Helping the homeless in Bath
In Bath, there are many organisations which support the homeless and vulnerable. However, they are restricted on how they can spend the funding that they receive from the government. Because of this, there are still many individuals that they cannot help.
Genesis Trust, an independent Christian charity, is not bound by any rules except that of Christian love. It can and does help those who are excluded. It is important that the Abbey continues its support for this vital part of our mission.
- The Lifeline Centre (located in the Abbey vaults) is run by a small team of Genesis staff and unpaid volunteers
- Many of the visitors are homeless, sleeping rough, in hostels, or sofa-surfing
- The majority have drug, alcohol or mental and physical health problems
- They come for help, rest, food, clothing and for companionship
- Visitors often return as volunteers as they want to “give something back”
- Others come regularly to talk and give support and friendship
For example, a young Muslim who found a job and a place to live returned with gifts of food and clothing. We also had a discussion in which he expressed the view that Islam, Judaism and Christianity had more in common than they were different. We should offer friendship not violence.
Sadly there are times that visitors come in distress to mourn the death of friends and loved ones. In 2014 there were thirteen who died by violence, sickness or drug overdose.
As a volunteer I have gained much more than I have been able to give to these vulnerable people, which is one of the guiding principles of Mission Links. Mission should be a relationship between equals not just a one-way street.
+++ There are already a number of our community who volunteer in this area (at Lifeline, the soup run or the Sunday centre). If you would like to join them in this, please contact the Abbey Office 01225 422462 / firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to speak to one of the Mission Links Group.