Ed, Restore in York
Restore was set up 6 years ago, and is a charity that provides housing for those who have previously been homeless; men and women are referred from other organisations and given a room within one of their supported homes. As well as a roof over their head the charity also provides support and help, skills workshops and events. Acts 435 has also enabled them to help their tenants further by providing clothes, bikes, work clothing, and other items to give them 'self-esteem, confidence and a better quality of life'.
I met Ed in their local office, which has a staff made up of six people, and he describes that through partnering with Acts 435 they are 'able to bless people and give more generously to our tenants'. Many of their tenants arrive at their new accommodation with just a small bag and a few clothes, requests such as clothing vouchers or new shoes makes their tenants lives 'much more comfortable' and gives them self-esteem and dignity.
Some of their tenants may also find work during their time with Restore, and Acts 435 has enabled them to have the right equipment to begin work, such as work boots and trousers. These are essential items to many jobs that their tenants are involved in, and turning up to work in the right clothing also gives them confidence in the workplace.
Throughout all the stories that Ed described it's clear that Acts 435 grants are key to helping those in need it through Restore. People like Sam, who was sleeping rough and has tried to commit suicide on more than one occasion. On moving into a Restore house he only had a rucksack containing a few old clothes. Ed applied for an Acts 435 grant for Sam, and he was given some new clothing. He then began volunteering for a Christian building maintenance company, and another Acts 435 grant bought him work clothing to do this. Following the volunteering the company then offered him paid employment. Through his contact with Restore and his new employer, Sam began attending church. What a difference Restore has made in Sam's life!
Another tenant, Vicky, was helped with an Acts 435 grant for travel to visit her elderly mother who is in a care home in Scotland. This made a massive difference to Vicky, as she was unsure if she was going to be able to visit her mum, and she was overwhelmed and very grateful for this help.
Ed said that he would completely encourage anyone considering becoming an Acts 435 Advocate to go ahead and just do it.
"Being an Advocate has changed what we do and changed a lot of lives. We don't know if we could help people in these ways otherwise."