hopeki chen
Wellington Square, Hastings
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Stories of Hope

When Hope Kitchen first began eight years ago, we had a vision for ‘Hope House’ where we could accommodate any guests who seemed serious about improving their lifestyles. This would include support for those coming off drugs and alcohol, or just out of prison etc. As time went by we realised we are not yet in a position, ie money or ‘manpower’ to do this. However, we have discovered there are many other ways to support and help people move forwards. One example is that ‘M’, who had finished a long prison term and used to be a long distance lorry driver, was keen to get his life straight and return to work. However, his HGV licence had lapsed. After getting alongside M for a few months, the trustees agreed to fund his retraining. This took place with financial support from Hope Kitchen and with a few ‘blips’ M finally passed his training in October 2012. The next difficulty was in finding work but he persevered and found various agency jobs. He had also secured a tenancy on a flat, with a little help from Hope Kitchen in terms of items of basic furniture and a microwave oven. In July 2013, one of the agency jobs led to a long-term contract. M is now off all benefits, working hard and enjoying being back to a regular lifestyle.

Another project started in 2013 was ‘virtual Hope House’. We liaise with Hastings Borough Council, Seaview Project and Homeworks, who assess people who might be helped with deposits on accommodation. We offer a maximum of £300 per person and this is only offered to people who are engaging properly with the other agencies, who then approach us for help. This has led to us helping 32 people into accommodation this year; they receive ongoing support from Homeworks etc. One example of this is L, who came out of prison in Jan 2013 following a sentence related to drug dealing. He was homeless and hopeless but has been encouraged to start writing music again, playing his guitar, painting etc and building up his confidence. He has engaged well with Homeworks and in August 2013 we helped with rental deposit for a flat. L is very happy there and is getting his life back together. Homeworks provided some basic setting up goods (bed, blankets etc) and we can see real progress in this man’s life.