Relaxing at Christmas
All of the CHIPS team say they are looking forward to spending some quality time with family and friends this holiday season.
For Andrew, Co-Director for Development, it will be a particularly special family time as he looks forward to the weddings of not one but two of his children early in the new year!
Meanwhile in Ghana, CHIPS Team Leader Desmond will be celebrating his daughter Emmanuela’s 6th birthday, and he plans to spend time with his uncle to learn more about more about his family’s history and interaction with other tribes in the region.
For CHIPS Youth Worker Rishan and Fundraising Officer Emily, enjoying some great Christmas food is on the priority list. Rishan has avoided junk food this month in preparation, and Emily can’t wait to eat a cinnamon bun on Christmas morning which is a longstanding tradition in her US family!
An expanded team
For Elfrida, the Chair of Trustees, and for Emily, a real highlight of 2019 was seeing new team members come on board.
“For me, the climax of the year was to meet all the completed team together in September and lead them in one of the CHIPS Bible studies that underpin what we do and how we do it”, says Elfrida. “The sense of togetherness as a team, and enthusiastic anticipation of all that God has in store for CHIPS is still palpable!”
The team’s growth this year was the continuation of a process that began in 2018 with the recruitment of Andrew to the new role of Director for Development, she explains. “For most organisations and companies the word ‘restructuring’ has become a euphemism for ‘downsizing’ – people losing their jobs. However the recent process of restructuring at CHIPS, which began in 2018, involves increasing our capacity and strengthening our team.”
Emily agrees: “My highlight of the year was when our team grew at the Brixton office. Welcoming Rishan, Richard and Darragh into the CHIPS family this summer was incredibly exciting. We’re now able to ‘do more with more!’”
Turning to Ghana, Desmond’s highlight of the CHIPS year was the formation of new groups with members from opposing tribes in two villages. “It is been great to see members from the different tribes sharing jokes and working together for their own benefit.”
“It‘s also fascinating to watch the women from the savings and loans groups arguing over who should be allowed to take their savings first, but in the end a consensus is reached – and each person saves happily and returns home satisfied!”
Our Co-Director of Programmes, Paul, says his highlight was being taken by one of our community animal health workers in Northern Ghana to meet a woman from a different tribe. “We had wound on our motorbikes for a long time through dirt tracks to a remote village by the riverside”, he explains.
“She was a keen chicken keeper, and so they had build up a strong friendship through his work travelling the area treating animals and selling veterinary medicines. The family and neighbours welcomed him and us, and there was a great rapport between them. Seeing these relationships forming across divides fills me with joy and hope for healing of the many divisions in our world today.”
Andrew also looks to Ghana for his highlight of the year, with the savings and loans self-help groups in mind. “Saving your money together with family and friends is one thing but having the trust to save together with former enemies is quite another”, he says. “I found the stories of the groups this year both inspiring and deeply challenging.”
Highlights from Brixton
In Brixton, Rishan’s highlight of the year was the summer activity week that CHIPS organised for young people on the Angell Town estate: “As a result of this work, young people on the estate have now come on board and joined regular youth sessions with CHIPS!”
Brixton also brought some great fundraising highlights from the year for Emily and Darragh. “Hearing the good news about the Walcot Foundation grant, to help fund our Voices for Change project working with young people at risk of exclusion from school, was a huge thrill”, says Emily.
“This is a significant project that allows CHIPS to interact with young people at risk of exclusion. It’s key to preventing future problems or feels of disenfranchisement. It’s the kind of work that makes me excited to be a part of CHIPS.”
For Darragh, the highlight of his time at CHIPS so far is working on CHIPS Big Give Christmas Challenge. “I enjoyed pulling together our communications for the Christmas campaign”, he says. “It was fantastic to see the great response from our supporters, to watch the donations come in, and to know that the money will make a real difference to young lives in Brixton.”