Christmas: It’s our favourite time of the year

Some of the Christmas hampers given last year

We are already snowed under in the lead up to Christmas time!

Each Christmas at the Besom, we spend our time helping Christians and churches give hampers to those in need in York. It is our favourite time of year, but also a difficult time for so many families and individuals across the city.

Already we’ve seen God’s incredible provision, with around 50 hampers offered so far. And we trust that he will enable us to provide hampers for all those referred to us.

Last week, a local church got in touch wanting to make five hampers for families in their area. We had four referrals for hampers in their parish, so we matched them to the church, but we were still looking for a fifth. We prayed. On Wednesday, we checked our referrals and sure enough another one had come through in their area. Not only that, but the family lived four doors down from the church building!

If you would like to give a Christmas hamper through the Besom this year, please click here

We’re here to help you do that in whatever way you/your church feel called to.


  • Sometimes small groups make up a hamper together
  • Sometimes families go out delivering together
  • Sometimes youth groups do a ‘hamper dash’ and spend time shopping and wrapping
  • Sometimes members of different congregations come in to help us in the office,
  • And sometimes this looks like people committing to praying for hamper recipients.

Whatever way you feel called to give, we’re here to help you do it.

We’ve worked with over 200 different recipients this year, people living in real poverty right in the areas where our churches are. There is so much need, but there are so many Christians too! Our dream is help churches know where those in need are, to build relationships with them and invite them to church. Christmas hampers are often a wonderful starting point for this.

Please pray for us as a team as we head into this busy season. Please pray that we will have enough to go round, and please pray for churches as they meet those in need and bless them with a hamper.

Becky Lewis, Co-ordinator, The Besom in York


Van-tastic news!


Core team member Kirsten Nott gets behind the wheel for our latest blog entry.

If you’ve been following the Besom in York for the last few years you might remember that in 2016 our first van went to the scrapheap in the sky. You might also remember that we had been praying for a new van and God provided us with not only a new van but also with the money to run it. If you haven’t already, you can read about it here.

Earlier this year, that van went and joined its predecessor in that same big old scrapheap in the sky and we found ourselves, once again, without a van. We did not widely advertise the fact that our van was out of commission but continued to do whatever we could by borrowing another van, and with the use of givers’ cars. All the while we continued to pray that God would provide us with a new van. And, true to form, He did!

For various reasons, the Besom in St Austell found themselves no longer in need of their trusty van and so offered it to other Besoms around the UK who might be able to use it via Gilly Simmonds (the Besom head honcho).

Gilly knew that we had lost our van a few months ago and were in need of a new one and so rang us with the news. There was a great deal of excitement in the office that day! After a bit of co-ordinating with our friends in Cornwall, one of our wonderful time givers, Sam, offered to travel all the way (and it was a long way!) to pick up the van and drive it back to York! We will be forever grateful for him giving up a whole weekend to do that for us.

And here it is ⬇

Vinny the Van modeled by Richard

Over the last few months, while we have been operating without a van, we have been amazed and over-joyed at the responses of many of our givers. Due to not having our own van we have not been able to do regular van runs. Many of our givers have been more than happy to keep hold of items that they have offered until we were able to arrange to collect and deliver them. Others have even gone out and delivered items to recipients themselves!

And now that we do have a van again, we are excited to see how God will use it to enable people to give in the city of York!

Giving time with the Besom in York over the last few years, I am no longer surprised by God’s provision, even when it’s something as big as a van! But I am still blown away by how He provides and what He teaches us through it, every single time.

Vinny’s inaugural York van run

5 things we’ve learned on our Besom journey


Our first blog of the autumn sees York Vineyard’s Joanna Allen share five lessons God has taught the church’s ReVive team as they partner with the Besom in York.

As a church we love coming together with the Besom in York through our monthly practical outreach project, ReVive. It’s great knowing that, through working with them we, as just one part of the body of Christ in York, are joining with other churches as we all contribute to the larger story of God’s kingdom coming in our city.

Joanna Allen

It’s important to us as kingdom people, to be in on what God is doing in and through his people in York, not least because we know that unity bestows a blessing and we want to see our whole city blessed.

In addition we love that serving practically through the Besom each month brings people from right across our church together, in unity with each other, helping to develop our love for each other and bringing a sense of family and togetherness and blessing through that.

Not only do we get to develop our relationships with each other, but we have learned that what God is calling us to is not primarily to do something for people, but rather to come alongside people in relationship with them.

The most important thing that we have to offer is not the excellence of our gardening or decorating skills, but our willingness to truly listen and open our hearts to relationship with people.

On top of this, we have learned that we too are the project! God is concerned with the state of our hearts and what unconscious judgements, prejudices and unjust thoughts and feelings we store in them. He wants us to see that others are not worse off than ourselves, that some are not more deserving than others, or any number of other judgements we might make when we go out in to the city, but that rather, we are all equally broken, equally in need of His grace and mercy, and equally loved by Him.

Doing ReVive with the Besom’s help gives God the opportunity to point out the areas of our hearts that He wants to work on. We may have signed up for ReVive thinking that we were  going to be doing a project, but our being God’s project is the much more important issue.

We have also learned that the spiritual battle over our city is very real and that people we come alongside are more aware of it than we might have known. We have had many conversations with people about the, often negative, spiritual experiences that they’ve had, or are currently having, in their lives and their homes. They are often open to, and interested in talking about God and so we are able to share the good news about Jesus with them. People are much more open to being prayed for than we might have imagined too.

