Newsletter February 2009 Life on the Streets
Audits planned to give us exact information
We are planning this year to do an audit of the rough sleepers of the town with the aim of finding out from them what their needs are, why they are there and what keeps them there, and how we can best help them to return to the community.
In addition we will carry out an audit of the rough sleepers who have been rehoused over the last eight years. Hopefully, this will all be done by September.
We have already completed an audit of the Wingfield and Long Row area of Shrewsbury and we have found a great need for Christian Community work within this area.
We are currently seeking advice from Rawlings Heffernan Consultancy Services (RHCS) on what is the best way to deal with this project and we have sourced possible funding.
We are also hopeful of having an on-site meeting with one of the County Councillors so he can see local circumstances for himself and also meet the people of the area.
If you have any ideas on how we can bring this community together and help them to improve their community, then please email John for he is very interested in your ideas. Similarly, if you are interested in helping out and working in this very deprived area of Shrewsbury please contact John for further information about the project. We will pay for your CRB checks.
We hope to be able to get something started by September.
Hard times mean high demand
Sadly, this year it looks as if we are going to be needed even more for the people who will be losing their jobs and homes, so we are very interested in household items. Please be warned we may need you to hold on to them for a few weeks. If any of the churches would like to start collecting food each week for us we would be happy to collect once a month from you at a time and date to suit you. Last year we used over 47,000 items of food. We give out between 80 and 100 food bags each week.
Let's make the most of training so that we are better in our service
We are always interested in hearing about church events that reach out into the community, or church courses that train people to reach into the community. It is important that we let the world outside of the church know that the churches are alive and working hard.
John is on such a course at present called the Community Ministry Course. It basically enables you to build up a plan of the needs of your community, teaches you how to set up a project, and how to fund it in a sound Christian way.
He enthusiastically recommends the course to all those interested in developing community projects. We have enclosed some of the organisers' information with this newsletter. You do not have to do the ministry part of the course.
If you know of any courses that could help train others we would be only too happy to include details in our mailings. Please send details to 99 St Michael's Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 2HE.
Isaiah 58 website to get a new look
We would like to thank James for doing our website for so many years, David is now taking it over and in the coming weeks and months will be giving it a completely new look.
David has shown me the statistics about the webpage and it was very interesting to see how many hits had come from abroad - all over the world in fact, from Canada to Japan.
David is also going to see if we can make the website more interactive so we can communicate more quickly and easily and be able to help more people. - John
Fears for your home? Be quick to seek advice
You don't have to be sleeping rough to be classed as homeless. Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be officially homeless if the place is unsuitable or you have no rights to stay there.
You could be entitled to help if you are staying with friends or family, living in overcrowded or poor conditions that affect your health, in a hostel or B&B, in fear of abuse or violence, paying so much rent that you are going without basics, in a squat or somewhere else with no legal right to be, or forced to split up a family because of unsuitable accommodation.
Some groups of people are more vulnerable to homelessness than others, including young people, the elderly, those with physical or mental health problems or learning difficulties. Others are those on low incomes or benefit, ex-prisoners, those leaving care, asylum seekers and refugees. Losing your job, health problems, eviction, or a relationship failure are just some of the factors that can lead to homelessness
If you are homeless or worried about becoming homeless, you should get advice as soon as possible. Likewise, if you are worried that a friend may be at risk of becoming homeless, urge them to act quickly and help them as much as you can. Having someone to talk to is a real godsend.
You can get advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Shelter or the council. If you contact Isaiah58 we will try to put you in touch with the best people to help. Our number is in this newsletter.
Where your thank-you letters went this year!
John writes: It seems like a long time ago now (especially as we're in Lent!) but I hope you all had a good and happy Christmas and New Year.
This year I have not forgotten to send thank-you letters to all you very wonderful people who work so hard for us and give so much to our work. I decided not to, and this is the reason...
Late last year I heard about a wonderful organisation called Sightsavers International which has for the past 50 years been restoring sight and improving the lives of people who are irreversibly blind in poor countries around the world. They can save someone's sight for just £3 a month - so I stopped sending thank you letters and am sending the postage money to Sightsavers instead.
We hope this meets with your approval; it seems a far better way of saying thank-you for your help by saving someone's sight. We hope this pleases you more than a letter from me, but please don't doubt for a moment that we are very thankful for everything you do for us.
We have had more clients than ever, given out more food and household items (550) to more homes (83) than ever, and we expect to do more throughout this year with the way the world is going.
Approximately 97% of our money goes to the people we help. We have few overheads - no paid staff and no buildings (except a garage) to pay for. Your donations and fund-raising efforts on behalf of the homeless of Shrewsbury make all the difference.
And speaking of saying thank you ...
Thank you all for your wonderful giving of 500 Christmas presents for children and adults. We gave them out ourselves and through Severndale School and their Social Service team, the Children's Centre, the Children's Ward at the RSH and Pam Evans who does some evangelising with friends of the Project for us, and North Community Church. For people who do not know, Severndale School children all have learning difficulties or disabilities.
Thank you to Holy Trinity Church in Meole Brace which donated the use of its new Church Centre for the children's Christmas party. We had approximately 60 children plus parents and the Mayor of Shrewsbury and her husband as our special guests. Entertainment was courtesy of Joyful Disco, the Animal Man, Bouncy Castles, Interactive Circus Arts and Face Painting (donated for the fifth year by Lesley Ravenscroft), and another special guest Father Christmas and his little helper.
Thank YOU to St Chad's Church for opening the church hall on Christmas and Boxing Days to us again this year for the rough sleepers and lonely people's Christmas party.
Thank you to our team of helpers who turn out every year to cook and provide for so many people. This year we had 31 guests on Christmas Day and 23 on Boxing Day. On Christmas Day the Ark, Shrewsbury Town Mission, the Sisters of Mercy, Holy Spirit Church and North Community Church all put on meals for lonely people within their community. Here's hoping we have more churches doing the same next Christmas all over the Shrewsbury area - sadly, you can be sure the need will be there.
How to contact Isaiah 58
Telephone 075458 21029 or email mailto:email@example.com