From the Rt Revd Colin Docker
Sir, — I wonder how many of your
readers today remember or know of the Church of England Temperance Society, or
if they do, perhaps assume that it no longer exists?
Founded in the early 1870s, the charity worked among men and women addicted
to alcohol, especially when the crimes connected with it took them to prison.
Its workers represented them in court and visited them in prison, and, as a
result, the charity appointed the first Police Court Missionaries, which, in
due course, led to the beginning of the Probation Service.
The charity, now known as the National Council for Social Concern, does in
fact still exist, and continues to work in the field of criminal justice and
addictions, giving grants to church projects working in those fields, and to
organisations giving support to prisoners and their families. Such ministry is
particularly in the prayers of the Church during Prisons Week, and I commend
the charity to your notice.
Over a period of 130 years, it has run hostels, founded housing
associations, and initiated the work of other charities dealing with addiction
and gambling, notably Alcohol Concern and GamCare. More recently, it did much
pioneering work to promote the principles of restorative justice, as well as
producing literature on alcohol and drugs for use in schools.
Currently, the charity is mainly a grant-making body run by a small board of
trustees. Its chairman is appointed by its presidents, the Archbishops of
Canterbury and York. Contact can be made through the secretary, Francis
Mac Namara (phone 01730 300 974, and email
firstname.lastname@example.org ). Our focus is
to maintain our traditional work through small but significant grants enabling
projects that might otherwise not see the light of day to get off the ground.
Chairman, The National Council for Social Concern
Devon TQ13 9EU