How did you first come to BCM?
Two years ago I was living in a hostel and at the lowest period of my life. I walked into BCM’s Resource Centre for a food parcel and something that day made me ask if they needed any volunteers. Luckily for me they said yes! I volunteered just over a year before being offered a role as a Support Worker with a Housing Association. This gave me additional experience working with people from different backgrounds – refugees, ex-offenders, people with mental health issues and those battling with addictions. I received a call in November last year offering me the opportunity to return to BCM as a member of staff and simply couldn’t turn it down. I returned in the first week of January.
How do you spend your work days?
The majority of my time at the Resource Centre is spent working with customers, whether it be offering food parcels, clothing or household items. Our furniture project is designed primarily for those who are taking their first step from homelessness or simply for those who find themselves struggling at present. We can offer anything from an individual item to a complete starter pack of furniture which equips someone when first moving into a property. We are also open to the general public and our new premises allow us the space to bring in things that we would never have previously considered. We had a kitchen sink in recently so I guess that shows we can take pretty much anything! I also work on the vehicles collecting and delivering furniture. Every day is different and every day is busy which is a real blessing.
The rest of my time is spent at the Care Centre which is currently open two evenings a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays). We serve a hot meal to between 25-35 people each evening as well as offering practical and emotional support. The aim of my coming on board is to add a third evening (Mondays) and plans are well underway. The Care Centre cannot run without volunteers and we are now finalising a team to be regularly available. Please pray that the Monday evening will be fully operational soon. In addition, we are proud to be part of the Birmingham Churches Winter Night Shelter project. Once a week until the start of April and with the help of other churches the Care Centre offers a hot meal, a bed and a warm venue for 12 homeless men during the cold period.
What have been the encouragements and challenges?
Personally the encouragements have been endless. Being offered a role by BCM and having the opportunity to do the work that we do is genuinely a great privilege. The smiling faces and laughter at the Resource Centre and Care Centre make working for BCM a joyful experience. Head Office’s move to the Clock Tower is now complete and being part of the night shelter project is an unexpected bonus. Of course there will always be challenges but as I trust in God he will strengthen my faith.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the members of BCM who have helped me over the last couple of years. Without you all I wouldn’t be where I am now.