A birthday message
Today we celebrate New Hope's 28th birthday. It was on 23 March 1990 that ‘The Coaches’ were opened. This wonderful charity, which I have the immense privilege to be part of, has been helping people move on up out of homelessness and hopelessness for almost 30 years.
As we give thanks for the work of New Hope, I wanted to share two thoughts. First, I have been reminded recently of New Hope's theme from 2015 – our 25th anniversary year: 'Together, we are New Hope'. We have seen this in action over recent weeks with the snow and sub-zero temperatures: the community has come together and provided fresh food, warm coats, sleeping bags, financial donations and extra accommodation. It's been incredibly difficult but the way everyone came together to help those in need has been fantastic.
Often when we think of who give to New Hope, we list staff, volunteers, supporters, grant givers, people who bring items to our charity shops and we forget how much our service users themselves give. New Hope service users give so much – to each other, to staff, to volunteers, to the charity itself and to society. We have all had our lives enriched through getting to know some of the people who have been helped by New Hope. As I visited some of New Hope's accommodation services last week, I saw residents willingly and enthusiastically giving their time and energy to help everything run more smoothly through getting involved with practical tasks. We're also seeing an increase in peer support – residents cheering one another on in their journeys of recovery. Together – staff, volunteers, service users, supporters, partner organisations – we are New Hope.
While ‘Together, we are New Hope’ was the theme for 2015, this year the theme is ‘Moving On Up’. Each day, we see people take steps away from homelessness - sometimes just small steps but nevertheless steps forwards. With such dreadful weather of late, it's been a tough year but yet we've still seen hope. Good can come out of the most awful situations.
My colleagues in the Rough Sleeping Prevention Service have been supporting people – including some who have been rough sleeping for a long time – in taking positive steps forward away from life on the street. It's exceptionally challenging work – supporting those who are rough sleeping – but the RSPS team have a gentle persistence, compassion and patience, tied with quality training in listening skills and coaching, which means we are seeing very vulnerable individuals move away from rough sleeping to safe and secure accommodation.
On Wednesday night, we held our annual celebration service focusing on the theme of ‘Moving On Up’ which included a number of short quotes from current service users about how New Hope has helped them to move forward:
‘The Community Home has given me the support and will to move forwards. Being at the Community Home has given me the confidence and self-belief to recover from the traumatic lifestyle I had when I was homeless.’
‘The transition from what I was a few months ago, to the more confident and far happier person I have since become could not have been achieved without them. So, I say a very big thank you New Hope House.’
‘I've moved into HopeHomes where it is more independent, but New Hope, TST and staff at the Haven continue to support me and help me move on. This is very important to me, and very needed. There are lots of people like me who need charities like this. It’s very easy to fall down!’
It’s an honour to be part of New Hope and so I’d like to wish this inspirational charity a very happy 28th birthday!
If you would like to deepen your involvement with New Hope at this time, then there’s a number of ways to do this: maybe you’d like to consider volunteering or giving a regular donation or taking part in a sponsored event.
Fundraising and Communications Manager at New Hope