Besom blog wide images

In this context we have learned that, as we go out as Jesus’ hands and feet in the city, we are waging war, bringing light into the darkness and love and hope into desperate places; and as we paint or garden we are making straight in the desert a highway for our God. We are sowing hope and love and kindness into people’s lives and though we may not often reap the harvest directly, we pray that others who come after us may well do so.

Finally, we have learned that though we might have thought we were going to be blessing someone by coming alongside them, often we are equally if not more so, blessed by them. I have experienced great kindness, generosity and genuine love from people I have met though ReVive.

In addition, each time we go out, no matter how tired and unwilling to go out I might feel beforehand, I always come home grateful to God for His ways, which include being obedient to His call to go out, because by my doing so He blesses me directly and I wouldn’t want to miss out on that for the world!

Summer closure

calendar twitter

As of Friday, 27th July, The Besom in York is now closed for a few weeks over the summer.

Our next working day will be Wednesday, 22nd August.

Bundles of Joy are also closed over the summer.

If you have furniture to give, but cannot hold on to it until the last week of August, we recommend contacting the York Community Furniture Store on 01904 426444.

If you are a referrer and would like to refer a client, please do so here:

For any other enquiries please email and we will reply on our return.

God bless,

The Besom in York team



SHAC students get stuck in

We were so blessed to have another team of Ampleforth College students (SHACworks) spend a week giving their time again this year.

They carried out three projects in Tang Hall. The first was a decorating project for a lady who had just been given her first permanent home. They decorated the hallway, the kitchen and the bathroom and did a fantastic job!

The second was a garden for a mum of four. The garden was covered in stinging nettles and wasn’t safe for the children to play in. The team strimmed and dug the nettles out, they put up a swing set, created raised beds to grow things in and even laid some turf. The family were over the moon.

The last project was another garden for another family. The team dug up the front garden – not an easy task in the 27 degree heat! They laid some shingle down and also painted a huge garden fence in the back garden.

The teams went above and beyond to give to these families. It was incredible to see how hard they worked and the difference they made. We are so thankful for them! Here are some photos of their work…

Project One


… and after!


Project Two



…and after!


Project Three



Faith has to make a difference


“You can’t really get away from the call of God to help people in need. You can’t read the Bible and cut that out. If all the student groups in York did a project each term, just think what an impact that could have!”

Adam Mitchell-Baker, student worker at York’s G2 church, is thinking big. Having seen the impact Besom projects can have both on the givers and the recipients, he is happy to bang the drum about them. Last month, Adam led a team of G2 students in clearing out an overgrown garden in Tang Hall, but that was just the church’s most recent time of giving.

Adam has seen many students at G2 gain real encouragement in their faith as they show God’s love in action through the Besom. And while some do give time as individuals, it is often through the team aspect of doing a practical project that students are best able to serve.

“We’ve tried to do one project a term as a student group. They take it seriously and see it as a key part of living in the city. It’s a chance to contribute and bless other people. One of the core values of our student group is that we have a heart for our city. This is a really practical way for people to show that.”

The Tang Hall gardening project (above) took place at a home just round the corner from where one of the G2 students lived, which proved really eye-opening. During the course of the day, a team, of 12 got to work on the family’s garden, which had been blighted by rubbish thrown from a nearby alleyway. By the end, the garden was transformed.

Adam said: “They were having a kids’ birthday in a couple of weeks, but there just wasn’t any space to do that in the garden. Having more people involved means you can do quite a lot in one day. This was our fifth project in the last 18 months. People in our church have done other projects before, so it’s not just students getting involved. There are members of our church who are still friends with people they gave time to help six or seven years ago.”

G2 invite students to sign up for a Besom project during their freshers term – and they are encouraged to get stuck in throughout their university careers. It was through this that current co-ordinator Becky Lewis first discovered the Besom in York.

Hundreds of students are part of churches across York and we would love to help as many as possible give as God enables them.

Adam said: “We’ve even seen people’s housemates, who are not Christians, coming along on Besom projects. They see their Christian friends are different because they care in this way and some have come along to church and Alpha as a result.”

He added: “Faith has to make a difference, knowing God’s love for the poor and letting that make an impact in your actions. It’s not just G2 doing this, it’s lots of different churches across York. It’s not about building up your own good deeds. It’s great to have partnership with churches across the city.”

If you’d like to contact the Besom in York or have a story to share, our details are here.


Unhampered giving!

Some of our hamper making team getting stuck in at our HQ – St Columba’s URC York

December is Christmas hamper month at the Besom in York. It’s always a whirlwind of activity as we seek to match hamper referrals with givers who have offered to make them up. But it is also a time when we’re even more acutely aware of our reliance on God. No matter how planned we try to be, we have to trust Him to provide all we need for this blitz of giving that happens in a few short weeks.

You can read hamper stories from previous years in posts like this one and we have even been featured on Songs of Praise. But this year, we just want to share a couple of snippets and a few photos to celebrate how God has been at work.

The production line

It can be easy for the Besom in York core team to feel overwhelmed with the sheer volume of hamper referrals we receive. After all, we only have limited pairs of hands! Therefore, it was a great answer to prayer when 13 givers turned up at Besom HQ to be part of the production line last Thursday. This was a massive encouragement.

We love it when givers really embrace hamper season as God prompts them to get involved. In one case, a lady saved up all her Nectar points from the year to spend on hamper goodies. We have heard too of a church who, having delivered a hamper to a recipient, are now planning to decorate his bedroom and give him a wardrobe.

Hamper givers from York College

Elsewhere, Besom supporter and regular blogger Lucy Rycroft described some of her own hamper-giving experiences in this post.

You can see the full Christmas hampers 2017 photo album on Facebook. If you like a bit of social media, why not follow us on Twitter and Instagram too.

That’s all for now folks. All that remains is to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.