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  • Writer's pictureJames Burton

Core funding appeal from Miracles founder and Trustee – Theo Ellert.

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

My Dear Friends,

You may be one of my ‘Near and Dear’ ones or you may not even know me but I have always felt that Miracles is a family – my family – and as such I deeply value your part in our charity, Miracles.

Our new website is primarily to inform its viewers on what Miracles does and what it has achieved since its formation twenty-five years ago. Our aim then, as it is today, is to provide a vital service to those living in dire poverty while coping with the added burden of severe sickness and disability. However, it is Miracles itself that needs help now – hence this plea for the help of all who are part of the Miracles’ Family.

The concept of Miracles was born amidst the sheer horror of the 1992-94 war in the Former Yugoslavia. My colleague, Matthew Procter and I were taking food and medical aid into Bosnia where some of the worst of the fighting was creating havoc in the lives of so many innocent people – of all ethnic beliefs. When I came home to register the charity with the UK Charity Commission, Matthew, a strict Catholic, stayed in Mostar to rescue the many street

children and orphans, predominantly Muslim. He later became Head of Mission for our work in that tragic country.

Here at home I discovered a similar level of suffering – hidden amongst many of the most affluent parts of the country such as Tower Hamlets, bordering Canary Wharf, which has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK. This, then, became our mission here: To help alleviate the suffering of so many children and their families living in dire circumstances with little if any hope of rescue.

For the last twenty-five years we have provided this service literally on a shoestring. To this day our office is housed in a couple of sparsely equipped rooms on the ground floor of my home in Sussex with our Project Director based in his home in Teddington – all at no charge to the charity. Our Casework and Respite Break projects are co-ordinated single-handed by our Casework Co-Ordinator working alongside myself and our CEO in Sussex. We have a seven strong Board of Trustees – none of whom receive any payment – myself included. Indeed, our total outgoings on Management and Administration both in Bosnia and the UK is less than £150,000 p.a. with no possible increases in sight.

Our Bosnian NGO (Divita-Miracles) now operates The Miracles’ Centre for Prosthesis and Psychotherapy in Mostar – still dealing with Landmine victims in a country where the aftermath of the war is still a very real threat.

Miracles’ Respite and Crisis work here at home has trebled over the last two years. This was the outcome of a meeting our Project Director, James Burton, had with the heads of Social Work in Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and from that meeting the name of Miracles spread to every hospital within their London Hospital Group. The result was catastrophic to our limited resources as almost overnight the requests for our help soared. We are coping – mainly thanks to our Trustees digging deeper into their own pockets - but the trend is still rising as other Social Workers throughout the country become aware of our charity.

In addition to the Respite Breaks we provide free of charge at a cost to Miracles of £13,000 each per year, the cost of Crisis Funding has risen from £10,000 to £30,000 and we are now in urgent need of £60,000 simply to cope with the needs of the families for whom Miracles exists.

We CANNOT let these tragic families down. They are our families tooyours and mine.

I am appealing to you all – every single one of you - and I am appealing from my heart:

PLEASE CONTRIBUTE WHATEVER YOU CAN so that Miracles can still be a viable source of help to those who need it most.

With my love, Theo

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