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