Just over a year ago, a man came to the Care Centre and settled quietly into the evening. He wanted a shower and was grateful for the help offered. After a few weeks he told us that he was actually sleeping rough – a surprise as he was so well kept – and just how much he appreciated all that we were doing for him as well as the others. He continued to come along, mostly to use our shower but also for a hot drink. A couple of weeks ago he came in to say that he would not need to come back as he now has a place to stay after 16 months on the streets. It may seem like we didn’t do much by allowing him to use the shower, but for this man it was exactly what he needed.
A lady came to the Resource Centre. Because she had hurt her arm, she couldn’t work and needed food. She cried when we gave her a food parcel and said, ‘I thank you and God for helping me.’
These simple stories represent the hundreds of people who come to the Care and Resource Centres each year in need of help, and BCM’s annual Sponsored Sleepout raises substantial funds towards making sure the help keeps on being given.
At this year’s event at the end of February over 120 people spent a stormy (Jorge) night under soggy cardboard because they wanted to do something to support our city’s homeless. Thank you to each one of them, and to the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Birmingham who came along too. In spite of shelters steadily disintegrating in the rain, it was a good night, full of fun, and one that makes a difference.
27 young people from two churches, Hollywood Christian Life Centre and The Bridge, Shirley, held their own sleepout two weeks earlier (with Storm Dennis this time), raising over £1,000 for BCM. Here are comments from them and their leaders:
‘Care Centre Manager Steve’s testimony was inspiring. He explained what it’s like to be homeless and how God intervened and changed his life around. We now have a better understanding of how important it is to love our neighbour and look after the people around us. That’s the reason why we did this.’
‘I loved decorating my box but sleeping out made me realise what it must be like for people who live like this every day. I’m so thankful for a roof above my head.’
‘The sleepout was a great experience for all of us and we are already considering organising another one next year. I can fully recommend adding one in your youth calendar.’