Sharing faith in words and action in Great Yarmouth
TLC GY is committed to serving the community in Great Yarmouth, and are focussing their energy into four main areas: Community Outreach, One to One Support, Street Teams, and The Hope Bus, pictured above. Tony Rothe reports
The organisation's Community Outreach is very active with a number of initiatives:
Around the Table at Herbies: The TLC team have been regular visitors to the Salvation Army Drop In where they sit and chat to those who come in for support, helping individuals complete referral forms, make calls or signpost them to appropriate agencies
The Craft Night sessions at Lichfield Community Centre have included jewellery making, decorated eggs and button Christmas decorations, and always include a Christian message and cake-sharing
The Hope Nights at Peggotty Road Community Centre provide an informal evening of lively worship from different churches, and amazing testimonies of lives changed in Jesus. Christians and non-Christians attend and all are encouraged
Mens Ministry aims to bring together Christian and non-Christian men in an informal environment and bring a Christian ethos to every day subjects as they chat together, perhaps over fish and chips, often meeting at the start of a Hope Night
Knit or Natter Drop In has been re-named Open Door, and now meets at Emmanuel Church, with plenty of home baked cakes and soup on offer at this group as individuals from all backgrounds and ages come around the table to knit, chat or play board games. Every session is different and individuals have been supplied with emergency food parcels from TLC's store cupboard, paid for electricity on meters, purchased or provided essential clothing and emergency accommodation
Other activities include : Life's a Puzzle at Great Yarmouth Library and a Craft Café at the Herring House Trust
One to One Support has achieved the following over the last year:
Helped 3 individuals finds permanent accommodation
Purchased hot food / drinks for many on the streets
Purchased tent for a homeless man (now in rehab).
Funded B& B accommodation
Worked with GYBeeandBee scheme
Purchased new clothing for a released prisoner, YMCA resident starting work, and others in need
Paid travel expense to young man in rehab
Referred needy folk to Foodbank, Early Help Hub, Housing agencies
Given Bibles to around 20 individuals
Liaised with local church leaders and escorted individuals to church
Befriended and prayed with home knitters, including delivering wool and collecting knitted goods
Taken donated goods to the women's refuge and local hospital
The Street Teams walk the streets during the evenings on a monthly basis, radio-linked to cctv operators, offering chocolates, water, hot drinks or practical help to those they meet. They are rising to the challenge given to them by the police as part of their safety awareness training, and are building relationships with the night time economy staff (e.g. taxi drivers, bar, and door staff). They have left contact details in most of the pubs and clubs in the town offering a listening ear for those in distress. They held a training weekend which saw Leeway (women's refuge), Police and Matthew Project come in to help the team think through the kind of issues people may be facing
The Street Evangelism team also goes out once a month on a Saturday, sporting bold T-shirts asking "Who do you say Jesus is?", handing out thousands of Gospel tracts and giving away seasonal gifts, chocolates, Bibles and Why Jesus booklets. They have also blessed the homeless they have met with sleeping bags, prayers, warm clothing and food.
The Hope Bus is currently being refitted, and the project is more than half completed. Upstairs is nearly done, with new electrics and CCTV, a repaint, and new seat fabrics in liaison with Yarmouth Technical College. A new parking area is being sought and then fitting of the kitchen area downstairs will proceed. The Hope Bus was described by Inspector Ed Brown as "a vision much needed in Great Yarmouth, for which we have waited too long!"
Jan Tapp, Project Manager for TLC GY, said “We have a small core team at the heart of our work who remain consistent and faithful with Jesus at the very centre. This year we have seen some people come and some people go, each have played a valuable role in helping us to grow a little more into the ministry we are called to be. I am so thankful to our wonderful volunteers who give tirelessly to the project and the people we serve”
For more information about TLC GY, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
this article previously appeared on Network East Norfolk
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