It has been quite the year, hasn’t it? After the tumult of lockdowns, the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the numerous changes in high-level government personnel we’ve experienced in the last few years, I don’t know about you, but I feel like 2023 has been the first year post-covid that has felt fully ‘back to normal.’ Even though it hasn’t all been rosy, with the cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy bills still affecting millions, there have also been times of celebration. As a nation we’ve witnessed the coronation of King Charles III; hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, and the England Women’s football team reached the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For Restore, too, it has been a year of significant moments. Surely one of this year’s highlights has to be becoming property owners. Until this year, all of Restore’s houses were leased, but in June we completed ownership of our first property. This is now home to a refugee family, who were struggling to find accommodation elsewhere that would permit them all to stay together. Extending our remit to the support of refugees is another of this year’s highlights, as we now have two family groups that we support, liaising with local partner organisations to help them navigate life in the U.K. and feel at home in York.
In the summer we had a postgraduate student from the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and TV volunteer her time to make our new promotional video. You can now watch this on the ‘how we help’ section of our website. For me, an iconic moment in the video is when Kerry, one of our residents, says “they don’t want anything from me, they just want to see me thrive.” I really feel Kerry hit the nail on the head here: our heart to see residents lead fully restored lives and have hope for the future underpins everything we do. Our prayer for 2024 is that all our residents; past, current and those yet to come, can experience the true hope found in Jesus, and know that they are loved and valued by their Heavenly Father.
As we approach the end of 2023, it’s a good time to reflect on the number of people we’ve been able to help over the last twelve months. Over the course of the year 47 individuals have been housed in Restore accommodation, and 31 people have moved on to sign for their own tenancies and received follow-on support from Hilary, our floating housing support worker. We absolutely could not continue providing homes and giving hope to so many people without your support, and we are so grateful to everyone who follows us on social media, receives our newsletter, reads these blogs, and especially those who support us through regular financial giving. We need to raise £9.50 per resident per day to continue providing the level of help we feel our residents deserve. If you would like to be part of our vision to end homelessness in York and feel led to support us financially, please visit our donate page. There, you can sign up to be a regular monthly donor, or if you prefer, you can make a one-off donation towards our Christmas appeal, which aims to raise funds to cover the cost of giving a new home welcome pack to every resident in 2024 who moves from Restore into a tenancy of their own.
Whatever your plans for the festive season, we pray that you experience the joy of Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour. Thank you for your support this year; we look forward to sharing more stories of restored lives with you in the year to come. We send you every blessing and very best wishes for 2024 from everyone at Restore.
If you would like to know more about the work we do, please follow us on Facebook, X or Instagram. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter. If you would like to support our work financially, please donate here. Thank you.