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Compassion in Harrogate

June 2014 | by Clare Nelson

Harrogate has bold plans to do what no other town has done before, to see 1000 children sponsored and a further 1000 families given access to safe water through Christian child development charity Compassion.

The initiative was launched in January by Guy Donegan-Cross, vicar of St Mark’s, in this picturesque North Yorkshire town. Having sponsored a child for nearly three years and seen for himself the difference that sponsorship makes, he wanted to set a challenge for not just his church, but the whole community that falls within the HG postcode.

HG1000 has reached across all boundaries of society. From schools to local businesses, from the mayor to the local MP, people are working together to see children lifted out of poverty.

It is an opportunity not just to transform the lives of children living in some of the poorest countries in the world, but also to present the gospel of Jesus to people much closer to home.

At just three months in, more than 400 children have already been sponsored. That means 400 people in the UK have reached out to 400 children living in poverty. They have committed to walk a journey with them, supporting them financially and writing regularly to them how much they matter.

Support and care

These children will now receive regular medical check-ups, access to education and the support of their local church where, at least 44 weeks a year, they will be given personal support and be taught that they matter not just to their sponsor, but to God.

The recent, independent Wydick Report revealed that Compassion-sponsored children are 41 per cent more likely to finish secondary education, 36 per cent more likely to have salaried employment, and a massive 75 per cent more likely to become community leaders, than their non-sponsored counterparts.

The HG1000 campaign doesn’t stop at sponsorship. Drawing on Harrogate’s roots as an historic spa town, the campaign calls on its citizens to stop and think about water. In the UK, it is easy to take cold, clear tap water for granted, yet around the world 768 million don’t have access to safe water.

Children are hit hardest of all. UNICEF estimates that 4500 children a day die from waterborne diseases. HG1000 is looking to share this legacy of water with families in the developing world by enabling Compassion to distribute 1000 water filters to 1000 families through its Water of Life initiative (

Clare Nelson




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