Give Day

At the Besom in York, we love to help and enable churches across the city to give to those in need. In this week’s blog we feature York City Church, who we were able to help with exciting consequences as members shared God’s love and saw Him at work.

On Sunday, York City Church had their first Give Day. The day was designed to enable every person to give; for every adult and child to spend the morning giving in our city.

We want to tell you about the many specific ways that God provided for 100+ people to give that morning – it left us in no doubt that it was God who was providing and that He is the great giver Himself.


The church started with a list of the different ways that people wanted to give and prayed for the specific recipients to give to. Here are just a few of the ways we saw God provide:

  • Two dad and son teams were set to spend the morning building new bunk beds. We identified two recipients. As we offered the bunks both recipients were in tears – overwhelmed. One recipient, who had health problems, said that there was no way she’d have the strength to build a set of bunk beds for her boys. The other mum was about to go to a ‘weekly payment retailer’ to afford some bunks. (They would have charged her £546 for a bunk bed worth less than £200. It’s a sickening fact that often the poorest in our midst have to pay more for things as they can not afford to pay up front. I love that we were able to give her a better set of bunk beds, with mattresses and bedding and construct them for her, all for free!).
  • shedOne small group were set to make up a Bundle of baby things for a mum but also wanted to do something practical as both men in the group are trained joiners. The recipient we’d found for a bundle had also asked for a garden shed. In nearly 10 years of the Besom in York, we’ve never been offered a shed, so we weren’t full of faith that we’d be able to provide one. But in the week leading up to the give day we were offered our first shed, perfectly sized and ready to erect in her garden.
  • rolls-of-carpetsA team had offered to fit a carpet. They needed to be within walking distance of the church building and be bought within a £200 budget. A recipient was found, we took her to a carpet shop and let her choose which carpet she wanted. She chose and came in at bang on budget at £200.
  • Three guys went out on the van to do a regular van run – initially it was hard to find anyone to collect from. Being a Christian charity, most of our givers are at church then! But God provided a giver who goes to church at 9am and her things were a perfect match for a recipient who’d been rehoused for the second time in a matter of months.
  • Another small but encouraging answered prayer came in the form of a bingo machine! A group had organised to go to a local residential home to have some fun, sing some songs and play bingo with some of the residents. We were encouraged to receive an offer of use of a bingo machine that they took with them!

In organising this give day, the church were encouraged so many times along the way. There were numerous incidences where God showed Himself to be present and very much cheering us on. It was clear that he had these things lined up years in advance and was just waiting for His people to discover them.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2 v 10.

Next week we’ll be sharing stories and testimonies from those who gave on the day.

Rob Ainsworth, co-ordinator, The Besom in York

It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year…


Christmas comes early here in the Besom office. This week core team member Kirsten brings us the first Christmas hamper blog of the year.

It’s October and if you’re anything like me you’re probably despairing at the fact that all of the shops are already displaying Christmas items. It seems that these days, Christmas starts in September (though if you work in retail, it starts even earlier than that!) Here at the Besom, Christmas is our busiest time of year and so, much like all the shops, we start talking about Christmas, and preparing for Christmas hamper season, in September.

Last year we facilitated the giving of over 200 hampers right across the city of York. It’s not about the numbers for us, it’s about enabling individuals and groups of people in York to give generously to some of the neediest people in the city.

Just a few of the amazing hampers made by members of Vineyard church last year


Already we have had countless conversations about Christmas hamper season, have prayed about it, have begun some of the admin work and organisation for it, and have even had Christmas songs playing in the office! And this is the first, of what will probably be several, blog posts about Christmas hampers this year!

We’ve also already received some things that can go into hampers and are in the process of clearing out the office to make room for the deluge of things and hampers that will be given over the next few months.

A lot of work goes into making Christmas hamper season happen and the temptation can be to get stressed out about the amount of work there is to do or things not going the way that we want them to go. Especially as Christmas can be a busy and stressful period anyway. But, in spite of this, we know that God is ultimately in control and no matter what we do, He will always work it to His purpose. Time and time again we have seen God at work in the giving that goes on through the Besom; He answers prayers and, even if it gets a bit hairy at times, it always works out.

It may seem a little early to start thinking about Christmas but if you do want to get involved there are a few ways you can do just that:

  • Pray – pray for the team as we start planning and as we really get stuck into hamper season; pray that God continues to work in the city of York during this time; pray that God is already at work in the hearts of those who are wanting to give
  • Start thinking about what you could put in a hamper – if you are interested in making a Christmas hamper for someone we do have a list of suggestions for things that could go into a hamper but it is always amazing to see hampers that have been put together with a great deal of love and care and are just filled to bursting with beautiful gifts
  • Get in touch – there is always something to do and it doesn’t matter how much (or how little) you have to give we are all about giving! So get in touch at either: info@thebesominyork.co.uk or hampers@thebesominyork.co.uk

I don’t normally get excited about Christmas this early in the year, but I am excited to see what God will do in York this Christmas!

