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No two days the same at Brushstrokes

Teresa presented with flowers

Well-wishers gathered at Brushstrokes in Smethwick on 21 March, to say goodbye to Teresa Clements who is retiring after more than ten years as Project Manager.

In front of an audience including trustees, staff and volunteers, local priests and religious sisters, and representatives from charities working in Sandwell, Bishop David McGough expressed his gratitude to Teresa. Teresa, he felt, had shown that this was a vocation more than a job.

Andy Quinn, Chief Executive of Father Hudson’s Care, said Teresa had built on the firm foundations laid by Sister Margaret Walsh to create an organisation that punches above its weight. He compared Brushstrokes to Dr Who’s Tardis – it may not look like much from outside, but inside amazing things happen. He thanked Teresa for making the very deliberate choice to dedicate a decade of her life to Brushstrokes and the people it supports.

Teresa herself spoke of turning up to work and finding something new and different every day. Despite this, she always kept in mind the mission of Brushstrokes to reach out to the most vulnerable.

Brushstrokes is a partnership project of Father Hudson’s Care, the Infant Jesus Sisters and the Parish of St Philip Neri. It works with the hidden poor in Smethwick and surrounding areas. Smethwick is an area of ‘superdiversity’, with many residents newly arrived from overseas. Brushstrokes provides a wide range of practical and emotional support, including English language classes.

Taking over from Teresa at Brushstrokes is Dave Newall. An expert in migration and migrant health, Dave is committed to ensuring the most vulnerable can access the support and services they need. He wants to work with others to understand and respond to the needs and aspirations of new arrivals.

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