Loaves 'n' Fishes is a Christian charity, based in Sandwell in the West Midlands, that has been providing furniture and household essentials to local families in need. They saw a steadily increasing demand for clothing from local families and so Church Urban Fund supported them to set up a clothes bank. This ministry, called ‘Beauty for Ashes’, provides free second hand clothing and is used mainly by women and children fleeing domestic violence, but is also open to all where there is a need.
The Waterfall, a project set up by The Gate Outreach, was supported by Church Urban Fund investment to employ an Outreach Co-ordinator to establish a women’s rehab centre. Research they conducted found that there is a shortage, both nationally and locally, of women’s specific rehab places. The coordinator’s work involved connecting with local services, potential clients and setting up the centre.
Project Colt, based in Bridgefield Mills in Elland, is a registered charity and social enterprise that sells and recycles used second hand furniture. Their work helps drug and alcohol dependents and ex-offenders to recover from destructive lifestyles and to increase their chances of employment. Investment from Church Urban Fund meant that clients could start up a project called Conversion-Version which is equipping them with skills to make new furniture from reclaimed materials.
Hayle works across Cornwall to help young people "reach their full potential." They approached Church Urban Fund for help to expand their mentoring scheme that supports disadvantaged 'hard to reach' teens. Our investment allowed them to develop two new areas of work. Firstly, a pilot project in a school is helping young people transition from primary to secondary education. This change is understood to have a long term impact upon the success of their secondary education. One to one mentoring helps particularly vulnerable young people make this transition well.
Beauty from Ashes works to support young women overcome a range of societal pressures (including sexualisation) to help them see their worth, to gain confidence and not give in to damaging social pressures. They are a Christian charity based with St Mary's church, Arnold. Help given by Church Urban Fund enabled them to run a project called "I'm the Girl I Want to Be" which acts as a platform for discussion between young women on issues such as self esteem, image and relationships.
Ace of Clubs is community based project, providing transformative support for those who are homeless, vulnerable and otherwise marginalised in their area. Based in Clapham, they provide for the immediate needs of those in desperate circumstances with safe shelter, food, warmth, clothing, laundry and showers. Church Urban Fund investment meant that they were able to employ an outreach and engagement worker who helps ex-homeless people maintain their tenancies and stay healthy. This work particularly targets clients who have mental health needs, who are addicts or sex workers.
Avanti received investment from Church Urban Fund to pilot a new business training and microfinance social enterprise. They are working with poor ex-offenders in deprived areas of South Yorkshire, to help them to set up their own businesses. Our support meant that an initial fund was available to offer loans to ex-offenders who apply for investment for their business idea. With the concept proven through this pilot, Avanti bid for a larger investment to open up its loans to wider groups of economically disadvantaged people.