No matter how different or difficult…

This week Carly from Bundles of Joy tells us about two of their recent recipients and how Bundles has been blessing families in York over the last few months.

Over the summer months we’ve been a bit quieter here at Bundles of Joy, but there are two big referrals I’d love to tell you about. These were sent to us almost as soon as they found out they were expecting, and so we’ve been chatting to the new mums and collecting the items for these bundles for a few months now – we call these kinds of referrals our ‘slow burners’.

These two mums to be, on paper, could not be more different. Abbie* is a teenager, preparing for her exams and life as a young single mum, while Sophie*, is an older lady with her own home and a stable job that she loves, but practically no support network.

As the months have passed, it appeared that they have more in common than we first thought. Both ladies have had mental health issues, no partner on the scene initially, owned practically nothing for their new babies, and didn’t really know what they needed, or what to ask for when we asked them what they would like.  

The great thing about having had so much time to get these bundles ready is that we have been able to really cover them with prayer and add many items over time. If you’ve given anything over the last six months, there is a good chance something from your gift has made its way into one of these bundles!


A lot of love and care goes into each one of these Bundles of Joy!


After great initial contact, Sophie disappeared off our radar, and we wondered how we were going to be able to get her bundle to her before she was due to give birth. We knew she had lost her job and was struggling with anxiety. All we could do was pray for her. After a worrying few months, we were contacted by the baby’s father, who let us know that Sophie had given birth. It was wonderful to finally be able to hand over Sophie’s bundle and to hear how she and the baby were getting on. Although he was understandably a bit shell-shocked by being a new dad, he was so excited to be able to take the bundle straight to Sophie in hospital, who had nothing. He was overwhelmed by the four boxes we were able to give him; he’d only been expecting the one!


Abbie’s delivery was a lot more straightforward. It was the hottest day of the summer, and pregnancy does entail napping a lot, so it wasn’t really a surprise that, when we arrived at Abbies house, she was fast asleep!  Her grogginess soon turned to what I can only describe as bewilderment, as we kept going back to the car for more bags and boxes. After a few minutes, we had everything inside and her hallway was full. It was then that I got to do something Id never done before on a delivery: I stood and had a chat with Abbie. There is a reason why Rachel does most of the face to face work with our recipients, Im not great at talking to people I don’t know, but there was no problem here! Abbie and I chatted about pregnancy, GCSEs, what was in the bundle (and what was still to be delivered). I saw Abbie change right before my eyes, from a tired and confused young teenager to a young woman who had more of a sense of purpose about her. Although not knowing what the future holds for her, she was more prepared to meet the turmoil of the next few months and years with determination and anticipation.


Both of these new mums have taught us at Bundles of Joy that God absolutely has His hand on these families.

No matter how different or difficult a situation might be, we all have something in common, that God is a God who cares deeply, and through Him, we can care ever more deeply for the families of York.

It is a privilege to see His hand guiding Bundles of Joy to those who need it most.


School Uniforms

Rob Ainsworth, co-ordinator of The Besom in York, reports on some very timely giving.
It’s September, so that means back to school for many children in York. And for many of them it will be their first time at school or nursery.
I’ve loved seeing the photos of my friends’ and family’s children posted on social media proudly wearing their new uniform (with plenty of growing room in them).
Last week, as these photos of the children appeared on my social media news feed, we had a number of encouragements about school uniforms in the Besom office.
Many families cannot afford new school uniforms for their children and, only the week before, a referrer from the child-in-need team at the council had asked if we could help buy uniforms for a number of children in York. Earlier that week we’d received some money in the post to be spent “on the next need” so we were really encouraged to be able to use that money to provide vouchers for uniforms and shoes.
I love how God loves to provide for families! He had already provided the money that was needed to provide families and children in York with the uniform they needed for the beginning of the new school year.
In the same morning, we were sitting in the office wondering what to do with a big American-style fridge freezer (see picture above) that had been collected the night before.
It was an answer to prayer for us to find a home for it and a real answer to prayer for a family with 7 children to receive it! God really does provide for his children!
Later in the week I bumped into a Besom time giver in York city centre. She has become good friends with some of the refugee families in York and she showed me pictures of some of the teenage boys who were just starting at secondary-school in York.
Out of all of the photographs I’ve seen of kids in uniforms this last week – these were the ones that encouraged me the most (even more so that my 3 cute nieces!)! Why? Because they were pictures of children who, if not for the intervention and giving of people in York, would not have had the opportunity to even go to school, let alone be able to buy or wear the same uniforms that others were wearing.

