Meals served May: 1,362

Meals served May: 1,362

Meals served June: 1,373

Meals served June: 1,373

Cost-Of-Living Crisis

The cost-of-living crisis is taking its toll on everyone, but those who are already living in poverty or who are on the brink of falling into poverty, are being hit the hardest. At Sanctus, we see the impact this is having on our community. Every day that goes by, more and more people are coming to us in need of support.

In January this year, we were supporting 180 different individuals each month, by June this figure had more than doubled, to 363. The demand is stretching our resources, but we are determined to rise to the challenge.

Every day we are seeing the reality of the impact of high inflation and energy price rises on those who were already on the edge of society, or barely getting by month to month. We will always work as hard as we can to help those in need, but the reality is that the cost-of-living crisis is also hugely impacting charities like us. With growing demand and increasing bills, we are in need of funding now more than ever.

As a charity and non-statutory service, we have to find every penny we use to keep our services running, which involves a huge amount of work for our small team. And this is why we are appealing to the local community now. We appreciate that not everyone will be in a position to give, but if you can, please make a donation today – to support our work and help the vulnerable who are struggling more than ever. We promise we will put it to good use!

Even a small donation can go a long way. These are examples of actual spending from the last couple of months and we believe they demonstrate the severe impact on people who have no or limited funds:

  • £2.50: A bus ticket to a key appointment about gaining accommodation.
  • £7.14: Incontinence pads for someone following an appointment.
  • £10: Top up for an electric meter for a service user who had been robbed.
  • £17.95: Baby milk for a baby with specific allergies.
  • £35.97: Self-defence spray and panic alarm for a female rough sleeping.
  • £50: Tesco voucher for a family fleeing domestic abuse.
  • £71.07: Food shop for someone in end-of-life care.
  • £120.10: Essential items for a second family fleeing domestic abuse.
  • £180: Submitting papers to prevent an eviction.
Donate via JustGiving

Through Vodafone UK’s #charitiesconnected scheme, Sanctus has been provided with 50 SIM cards with 20GB of data per month, plus unlimited calls and texts for a six-month period! This scheme is targeted at tackling digital exclusion. We will be giving SIM cards to our homeless and vulnerable service users so they have access to a phone.

This can be so important for people when they are receiving help. It means they can make and take calls from us, and other service providers, to schedule and be reminded of appointments and also have an easy way to contact someone quickly if they find themselves in a difficult situation. Mobile phones can be a real lifeline!

This means we can reach more people and provide them with much-needed support. We are always in need of phones and SIM cards, so receiving a donation like this makes a real difference.

Support Hub Update

The Support Hub is always well used by those in need, but the current rise in utility bills and the general cost of living has seen a dramatic increase in individuals requesting our support. We have had a marked rise in appointment requests, from people who have already accessed our café service but have not previously reached out for other assistance.

More and more of these meetings involve very distressed and anxious individuals coming along with a pile of unopened bills, sometimes on the verge of eviction, and often with debt agencies banging at their door. This is very frightening for anyone, but when you suffer from existing mental health conditions, it can hugely exacerbate those issues.

As a result, we also have an influx of people needing urgent counselling – to the point where we are looking for more qualified counsellors to volunteer to spend some time with our clients. In an attempt to decrease people’s debts, we are working with their utility agencies to devise affordable payment plans.

There is also a rise in younger people finding themselves homeless as parental relationships, tenancies and supported accommodation break down – resulting in rough sleeping, hidden homelessness (where one or two people camp out of town), and individuals sleeping in their cars. Those that sleep in their cars generally end up losing their cars due to the hike in petrol prices and car parking costs, resulting in numerous parking tickets that they are unable to pay.

We do have a small number of service users who drive, and this enables them to access Sanctus from the remote surrounding villages, and in some cases use their vehicles to get to work. With the high petrol prices, they are struggling to make ends meet, and sustain their work (which often involves driving), making it even more difficult for them to access Sanctus without additional support. Some of these individuals have mobility issues, so a car is paramount to them getting out and about for food, company and support.

If you are a qualified counsellor and would be interested in giving Sanctus some of your time as a volunteer (2 hours plus per week), we would love to hear from you. Please email our Hub Support Manager Emma at:

Sanctus jubilee
Sanctus jubilee cake

We would like to say a huge thank you to Graham Hart who took the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee as an opportunity to raise funds to support Essex people and their families in difficult times. It also happened to coincide with his 84th birthday! Graham arranged for this amazing Jubilee cake to be made, and requested donations for Sanctus, Farleigh Hospice, Marie Curie and Helen Rollason Cancer Charity. The Mayor of Chelmsford then kindly presented the cake to Sanctus in High Chelmer, and later it was taken to Sanctus for our service users to enjoy.

On the Friday of the Jubilee weekend, we held a Jubilee BBQ at Sanctus for our service users, and also members of the public, so we could come together and celebrate. The team worked hard to bring this together, decorating the café in red, white and blue and serving lots of delicious food!

Why not join us on 3rd September for our first mini beer and music festival? It is completely free entry, and all proceeds raised throughout the day will be going to Sanctus. It will be a great opportunity to have a good time with friends and family whilst raising money for charity. The entertainment will include live music throughout the day, a real ale beer tent, gin, Pimms and wine, a hog roast kindly donated by Essex Hog Roast, craft stalls, a tombola and more.

Mini beer & music festival sanctus 2022

We are proud to announce that Sanctus has been nominated for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK. Awarded groups get a certificate signed by the Queen, a domed glass crystal, and often also receive an invitation to attend a Royal Garden Party. Even just being nominated is hugely significant for us at Sanctus, as it is a big recognition of the work that we are doing in the community.

the queen's award for voluntary service
Sanctus at Volfest 2022

We had a great time at #VOLFEST2022 in Chelmsford High Street on June 9th, which was organised by Chelmsford CVS.

Thanks to everyone who came and spoke with us to find out more about what we do and how to get involved!

We also like to say thank you to:

  • Clinton, a local electrician and business owner of Island Mode Electrical (@island_mode). He challenged himself to complete Pen y Fan – 15 miles, two days in a row, on 18-19th of June – and raised £340.
  • Reliant Moves Contract Limited for their donation of some useful yoga mats.
  • The Endeavour Pub, who hosted a fundraising quiz night and raised £224.30.
  • Galleywood Vineyard and Winery, Box2Burn Gym, The Secret Garden Tea Rooms, The Luxe Studio, El Chigre, and Eternal Bloom Florist who donated raffle prizes for our recent Rock N Roll Bingo event.
old sanctus hand