Acts 435 Giving to anyone who has need

At Acts 435 we see how a small gift can make a big difference. Here are a few stories of people helped through Acts 435 and the difference it has made.

Giving the Ability to Attend the School Prom

26th August 2021

Giving the Ability to Attend the School Prom
Every year many school children attend a prom, but for some families the expense of buying smart clothing can be unreachable.

F grew up as a young carer for both her parents, and her dad recently faced a prison sentence. He says: "I wasn't the best dad. My mental health put her through too much. I may be mentally ill but I love her and want her to feel special for one time in her life. I hate asking, but I'm putting my ego aside for her. A special dress [for her prom] would be buying a memory for her. I can't pay for it in money, but I'm volunteering to pay it forward because it's time I was a Dad she's proud of. Thank you for helping me be that".

With the £80 donated towards this father's requests he bought his daughter a beautiful prom dress. The local Advocate got to attend the dress fitting, and see the fantastic memories that were made through this experience:

"This was one of the most moving experiences to be lucky to have been involved in. A arrived with her parents to the surprise of a gorgeous, elegant prom gown. Her father, who has suffered for over a decade with acute psychiatric illness, with A having been a young carer for him and her mother who suffers with eating disorders and anxiety, couldn't stop crying to see his daughter at her first dress fitting. He said, 'For everything that has happened, and all the wrong things I feel I've done, someone out there has made me feel proud of being a father and I've never been so emotional in my life before.' A was very pink in the cheeks and overwhelmed by her appearance and said 'Thank you. I don't know or where to find the right words because I don't even know who you are, but if I get chance to write to you, or even meet you one day, I will tell you how it feels like you've made me the luckiest person in the world. I can actually go to the prom and be proud and I feel like a woman instead of a little girl!' Her mum was also very tearful and clutched A's hand and just stared into her daughter's face and stroked her cheeks. She was speechless except for saying "thank you" over and again. It was just a dress but this family hung onto this experience in a way I can't describe. It was a privilege to be there and pass this feedback on to you.

A Fresh Start in a New Home

17th August 2021

A Fresh Start in a New Home
L was recently helped by one of our partner charities in Gateshead. He had been sofa surfing since being released from prison, and having served his community hours, he was now able to look for employment. However, the job he found was a long commute from friends' homes, and he needed a more permanent home of his own. L had asked for help with his bond to secure a flat he had found closer to his new workplace, and donors quickly stepped in to help.

Here is what the local Advocate said when donors helped to meet this request:

"Thank you very much for your generous contribution towards L’s new accommodation. I went with him on the day he moved in and it’s a lovely flat - clean and very well looked after. L is just over the moon! He is so thankful for the way you’ve helped him to secure his new home, which has already made a huge difference. He's really enjoying his work and the owner is really pleased with him, saying he’s ‘doing a fantastic job’! With stable and permanent housing, and a much easier 30 min commute to work (rather than 2+ hours and several buses he had before!), L can now settle into his work, with the prospects of a long-term career ahead. Thank you so much!"

The generosity of donors has enabled L to have a fresh start in a new home with a secure job, and he is very thankful!

Help for the New School Year

2nd August 2021

Help for the New School Year
This family have been impacted greatly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Both parents were self-employed and had little help with income when they were unable to work. Their twins are about to start secondary school this September, which is a huge cost for those on low income.

After going to their local foodbank an Acts 435 request was posted to help them with the cost of school uniform. After the request was met, here is what the mum had to say:

"Thank you for contributing towards my twins' school uniform. This year has been so tough, possibly the worst. With a growing family we have always had to budget and save for things but we have always provided for our children. When Covid-19 caused lockdown, our lives like so many others changed. We couldn't work, we had to claim benefits, about which we had no idea. We suddenly went onto monthly pay. With all this we honestly didn't know what to do. We were now getting food parcels that I felt embarrassed about getting as we’d never been in such a situation, but this helped too much to let my pride stop us from getting them, we couldn't afford to say no. This is how I met someone from the church who offered help with school uniforms. I am so grateful."