Finding a way to enable giving

besom in york logo

This week, Kirsten Nott, a core team member with the Besom in York, looks at the importance of how we give.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9 v 7, NIV)

Most people, when reading this verse, focus on the latter half: ‘not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’. This is of course a very important message, because giving ceases to be a true gift if it is done without joy or because we feel we ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to give in a certain way. Here at the Besom in York, we too love a cheerful giver and, thankfully, we meet many of them. But people tend to skip over the first part of the verse, or at least don’t give it as much attention.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give…”

The Besom does not ask people to give in any specific way; we are here to enable people to give, in whatever way they choose, to those in need. It can be as big or small, or as weird or mundane as you like, it’s the decision to give that’s important. Whether you have a lot to give, or a little, it’s how you give it that counts. That’s why we have the hashtag: #weareallaboutgiving.


Recently we have seen people offering to give in a number of different ways, including picking up dog poo and hosting princess parties. We have also spent some time thinking and praying about alternative ways to give and enabling givers to actually go out on the van and give their things themselves. One giver who gave a triple sleeper bed actually went along on the van with our co-ordinator, Rob Ainsworth, to deliver it to the family who needed it personally. As a core team, it is our job to find a way for people to give however they want; whatever they have decided in their heart to give.

A couple of weeks ago I had an accident that means I’m going to be off my feet for a few months. As a, usually, very busy person this is extremely frustrating as it means that I can’t do many of the things that I normally do; including giving through the Besom by being in the office and doing assessments. I actually feel pretty useless. But I am reminded that it doesn’t matter what we give, it’s how we give it and in this time I’ve found a new freedom in giving.

Money making a difference


Rob Ainsworth, co-ordinator of The Besom in York, looks at how we have been able to use some financial gifts.

At the Besom we specialise in helping churches and Christians in York give what they have to those in need. A lot of the core team’s time is spent equipping individuals and families to give furniture and household items, or enabling church groups to complete time-giving projects.

This week we thought we’d highlight some examples of how and where money donated by givers in York has made a difference for those in need in the city.

  1. £50 bought a stroller-pram for a young mum and daughter struggling without one.
  2. £240 ordered three tonnes of blue slate chippings to cover the garden of a recipient who due to disability struggled to keep it on top of the weeds.
  3. £300 bought a new cooker for a grandma, mum and baby son in a specific neighbourhood in York.
  4. £202 meant that we were able to pay for a skip for an elderly man to clear his garden. A number of people had taken advantage of him and fly-tipped there.
  5. £165 installed two cookers for two families.
  6. £40 bought top soil to fill holes in a garden left by a gardener who took advantage of a mum and didn’t finish a job.

    Rob Ainsworth
  7. £14.99 purchased a pair of anti-allergy pillows for a dad without any, £20 bought bedding to go with them. This combined well with a bed given and delivered to him.
  8. £160 bought a set of bunk beds for children in Clifton. (The price was discounted without our asking!)
  9. £110.31 meant we could order three mattresses for three cots to add to three bundles that were given out to new parents in the city.
  10. £69.99 was spent on a new microwave for a young family needing to sterilise bottles.

If you or your church is interested in giving with the Besom in York, click here for more information. Our contact details can be found here.





I can’t wait to see their houses become homes

Becky Lewis

This week, Becky Lewis, a core team member with the Besom in York, reflects on the danger of assumptions.

Carrying out assessments never ceases to humble me.

Last week I had two booked in back to back. As I pulled up outside the first house I did what we all do. I assumed. I assumed that because the house looked lovely on the outside, there probably wasn’t much need on the inside.

I honestly think our assumptions about other people’s lives cause us to avoid questions like “how are you really?” And “do you need anything?”. Questions that definitely could have helped both the women I met that day.

Inside, the house was bare. Her baby was crawling on a hard floor with no carpet. There were no curtains. She was clearly finding things hard. All this as a result of domestic violence.

Sadly, the second woman I met was much the same. She had just moved from a refuge. We stood in her living room, no carpet, no table, no TV, no curtains. She’d only just managed to get somewhere to sit. Again, all due to escaping domestic violence.

Two women in the UK die every week due to domestic violence. A horrific statistic that doesn’t seem to be very well known and the amount of people who are referred to us because of it saddens me.


But the joy of doing assessments, the joy of seeing people give through the Besom, is hope. It’s amazing to go back to the office, check the emails and see people want to give the things these ladies need. I can’t wait to see their houses become homes as people give time, money and things to help them. I love seeing God provide for His children.

So a challenge for you. Ask people how they are. How they really are. Don’t assume. The more we look out for the people around us, the less the need will be.