Hilton Family Support: update from Simeon
At Sunday’s service, Simeon talked about the work of Hilton Family Support over the last year:
A big change took place just before everything started to get locked down: that I went from working for the Church to working for Hilton Family Support back in January last year, very much doing the kind of things I had been doing anyway in my role within the church, with just a few slightly-different focuses.
Then lockdown came, which meant that last year was a very, very different year, different and challenging for many people. In our case, everything we normally did kind of stopped, but it was a very interesting and I think positive year anyway and the support we provided in various ways made a huge difference, and maybe shaped things moving forwards as well.
It feels as though we’ve gone through a lot of different phases over the last 13 or 14 months. Initially there was a lot of work needing done and a band of faithful volunteers came together mainly from within the Church, some of whom are here today. We were doing a lot of the kind of things that were going on all over the place really: picking up shopping for people, medicines; we started up a meals service in partnership with the café, the Anchor Café, who are doing a great job; food deliveries; some phone calls and other practical things to support people.
Then there were phases where we worked more with the support groups we’d formed. I think realized that keeping people in contact was a really key thing for mental health and well-being in the past year. We started having more video calls every week since we couldn’t meet in person. When it became possible we held some small outdoor gatherings and now in the last few weeks we’ve moved to getting together physically again for walks in the park and similar activities and hopefully there’s going to be more and more physically getting together again, and hopefully less and less Zoom calls which are a poor substitute!
Our client-base has really increased in the past year as the needs have changed, and as a result it’s just got a lot busier in many ways. As a Trust we’ve started looking at hopefully getting funding to employ a second worker, and Jane Maclean is also just now doing a bit of admin support which is brilliant. So those are definitely some things to pray for!
There’s a lot of outdoor stuff coming up, and maybe some indoor activities. Abriachan Forest Trust, It looks like we’re going to be going up to Abriachan Forest Trust again towards the end of the summer holidays. Similar visits have been brilliant in the past: the mums and the kids just kind of interacting and thinking of things to do outside creatively without having to spend too much money. It’s been five years since we were last up there.
And we’re also looking towards setting Transforming Lives for Good up in the schools again after the summer, so you can pray for that. We’ve got a couple of new folks signed up, and set a rough target which I think is pretty reasonable of getting five mentors back into schools to get alongside folk who are struggling there, and if there’s more than five, that would be brilliant.