Sabina’s cru­sade to help the home­less reaches mile­stone

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - An­to­nia Ban­nis­ter News Re­porter an­to­nia.ban­nis­ter@trin­i­tymir­

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

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