In the same week a charity for disadvantage people closes its doors, its chair of trustees has paid tribute to the woman who started it.
ARK Horsham’s lease at the town’s United Reformed Church comes to an end on Friday (August 4) and they have nowhere to move to.
They will open for the last time for their normal drop in session on Thursday.
Although the charity will exist and the ARK telephone number, used as a helpline by its members, will still be active, there will be no base for it to operate from.
Chair of the trustees Jim Penberthy said: “It is sad to think that the doors of ARK will close this week, if not for good then certainly for the foreseeable future. I though refuse to be downbeat – for me, ARK is a success and its legacy will live long into the future, helping to shape the way we treat those less fortunate than ourselves.
“ARK is a shining example of what can be achieved when we put others first. And I am proud to have been part of ARK and to have come to know the incredible woman whose vision, work and life has shaped ARK for the past five years – Lisa Burrell.
“Lisa has built the ARK family from those who are so often ignored by everyone else and have no place in society. She and her band of volunteers have not only supported people with hot meals and food parcels and advised them on benefits and housing – more importantly they have shown people that they belong in our town, in our community, in our lives.
For too long in this country and shamefully in the church we have made those on the fringes of society feel that they have to behave and conform before they can belong and be valued. But when you are broken and your life is disintegrating, how can you be expected to live by the standards of a society that has failed you? In true Christ like nature, Lisa and ARK have turned this notion on its head and made people feel that they belong - that they count. People that came to ARK first in need of help are now themselves helping others; this revolution in behaviour is so remarkable that the police have called for ARK to be found a new home – such is the benefit of ARK and its Christian ministry to our town.
“ARK owes so much to its many volunteers and their collective dedication, talents, skills and training. But the success of ARK is not down to the qualified staff and volunteers but the unqualified love shown to everyone who comes through the doors of ARK.
“I have been greatly inspired by Lisa and the Christian love she bestows on everyone at ARK. By showing people that she cares and that their lives matter she has given people new hope and encouragement to turn their lives around. When you weigh the work of ARK in this way it is a success by any measure.”
The ARK is looking for a place it can hire up to seven days a week where it can run its drop-in service. Finances are limited for the rent it can afford.
Any offer of a property they could use temporarily or on a permanent basis, will be gratefully considered.
A town centre location would be preferable, but otherwise located somewhere which is accessible by public transport. It must also be accessible for disabled people.
The charity needs access to a kitchen to make hot lunches and storage for its foodbank and activity materials.
ARK is appealing to businesses and individuals to think about supporting them regularly through a financial donation so they can approach a bank for a mortgage or secure a lease.
Donations would not only go towards paying bills, but also on other expenses such as taking the group on outings, rehabilitation courses for people struggling with addictions and travel expenses to job interviews and medical appointments.
Anyone who can help financially or can provide a new home can call Lisa on 07825 284054, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to thearkhorsham.org.uk
Related stories: Police support County Times’ campaign for Ark Horsham’s new home
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