Steve, St. Nicholas Church, Alcester

Steve is a local Acts 435 Advocate based in Alcester, Warwickshire. His church, St Nicholas, is part of a group of eight Anglican churches called Alcester Minster, which has been partnered with Acts 435 for nearly two years. His church is an Acts 435 Key Partner church/charity (read more about Key Partners on our Partner with Us page), which means they are very active in helping those in need, and are key in spreading the word about our work.

Steve is retired, and enjoys being an Acts 435 Advocate to help those in his local community. He says: "I cannot remember how I heard about Acts 435 but I was looking for something just like this when our paths crossed."

A lot of the requests that Steve posts onto the Acts 435 website are from the local food bank, and the church's family and children's worker who lives on a large housing estate, and works to build relationships with those in the community. Other agencies, such as the County Council, local housing organisation and local schools, heard about the partnership, and have also recently begun sending referrals to Steve.

The need around the local area has become more apparent to Steve, and his group of churches through their partnership with Acts 435, and Steve says: "The food bank is now feeding an increasing number of people.  Local people on Universal Credit cannot manage when something like a washing machine breaks. The local schools have also made an increasing number of requests, as both parents and teachers have contacted us for various needs like school uniforms."

He goes on to say:

"It is such a rewarding role [the Acts 435 Advocate role].  We have helped over 60 people so far and it is wonderful to make connections with people we otherwise may not have met.  People generally find it hard and embarrassing to ask for help so it is a joy to meet and reassure them that people want to help and it could happen to any of us. I often share a personal story of illness and falling on difficult times. We have many stories of people being so very grateful. We have helped two young Mums afford buggies and one thank you from a local guy said how he would now be warm and well fed over Christmas. I was able to accompany him to a post office and put credit on his energy bill.  It was lovely to make an arrangement with a local school uniform shop so a Mum could shop there without worry."

To those who are considering becoming an Acts 435 Partner, Steve would say: "Definitely do it. It is not that time consuming and I find it joyful to be able to give small help to someone in need, the emotional lift for someone may be as valuable as the item itself."

After six months of partnership our local partners can request to become a Key Partner, if they are timely with their request admin and active in spreading the word about Acts 435. This gives them the ability to post more requests onto the Acts 435 website. St Nicholas was one of the first churches to sign-up as a Key Partner, and Steve said:

"Being a Key Partner means we can keep the requests rolling without having to await one or two to clear. Since partnering with Acts 435 I have presented Acts 435 to our church twice now asking for supporters willing to donate, and I now have 20 email addresses to whom I send the links when we have a local need. I was recently invited to share about Acts 435 with a group of Baptist churches and because I have been sharing the partnership locally some of our requests have been met on the website within a few hours - it helps!"

Finally, Steve closed by saying:

"I would like to say that in this current climate, many people are struggling so much with basics like children’s school shoes, heating, bus fares, food, replacing broken appliances and so on. It seems so Jesus-like to give and surely the church needs to be first in line when it comes to loving and helping people in its neighbourhood."