A mum, who lost her homeless son to his heroin addiction, has voiced her support for the County Times campaign to save the ARK Horsham.
The ARK, which helps people struggling with issues including addictions, unemployment, disability, or homelessness will lose its home at Horsham United Reformed Church on September 4. The search continues for a new base for its drop-in service.
Volunteer Shirley Dighton of Capel is the latest in the ARK ‘family’ to speak up about the vital work it offers.
Her son, Ben, was 31 when he died two years ago and she says places like ARK would have been a lifeline for him.
She describes her first experience of the charity.
She said: “Lisa (Burrell), the director, greeted me warmly and spoke to me about the ethos of the ARK and that the ARK was a special family.
“I was struck as the morning went on as to how people related to each other.
“There were no generational divisions, so young and old mixed. Some came with the scars of addiction and broken lives but they seemed content to just ‘be’. I came across the lonely and vulnerable, estranged from their families. The Ark is their family now.
“They are valued as people, listened to and helped wherever resources allow.”
In a place as prosperous as Horsham, it may be hard to see there is such a need for a place such as ARK, but Shirley believes there is.
She added: “I ask how could one of my children end up homeless. He was loved. We tried to support him but addiction drove him to the streets. We couldn’t reach him. I hope that I bring something to the Ark that makes a difference to how someone feels.
“Individuals have spoken to me personally about breaking out of the vicious cycle of drug and alcohol abuse and say with absolute certainty that without the Ark it could not have happened.
“There was a time many moons ago when I could not have envisaged losing my son to heroin. Decent people surely don’t have to worry because they bring their children up properly. I am humbled. I am not ashamed of my son I am heartbroken.”
The charity is looking for a place it can hire up to seven days a week. 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. They need access to a kitchen and it must be wheelchair friendly.
Call Lisa on 07825 284054 or email email@example.com to help.
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