May saw the third visit of a group from a Passionist sister-house in London. Most of the residents of Martha House in Tottenham are awaiting the outcome of appeals for leave to remain in the UK. As such they are unable to work or otherwise support themselves and reliant on the help offered by charities and well-wishers.
House hosts Jo Frew and Connor Cregan again organised the trip and drove the rented minibus with nine fellow housemates, five of whom were visiting Minsteracres for the first time.
Following a tried and tested formula they spent some time in the Peace Garden with Ross Menzies and Katrina Padmore, who run the charity Let’s Get Growing, enjoying the calming effect of that magical space, sitting, chatting and gardening as the mood took them. They also visited Tynemouth for fish and chips and (for the hardier among them) a bracing dip in the North Sea.
The visit had a profound effect, as Jo explained in her note of thanks to outreach coordinator Liz Holmes: “Thank you so much for the wonderful trip we had this year. Everyone really enjoyed it and got such a lot out of it. I think the fresh air has knocked us for six though! In a good way.
“It was really great to have you and Tess with us – you are so welcoming and just remembering everyone’s names from the start and sitting with people makes such a huge difference to the sense of welcome.
“You, Ross and Katrina have a special gift of making people relax and slow down. I think it was especially great to have the whole day in the Peace Garden. Those who came back in the afternoon got a lot out of it – it’s such a great space.”