I love working for the West London Mission. We have just published our Annual Report which summarises what we have achieved in the past year. Its a great opportunity to celebrate and give thanks for the transformation we have seen in the lives of homeless and vulnerable people.
This is what I wrote in my introduction:
A hope which empowers people
“The two quotes from users of WLM services which start and end this report tell us something very important about hope. On the front page Dorothy said ‘This place has helped me become more myself’. On the back page Joe says that WLM helped him find ‘my old smile, my confidence’.
This is the evidence of hope which empowers people. WLM does not simply provide hand-outs to grateful recipients – rather we are partners with our users and residents in releasing the hope and transformation that lies within them.
There is no doubt this is a very challenging time. According to the official figures, rough sleeping in London has risen this past year by 43% and we have had more people than ever access the West London Day Centre. But at the same time our largest single statutory grant of £140,000 was cut to zero.
However, despite these challenges, this has been a year in which WLM’s work has continued to grow and deepen its impact. As you will see in the coming pages, this year has seen some exciting developments such as opening a new service in Big House Clapham as well as employing Ruth Bottoms as our Chaplain. Also, each of our existing services has made significant strides in terms of the quality and effectiveness of our work. In amongst the challenges, there has been much cause for hope.
A key ingredient of transformation
Hope is a key ingredient of transformation because it helps people believe they can overcome problems and move forward positively. It is hugely relevant in our work with those whose lives have been dominated by offending, addictions, personal problems and homelessness. And it is also relevant to us as an organisation too – the belief that WLM can continue to develop and improve what we do. Hope is an expression of our Christian ethos because we believe in a God of hope, who wants all people to enjoy a fullness of life.
And as Joe ended his great talk at our 125th celebration last year:
‘Me and the West London Mission did this between us…with your help’.
I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to all our staff and volunteers for their great work this year and also to all of our supporters who have believed in what we are doing. You have all contributed to us having hope during these challenging times.”