Blog

Horizon Life Training and Teen Challenge

Jo-Ann, Executive Director of the Hub, meets Andrea Croxson, Horizon Life Training Centre Manager

The Hub is working alongside some wonderful organisations that are bringing hope to Harrogate; Horizon Life Training and Teen Challenge are two of them. Teen Challenge collaborates with Horizon Life Training to help former addicts transform their lives. We had the fantastic opportunity to visit the Horizon Life training centre and find out more about these two Christian charities…

Andrea and Matthew are the first to meet us when we arrive at the office. They explain how addicts usually spend about a year at a Teen Challenge residential centre, where they receive the help they need to break free from addiction. Some of the young men who complete this programme then come to Horizon Life Training, where they live as community.

Here they find training and employment, with the chance to spend 2 and a half days a week doing college courses, with any extra support they might need. Andrea is passionate about the importance of education, “I really believe in education. There’s always more to learn!” At Horizon Life, the young men have the chance to learn a variety of valuable life-skills, from cooking, to studying maths, to joinery, and the list goes on. Andrea shows us round the building, which includes various units that businesses will soon start renting out, with a view to taking on guys at Horizon Life as workers. After completing their time at the centre, they are then able to go on and find employment.

“We also want to encourage the men to put their faith into action”, explains Matthew. Serving is an important part of everyday life at Horizon Life Training. Matthew runs Teen Challenge outreach, which the guys take part in once a week. This is where they take a trailer, serving teas and coffees, and go onto the streets to talk to people who are struggling with addiction.

“We haven’t learnt about addiction out of books”, says Matthew. “We understand what these people are thinking and feeling. We’ve been there, and there is a way out. When they hear our message, faith rises – they see that life can be different.”

As we sit chatting in the office, different men come in and talk passionately about the transformation they’ve experienced at Teen Challenge and Horizon Life. One man tells us, “I’m a free man in Christ”. He talks about his hopes and dreams for the future; he wants to start his own tiling business with the skills he’s learnt at Horizon Life. Jo-Ann offers him a tiling job at the Hub, where the bathroom still needs a bit of finishing off!

These are just the small beginnings of our partnership with Horizon Life and Teen challenge. It’s so encouraging to meet people in Harrogate who have such a huge heart for the lonely and lost. Something that Matthew says really sticks with me as we come away from our visit:

“Sometimes we don’t listen enough,” he says. “One of the key things you learn in communication training is simply to listen. The person has to learn to trust you. Sometimes I’ve had to listen to someone for a long time. As they talk, they start to get to the root of some of their issues. They’ve been through some deep, deep stuff. My response is to show them ‘You’re forgiven, you’re loved, you’re not judged.’”

That is actually a perfect description of what the Hub is here for; a place where people can share their struggles and heartache, knowing they will be heard by a kind, compassionate ear. “You’re loved” is exactly the message we want to share with everyone who comes through our doors.

 

By Ella Green, Charity Officer

Read more

June Update

Want to find out what’s happening at the Hub, take a look at our latest newsletter!

 

Read more

Being a pastoral carer

Our pastoral carers are trained volunteers, who give up their time to welcome people into the Hub and listen to their stories. I recently had the chance to catch up with Sherry, one of our dedicated pastoral carers. She told me about her experience of volunteering at the Hub. 

Why did you get involved with the Hub?

There was a time at my church, where we were seeking a vision, and I spent time at church mediating and praying, asking God, ‘What is Church about?” As I was praying I found myself looking at a stained glass window representing Matthew 25:34-46, where Jesus talks about the importance of looking after those who are in need: “When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?… The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

It struck me powerfully that this is what the church is called to do. It’s very practical. We need to care for people and love them. I really caught this vision and wanted to see it become a reality. When I heard a talk about the Harrogate Hub, I was inspired by it. I filled in the survey they handed out, ticking nearly all of the boxes, so I could help in any way needed! (well, apart from admin!) I’m a practical person. I used to be a nurse, and I believe God uses the gifts you have, so I came for an interview at the Hub, did the pastoral care training course in July and started as a carer in November.

What is your role as pastoral carer?

As a pastoral carer, I simply listen to people. Some people just need to talk things out. And sometimes people need specific help, so we signpost other resources and services that might help them. There’s always hope to bring them out of the darkness. We want to care for people like Jesus does. As a pastoral carer, you just want to help make things better for people.

How have you found your time volunteering here so far?

It’s so good to see everybody start talking to each other and share their stories. Some people who have come to the Hub, have come back time and time again. And it’s great that some people who have received help, no longer need to come back anymore.


Interview by Ella Green, Charity Officer

Read more

Meet Ella

Meet Ella, our new charity officer

Hello Ella! Tell us a bit about yourself                                                                                                                                                          I’m a Bristolian enjoying life in the North. I studied English Literature at uni and love living so close to Brontë country. I’m also a big hot chocolate drinker!

What does Charity Officer mean exactly?

I work alongside the Hub team, focusing on the marketing and fundraising side of things. I have the exciting task of spreading the word about the Hub on social media, our website, and in other ways too. At the moment I’m raising awareness about our new 20:20 campaign. You can find out more here!

How would you describe the Hub in three words?

Loving, welcoming, colourful.

What is your hope for the future of Harrogate?                                                                                                                                       I would love to see a more outward-looking, more loving, more accepting Harrogate, where people don’t have to put on a façade, or pretend they’re ok; where everybody knows they have somewhere to turn and experiences the amazing love of God. I’m really excited to be part of the Hub journey and to see this hope become more of a reality every day.

 

Jo-Ann Hughes
Executive Director
Harrogate Hub

Please get in touch call 01423 369393 or email me: harrogatehub.coordinator@gmail.com

Read more