Thank You from Herbie's Community Drop In
Allow me once again to introduce myself for those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. My name is Lieutenant Rob Symons and along with my wife Lieutenant Georgina Symons, we are the Commanding Officers (Ministers) in charge of The Salvation Army here in Great Yarmouth. Many of you I will have no doubt met over the past 11 months or so since we arrived however, I do appreciate there will be some of you I have yet to speak to formally.
One of the most encouraging parts of my ministry since arriving here in Norfolk in August of last year is seeing how the churches work together. I appreciate for many years, many of you, both in the Great Yarmouth area and the surrounding area have kindly supported us by donating items for distribution to those less fortunate through our Community Drop In; particularly at Harvest time and Christmas, as part of our Toys and Tins Appeal.
Following a recent discussion, it was felt that it might be helpful for people to know of particular ways they could help / specific items that were needed for our Community Drop In, particularly as we lead up to Harvest time. It was suggested this might help people consider in a more informed way what they might want to contribute or even provide opportunity for people to sponsor items throughout the course of the year as a wider way of the churches working together.
The attached list is indicative of the type of items we use on a weekly basis and are always in demand for. As you can appreciate, the majority of the food items donated are stored and used throughout the year and as many people have extremely limited (and in some cases no) cooking facilities; this somewhat limits the type of donations that we can most effectively use.
We would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to support the work of the ‘Herbie's’ Community Drop In here in Great Yarmouth. I do hope you understand the sentiment of this letter. I know from my own experience, how vital your support has been, how we could not have achieved anywhere near as much as we did for the Kingdom without you and I have seen first hand how your sacrificial giving has been richly blessed. This letter is in part to recognise and thank you once again for that and of course welcome your support once more; should you feel led to do so.
Whilst I am here, I thought I would take the opportunity to update you on what we currently provide and the type of work that donations will go towards. Amongst our varied weekly programme, as you will know we have a community drop in, predominantly for those suffering from homelessness although not exclusively, that we host between the hours of 09.30-11.30 on a Monday and Friday and between 12.00-14.00 on a Thursday. Here we offer food parcels, clothing through our Charity Shop on King Street, a shower facility, a clothes washing service, sleeping bag and blanket provision along with general advice and a listening ear and partner with other organisations, agencies and service providers within the local area. Some of the many agencies we are partnering with are Comeunity, Norcas, Voluntary Norfolk, Norfolk Constabulary, Anglia Skills Academy, P&S Personnel, Stonham Housing, GYROS, Citizens Advice Bureau, Mind and Great Yarmouth Borough Council. We are also working very closely alongside other public sector departments / agencies such as Jobcentre Plus.
One of the consumables that we use most; as you can imagine is food.
In the last financial year alone we distributed the following:
· 530 Food Parcels distributed and drinks / food provided;
· 71 Sleeping Bags / Blankets / Duvets (etc.) issued;
· 82 Clothing Vouchers (c£600);
· 19 Sets Of Clothes Washed And Dried;
· 47 Hot Showers were warmly welcomed;
And we helped and assisted around 106 people who were homeless.
Over the Christmas period, we catered for the following:
· 226 adults (many with gifts as well as food);
· 267 children who all received presents;
· 176 Food Hampers / Parcels ranging in size from enough food to feed one person over the Christmas period to enough for an entire family up to 10.
Since the start of the last financial year up to June ’10 we have already distributed / provided:
• 161 Food Parcels;
• 28 sleeping bags/blankets;
• 13 showers;
• 31 clothing vouchers (c£230);
• 14 sets of clothes washed and dried;
• Toiletry Starter Packs;
As you can see, these figures suggest we are going to have an even busier year ahead. Since the beginning of the year, our Community Drop In (Herbie’s) has seen over 190 different people access our services for help with a footfall of almost 800; which I hasten to add we could not have done without the partnership collaboration from all involved, and it is always a delight to add new names to the growing number of churches (in addition to the voluntary, public and private sectors) who are offering their support too. We are always keen to inform people of where the food donations come from and this is an excellent opportunity to display first hand, particularly how the churches are working together to impact people’s lives and champion social justice. We have seen many success stories, with several people having their lives transformed by partners working together; we have even seen people return to employment, secure housing, receive much needed support with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions, help with collating their CV and accessing training courses to aid their personal development.
If you would like to know any more about the work that we do, please don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know. And of course, if you would like to support our work in any other way (once again I echo how many of you are very kind in supporting us at Harvest and Christmas time), you would be more than welcome. You can find out more information by visiting www.salvationarmy.org.uk/greatyarmouth
and clicking the link to our Social care and Community Programme.
I hope this letter in a small way emulates the appreciation we have for your kindness and generosity and serves as a reminder of how each and every one of us can really make a difference and impact the Kingdom of God. We look forward to working with you in the near future.
Warmest greetings, Kind Regards and God Bless,
Lieutenants Rob & Georgina Symons