Happy Belated 2018….first an apology for not keeping you up informed of what we’ve been up to for so long. It’s been a busy couple of months. We kicked off December with the Advent Sleepout Challenge, a Church Urban Fund initiative designed to fund night shelter beds. It’s now an annual event for us and something we are passionate about as we join with others to support those facing homelessness and aim to increase awareness of the homeless here in the UK. The first week-end of December was a little chilly so it’s not something we would relish on a daily basis for sure!
The last quarter of the year was busy for the Foodbank too as the number of food parcels we distributed increased by 30% as the impact of Universal Credit roll out hit hard. The total number of food parcels we distributed in the last year was just short of 1000 an increase on last year. The Recovery Cafe is also seeing an increase in the number of visits since it started in July. The total number of visits in a month has just smashed 150. Well done Ronnie and the team for the food and support you’re providing. Congratulations also to chef Alan who has been employed by Top Church Training in their Dudley cafe. It was all hands to the deck as the Recovery Cafe hosted their first Christmas dinner. Thanks to everyone who donated, prepared, cooked, served and washed and cleaned up afterwards. Amazing.
The end of a year and the beginning of the next is often a time of reflection. In 2017 everyone worked so hard to serve people and meet their need. We get to see people at times of crisis; we have seen isolation, sadness, desperation, illness and death. The numbers alone don’t tell the full story but for a small charity I think we pack a mighty punch. We have provided 311 one to one sessions in our drop-in and another 236 sessions outside of the drop-in time – that’s 2 sessions every working day.
In 2018 we hope to increase the number of young people we mentor. In December we trained 4 youth mentors who we can match with young people who want our support. Our detached youth work results in 40 contacts with young people a month and our multi-sport project funded by the Sports Council is due to start in March. Just a couple of reasons why 2018 is going to be busy for Jen and her team!
We have more group sessions planned too with Kaye leading on a group focusing on the mental health and well being of males. The sessions are beginning at the end of the month and will take place on Monday’s before the drop in session.