Kathryn, Shildon Alive

As part of their ongoing outreach through their community project, Shildon Alive!, the team work together to help those they come into contact with through Acts 435. Here, Kathryn Jennings, tells us how Acts 435 works in their setting.

'We heard about Acts 435 through an initial meeting at a Diocesan event with Jenny, we followed this up with a phone call, and since then have visited York and met the team.'

Kathryn then goes on to describe how they manage the Shildon Alive! project, as well as a church-aided school, both of which have much need. The community project not only utilises Acts 435, but they also run a Foodbank, Credit Union, Advocacy Service, a community garden, and much more. She says, 'this brings us into regular touch with people many of whom are struggling with real crisis and more. Acts 435 allows us to bring almost immediate support to some heart breaking situations, literally helping people feel hopeful again.'

When we asked Kathryn how using Acts 435 impacts on their church, she said 'it enables the church to connect with the wider community in a way that expresses practical love. (a bit like the gospel invites us to really).'

Kathryn specialises in Advocacy through her role in the Shildon Alive! team, but at present she is finding it 'a struggle to apply and be successful with local authority grants and we are finding other smaller grant providers focus on families with children leaving extremely vulnerable individuals in desperate financial need. Being an Acts 435 Advocate enables us to offer a lifeline to those who find themselves in a short term crisis.'

Such as one 'lady who came into the project, extremely distressed, having been given her notice at work with only a couple of days left to her 6 month probation. She has two teenage children and has never previously been out of work. Due to her circumstances, she did not qualify for any housing costs and was in dispute about receiving her pay from the employer. This meant the following week, she would have no food in the cupboards or no way of providing transport costs in order for her daughter to attend college. As an Advocate for Acts 435, having the option to request help towards her living costs made a real difference to her and her family's life. Seeing the relief on her face was overwhelming.'

Stepping in the gap for those in need that the Shildon Alive! team meet through the ministry is an amazing testimony to the generous donations of Acts 435 supporters. It also provides great relief for the team who are providing a fantastic service to anyone who has need, but otherwise would be unable to find the funds.

Finally, we asked Kathryn what she would say to someone considering becoming an Advocate: 'please do it because one small request can change someone's life and it is easy and quick to complete.'