EASTBOURNE VOLUNTEERS WITH HELEN BURTON: Matthew 25 helps Eastbourne’s most vulnerable

Matthew 25 Mission staff photo SUS-171005-112027001

Matthew 25 Mission staff photo SUS-171005-112027001

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I’ve written about Matthew 25 before but some information bears repeating as I think it is one of the most important projects in Eastbourne.

Brodie Hall, on Seaside in Eastbourne, is used by The Matthew 25 Mission as a drop-in and support centre serving some of the most vulnerable people in the town.

Some 50-60 guests visit the hall every weekday, including: the homeless, the unemployed, those suffering or recovering from various addictions, ex-offenders, the lonely, people struggling with suicidal thoughts, those affected by mental health issues, or those who face such a crisis they don’t know where else to turn. All guests are offered hot food, and for those who want it, help and support towards getting their lives back on track. The Mission’s staff do much of this work themselves, but also involve as appropriate the many specialist help agencies in Eastbourne. At any one time, the Mission will also be working alongside some 20-30 individuals or families in the community whose lives are in crisis.

Staffed almost entirely by volunteers, Matthew 25’s services are offered without charge. The mission runs a charity shop (directly opposite Brodie Hall) which helps towards running costs, so do support it if you can. One guest, who’s been visiting for four years – and was help back into employment recently – shares his story with us. “Twelve years ago, I came home from work one day to find my wife and three-month old daughter gone. Eventually I learned, via Facebook, that they were in Spain, with another man. As a 22-year-old, this was just too much to bear. I went to pieces, and my life began spiralling downhill. I’d had a good job with Tesco. I started associating with the wrong people, became dependent on drugs, and lost my job through repeatedly turning up late. Eventually my parents moved to Eastbourne. I followed them hoping this would give me the opportunity for a new start. But my drug addiction still had the upper hand, and so once again I associated with the wrong people. I reached desperation point. Four years ago, someone mentioned Matthew 25, so I went along and asked for help. They were great. Chatting with me and helping me, every day. They introduced me to Lift House, where a key worker put me on medication to help me come off the addictive drugs. I am pleased to say I’ve been completely clean for over two years now! In October 2016, the Mission found me some part-time paid work with a small gardening company. This is continuing, and I’m really enjoying it! I don’t know where I’d be today if Matthew 25 hadn’t picked me up when my life was in a rock-bottom mess, and stuck with me. It’s been a long road; but here I am back in work. I’ll always be so grateful to you guys!”

Matthew 25 are holding a Coffee and Cake Sale at Brodie Hall to raise funds on Saturday May 20, 10am – 12noon so they would love to see you – and there’s cake!