Friends of John the hippy
Fundraising for Quaker Service
Quaker Service is a cross community family welfare charity which contributes in a practical way to the understanding and reduction of the causes and effects of violence, suffering and social deprivation on communities in Northern Ireland. QS provides services to support vulnerable and undervalued individuals, families and children.
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The Board and staff of Quaker Service have been totally overwhelmed by the response by John’s family and friends to the work with young people at Quaker Cottage. In addition to the amount raised through ‘Friends of John the hippy’, we have received over £5k offline which brings the total raised to £13½k. We wish to thank each person individually for their incredible generosity, but many donors have asked for anonymity and therefore we are grateful to have this thank you letter posted on the website.
John was an amazing and unique person whose touch has influenced so many. He was an exceptionally talented youth worker whose dedication and passion was infectious. So many young people and their parents speak to us of the highly positive effect he has had on their lives. He is sorely missed by all of us.
John developed the Quaker Cottage teenage project to be the successful programme it is today. For many young people, this project is literally a lifeline and the only place where they can feel accepted and a valuable member of society. We feel that it is fitting to spend most of the money raised to provide additional staff support for the Cottage teenage project or to extend the project as far as possible once the current funding stream ends.
The staff and young people at Quaker Cottage also believe it is important to have a lasting memorial for John at the Cottage. As we all know, John always was a man for the outdoors and loved nature, therefore the idea of a woodcarving has been imbedded in our minds. An artist called Ivan specialises in wood carvings and his work varies from chainsaw carving to the more traditional craft of woodcarving with chisels depending on the finish required. Ivan is going to create a piece of art and once the final plans have been made, the teenagers at the Cottage are going to help him chisel and varnish the wood. Once the piece has been completed we will upload the photo of the finished piece. (To view some of Ivan’s work please visit www.ivanart.co.uk).
Once again, I wish to thank you all on behalf of the Board, staff and volunteers of Quaker Service for your kindness and your desire to see the work which John was so involved in at the Cottage to continue to transform the lives of so many young people.
In memory of John Stevenson 1970 - 2008
To his family and many friends, John was a kind, funny, generous, helpful and compassionate human being. His colleagues also knew him as a wonderfully talented, passionate and dedicated youth worker.
John was ideally suited to his work in Quaker Cottage as it allowed him to help some of the most vulnerable and undervalued children and young people in Belfast and beyond. Quaker Cottage helps these kids from all religions and none without promoting any religious doctrine.
John’s colleagues have shared some deeply moving stories about the level of love and commitment given to these children by John and indeed all of the staff and volunteers. Time and again, John and his colleagues have gone well beyond the call of duty to bring positive changes to the lives of these kids, including those at serious risk.
Initially, the idea for donating some money to Quaker Cottage in lieu of a wreath came from ‘the lads’ that John used to hang about with. However, please feel free to make a donation to support the work that meant so much to John if you knew him in any capacity, or even if you never had the privilege of his company.
Donating through this site is simple, fast and secure. In addition, Quaker Service will receive your money electronically and, if you are a UK taxpayer, Gift Aid tax relief will be added to your donation at no cost to you. You can also leave a wee message on this site.
If you haven’t done so already, you can join John’s memorial site on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7666435887.
(Also, if you want to follow John's example and join the NHS organ donor register, you can do so here http://www.uktransplant.org.uk/ukt/how_to_become_a_donor/registration/consent.jsp. A five year old girl and two men aged twenty-five and fifty have much to thank John for, even though they probably never even met him.)
So here’s to John's memory, and his legacy.
From the friends of John the hippy.
P.S. Many thanks to Mary Stevenson and to Ann and Jeanette at Quaker Service for helping set this up.
(If you want more information on the work of Quaker Service, then please download their 2007 annual report here - http://www.ulsterquakerservice.com/annual%20report%202007.pdf. Info on Quaker Cottage is on pages 6 & 7. The accounts on page 15 tell us that the Teenage Project, which grew out of John’s School of Rock, cost £43K to run in that year, with the other Quaker Cottage costs being £173K. Costs are not higher due to the help of trained and vetted volunteers.)