Ann, REACH Haverhill
Ann Merrigan has been an inspiration to many in helping others; she began her journey in debt, and sought help from the Christians Against Poverty centre in Haverhill, Suffolk. She finally became debt free, and so began her journey into helping others in similar situations; and those who are in need in her local community. One of the ways she has been able to do this is through becoming an Acts 435 Advocate!
There is a varied team at the REACH Centre, where they provide many services including a Trussell Trust Food Bank, a money and debt advice service (now through Community Money Advice), as well as a drop-in facilitated every afternoon by an amazing bank of volunteers. With so much going on, Ann describes that on a daily-basis they have many people who are desperate need of one-off items such as school uniforms, white goods, gas and electric, and much more. Ann went on to explain that 'many people [that they see] are at their wits-end, and to hear that there is something that somebody can do is a huge relief for them'.
Recently, Ann has personally helped to request chef's whites for a man just starting a much needed job, but who couldn't afford to the clothing to begin his work. Through Acts 435, she has also helped to secure a much needed bed for a gentleman with several complicated medical conditions. Not only have they helped to source these much needed items, but also bless a family with a 'sensory shed' for a young girl with autism. Her mum was nearly at breaking point, but being shown that someone cared to help them in their situation was really vital to this single-mum.
The REACH Centre has a large bank of volunteers, most of them have been helped through one of the many services, but they too are also impacted by the quick help that is available through Acts 435, and the relief that they see on people's' faces when they know that the help is available.
With all of the services and volunteers at the centre, it's no wonder that since they started helping people through Acts 435 they have been able to help 502 individuals and families with one-off needs, totalling over a staggering £44,000!
When I asked Ann about her role as an Acts 435 Advocate, she said that it was an 'amazing resource' in her role at REACH, so simple to use and if somebody was thinking of getting involved she said 'just go for it, it's a joy to be a part of'.
Hear Henry Wilson, Chief Executive of REACH, explain how easy he finds Acts 435 to use in the video below.