Lyn, South Cave
Lyn Kenny is currently an assistant curate in South Cave, but was serving as a deacon in Middlesbrough when she heard about the work of Acts 435. Her church were looking for another Advocate to join the team, and after hearing all about Acts 435, Lyn stepped into the gap.
In Middlesbrough Lyn got to work as an Advocate working mostly with people on low income and refugees. As well as the applicants Lyn saw through her own setting, social workers, Sure Start centres and the council "Hub" all heard about her role they began to refer people to her, and it became what Lyn describes as a 'community charity'.
Lyn has recently moved to South Cave, near to Hull, and has continued to be an Acts 435 Advocate. The majority of the posts that Lyn posts for are those from the Hull Homeless Community Project, working with the staff at the project. She is also a volunteer chaplain at HMP Humber, which has opened her eyes to a real need with the families of the men who are serving time in the prison. Working with the Families Worker, they are beginning to roll out the ministry to the men and their partners and families who have dire needs, as well as emotionally coping without having their partner around.
As Lyn has used Acts 435 in two very different settings, she has a varied experience of being an Advocate. She explains that being an Advocate in Middlesbrough 'brought together' several different agencies in the community to help those in need, and as word spread quickly those in need knew where to come for help.
Currently, in partnership with the Hull Homeless Community Project (HHCP), Lyn is seeing a big impact in helping those who have secured a home to make a fresh start - especially those who are fleeing domestic violence or leaving the care system. Lyn also explains that her being an Advocate has had a profound effect on the congregations of her three churches as they were 'were astonished to hear about the circumstances some people live in. They have actively started supporting HHCP both financially and with items. It has really bound the churches to the charity'.
HMP Humber has also enthusiastically welcomed the idea of Acts 435, and are excited about the possibility of helping the families of offenders, which will hopefully have a bi-fold impact; 'firstly to the families on the outside and secondly if the offenders are not worried about their families needs they are more likely to engage with the prison rehabilitation system.'
When we asked Lyn what her experience of being an Acts 435 Advocate was like, she told us this:
'I am passionate about this charity and love being an advocate. The joy when I have seen people receive help is immense. I love knowing that donors are willing to help total strangers - every time I think of the parable of the good Samaritan. I also believe that these donors are demonstrating God's Kingdom on earth'.
Having utilised Acts 435 in different settings, Lyn has a varied amount of stories that she can share about how, through Acts 435, donors have been enabled to help those in need. But the most striking story was how Lyn, and Acts 435, stepped in to help a family at their greatest time of need. After the father received the diagnosis of terminal cancer, aged just 34, the family wanted to treasure their last Christmas together. After posting the needs on the Acts 435 website, Lyn was able to purchase gifts and a family board game for them. Not only this but Lyn also went a step further and after winning a raffle hamper, also donated this to the family. They had the most wonderful Christmas they could have in the circumstances.
Through her time as an Advocate Lyn has really enjoyed enabling donors to help those in need, saying 'the way they affect people's lives is amazing', and she would encourage anyone to become an Advocate in their own setting.