Hope Housing Bridlington is a brand new charity, formed by the 20 Anglican churches of Bridlington Deanery – that is, the churches of Bridlington and its surrounding villages, on the coast of beautiful East Yorkshire. Our members are elected by the churches, and they in turn appoint the Trustees, who all have leadership roles in the churches. We share a mission to Reach, Grow and Sustain – that is, to reach people the churches aren’t reaching at the moment; to grow in numbers and depth of faith; and to sustain our work into the future by generous giving of time and money. Our object is the prevention or relief of poverty among homeless and poorly housed people in Bridlington and the surrounding district by the provision of accommodation and general counselling, mentoring, advice and signposting to relevant education and training. We aim to help people through a difficult stage in their lives so that they can move into independent living in due course. We want to do all this in the light of Christ and in his power, aiming to share our faith appropriately in words and action.
In February 2018 Pastor Pete and Carl Good from Lifeline came to speak to a group of people from all the churches, and there was widespread enthusiasm for the project. Taking legal advice we decided to set up Hope Housing Bridlington as a charity, and after much form-filling we received our registration in the spring of 2019 and were accepted as a Green Pastures partner soon afterwards. Church members have been generous in their giving from the word go, and we had a sizeable pot of money to work with before we’d even opened a bank account! Green Pastures has bought us a three-bedroomed house to lease, which we are upgrading and equipping, and we have appointed a 15-hour-per-week Housing Support Officer. Other charities and agencies in the town are supporting us enthusiastically, and we will have no shortage of referrals of people to house.
The process that led to the formation of Hope Housing Bridlington began in the summer of 2017 with three separate conversations: people in three different churches were asking independently if we couldn’t take over one of the empty hotels in the town and house homeless people. The town has long had a fluctuating population of homeless people, and churches and charities in Bridlington provide hot meals, equipment and advice every day of the week, but there was a desire to make more of a difference. We would love to see formerly homeless people securely housed with hope and a future, and we want to introduce them to the Lord Jesus as we do this – “What you do for the least of my brothers and sisters,” he said, “you do for me.” Later that year we heard about Green Pastures, and one snowy day in early December a group of us travelled to Lifeline Harrogate, to find out how a partnership might work. We were inspired, and so began the journey.
We will house our first residents in the autumn & hope we’ll be making a real difference to their lives. We will build up our expertise and our reputation and to begin a flow of people into secure tenancies and rebuilt lives. Then maybe it will be time to start looking for a second property!