WhoM we help
We are glad to help anybody who needs us. Because we’re a Christian group, we have a commitment to making our services available to everybody who needs us, whether or not you’re a Christian, without discrimination.
Our services are aimed at those who find themselves in a difficult situation, and many of our clients could be called vulnerable adults. We’re also helping more and more people who aren’t traditionally considered to be vulnerable, but are nonetheless finding things hard. Here are some of the challenges our clients might face:
Bereavement, Broken homes, Child abuse, Crime, Destitution, Domestic abuse, Homelessness, Integration (for asylum-seekers), Learning disabilities, Mental illnesses, Physical illnesses, Pregnancy concerns, Rehabilitation (for past offenders), Self-harm, Substance abuse. etc.
How we help
Our emergency food parcels are designed to last three days. They’re not Michelin-starred fine dining but they’re tasty, nutritious and will keep your energy levels topped up. Let us know if you have any special requirements, allergies or sensitivities. Toiletries are also available.
If you’re having trouble finding suitable clothes, we might be able to help. Our supporters donate quality second-hand (or occasionally new) clothing and bedding for men, women and children. You’ll probably be relieved to know that our underwear is always new.
Our ‘Acts’ team operates our furniture redistribution scheme. People who don’t like to throw away good quality furniture pass it over to us for rehoming.
We love to get to know our clients, so drop in at our drop-in! Some people are regulars because they like the vibe; others come as a one-off. Either way, we’ll be pleased to meet you. The drop-in lounge runs on Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and is usually the best time to use our services. It’s not geared towards under-18s. Did we mention the free cooked lunch?
School uniform is getting more expensive, and not every family is able to provide uniforms. Shabby or incomplete uniforms have a surprisingly profound effect on children, who may get bullied or sent home. Our free school uniform initiative kits out about a hundred disadvantaged children every year in brand-new clothes. This helps them to keep participating at school and helps them regain the confidence that they’ll need to prosper. Families are nominated for free school uniforms by their school or another professional agency.
The Ark provides two types of vocational experience.
People in vocational experience groups use the Ark as a safe introduction to using their skills in a work environment, such as in the food- or clothing banks. Each group is supervised by the partner organisation that organises the group.
Members of our voluntary staff work directly for the Ark and have found the experience and understanding that they gain at the Ark to be useful when working or applying for work in the same sector or in allied professions.
Every now and again, the Ark hosts an adult education course, such as literacy, maths, personal safety, socialising or healthy living. Keep an eye on our blog for any courses that are coming up!
For agencies requiring a safe space in which to meet clients or service-users, rooms are available by arrangement in advance.
Most people who use the Ark came to us because of some difficulty or other. If you’d like us to see what we can do to help, come and have a chat with us! We help with specific issues so we’re not ‘key workers’, freeing us up to find you a formal key worker if you need one. If we can’t help or if you need ongoing, formal or statutory support, we’ll do our best to find somebody who can work with you. Here are some of the things we’ve helped with recently:
- finding accommodation
- speaking to agencies on a client’s behalf
- putting people in touch with specialists for formal support or advocacy
-helping people to survive, escape or recover from dangerous situations
- applying for benefits
- searching for voluntary work placements
As an initiative of Elim Churches in Selly Oak, the Ark can often fully subsidise access to parents’ and toddlers’ groups, children’s activities and youth groups.