Patsi, CAP Colchester
We want to get a more regular Advocate Spotlight each month to show how different advocates are using our resource to make a difference in their local communities. This month we are focusing on our requests for children, and so Patsi was an obvious choice for me because of a wonderful story we shared a few months ago in our mailshot.
A donor gave £20 toward a request for a pushchair for a family struggling with ill health and debt, but before the request was fully met, the Acts 435 applicant (Claire) sold a piece of furniture and with it purchased a double buggy. Patsi used the £20 that had been raised to date to give Claire a large bunch of flowers which brought such joy to her - it was only the second time she had ever received flowers. When the donor received the thank you message that Patsi had written to explain this, she got in touch asking whether Claire needed anything more because she wanted to help. Thanks to that direct connection, the donor was able to give money so that Patsi could get some toys for Claire to give her son on his birthday. Isn't that so lovely?
Let's hear more from Patsi about her experience of Acts 435:
Jenny: When did you get involved?
Patsi: July 2014, just after I started working for Christians Against Poverty.
Jenny: How did you hear of Acts 435?
Patsi: Through my role as Administrator with Christians Against Poverty. The Colchester Centre had heard how much Acts 435 had helped CAP clients in other centres and were keen to work with Acts.
Jenny: How do you use it in your setting?
Patsi: We are a very busy Debt Centre and I mainly use it to help clients, we raise money for Debt Relief Orders and insolvency fees but also for many other things that people are without: beds, fridges, washing machines, school uniforms, etc. Other people have also approached me, such as from a charity helping ex-offenders, and people in need have approached me directly.
Jenny: How does it impact your church/charity?
Patsi: Acts 435 has broadened the support we can offer to our clients. Where we find children sharing single beds, or someone having to spend money travelling to buy fresh food every day without a fridge, we can do something about it. Debt and poverty are hugely isolating, and the idea of strangers raising money to help get out of that debt adds to our message of blessing, love and self esteem.
Jenny: What has been your experience of being an advocate?
Patsi: It is a huge privilege to be an advocate, to be able to witness the generosity that God places in people's hearts, and to facilitate a real difference in people's lives. It is also an honour to be trusted with someone's story, often very personal and painful, and I feel it is really important to express that story well on the the website for them. When you put a beneficiary's story out there, and people respond with love through generosity, that is saying something very powerful to them.
Jenny: What stories can you share of people you’ve helped through Acts 435?
Patsi: There's the story of one CAP client family whose youngest child had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He would find it difficult to settle at night and kept the whole family awake. With just £30 we were able to get a colour changing mood light that projected stars onto the wall. He now settles quickly and the family can get a good night's sleep. It is amazing what difference something relatively small can make.
In August 2015 we had two families that could not afford school uniforms to send their children back to school. Acts 435 had a real push on advertising school uniform requests that year and the money was raised very quickly - just in time to buy the uniforms before school started! It was a huge relief to the parents, and the children were able to return to school.
Jenny: What would you say to people considering becoming advocates?
Patsi: I would say please please do it - it is so rewarding. It benefits the whole community to be witness to God helping His poor.
Patsi has posted over 50 requests on our website since 2014 and seen the difference our small grants can make. If you want to become an Acts 435 advocate and are linked to a church or Christian charity, please email email@example.com today for more information. We are always looking for more advocates so if you are in the UK and want to help people in your local community who are struggling financially, please get in touch.