The theme of this year’s Agency prayer session was ‘The Light has come!’, referring to the Matthew scripture 5:16: ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’. And to illustrate the point, the following Agency stats were quoted selected from the 35 or so Eastbourne Christian Agencies:
Gospel proclamation and spiritual care
Speak Life reached A MILLION people online in the month before Christmas with its various videos. 1700 interested enquirers requested a book about the true meaning of Christmas, and there were over 100 000 downloads on our podcast equipping Christians to share their faith. Glen spoke at hundreds of events to Christians and non-Christians. Dozens have made professions of faith at these events.
Spinnaker speaks to about 3500 children in the area, on average about 2000 a fortnight. We would be keen to flag up the fact that the quality of the input/relationship is more significant than numbers by crisis intervention and advice.
Food and Advocacy
Foodbank feed 850 people on average each month and have provided 485,000 meals since 2011.
The Foodbank Advocacy Team helped 1,800 people last year through our Advocacy Team with some sort of welfare benefit issue.
Shaftsbury Centre: in 2017 650 people used the service with 200 individual clients using the counselling service and 1500 appointment hours offered, and 450 clients using the Advice service.
The majority of referrals for the counselling service come from health professionals, ie Health in Mind (42%, GPs (20%) and other agencies (12%).
450 clients were seen and over 750 appointments were offered.
Clients came for support with:
Benefits (57%), with 24% form filling, advice 21% and appeals 12%.
Money debt advice (27%) This includes offering specialist support for dealing with creditors, debt relief orders, personal budgeting, maximizing income, reducing debts
Other areas (16%) , eg, issues with housing, employment, legal, pensions, consumer issues, immigration issue, community issues and education.
Helping people into employment
Hope Woodwork (a Kingdom Way Trust project) provides a non-threatening environment that equips people for work, a place to help restore self worth and build confidence. We thank God for the people who have moved into employment after their time at Hope Woodwork.
People Matter operates in 4 locations – 17 Gildredge Road, Eastbourne Library, Wealden Council Offices and St Elisabeth’s Church Centre. Last year PM ran 838 new 1-2-1 sessions; 38 people achieved the Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate; 42 “Getting a Job” workshops; 58 individual appointments with our business adviser; and 141 people found employment.
Children, Youth and Family support
Family Contact Centre uses the premises at Gateway Church to enable contact between parents and children where parents have separated or where there are court orders attached to contact arrangements. Currently we have 8 families using the Family Contact Centre, with 14 volunteers.
Fegans counsel 400 children every week, 100 of which are in Eastbourne where we are based in 1/3 of schools and are now part of the NHS care pathway.
Community Wise: Average footfall is 4500+ people of all ages each month at Community Wise.
Quicken Trust: QT team engage with schools and churches in Eastbourne and the surrounding areas, helping people think about people in the wider world.
Street Pastors operated for 2,500 plus patrol hours, during which over 1,100 pairs of flip-flops, 1,700 bottles of water and in excess of 4,000 lollipops were given out. SP also gave extensive help to over 160 people including dealing with 25 seriously anti-social incidents, in cooperation with members of the Council, Police, Eastbourne Safety Partnership, other Night Time Economy personnel and others.
Homelessness and Addiction
Hope into Action Eastbourne (a Kingdom Way Trust project) provides supported accommodation, always in partnership with a local church.
The Matthew 25 Mission cares for 40-60 of the town’s most vulnerable people every day (of which some 24% are street homeless). In 2017 Matthew 25 had 11,000 visits from guests (83% male: 17% female), served 13,200 free hot meals served (6,900 breakfasts: 6,300 dinners), found homes for 21 people, issued Eastbourne Foodbank Food Vouchers to 390 people and made 500 referrals to the Foodbank Advocacy Service for guidance on benefits and housing.
The Bridge (Kingdom Way Trust supported accommodation) is home to 6 men who want to turn their lives around. We thank God for each resident of the supported house and the progress they are making. Pray for wisdom for the staff and volunteers in supporting each resident on their journey as they overcome issues from the past.
Eastbourne Winter Night Shelter. The stats below are for Season 6, ie, last winter (2016/17):
52 guests admitted; 1015 bed nights given; 20 helped with accommodation; 6000 volunteer hours.
Since 1st December 2011 (up to the start of this season) 596 individuals from 39 churches have staffed 1644 shifts over 548 nights. This equates to approximately 35,000 volunteer hours.
Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team works with 35 people on average each month suffering from relational poverty, unhelpful legislation, fractured family life and addictions.