As I write this, it’s coming up to lunchtime on a Monday. I want to tell you about my morning.
I came into A Way Out first thing and was greeted by the smell of paint. On closer inspection I discovered that one of our incredible volunteers had spent his weekend bringing a new lease of life to a previously underused room in our building.
This person then came back early today, and along with another amazing individual, had packed up 40 food parcels ready to give out at our afternoon drop-in.
Throughout the morning, as I tapped away at my computer and scoured the internet for recent statistics on poverty, I heard the comings and goings of our staff and those who we support. At one point I was aware of a staff member giving practical advice to someone about accessing their much-needed benefits, and at another point I could hear weeping.
I don’t know why she was crying, but I was glad to know that A Way Out staff were there to offer comfort and support to this broken-hearted woman.
In the office next to my desk, other staff discussed funding bids we need to develop so we can continue with our projects and arranged meetings so we can work better with others to reach and engage more vulnerable women, families and young people.
Throughout the morning there were conversations to finalise the plan for a trip to London later this week, with young people who have not yet had the opportunity to leave this area, let alone visit the capital, and as lunchtime neared the smell of food wafted towards me as the women’s team prepared a hot meal for those who will come to our drop-in this afternoon.
As I reflect on this morning – on the food parcels carefully prepared and desperately needed, on the tears of that woman, on the plans being made, on the devastating statistics I discovered (22.3% of children in Stockton are living in poverty to name just one) – I realise again how much A Way Out is needed.
We are here to offer love, compassion and practical support to vulnerable women, and give hope and possibility to young people and families, and we will strive to do this as much as we can, for as long as we are able.
Please help us if you can. Consider volunteering for us, become a regular giver, or help us raise funds and awareness by organising an event.