Sabina’s crusade to help the homeless reaches milestone
A FORMER Coventry headteacher nicknamed ‘ Mother Teresa’ has raised £1million for homeless people in the West Midlands after fundraising for 22 years.
Sister Sabina Staff, 86, has spent decades helping the homeless and supporting drug addicts in Birmingham through the charity Sifa Fireside where she volunteers 40 hours of her time each week.
Sister Sabina was born in Ireland. She became a nun in 1951 and spent years teaching in Coventry, including being headteacher at Corpus Christie School in Ernesford Grange, before retiring in 1993 to work with Sifa Fireside.
Sister Sabina has now raised over £1m to help the region’s homeless, braving all weather conditions and dangerous areas to distribute food and blankets to the homeless.
Sister Sabina said: “When I retired I was at a loss as to what to do with myself when I realised there were a lot of homeless people in Birmingham.
“We started off from scratch by raising money to refurbish a completely derelict building.
“At first we could only afford to give everyone a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits. But now we are helping hundreds of peoplepp every y day.”y
“It has been said that I’m the Mother Teresa of Birmingham, but I don’t believe that.”
Sister Sabina’s work is under threat though as Government cuts have led to a loss of £140,000 a year in council funding for the charity.
The former headteacher is campaigning to ensure the centre, based near Birmingham’s Bullring, gets enough funding to carry on supporting the region’s most vulnerable.
She told the Mirror: “I have raised around £1million over the years.
“All of my friends have started running away from me because I tap them up for money so often.”
The Catholic nun even recalled how four years ago, she was approached by a widow in a park with a cheque for £25,000 to help the charity.
Since then Sister Sabina has been recognised nationally for her charity work, receiving an MBE from the Queen in 2009. She said: “The Queen was very interested in my work and very nice about it.
“I said to her that I wanted to retire and she told me, ‘Keep on going. going’. So I have.”have.
Sister Sabina Staff receives her MBE from the Queen and (right) with some of the homeless people she has dedicated herself to helping Sister Sabina Staff