A group of brave souls are gearing up for a charity abseil in September to raise funds for a newly-formed charity.

Sister Geraldine Sweeney, a Sister of Mercy based in Newcastle-under-Lyme and a member of staff at St Gregory’s Catholic Academy in Longton, will be abseiling 45 metres down the side of Alton Castle, a retreat centre of the Archdiocese of Birmingham (and a former Mercy convent), on Saturday 11 September.

She will be joined by some of her work colleagues from St Gregory’s and supporters of the Whispers of Hope charity, which was granted charitable status in February this year. At least 10 people will be taking the abseil challenge on the day.

Whispers of Hope supports women who are fleeing domestic abuse and honour-based violence who have complex immigration issues.

The charity came into being after Deana Korwin-Kochanowski and Sister Geraldine met whilst both volunteering at Sanctus, a charity supporting asylum seekers and refugees in Stoke-on-Trent.

Both had a vision to support those who are most vulnerable in our society and to provide safety and shelter. In her volunteer role and as a professional domestic abuse practitioner Deana also encountered many women who were fleeing domestic abuse who had no recourse to public funds.

Inspired by the Christian values of welcoming the stranger and supporting the most vulnerable in society, Whispers of Hope was started.

The women who are helped have no recourse to public funds and because of this are unable to access help from refuges or local authority housing.

Whispers of Hope provide accommodation in a safe house and subsistence money of £40 a week for up to three ladies.

“At the moment we have three women living in the safe house,” said Sister Geraldine. “We also support other women and families through befriending from volunteers, a ‘safe-space’ weekly drop-in and emergency food and clothing.

“I am both excited and nervous about the abseil in September. I have never done anything like this before, so it will be a personal achievement once complete.”

If you would like to sponsor Sister Geraldine you can do so by donating via the JustGiving page or by contacting Geraldine directly at [email protected]

Cheques can be made payable to Whispers of Hope.

Please pray that all will go well!

Whispers of Hope on Facebook

Alton Castle photograph courtesy of Tom Machin