Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

About Us

Water Project

St Thomas of Canterbury Parish

working with

CAFOD logo

 Connect2 Ethiopia


 SToC Water Project aims to raise funds in support of Cafod's work

in providing fresh water, sanitation and health to people in Ethiopia



At the Christmas Masses a suggestion was made, based on the fact that we have just installed a new heating system in our church. Informed earlier in the year that the original heating system was defunct, we had agreed that we must replace it, even at the estimated cost of £30,000. We had now paid this without any special fund-raising activities, and we now rejoice in having good hot water circulating the church to keep us comfortable and the building well maintained. But can we just leave it at that?





Now, we know there are about 800 million people who do not have access to clean water. So the suggestion was made that, as we rejoice in our new hot-water system to keep us comfortable, so we might aim at raising a comparable sum of money to provide good clean water to keep people alive. As a starter to this aim, remembering our Lord's parable of the talents, people were invited to consider accepting a £20 "talent" to work with over the next few months in the hope of spreading the effort of working towards that target, and of spreading information about the need. 



One of the biggest challenges is that not enough people know about the water crisis. For most of us, instant access to clean water is the norm. Many of our friends and family are not aware of the fact that 1 billion people in the world don’t have access to water like we do. Can we not only seek funds but also help share information about the water crisis with friends and family. That double aim lies behind the proposal.




The hardship and fear caused by collecting and drinking dirty water can be replaced with hope for a brighter future – especially for children, and for girls and women who are the ones who usually trek for several miles daily to fetch the water. Just think, no more drinking filthy river water, teeming with parasites, bacteria and animal waste and an end to the worry of diarrhoea, which kills 2,000 children every day. Improved health and hygiene, and the growth of better harvests become a possibility which means that for many a completely new life can begin – with our help.




After consideration of different water-aid agencies, the suggestion wa
s launched into action in March, the proposal became a project, the "SToC Water Project", to work with CAFOD Connect2 Ethiopia. Very soon many ideas were being shared for the involvement of individuals, families, groups of friends, school-children and youths in the double aims of the Project - to make more widely known the crisis faced by millions of people who have no clean water and to raise funds to support the Cafod water project in the village of Sebeya in Ethiopia. 





"Talents" went on offer during the month of March and gradually the action began. "Mini" projects began to spring up, some producing goods for sale, others providing social gatherings, and others again entering into sponsored events. Below is a brief overview of fund-raising efforts that have contributed to the Water Project:


Products for sale
A variety of homemade Jams, marmalade, local home-produced honey, cake
Primary School Choir specially recorded CD
Groups of children produced various items, eg. class newspaper, chocolate soldiers 
“Commemoration Glasses”, with Project logo etched in
“Bicky Booky”, a recipe book of favourite biscuits
Hanging Baskets, for Summer
Poinsettias for Christmas


Sponsored Events

Leeds 10k,
Manchester triathlon,
Blackpool 10k,
York Marathon,
a 23 mile 5 Towers Hike,
Group of young families – to top of Rivington Pike, 
A Family’ walk on Dartmoor up Sheepstor 
nine year old swam over 200 lengths, 
and one person’s rowing 3miles, then cycling 20 miles and running 7 miles on 5 consecutive Saturdays


Social Events

Charity Line Dance, 
Coffee Morning, 
Garden Party,
Social Evening with entertainment, raffle and auction, 
Folk Music Concert, 
Cantamus Choir Concert, 
Brass Band Concert, 
Murder Mystery Evening, 
Social Evening with Ceilidh Band, 
Mulled Wine Evening



“Soul Searchers” who reached out to friends from far and wide for home-based hospitality
50th birthday party by inviting donations in lieu of gifts, 
small items of furniture re-upholstered
12 year-old dedicated mid-term holiday for ‘bob-a-job’ style of services
a Swishing Party (guess the weight of the baby!), 
person who endured the “cold water splash” 
£50 came from a total stranger who heard of the Project through listening to the school’s CD
Inter-church Bowling Competition



There is much, much more to the SToC Water Project than simply raising funds. True, that is the central purpose of the project but it brings with it a host of issues worthy of recognition as expressions of evangelisation. 


 -  It has released many initiatives that have brought people together in joyful social contact—not only parishioners but neighbours, work colleagues, people of different faiths and of no faith. 

 -  It has helped to make many people aware of the water crisis in the lives of many millions of people and opened up a sense of general responsibility for needy, if distant, neighbours.

 -  It has been making a clear and widespread statement in action rather than words of the Gospel teaching on love of neighbour. 

-   It has re-opened the door of the church for some people who had drifted away and found it helpful to be initially involved in something active and informal connected to the church.

 -  It has helped a number of individuals to recognise and express their own potential for creative action in ways they have not dreamt of before.



 18 January 2015

The StoC Water Project is now ended.

Week after week throughout last year, under the simple logo, the newsletter carried first explanation, plans, and the launching of the project, then weekly reports on progress as donations came in and the wide variety of individual, family, group activities began to roll.

Week by week we saw these efforts producing returns that gradually built up, from the first banking in April of £2,923.00, through £18,194.00 by August, rising to £26,705 in November, and in December reaching and surpassing the initial target to close at £35,030.

Last Sunday Bishop John Arnold came to celebrate Mass with us and to receive on behalf of CAFOD a cheque for the final amount. He congratulated the community on this wonderful achievement and explained that, as Chairman of CAFOD's Trustees, he from time to time visits countries which are being helped through such funds and sees at first hand the results.

He assured us that this money will change people's lives, and outlined the broad effects that fresh water will have on personal health, family life, education and irrigation. All of this will allow them to lay foundations for future development.