More Than Just a Carpet

23rd July 2021

More Than Just a Carpet
This lady has had to move to a safe house after several difficult situations. She has felt very lonely and isolated, as she is not able to contact friends of family. The support and hope brought about by the carpet given by Acts 435 donors has enabled her to feel more settled and valued. Here is what she said to the donors who gave towards her request:

"I have just cried. I don't know who you are but you have made me feel like my life could be about to start going right. I know that's stupid to think that about some carpet but every day I look at the concrete floor and have to wear my shoes with my pyjamas to get in and out of bed and it makes me feel so dirty and useless. When my support worker told me what you had done and took me for a surprise to go and choose some carpet and get the man to come over to measure my room, it was like my birthday and Christmas and winning something good all together. I'm so excited about it coming and I'm looking forward to living here. It's been tough because I can't have any contact with anyone in my family or friends and I don't know anything about this place I'm living in now. It's for my safety but it's hard. Having a comfy home is going to really help me settle in more and you have made that possible for me. I have dyslexia so I can't write this properly but I've asked my support worker to type it for me and I hope you know you are like angels. Thank you."

A Garden to Improve Mental Health

23rd June 2021

A Garden to Improve Mental Health
At Acts 435 we often say that a small gift can make a big difference, and this is definitely true for this this wheelchair-bound lady from Cambridge. She is currently undergoing treatment for cancer and really wanted to enjoy her garden once again as a place of respite and calmness between hospital stays.

However, her garden was a mess and needed weeding and new plants putting in. The woodwork and stonework were also in need of treating. A group of volunteers from her church were willing to carry out the work but needed the materials to bring the garden back to a place of calm and relaxation.

Our wonderful donors helped to make this possible, helping to make a big difference to this lady's quality of life. Here is what she had to say once the work was done:

"Thank you so much for your kind donation that has helped the my church to be able to come and transform my front and back garden. I am a full time wheelchair user also going through some other health issues. My front garden was just weeds and not something I could manage myself. With your donation my church have removed all the weeds and laid down stones and placed some beautiful pots on it. This has made it easier to maintain and also such a welcoming lovely thing to see when I come home from the hospital. In the back garden they were able to paint the fence, jet wash the patio and do some weeding. I now have a garden with beautiful pots. They make me get up each day, get dressed so I can water them and look after them. This helps my mental health. I also have a lovely relaxing space to chill in between treatments and have had a huge burden removed from my shoulders about getting these things done. Thank you so so much for your donation because without it I wouldn't have the beautiful garden I now have to relax in, or the beautiful pots that I can look after. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

School Uniform to Ease a Burden

16th June 2021

School Uniform to Ease a Burden
Miss S was referred to her local food bank for help with a food parcel and, through conversation, they realised her struggles were exacerbated by funding new school shoes and uniform for her three children. She has been furloughed and is on a reduced income and is struggling with poor mental health due to escaping a recent abusive relationship. The food bank were able to post an Acts 435 request for school uniform, and help to ease a burden for her and her children.

After donors generously gave to this lady's request, she sent this message to convey her thanks:

"The food bank helped me and my children massively, providing my children with essential school items they needed when times were so tough I couldn’t do it myself. My son who’s 13 got some trainers for PE which has helped his performance in lessons as well as boosting his confidence with not having the correct kit. My eldest son who is 14 got a coat and he loves it. His old one was sewn back together about 6 times and was getting too small as they grew so much over lockdown. Again not getting in trouble at school for wearing hoodies etc has just boosted him massively. My little girl who’s 10 got tights and some P.E. kit. As they have to go in on PE days in kit the warm hoodie etc is keeping her warm and we are very grateful. They all got new school shirts which was such a big weight off my mind and saves on washing the same ones every night. I know Covid has been hard for everyone. It has been hard for us to try and settle and the items we received eased the burden massively. It even restored my faith in people again as I had started to just give up. Thank you to all who donated."

