Questions and Answers


Dear Friend,

As Kate & I take steps towards returning to South Africa, we find ourselves being asked some questions. This shows that I have neglected to communicate effectively what is going on. Please forgive me for this. This blog is an attempt to answer these questions

As you are aware, Kate & I have been working to establish foundations necessary in order to return to South Africa. When we return to Port Elizabeth we will be working with children who have been abused, neglected, orphaned or abandoned. We shall be caring for these children in a ‘safe haven’ setting.

What is a Temporary Safe Haven?

In the UK, private individuals can foster children from ‘emergency’ periods of time, to ‘long term’. In South Africa however, private foster carers can only provide what we would call ‘long term care’ here in the UK (until the child in care is 18 years of age). In South Africa, care homes (‘havens’) are established in order to provide care for children who, in the UK, would be cared for by ‘emergency’ or ‘short term’ foster carers. Havens provide 24/7 care for children who have been removed from their living situation, until a long term solution can be put in place. (i.e. foster care, adoption or a children’s home setting.)

For how long will a child stay in a haven?

Every case is different. Our haven will have up to six looked after child,ren at a time, & the average length of time each child lives in a haven is 9 months. Generally, our children will stay with us from three months to a year & sometimes longer. This depends on the child’s situation, & how speedily their designated social worker progresses with their case.

Who are these children & how will they come to live in a haven?

The Eastern Cape has the highest number of Aids orphans in S.Africa (more than 171,000). It also has the highest infant mortality rate in South Africa. 35% of Port Elizabeth’s population are HIV+. In the Eastern Cape, a child born with HIV has a life expectancy of 6 years of age. This is due to extreme poverty. There are 80,000 child headed families in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Within this situation there are children who due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or having been orphaned, require intervention. These children will be placed with us by S. African Police or various welfare organisations in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Bay, with the necessary legal documentation of the Children’s Court.

You were supposed to be going back to South Africa in December & then April, what is taking so long?

The last time we lived in South Africa the process was a lot easier. We only had to raise enough finance for our own personal needs as a family. We were volunteering in an established organisation & did not have any responsibility in managing this organisation outside of looking after the children. This time we are going to establish a new organisation in Port Elizabeth to open a new haven. We will not be responsible only for ourselves, but for the whole organisation. This has meant we have had to establish a charity in the UK, to raise more prayer & financial support. This is a new journey for us & it is taking longer than we expected.

Have you got a charity number yet?

We are in the process of having legal governing documents drawn up for the charity “Penuel Children’s Foundation”. We should receive these documents in a few days, & then have to wait for a charity number to be issued. Even though the registration process is not yet completely finished, we are able to fundraise. We do have a bank account that can receive donations (currently ineligible for gift aid).

Should I give donations through Penuel or Belfast City Vineyard?

This is very important: All money donated into the Penuel account will go towards the project and running costs of Penuel Children’s Foundation. Kate & I have no access to this money. This money will be transferred by our UK trustees to the haven bank account. The budget of where this money shall be spent within the project, shall be decided upon by S. African trustees of the haven project. If you would like to see a rough budget of running costs, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

All money going through Belfast City Vineyard church is donated toward the living costs of the Cathcart family. We cannot get paid for the work we do in S.Africa due to us only being eligible for volunteer visas. Without financial support into both of these accounts we cannot continue to carry out this work.

We are so incredibly grateful to all of you who have supported us over the last two years by giving through our BCV account. Words cannot express the difference you have made in the lives of the children we have worked with, the children we will work with, & our own lives. Thank you so much for blessing our lives so greatly.

If I was to donate towards the project costs what difference would my donation make?

Running a 24/7 care home is a big undertaking. Due to difference in living costs & the exchange rate your donation can make a huge difference. £5 a month would provide the security necessary to make the haven a safe place for these children to live or the telephone & internet needed for social workers to be able to contact us when a child needs a home. £10 a month provides nappies for one child for 2 weeks, or medication needed for a child with a chest infection. £20 a month feeds one child for month. Water & electricity we estimate will cost around £100 a month. Once all donations come together into one lump sum they make a huge difference, as with any family budget. This resource gives up to 6 children at any one time, a home to live in, with people who love & care for them. A safe place where they are certain of having enough food each day. A home where they can rest, warm, dry & free from fear. A place they can be children again.

How do I make a donation to Penuel?

Monthly donations will help us to budget more effectively. When we receive a once off gift, we are splitting this up into a monthly sum for the next three years.

Any donations can be transferred to:

Penuel Children’s Foundation

Sort Code Number:         40-20-55

Account Number:            40152854

If you are able to add a ‘receivers reference’ to your donation, then please insert your surname so we can know where it’s come from. This will make claiming gift aid easier once we have a charity number. Once a donation is set up, could you please email us at including the amount, whether it is a monthly donation or a once off, & your postal address? Thank you. This means as soon as we are eligible for gift aid, we can send you a gift aid form. If you do not have internet banking there is a standing order form attached that you can fill out & send to your bank. Thank you so very much, from the bottom of our hearts.

When are you planning to return to S. Africa?

We do not have a departure date at the moment. We set two dates in the past & found that the process is taking longer than we had hoped or planned. Currently we have approximately 40% of the monthly Penuel donations, needed to start this project. We are also working hard towards establishing Penuel as an efficiently run organisation. Once these things are done, we will be in the position once again to step out & see God’s Kingdom coming among & through, these precious children.

Thank you so much for your support. Thank you for praying for us, & these children. Thank you for joining with us, to see some of the most vulnerable children being given a fresh start & an understanding of their immeasurable worth. If there are any other questions you have please email us.

Thank you so much

Richie and Kate Cathcart

Penuel Standing Order Form

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