Blog: Hobson Observation

All Nations Ministries

It seems odd to be thinking about the heavy snowfall experienced during the ‘Beast from the East’ and the harsh weather of the winter of 2018, when we are just enjoying the tail-end of a glorious summer; but this is when a grant awarded by DCF was able to support the drop-in services provided by All Nations Ministries (ANM).

ANM is a charity that offers free services to refugees, asylum seekers and homeless people in Plymouth.

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Despite a significant increase in demand for their services due to the weather conditions, ANM were still able to provide a hot meal, a warm welcome and shelter with extra toiletries and donated clothing for their service users. And even after their weekly drop-in service had closed its doors, they allowed people to stay and shelter within the confines of the outside of the building. This had an unforeseen positive outcome, in that it made them more visible to the emergency teams from the council who were able to offer them accommodation in night shelters set up in the city.

Providing a well-balanced meal is important. Hunger has a knock-on effect on everything. If you are malnourished you can’t function properly. People who are homeless can be affected by hunger and malnutrition, preventing them moving on with their lives.

Like with all of these services it is not just about the practical catering of basic human needs but the emotional support it provides too. The drop-in provides a space where people can feel at ease and safe in the welcoming and relaxed environment the service provides for them. This has helped them to feel less socially excluded and more part of a community. As a consequence, a relationship of trust has developed between volunteers and the people who regularly attend. This has had a positive effect on their individual morale and has helped to build their self-esteem and restore confidence. To the extent that some now help with the volunteering tasks.

On the ANM website Darren tells his story and says that “this place saved my life!”

ANM want to be able to provide this valuable outreach and community service “to some of the most disadvantaged people living in our city for the years to come”.

Homelessness is an issue that as a society we need to tackle the root cause of. I know that stopping to buy the BIG Issue (it’s a great read) when I am in Exeter and staying to chat for a while before going about my shopping isn’t the answer either but . . . in the meantime, charities like these are invaluable to our communities.

P.S. In writing this I have discovered that ANM also run a programme called Legacy of Hope, which sends medical teams to Rwanda. My school friend Jody is currently in Rwanda with her teenage son, on a similar mission around schooling for children and more generally, health and well-being for mainly women. I am considering joining her when she goes again in a couple of years.

Nicola Hobson, Devon Community Foundation ambassador

To find out more about All Nations Ministries visit their website here.

Devon Community Foundation were able to support All Nations Ministries on this occasion with a £1,000 grant from the Red Nose Day Community Cash programme.

September 2019