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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Chichester Anna Chaplaincy closes ‘with great sadness’

Updated: May 12, 2022

Chichester Cathedral, West Sussex

Pandemic takes its toll

In recent months it has become clear that Chichester Anna Chaplaincy would not be able to continue. Letters were sent to supporters explaining: ‘It is with great sadness I write to inform you that Chichester Anna Chaplaincy will cease operations on 31 March, and the organisation will then close down.’

The last few weeks have seen various administrative tasks to wind up the organisation. Coordinator, David Cooke, underlined when he broke the news to us some time ago that the decision had ‘not been taken lightly’.

He listed a number of factors that led trustees to this decision:

  • At our peak, we visited more than 300 people in a year. In 2020 this reduced to 191. In 2021 it further declined to 140. The frequency of visits/contacts also declined.

  • We have currently only been able to visit and lead acts of worship in one local care home.

  • We have had no referrals for over a year now, whereas we had expected the number of referrals to rise.

  • Our roster of Anna Friends has reduced to only four active members, and recruitment has stalled.

  • We have been unable to locate new members for the management committee and the board of trustees to replace retirees.

But Anna Chaplaincy in Chichester achieved much which can celebrated. Here are some statistics:

Domiciliary visits

2019 – 16 people visited 58 times

2020 – 20 people visited/contacted 255 times

2021 – 20 people visited/contacted 612 times

Care homes

2017 – 77 people visited 465 times at 2 sites – 26 worship services

2018 – 277 people visited 2133 times at 10 different sites – 5 worship services

2019 – 320 people visited 3361 times at 7 sites – 105 worship services

2020 – 191 people visited/contacted at 6 sites – 38 worship services

2021 – 140 people visited/contacted at 5 sites – 35 worship services

Services outside during the pandemic

David has recorded that at various times the Anna Chaplain and volunteers have been active in thirteen different care homes and retirement complexes.

‘I hope you are as amazed as I was when I collated these figures! What an accomplishment, thanks be to God and to you for your support.’
The Chichester Anna Chaplaincy launch in 2017

We are, indeed, amazed at the achievements and would like to thank David, Deborah Hennessy and Anna Chaplain LouLou Morris, as well as all the Anna Friends and other volunteers who have played a part in the hard work over the years, ever since Anna Chaplaincy was launched in Chichester in the summer of 2017.

Debbie Thrower writes:

‘It is inevitable, one imagines in the overall story of the development of Anna Chaplaincy from its roots in Alton, Hampshire, twelve years ago there will be some downs as well as ups to report. We know that to everything there is a season and sometimes things happen because it is God’s timing and not our own. That’s what counts. We are very sorry to say goodbye to people with whom we have worked so closely for a long time. But we also hope this is not the end of the story for Anna Chaplaincy in Chichester and surrounding parts of West Sussex, and we trust that, in time, others will pick up the baton and something beautiful will begin again to bring more much-needed spiritual care and support for older people in the area.’



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