Image shows four women stood together smiling in a community kitchen set up by charity Shepherd's Star. The fourth woman on the right is pouring a drink.

Shepherd’s Star to celebrate anniversary with fundraiser at the Bingham

A Thanksgiving Gala Dinner is to be hosted by the Bingham Riverhouse in honour of three-year anniversary of Shepherd’s Star.

Shepherd’s Star, a community movement that supports vulnerable adults to reignite their potential by reducing social anxiety and exclusion, are hopeful the fundraiser will allow them to support more vulnerable people over winter.

Up to 50 tickets are available left to purchase and is open to anyone – however, Shepherd’s Star are eager to raise awareness and call for local businesses and corporations to participate in community collaboration.

The founder of Shepherd’s Star, Desiree Shepherd said: “For me Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and it’s about gratitude, we are ambitious but so excited to celebrate.”

The Gala will feature an introduction by BBC Breakfast presenter, Charlie Stayt as well as a charity auction, with lots ranging from a stay for two at the Langham Hotel London to a cookery masterclass with authentic Indian restaurant in Twickenham, Shiuli.

There will be a three-course sharing meal, DJ, and time for dancing with doors opening from 7pm and closing at 11:45pm.

Shepherd’s Star hosts a variety of programmes, community spaces and meals including ‘good Friday’, located in the Twickenham United Reformed Church which provides a safe space for people over 18 to socialise, enjoy a warm homecooked meal and help in a space that feels safe and inviting.

Beginning November 3 from 11am – 2pm, good Friday will partner with agencies such as Citizens Advice Richmond, Spear Housing, Richmond Mind, Richmond & Wandsworth Community Drug and Alcohol Service (RWCDAS).

A community fridge was donated this week by Richmond CVS, allowing Shepherd’s Star to accept surplus food that requires refrigeration.

Food will be offered to the community on good Friday helping to combat food poverty.

The communications and fundraising lead for Shepherd’s Star, Laura Stone said: “It’s really exciting because as the winter months are encroaching, more and more people are needing a hot meal every day, so being able to come here and get a hot meal as well as take away surplus food is amazing.”

Romaine Murphy, a long-time member of the Shepherd’s Star community who began her journey on the explore programme said: “When I arrived in Richmond very much alone, I met a man who introduced me to Desiree.

“Soon I wasn’t lonely because I took part in the explore programme and started to meet people and gain confidence again.

“It was absolutely life changing for me, I didn’t want to be around anymore but the amount these people have done for me I cant even tell you, it’s been amazing.

“All I know is I’ve been blessed to meet this lady and for all these things to happen.”

Another member of Shepherd’s Star community – Lindsay, was diagnosed with PTSD and has struggled with alcoholism since being signed off work.

Lindsay said: “Before COVID-19 I attended RWCDAS five days a week seeking one to one help, getting myself involved in lots of group activities, COVID-19 is when everything went off and services were replaced with Zoom calls.

“The effects on alcoholics and addicts in Richmond was absolutely devastating, we all went back to the booze or the drug of choice.

“I would single out Desiree as the most important person in terms of groups offering help.

“What’s a South African doing in Richmond running rings around anyone else trying to help the homeless?

“Nothing compares to Shepherd’s Star, they’re on the street, they’re there in an accessible place.

If you are interested in attending the Thanksgiving Gala Dinner, tickets are available to purchase here.

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