The Friends of CRS in the UK began in the 1970s as an informal support group established by word of mouth. Over the decades it became more formalized with a team of Trustees taking responsibility for spreading awareness and raising funds. The UK Friends have also been proactive in proposing and funding new initiatives in Kolkata including football, school partnerships, and the Nari Dana project.
The primary goal of the UK Friends is to raise funds for the work of CRS in India. The Friends has a small and loyal supporter base but are always looking for new supporters and new ways to raise funds. 90 pence of every pound raised is transferred to CRS in India.
Individual giving is at the heart of the Friends’ fundraising. Many people give generously on a monthly basis while others give one-off donations. We have also been grateful to receive legacies both large and small in people’s wills.
The Friends is supported by group giving from church groups, community groups and schools. We also apply to church charity panels. For example, we have been regularly supported by the Southwark Diocese in London and were selected as the sole beneficiary of the Derby Diocese Harvest Appeal in 2011.
A new area of fundraising is to apply to charitable trusts and foundations and to seek corporate donations. One recent donor is Loft Digital, a London-based high-tech innovation consultancy.
Fundraising events provide an opportunity to get people together, tell them more about the work of CRS and raise money. In different parts of the country, people have organised curry evenings and tea parties. On other occasions, a sponsored event is an opportunity to raise awareness and money.
The affairs of the Friends of CRS are overseen by a team of six Trustees. They have a shared commitment and passion yet each brings different skills and experience to the table.
The Trustees work with the Director of CRS in Kolkata, his Executive Committee and staff, and consider themselves to be one team all working together for the common benefit of underprivileged people in the slums of Kolkata and rural villages beyond.
One or two of the Trustees aim to visit India every 12 months. They meet office staff and the Executive Committee, as well as visit CRS centres to ensure that funds have been properly spent, track the progress of different projects, and identify new funding needs. They also provide strategic and management advice.
Clive Brown (Acting Secretary) was a partner in a law firm in the City of London until his retirement. He lives in Cambridge. He has been a Trustee since 2009 and takes the lead on fundraising and liaison with the team in Kolkata.
Rt Revd Mike Harrison (Chairman) is the Bishop of Dunwich in the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. He lives in the village of Mendlesham in Suffolk. He has been a Trustee for over a decade and serves as Chairman of the group.
Dr Jenny Lunn works in scholarly publishing for the American Geophysical Union in Washington DC. She has spent several extended periods living in Kolkata and has been a Trustee since 2009. She is responsible for managing the website and preparing the newsletter.
Revd Anita Matthews is Associate Priest at St Peter’s in the City, Derby, and is involved in CRS through the link between Derby Diocese and the Church of North India link. She has been a Trustee since 2015.
John Rhodes is a retired bank assistant-manager and lives in Purley, Surrey. He has been involved in the Friends since the mid 1970s and became a Trustee when the committee was formalised.
Revd Dave Walker (Treasurer) is curate in the parish of Dronfield and Holmesfield, Derbyshire, and commercial director of Detectronic Ltd. He first visited West Bengal in February 2017 as part of the link between Derby Diocese and the Church of North India, which sparked a passion for doing more. He became a trustee in August 2017 and took on the role of Treasurer of the Friends.
The Trustees are very grateful for volunteers who freely give of their time and expertise to help support the work of CRS, including Rebecca Pendergast who provides technical assistance with the website, and Maria Cleminson who provides advice to the Nari Dana project and also helps with the website and newsletter.
The UK Friends of CRS have circulated newsletters since February 2005 in varying formats. The full set of back issues are below. If you would like the latest newsletters when they are produced, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and specify whether you would prefer to receive an electronic copy by email or a printed copy by in the post.
The Friends of CRS is a registered with the Charity Commission in the UK (Charity number 266302) and benefits from tax relief through the Gift Aid scheme.
The annual accounts are subject to independent scrutiny and are filed with the Charity Commission to meet our compliance obligations. They are also freely available to supporters and the general public.
Accounts – 01 Apr 2016 to 31 Mar 2017
Accounts – 01 Apr 2015 to 31 Mar 2016
Accounts – 01 Apr 2014 to 31 Mar 2015
Accounts – 01 Apr 2013 to 31 Mar 2014
Accounts – 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Mar 2013
Accounts – 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2011
Accounts – 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2010
Accounts – 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2009
Accounts – 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2008
Accounts – 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2007
Accounts – 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2006
Accounts – 01 Jan to 31 Dec 2005