To enable people to act as good neighbours so that grace can change lives and transform communities.
Grace (which is the giving and receiving of unearned loving kindness and acceptance), along with compassion, honouring the individual, caring for the whole person, partnership working, relationship building and hope are values which shape the services we offer.
The directors of Karis Neighbour Scheme hold the view that these values arise from the nature of God and God’s design for the world. This understanding of God’s values is derived from the Bible and the person of Jesus. These values ensure that all our services are offered without prejudice to people irrespective of their circumstances, background or beliefs.
Our aims and objectives
1. Provide support to people in our community who are in need by offering a broad range of help including practical support, advocacy and befriending
2. Bring people in our community together by reaching out to people, offering friendship, and providing opportunity to spend time getting to know each other
3. Enabling people in our community to be good neighbours by providing opportunities to volunteer and give their time, skills and resources to help meet the needs of others
4. Ensure no one is neglected or forgotten about by building links with and between other groups and organisations, standing with people in the midst of hardship, helping them find the support they need and responding where needs are going unmet.
History of Karis Neighbour Scheme
Many people have been influenced by the life and teaching of Jesus, such as the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’, which is an illustration of the life-changing effect of grace in unconditional compassion and action. The concept of grace (Greek: Karis) demonstrated by a good neighbour, is the basis of Karis Neighbour Scheme.
Karis Neighbour Scheme (KNS) has its origins in an awareness that the lack of wellbeing which brings people to seek help through healthcare in General Practice has multiple causes. Many of these can be addressed by a traditional primary healthcare team, but others cannot. These may fall into the realms of the emotional, social and spiritual and for these needs to be addressed, a broader range of resources are required.
KNS also has its origins in an awareness that within any community there are untapped resources which could be harnessed to meet unmet need.
In 1997 a medical centre appointed a GP Chaplain to facilitate a new approach which would bridge the gap between unmet need and unused resources within local churches, and so Karis Neighbour Scheme was born.
In the early 2000s another medical centre approached the scheme as they had identified a particular need for befriending amongst older people in their catchment area. This led to the setting up of our Karis BeFriends project.
In 2000 KNS was asked to partner with Birmingham Health Authority and be the lead organisation in setting up a Sure Start programme. This had a major influence in the locality and also allowed KNS to employ a Children’s and Families’ worker. With the arrival of many new asylum seekers at this time, a partnership developed with Restore (an organisation which welcomes and supports refugees and those seeking sanctuary), which led to us setting up English classes and a Welcome group for asylum seeker and refugee families.
The recognition that there is ‘no health without mental health’ and the inseparable link between spirituality, wellbeing and mental health led KNS to take on Chaplaincy work in a GP setting in 2014, and develop specific expertise in delivering a ‘Listening & Guidance’ service, provided by Chaplains for Wellbeing.
Gillian Harley Mason