This was Christian community at work. The initial links were developed by the Hawbush Project, who were contacted by the local Children’s Centre. When we visited the home we saw no toys, poor bedding, very few clothes, nothing on the walls and the fact that three children aged 2, 3 and 4 had never had a garden to play in.
What prompted us to help this family was the fact that the parents had begun parenting classes and the mum had begun college, so they wanted to change. We felt God saying we needed to give them a hand on this journey.
I spoke to Tim Barton who is the Youth Leader at the Amblecote Christian Centre about the possibility of the 40 young people he has on their summer mission programme doing a makeover on the upstairs of the house and the garden and we quickly got very excited about this prospect.
The Hawbush Project is one of the ways that Amblecote express their values in a local context, so we proposed the idea to the congregation of Amblecote and within one week had raised £1900 which was enough to do everything we needed.
Over the next month, the Project took some local young people off the estate to do the preparation work such as the sanding, priming and fence painting. Then in one beautiful week in August we had over 40 young people and some skilled adult folks come in for three days in and turn the bedrooms into something magical.
The mum of the family hugged me so tight as we left that it felt she didn’t know how to really express what had happened to them. Also in that same week the same team completely cleared an overgrown garden for a local resident and created a community pond for local young people.
The Church is a wondrous gift to the world and this family would testify to that fact this week