Some members are over 70 but still active with charity works. The SVP is also a partner in Plymouth Diocese Caritas.
Membership is open to men and woman, young and old, of any denomination. The SVP asks only that members accept fully the Christian ethos of the Society, and are committed to express their love of God through personal service to their neighbour. The SVP respects religious liberty and values of all people.
The SVP has always been there for people who are older, vulnerable or on the margins of society. When Covid-19 hit and the country went into lockdown, SVP volunteers and support centres sprang into action with deliveries of hot meals, emergency food parcels and essentials.
While we had to stop our befriending visits, our volunteers have offered one-to-one support over the phone to people who may be feeling more lonely or isolated than ever before.
|Chris Provis, President