In the summer of 2015 we spent a week with our children at New Wine, a Christian festival. We were touched by the story of a young boy who grew up in India, in the depths of poverty. Through personal sponsorship through a Christian charity called Compassion this boy had his physical, emotional and spiritual needs met. We both felt compelled to sponsor children ourselves and were handed, at random, a child profile each. Both children were in Kenya, Africa.
During this week at New Wine God planted seeds of compassion in our hearts for those in poverty. He watered and nurtured them during the following months until our charity, Speak 31, was born. The name is based on Proverbs 31, verses 8-9:
‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’
Compassion locates the most poverty-stricken communities around the world which, in turn, provides Speak 31 with knowledge of where the need is greatest. Having sponsored a third child, we chose to begin our journey with the three communities in which our sponsored children live. These communities do not have fresh, running water and food, education and medical help is in very short supply. These communities are amongst the poorest of the poor in our world.
Founders | Directors
Mrs Sarah Bloomer
Africa has been on my heart for many years and I can remember, even as a child, having a longing to help communities who were living in the depths of poverty. Having moved from place to place in England, Canada and Australia, I have spent the last 8 years living in the Peak District where I found a family and amazing friends in a wonderful and charasmatic church. My journey through faith has been filled with hope, suffering, compassion, mercy and trust, and it is through trusting in God that Speak 31 was born from a leap of faith. I have four young children and as a family we are learning all about Kenya and how we can be a blessing to it.
Mrs Hannah Laxton
Raised in Cornwall in the heart of a close-knit farming community I found my two loves: farming and music. I studied as a classical cellist at university in London. I met my husband 'treading the boards' with the local musical society and married in 2003; two sons followed. I became a Christian in 2013 and moved 200 miles to the Peak District, settling in a beautiful village and into a lively and loving church, where I now sing and play the cello in the worship band. I have always (albeit inexplicably) had a heart for Africa and am excited to be on this journey of faith.
Mrs Kate Dowland
Born in Harrogate in Yorkshire where I developed a lifelong love of music, especially singing, I left school for teacher training college and began my career in Bradford. During this time I became a Christian and met my husband who was heading for Ordination in the Church of England. We were married in 1977 and have served churches in the North East and Manchester, raising our son and daughter along the way... In all our churches we have always had a concern for mission overseas, developing many links with projects and individuals in South America and Africa. Which is why Speak 31 is a charity close to my heart, targeting the lives of women and girls in positive, Christ-like ways. I am proud to be a Trustee to help and guide as we develop.
Mrs Millie Crosse
Having been raised bilingual and bicultural by my French mother and British father, another key influence in my childhood was the time we spent living in Lesotho, in Southern Africa. That experience and the lasting impact it had on my family coupled with my faith gave me a real heart for Africa and its people. I am now married with two young boys and living in Glossop and I am excited to be onboard the Speak 31 adventure through which I am confident we will make a difference to the lives of people, particularly young women, in Kenya.
Mr Mike Tierney - Technical Support
After travelling and living overseas throughout my twenties, I returned to my roots in Glossop where I now live with my partner Jayne and our 2 children. Having met Hannah and Sarah at the primary school our children have in common, I was pleased when they asked me to get involved in Speak 31 and help out with their website. It's always great to hear of the progress Sarah and Hannah are making, and I hope to contribute in a small way, towards some positive changes in the lives of people living in circumstances less fortunate than my own.