A few years ago we had the opportunity to take on the lease of a building attached to the Norman Centre in Mile Cross. We called it 'The Venue' and it's open every week to serve the residents of the local community.
Here's some of the projects, clubs and events that took place in 2015.
Book club. Board Games club. Help with Computers. Craft Club. Youth club. Money advice. Bereavement support. Toddler group and various social events.
Over the year (2015) these activities were attended by over 200 different people, who are from all sorts of backgrounds and face all sorts of difficulties. For some it's the struggle of addiction, for others it's depression or loneliness. Whatever it is people are facing we want to be there for them, to lend a listening ear, provide practical help and make a positive difference where we can.
So, we asked our regulars if coming to The Venue has made a difference in their lives. 100% of those asked have said they have made new friends through the Venue. 96% of those asked said coming to the Venue has made them feel more able to do something, or has enabled them to achieve something.
One said, “Without this I wouldn’t have friends outside of where I live... Coming here has been a massive step forward for me.”
Another said, ‘’We look out for each other, without this place I wouldn’t speak to anybody during the day.’’
A lady came to us having done a Job Centre IT course at the Norman Centre. She was really struggling with anxiety as a result of the pressure she was under from the Job Centre (e.g. apply for 20 jobs a day!) She was not IT literate but was still expected to do all her tasks through the computer, even though she did not own one.
Over several weeks she came in multiple times, and we were able to give her the skills, facilities, confidence and encouragement to meet the Job Centre’s requirements, and ultimately get a job. We were also able to share with her how we find God helps us when we are anxious or under pressure.
We finished the year with our craft group putting on their own craft fair together with things they had made. They almost sold out and raised over £100 for charity; which they felt very proud of.
Thanks for reading and please pray for us as we continue to serve the community of Mile Cross.