My name is Keith Berry and I am one of two part time Development Workers for Together Canterbury – a joint venture between Church Urban Fund and the Diocese of Canterbury. I have been in this post for just over a year. Prior to this I worked as the Administrator in the Seasalter Christian Centre in Whitstable and before that I worked in the hotel industry for 30 years.
Together Canterbury is part of a national network working to resource and support the work of our churches among deprived communities. My role is to mobilise the mission capacity in the poorest communities across Kent (their clergy, leaders, projects and people) through advocacy, capacity building and new projects to better serve the socially and financially deprived in our communities.
Over the last few weeks we have been working to engage parishes around the diocese with Poverty Sunday which takes place on Sunday 21st June; a national initiative of Church Urban Fund to raise funds, as well as awareness of issues around poverty and the work of the charity itself. In order to demonstrate the complexity of poverty in the diocese David Kemp, the former Diocesan Secretary, and I cycled 125 miles around the coast from Sittingbourne to the Romney marshes via Margate, Ramsgate, Deal, Dover and Folkestone. We visited a wide range of community projects including food banks, drop in centres, debt centres and community hubs as well as projects working with the young, the old, the homeless and the jobless. The commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers is amazing and it was great to see churches at the heart of so many projects.
I am married to a primary school teacher and have six children, the oldest of whom is 41 and the youngest is aged 8. I also run my own project management company so needless to say I am kept busy at home. Finally I can’t end without a mention of Derby County who have given me so much pain and pleasure in almost equal measures. But with the new football season coming up hope rises once more of a great season ahead!