Jacky: As I walk up and down Surbiton high street, I am made ever more aware of the need for the kind of centre we are building at Balaclava Road. More and more rough sleepers are evident. Figures from the government this week say rough sleeping has increased by 30% since this time last year. 68,580 people live in hostels like the YMCA or bed & breakfast, plus there are all the hidden homeless who are sleeping on someone's sofa. The cause is not just migration, as the papers would have us believe, but the ever-rising cost of renting property and having to pay vast deposits. Even with housing benefit, this is not nearly enough to meet the costs. Along with other crises in mental health and social care this mean that opening a community space to help those who are homeless or in need has never been so urgent. The words of Esther 4:14 'for such a time as this' come to mind - God has called us at this time to make a difference and meet the need of our community at Balaclava Road.
So, I have spent some of my time beginning to think and prepare, talked with Paul Pickhaver the Foodbank leader, and with Richard James the YMCA CEO. I have written to local MP James Berry, and he has replied, saying he would like to meet with me to discuss the project. I have been to a meeting at the LBA about applying for a mission grant to pay someone to run it and started applying for council grants for equipment.
Let us pray that God will show us favour and protect us as we push forward with what we have to show Christ's love to our community.