Summer closure

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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: https://goo.gl/forms/Juey37PE0RGMiuV13

For any other enquiries please email info@thebesominyork.co.uk and we will reply on our return.

God bless,

The Besom in York team

 

 

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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

Before…

… and after!

 

Project Two

Before…

 

…and after!

 

Project Three

 

 

Faith has to make a difference

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“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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

The mattress that meant so much

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Van runs are a staple of our week at The Besom in York as we collect items given and deliver them to our recipients. But what’s it like to be on the van team? Here, office time giver and St Columba’s URC York Intern Katie Golden tells her story.

The first time I went on a van run with The Besom, it was a bright sunny day. I went out with experienced van giver, Sam, and a new giver named Peter. Sam expertly steered us through the winding streets of York and out onto more open road towards Pocklington.

As a newcomer to York, I couldn’t stop staring out the windows at the beautiful fields rolling by and the clean, bright homes flanked by green lawns and lush trees.

I met recipients and givers over the next three hours, and was awed both by the generosity of Besom givers and the strength of the recipients. It was amazing to see how, in God’s sovereignty, everything came together on the van run, despite the many puzzle pieces to fit into place.

12961400_10154071496912436_1288486162611672837_oWe received an extra mattress in addition to the one originally offered, and by the end of the day it found a home with a family who really needed it. We pulled up to a recipient’s home and he wasn’t around yet. After we’d waited for a while, we decided to leave, and suddenly there he was, walking down the street. And we pulled up to Bundles of Joy headquarters, unsure of exactly where to go, only to see a Bundles giver walking in who gladly took our baby donations.

Though I spent a happy few hours in the van in conversation with Sam and Peter and enjoying the scenery, I was also shocked at how the beauty of my adopted country contradicted the severe need of people that we were serving.

In a tidy neighborhood filled with sturdy brick homes, a woman and her son lived without beds, mattresses, and other basic furniture. The son slept on a pile of blankets on the floor. It was meaningful to give this family a mattress, because it meant so much. But it was also sad, because we all knew they needed so much more.

I felt so at peace on the day of the van run and reflected on the fact that God loves us all – whether we are poor or wealthy, clean or dirty, needy or self-sufficient. God loves us in spite of our vices – our addictions, bad habits, and flaws. He loves us all equally.

The Besom seek to treat everyone they serve with dignity and respect and in so doing, they are acting in a way that reflects God. They are showing God’s love. Just as God exists in the sunny, green Yorkshire fields, He is there in a home filled with need. He is love, and He is everywhere.

It was crazy to think that a few hours of my time could impact her life so much

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The G2 student team in action
We love it when churches give their time to carry out projects with The Besom in York. Here’s Mary Kangley’s account of what happened when she and a team of fellow students at G2 got stuck in to some decorating.
When the student worker at my church asked for volunteers for a local Besom project to help decorate a lady’s house, I knew I wanted to sign up straight away.
At university, it’s very easy to get stuck in a cycle of student culture, and suddenly you find yourself disconnected from the outside world, when you haven’t seen your parents or grandparents in months, and the only people you talk to are your own age. The only time I spent away from university and my studies was at church, and whilst that’s great, I still wanted a way to serve the community in which I live.
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When I turned up at the house, which is only down the road from where I lived in my second year at uni, I met the lady we were to help out, and her immediate gratitude was so fulfilling. It was crazy to think that a few hours of my time could impact her life so much.
We began with a prayer, not only praying for ourselves and the work we were about to do, but also for the home and the recipient of our service. She left and we began painting. It was surprisingly therapeutic and a welcome break from constant study!
After a few hours she returned to a newly painted house. We’re by no means professionals, but she looked past the imperfect edges and saw a house turned into a home by some willing students. It was an amazing opportunity, and I’ll definitely be signing up the next time I get a chance!

11 lessons from 11 years…

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This week our former co-ordinator, Rob Ainsworth, reflects on his time at the Besom. It is 11 years since he started to work at The Belfrey church and looked in to starting a Besom. We asked him to share 11 things he has learnt in that time…

  1. No where is too far to go for God, but don’t forget He might ask you to go next door.
    Making friends in Romania.

    The day I started working for The Belfrey, I’d been up all night – I’d travelled back from a mission trip in Romania early to join the staff team at the start of a new year. I had some amazing times in Slobozia and Bucharest – God taught me a lot there. But in my years at the Besom many more times over God has shown me the high value He puts on serving those right on my door step, on my street and in my neighbourhood. God might ask you to travel 1000s of miles, but have you asked Him about those on your street?

  2. A small answer to prayer is still an answer to prayer. We can easily write off a small answer to prayer as something tiny and insignificant, but it is still answer. It is God speaking, working, guiding, steering and reminding us of His presence, plans and purposes. I have learnt to spot these small answers and celebrate them. (and sticking on the prayer theme…)
  3. Prayer isn’t a secondary way to give. Many times over the years I have heard people apologetically say, I’m sorry I can’t give, but I will pray. If you are praying – you are giving. There is nothing secondary about prayer, it is at the forefront of giving – it inspires, transforms us and brings fruit in many places.
  4. You can always rely on God. It might seem like an obvious thing to say as a Christian, but I think we can forget it sometimes. Time and time again, God has reminded me of this: I have seen, heard, tasted, touched, walked alongside the faithfulness of God. We can always rely on Him. We can trust Him.
  5. Something going wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many things have gone wrong; accidents on Besom van runs, the office being broken in to, recipients’ stuff being broken on projects… in each situation I have seen God do great things! Much better things than if the bad thing hadn’t happened! I have learnt not to panic in the moment, but wait patiently.
  6. Decorating on one the first projects.
    Decorating on one the first projects.

    God hasn’t finished with the church yet. The landscape of the church in York has changed in these last 11 years. Some churches have stopped, new ones have started. The ways the church is serving the poor have grown substantially in that time. I’m still encouraged that whilst the Besom has been running we’ve seen many new things start – a food bank, a second CAP centre, a TLG early intervention project, Bundles of Joy, Restore, Street Angels, Never Give Up…. I could go on. I firmly believe that God has more plans for the church in York to make a difference in the city.

  7. Friendship is a brilliant place for God to work from. So many of the new initiatives I’ve mentioned above were started and are run by friends – they trust each other. Their relationships are not merely defined by HR policies or job contracts. I’m very thankful for the friends that have joined me, supported me and prayed for me in ‘Besoming’.
  8. Having faith is different to positive thinking. I’m a really positive person, my glass is very rarely less that 3/4 full… But even though I’m this way inclined I have seen that this is very different to having and acting in faith in God. The Message version of the Bible describes faith like this:
    The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. (Hebrews 11 v 1-2 The Message)

    What’s to stop us giving this a go in York today?

  9. It’s not what you know, or even who you know. It is about the relationship you have with someone that matters.
  10. The (hidden) poverty of isolation, marginalisation and loneliness is often the cause of the poverty that we do see. I’ve seen a lot of poverty in 11 years, a lot of people stuck in cycles of poverty; families who’ve suffered inter-generational poverty. The poverty that hurts the most is that of isolation, not having any support, anyone who cares or looks you in the eyes.
  11. It is not what you give it is how you give. We use the hashtag #WeAreAllAboutGiving a lot on our social media accounts. It sums up what I love about the Besom and one of the things I’ll miss the most. It’s the giving bit that is important, the heart/mind action, rather than the gift itself.