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Why do you come to the Harrogate Hub?

“I come to the Hub mainly for the company, to get out of the house and talk things through. It’s good getting to know other people. It was a bit nerve-wrecking coming in the first time, but it’s helped my mood and boosted my confidence. It’s helped me a lot.”

Lucy

We want to help many more people like Lucy. Can you join with us to make Harrogate a more caring community? Here’s some super simple ways you can help:

Harrogate Hub posters and volunteers

1. Help us distribute our posters.

We have LOTS and lots of new snazzy posters! Could you ask to put one in your workplace, your local supermarket community board, GP surgery, or hairdressers? We also have leaflets and bookmarks if you need something a little smaller. Help us spread the word. We want everyone to know there’s somewhere to turn. We’re here to listen and support anyone who is struggling in Harrogate.

2. Invite your friends to follow us on facebook, instagram or twitter.

It only takes a few clicks!

3. Invite us to speak at your church or community group.

We love to share about our work with the community.

4. Volunteer

Are you a good listener? Do you like cleaning? Perhaps you have experience in fundraising? Or maybe you could help in some other way. Check out our volunteering roles here.

5. Pray

If you are someone who prays, please join with us in praying for our town; for those who are suffering in poverty, isolation, and addiction. You can join us for prayer meetings at the Hub on Thursdays, 12.00-1.00pm.

6. Give

The Harrogate Hub is all about restoring and building community. We’re looking for people who want to invest in our community. That’s why we’ve launched our 20:20 campaign. We’re seeking:

20 local churches to give £1000 yearly

20 local businesses to give £2000 yearly

20 x 20 individuals to give £10 monthly

20 Trust funds to support specific projects

Could you be one of those individuals? Or do you think your church or business might be interested in partnering with us? You can donate here.

Thank you to everyone who is already part of making our vision a reality. We love working together with you to show love to our Harrogate community.

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The Power in a Story

Meet Kay. She is one of our dedicated pastoral carers at the Hub, and she also knows what it is to be at the receiving end of support. The Hub is a place where everyone supports each other, because no one is immune to suffering. Everyone needs to be loved and cared for. And this is Kay’s story…

Before I came to the Harrogate Hub, I was at a point where I had lots of questions about what I should do next. I had heard about the Hub, so I decided to do the pastoral training course. I’ve had to counsel people before as a coach and teacher, and I’ve had a huge amount of counselling myself, because of my cancer.

If I hadn’t had that pastoral care from my church, I wouldn’t have survived my experience. From seeing people I know suffer alone, I am very aware of what a lack of support can do to you. So many people out there need care.

I’ve lived with cancer since 2005 and this is the third time it’s come back. When I found out, I had just got married and it was a massive shock to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was in a pit of depression. I didn’t feel anything at all – no emotion – I felt dead. People at the Hub and my church kept coming with the support. They refused to let go of me when I felt far from God. It would have been easy for them to let me go, but they didn’t.

The Hub was somewhere I could come and it was amazing how I could help people thorough my own experience. It was such a blessing to be able to relate to people, because suffering was something that was so real and so close to me. My words of comfort actually meant something to people.

Personal experience is so valuable. Now I refuse to let go of the people who come to the Hub. I refuse to accept that they have no meaning or self-worth.

I am sitting here today having come out the other end. I can tell you my story.

 

For more stories, check out this post.

Interview by Ella Green

 

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Discovering the hidden needs of Harrogate

Meet Vernon, he is our pastor at the Harrogate Hub….

Harrogate Hub PastorThis week I got to hear some of his story and find out about his experience of life in Harrogate.

He left America to come to England in 1980 with his family. “I had no money for a plane ticket. I had to sell our things, even bits of pipe from our basement, which I took to the scrapstore! But when I got to England, God opened up a lot of doors for me.” Vernon ended up helping at the chapel of an American military base, and he eventually got ordained.

Many years later, and he’s now volunteering at the Harrogate Hub. He bumped into Executive Director, Jo-Ann, at a meeting in February last year. And in suitably Harrogatian fashion, they met up again at Betty’s to have a chat. “I invited Jo-Ann to speak about the Hub at our church. Then I went on the Hub pastoral training course and some time later Jo-Ann asked the question, ‘Will you be the pastor of the Hub?’”

Vernon said yes and he’s now in the Hub several days a week, listening and supporting the people who come through the doors.

“Harrogate has everything, but it didn’t have a christian centre. I wanted to get involved with the Hub, because it’s non-denominational and it’s reaching out to help people.”

“People underestimate the needs of Harrogate. People outside the town often think there’s no need in Harrogate, but I’ve been pastoring here since 1995 and there is a lot of need. There are people with addictions and people who are homeless.”

Interestingly, Vernon didn’t even really realise loneliness was an issue in Harrogate until he started volunteering at the Hub. It’s not something people talk about very often. “This befriending service was a new idea to me. Loneliness wasn’t something I had thought about much. Now I’m at the Hub, I’m surprised by all the people who come in. They just need someone to talk to, a good listener, someone who can sympathise.’

“A man came into the Hub yesterday, and he felt lighter when he left here. As a pastoral carer, you have to listen to people. And you have to listen to what God puts on your heart. A lot of the time, people’s issues are emotional and you need God’s wisdom to say the right things. You want people to know that they have a purpose.”

Could you help us meet the hidden needs of Harrogate?

We want to extend our opening hours to reach out to many more lonely, isolated people in our community. We’re looking for 400 people to give £10 a month to help us reach our fundraising target, so we can continue to support those who need it most.

Check out our 20:20 campaign for more details.

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Simply the best biscuit-maker in the world!

This week I got to meet the lovely Gwen, one of the pastoral carers at the Hub.

I hope she doesn’t mind me saying that she is also our oldest pastoral carer. She’s introduced to me as “the best biscuit-maker ever!” The Hub certainly seems to attract some great bakers (just check out our facebook posts for proof of all the baked delights we’ve been given!)

Gwen found out about the Harrogate Hub through her church, Kairos, and decided to go on the training course to become a pastoral carer. “I thought it would be a good way to help people, because there are just so many lonely people. I chat to people on the bus and most people like to talk, but a lot of people don’t have time to listen.”

At the Hub, Gwen works alongside other pastoral carers at the Hub, who come from different churches across Harrogate. “It’s good fellowship and we can learn from one another. We all show each other a lot of love.” (I find out that some of this ‘learning’ includes Gwen giving Yorkshire dialect lessons to Vernon, one of our pastoral carers, who comes from America!)

Pastoral carers, friendship at the Harrogate Hub

Before Gwen moved to Harrogate, she was a pastoral friend and visitor at her previous church.

“I’ll go on as long as I can. There’s no age limit to being a pastoral carer. It’s been rewarding when people have come into the Hub and we’ve been able to help them.”

If you’d like to help at the Hub, whether you’re 18 or 80, please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

harrogatehub.office@gmail.com

 

By Ella Green, Charity Officer

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