Relationships are at the heart of what we do. Although a very basic, unconditional practical provision will always be very important to us, such provision is primarily a tool for the building up of a positive relationship with those who come through our doors. We believe that such relationships between volunteers and guests give the best opportunities for transformation and healing.
Many of those we see have been through all the statutory systems and services and are wary of institutions and organisations. We try to provide an environment that breaks down the unhelpful us/them barriers to encourage and support the guests we see.
Out of the Alpha Centre we run our drop-in. We provide hot food, a shower, clothing if needed and a place to sit and chat round the dinner table. For those without any accommodation we run an emergency night shelter that is open and staffed throughout the night every single night.
The reasons that people find themselves homeless are extremely varied. Substance abuse, mental health, addictions, relationship breakdowns and family catastrophes can all play a part. We try to help people in whatever way they need help. Finding accommodation, getting help with substance abuse or health issues, getting support in accommodation or simply sitting down and having a chat are all things that we offer.
The majority of our volunteers spend their time at the drop-in. We have visits from health professionals and strong links with other agencies such as the Stauros Foundation (a Christian group helping addicts). The drop-in is an unconditional and relaxed as we can make it. Guests can come in off the street and get looked after if they are in a state. Alcohol and medication is handed in to be returned when people leave. As long as people are peaceful we are happy to have them through the door.
We have historically tried to involve the guys in work within the wider community, in voluntary and paid settings. If you have opportunities to offer the guests please do let us know.
At the moment our community work is done on an ad hoc, voluntary basis.
Pastoral visiting in the community is a key part of our work, helping to sustain and nurture relationships and build a stronger support network for people. This might be visiting guests in prison or in hospital. This might be visiting them in their accommodation or offering support in appointments with other agencies.
As in all relationships, time is needed for them to flourish. Time spent together, meals shared and lots of tea drunk are the small things that make a great difference to us all.