In tough financial times, getting a job is harder than ever, but with the help of volunteers some of Horsham’s most vulnerable unemployed people are being helped back into work.
People with drug or alcohol addictions, those suffering the consequences of homelessness or domestic violence have been helped through their troubles and brought closer to employment with help from Ark trainers teaching CV writing, literacy and numeracy and budgeting.
Adam De Frateschi, 22, said it had helped him start a whole new life.
“I was sleeping in a tent in Southwater Country Park a few years ago. That’s how I first found out about Ark. It’s amazing. In the first three months of me coming I noticed a change.
“I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish some of the things without their help and support. About three weeks ago I was homeless. Lisa (director of Ark) pretty much saved my life. She’s helped me with housing, supported me with any issues plus being there to listen and support me. She’s such a positive influence on my life.”
Volunteers have also helped him with his CV and interview skills.
Speaking the morning of his interview at Bill’s restaurant - opening in Horsham Old Town Hall next week - he said: “Steve helped me build up my CV which led me to the interview and hopefully lead me to the job. It was my first CV and hopefully I’ve done it.
“Steve also gave me interview questions which were really helpful.”
Adam later heard his interview was successful.
Roger Buckwell, 51, has benefitted from the literacy and numeracy training. He said: “It’s helped me in so many ways that it got me where I am now. I’m not getting any younger. Learning to read and write has given me opportunities and opened more doors. I’ve been here a few months and I’ve seen changes in a lot of people.”
John Collins, who helps with financial training said people often turn to payday loans with high interest rates in a crisis. “I help out where I can. I’ve designed budgeting forms. Finance is often the reason people end up in these situations.
John King of Forest Close, Roffey, said he was ’duped’ by short-term lenders.
“ When they’ve got you they’ve really got you. My advice to anyone is don’t go there - or think very carefully before you do. I also had a utility bill over £430. That was the first debt John sorted out and I paid that off in about two months. John was really helpful and it came at the right time. He’s helped me quash my finances and I should be sorted by mid January.”
The Ark is currently expecting at least 50 people to dinner on Christmas Day and lunch on Boxing Day as well. They share food and presents to make it as much as possible like a ‘family’ occasion.
The charity is asking for donations of food including turkey, potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, alcohol free Christmas puddings, cheese and biscuits, Christmas cake, tea and coffee and non-alcoholic drinks.
Donations of Christmas crackers, napkins, table cloths, decorations as well as financial donations are also welcome.
Gifts can be dropped of at the United Reformed Church in Springfield Road, Horsham at any of the times the charity holds it sessions there: Monday 9am to 3pm, Tuesday 2pm to 8pm and Thursday 9am to 4pm.
For more info about the Ark call co-founder Lisa Burrell on 07825 284054 email firstname.lastname@example.org