Since September Laura Williams has moved from the Youth Team and will split her 2 working days between the Care and Resource Centres, working as a Support Worker. Laura is in conversation with Hannah Noble.
Hi Laura. Can you just share what your new role entails and tell us how have you found the move?
On Tuesdays I’m at the Care Centre and on Wednesdays at the Resource Centre, where I’ll be focussing on the Food Bank. There is a cross-over of people using both projects and I find this useful for getting to know the whole person better. I’ve visited the Care Centre over the last 6 years speaking and singing during the evening, so lots of the guests already knew me. I feel very much part of the Care Centre family and have settled into the work quickly. The Food Bank staff and volunteers have also made me welcome.
How has the work at the Care Centre developed now there is a staff team of three?
It means the Care Centre can stay open while a member of staff is on holiday. Before I started Jon and Steve had holidays at the same time and the centre closed. We’ve also opened on a Tuesday afternoon now and the guests who come are really glad of it. This session has prayer as its focus and space to be together doing crafts, colouring, puzzles and chatting.
How do you see your role at the Resource Centre developing over the coming weeks?
The Food Bank work is at the start of an exciting journey. There are dreams I hope to see develop alongside all the brilliant work already going on at the Clock Tower and also seeing what else is happening around the city that we can join in with. Our people face complex issues and sometimes you need multi-agency co-operation to enable the best outcome.
What challenges and highlights have stood out in your first couple of months?
For me, one of the biggest highlights at the Care Centre has been the ‘Renew’ sessions. The guests love being part of the craft time and suggest things they’d like to do. My hope for the New Year is that a few guests and volunteers will lead some of these sessions, using skills they have, to teach the rest of us. I’ve been blown away even more by their responses to the prayer times. We stop to pray for ten minutes three times during the session. I lead using Psalm 103, The Lord’s Prayer and end with The Examen, reflecting on the day that’s been. Up to ten guests have openly prayed sometimes and there is a tangible sense of the Holy Spirit moving among us!
Another highlight is when I get to chat to folks at both projects, especially when someone new comes to the Care Centre on a Tuesday evening, needing help with food or furniture, and then they come on the Wednesday morning to the Resource Centre! The majority are very grateful for all we do and the time and care we give.
The challenge for me, even when we do all we can to help and support them, is that many guests still continue with their very chaotic lifestyles! My heart breaks to see the brokenness of the lives we work alongside, but I know we have to keep on keeping on.
David said to his son Solomon: ‘Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.’ (1 Chronicles 28:20).
One Tuesday afternoon guests created a mural (pictured below) to express what the Care Centre means for them. These are their words:
‘It’s my family.’
‘A place to go where you feel safe.’
‘A hot cooked meal. Sometimes cakes or treats to take away.’
‘Family. Trust. Safe. Support. Friends.’
‘The Care Centre means friendship and peace and also to create ideas between each other.’
‘The centre to me gives me comfort as I am alone. To eat food inside and talk. This I do not take for granted. The opportunity to meet other people. I feel safe and pray God bless the centre.’