The Renewal Programme
The Renewal Programme was set up in Newham in the midst of a volatile political situation in the early 1970s. The arrival of a large Ugandan community had caused tensions within the local community and there were reports of attacks on these groups from gangs of white men. This led to Clifford Hill, Ted Faith and Roland Joiner setting up a youth group with the specific aim of the group to be multi-cultural. This was the beginning of Renewal.
In 1971, Renewal successfully applied for a grant and were given £6,000 and the first proper meeting was held. At this time Renewal was seen as the social arm of the church. The first Director/Manager of the charity was Paul Regan. Alongside Paul, there was also a management committee. Local churches were given the opportunity to nominate people to be on the committee, which was a way of them staying involved and interested. Renewal was, and continues to be, very eclectic and has responded to the needs of the community around it, taking on a range of different projects covering housing and migration and many other areas.
Under the leadership of Paul Regan, a lot of the focus was on computing and areas linked to this with the setting up of an out of work centre which helped with CV’s and getting people back to work. Paul Regan’s stint as Director ran from 1977 until Ann Easter took over in 1994. Under Ann’s leadership, the management team was brought together and they continued on a number of projects. Renewal took on a lot of sheltered housing which was used to support many in the community who were sleeping rough.
There was also the creation of the Year Round Night Shelter. This was based on the idea that seven churches would each open one night a week to house homeless people. Since its creation, and in its history there has been very little that Renewal has not been involved in. It has, without fail, responded to the needs and concerns of the community and has helped out wherever it could. It has taken on numerous different projects and has shown great leadership in the area. Recently, Ruth Bravery has taken over the position of Chief Executive from Ann Easter, and the organisation has continued to thrive.
The charity continues to run a youth training centre and also a Carers Network. Their good work is a credit to the area, and helps reach out to vulnerable people across the borough.