Tuesday, 22 March 2016

How many doors do you walk through in one day?

A Way Out is a special place for all who come through the entrance and the door of A Way Out has opened to such a variety of supportive people since the beginning of the year – and we are only in the third month!  

We have welcomed new staff to our Senior Management Team; hosted representatives from large funding organisations providing a tour of the facilities and an overview of the projects; received fortnightly visits from our workplace Chaplains; presented a full training programme to newly recruited volunteers; received cheque presentations from the sale of a locally written book and from the participants of charity walk in Ropner Park; and provided a venue for the Probation Service to hold regular meetings – to name but a few who all support A Way Out to keep our doors open.

Most importantly, we have opened the doors of the A Way Out centre to our regular drop-in sessions, providing practical support and a pathway to recovery; and the doors of the A Way Out van on regular late night outreach sessions on the streets of Stockton. 

The work of A Way Out, reaches out, comes alongside and journeys, for as long as it takes, enabling those with whom we engage to resolve issues and get their lives back on track. 

Many of those whose life we touch have experienced many doors closing in their lives.  The door slam of a parent leaving; the door slam of a partner leaving; the door slam of a job ending; the door slam of homelessness and the echoing solitude of poverty and addiction; the door slammed by society.  The path to recovery commences by arriving at the threshold of A Way Out and mustering the courage to step through.  It’s not the doorway that is important – it’s what is beyond – its working with our service staff, in partnership with other supporting agencies, to open up a life full of positive possibilities. 

Each person who comes through the door of our centre enters with their own story, whether they arrive as a staff member, volunteer, funder, supporter, or seeking support – stepping through the door is what can make a difference to the future that lies beyond. What separates A Way Out’s open door way making it a special place is the experience of total acceptance, the welcome of loving support, unswerving kindness and a willingness to walk the long journey that we know lies beyond and is undoubtedly affective in convening hope for a life rebuilt.
Why not cross our threshold and make a difference to a future? Currently we are very short of non-perishable food for our food parcels –make a food donation and be part of our story and part of the future…

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Love is...

For the previous few weeks, right up until last weekend, the shops have been full of pink hearts and red roses, of fluffy teddy bears and poetic greetings cards, and declarations of love were everywhere. But as Valentine’s passes and we throw away the box that was once full of chocolates and recycle the bottle having drunk the champagne – or perhaps we are relieved that culture is no longer so absorbed in extravagant romantic gestures – I wonder whether our feelings of love fade away so quickly?

Of course not. Hopefully, the affections we hold for our friends, family or significant other are about so much more than offering them a gift on one day of the year. It’s wonderful to make a point of treating those we love and reminding them that we care, but it’s what we do on the other 364 days of the year that really counts.

Sadly, at A Way Out we come alongside many people who have not previously known this kind of loving commitment and care, who may have experienced exploitation, mistreatment, abuse, or neglect. They may have been let down, forgotten, or completely overlooked. And this is why LOVE is right at the heart of A Way Out and is absolutely central to all that we do.

We hope that this is evident through our work as an organisation, offering unswerving kindness, patience and perseverance, having an attitude of never giving up on people. We believe everyone deserves love, not just on Valentine’s Day, but on every single day of the year.

Would you join us in loving vulnerable women, young people and families? Right now you could engage  with our ongoing Lent campaign, #FreedomFridays, when many individuals and organisations are giving up a latte, or their regular pint on Fridays and donating what they would have spent to A Way Out, alternatively you donate Chocolate Eggs for our Easter appeal; or you could give financially to our work; or consider volunteering with us. Find out more about all these things on our website: www.awayout.co.uk or call our centre on 01642 655071.

Together, we can ensure vulnerable women, young people and families in Stockton on Tees can know that they are loved and valued.
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