"More than just moving stuff"

15th June 2021

K, a young lady, had escaped an abusive relationship, and needed to move home. After receiving help from a local charity they offered to request help from Acts 435 donors to lift the burden of moving her possessions.

Here is what K had to say after being able to move:

"I just want to say how overwhelmed I am that someone cared enough about me to help me pay for my moving costs. After everything I've been through I'll be honest I feel rubbish about myself and was just stressing about moving so much I couldn't stop crying. When my support worker told me they would ask for some help to make it all possible I just thought they were joking because why would anyone bother to help me when they don't even know me, and even if they did I'm not exactly important. When she said someone has come forward to pay for the removals, I just burst into tears. It's strange not to know who you are or be able to just give you a hug but it meant the world to me. The men who came to move my furniture were lovely - they helped with much more than just moving stuff. It all went quite stress free and by the evening I was in a new home which feels safe and like I can start my life again. Thank you for everything you do for people like me. I'm determined I can pay it forward and I'm going to volunteer with the charity who put me forward for the help from Acts 435. I don't know what I can say because it doesn't feel enough to say thank you. You are like angels."

Choosing Between Food and Warmth

13th May 2021

Choosing Between Food and Warmth
As a charity we are seeing more and more stories of those being made redundant and losing their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Here is just one story of a single mother in Cornwall:

This single mother has two older children living with her. She lost her job during the first lockdown and although she had found employment afterwards, she lost it again during the second lockdown. Her Universal Credit is being reviewed and she has very little money. One of her children cannot work due to mental ill health and the other has epilepsy and anxiety. This means she is the only one able to work. They have been surviving by using food banks recently, but when they spoke to the Advocate they had no way to pay for electricity to cook the food, or heat their home.

Acts 435 donors were able to pay for food and electricity for this family, and release this mum from the burden that she had been carrying. Here is what she had to say:

"I really am so grateful, thank you ever so much. I feel a great weight has been lifted off me, thanks to you. It has been a nightmare trying so hard to feed everyone and keep us warm. I never, never want to be like this again. As I have been struggling to cope, my children have become more anxious and it seemed there was no way out of the situation. Thank you for caring enough to help us. This will get us through the month. My children are just amazed by how kind you are. You have not only given us fresh food and electric, you have given us hope for the future. Thank you."

Help Next Door

18th March 2021

Help Next Door
After a request for help was made from a referring organisation, one of our local Advocates helped to post a request on behalf of a gentleman and his family. Here is the request:

"This man has a wife and new-born child with severe allergy problems and is living in a flat with damp problems. The council has a house lined up for them but they need kitchen/bathroom flooring that can be cleaned easily to keep down the allergens. Although he is working he has no spare cash. We will try to get off-cuts so the money goes as far as it can. It will be a great help to give this family a fresh start in their new home."

The Advocate has recently gone onto say to our Head Office Team that he was very grateful for the referral:

"I’m so glad we could help with this. It turns out the dad works in the newsagent next door to our church office and I had had a heart for them for some time, but had no idea of their situation. It’s such a great opportunity and I really pray that we can get to know the family well. His wife has suffered for 15 years with allergies and his 6-month old baby was in hospital for ages with allergies taking all sorts of medicine. We pray that we can help."

It is wonderful to hear stories where those that need help from Acts 435 are just next door to an Advocate that can help.

The Tools to Keep Working

22nd February 2021

The Tools to Keep Working
This message came directly from the local Acts 435 Advocate in the North-West, who has been supporting a gentleman in a desperate situation:

"Thank you so much for your help to buy tools for this man. We discovered him depressed and at rock bottom financially. His work as a handyman had dried up due to lockdown and then his mum died so he sold his tools to pay for her funeral. But with your help he has bought tools and can start working again, with his self-esteem restored.

He says “I'm kind of speechless. Many people have promised to help but so many have not. But you have helped and given me such a boost to my self-esteem and cheered me up. I've been so down recently and it's good for me to be feeling happy for a change and that's thanks to you. So I thank you and really do appreciate you even listening to me let alone helping. Thank you so much.”