Christmas greetings !
This year has been incredibly challenging for Grace to Restore – as it has for everyone.
The start of the year saw us completing a decorating ‘facelift’ to our first residential facility in the north of the City. We were so blessed to have this work carried out – as a gift to GTR – and to a highly professional standard, by a wonderful friend from Family Church who lovingly prepared the house to be turned into a home.
This small house was gifted to GTR initially for two years at a tiny rent. This gave the charity our first private ‘space’ to invite young women into that was safe and calm, and which offered them thinking space and privacy to open up – whatever their struggle.
We were further blessed when we were gifted a substantial amount from Family Church to put towards furniture and fittings, as part of their Barclays Community Fund and I enjoyed ‘shopping’ to create a safe, homely and welcoming space for our first ‘Grace Girls’.
By March we were ready to open the doors and God immediately brought the right people to us – including much needed staff and volunteers!
Our very first resident had a tough journey ahead of her, but during her time at Grace House we never laughed so much or cried so hard as I had imagined was possible – sometimes both in the same five minutes! As it can be when someone begins to address long held, deep emotional issues, things became tougher for her before it became easier, and many days were spent accessing the care and guidance of the Mental Health Crisis Team at St Mary’s Hospital. We worked alongside them as they worked out the best treatment plan for her and, temporarily, she spent time in a secure mental health unit at St. James’s Hospital. These were worrying days and lots of prayers went up as we waited for her to feel more stabilised and to be discharged.
For the staff and volunteers seeing one of ‘our girls’ in so much emotional pain and a state of distress that was literally in danger of stealing her life from her, was really tough and truly a test of our reliance on God and His promise to provide our strength. This beautiful young woman was literally in a battle for her life against mental torment. John and I had seen this before only a couple of years earlier with our own daughter and it took a real toll to see another of God’s precious girls going through such a similar struggle and not knowing if she would survive it – but Father God held and sustained us, as He has consistently throughout our family’s story and provided an inner strength, even as I heard the same heartbreaking words that I had heard before “I just don’t want to be here anymore.”
I am super-delighted to be able to say, this resident returned home to her family, happier, healthier and with a new hope for her future. Life isn’t simple but she says she has learned so much and has found her coping mechanisms and a priceless understanding of her emotional wellbeing and how to maintain it. She started at Uni this Autumn and is thriving! She feels without GTR she may not have made it – huge testament to the work we feel God has commissioned us to carry out in His name.
The latter part of the year saw us close the doors – we thought temporarily – due to staffing issues, and to Covid complicating things! For now, we have had to take the decision to move away from residential to more of a ‘Day Centre’ for want of a better description. Grace House couldn’t ever be one ‘household’ in Covid terms, as we very much run with the old adage that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and we constantly had several staff and volunteers coming and going – along with visits from health and mental health professionals and practitioners – which put us all, especially our residents, at too high a risk of transmitting the virus. We will see how this all develops over time and re-visit residential as and when the Trustees feel it is wise to do so.
So 2022 will see another ‘first’ for Grace to Restore as we prepare to open our ‘Centre of Grace’ – look out for updates on the website and our socials. This new venture has the same aim – to offer a place of calm in a hectic world and to be a hub of hope where young women can find the support and tools they need to move forward from feeling overwhelmed. We will offer peer support groups, emotional well-being courses and workshops on issues like looking at self esteem, self confidence, and issues of shame, fear, regret, anxiety, hurts and trauma.
We will also be looking to begin support aimed at girls of senior school and college age, to offer preventative measures as emotional struggles emerge in the hope and prayer that issues are cut off at early roots – we would so appreciate your prayer support in this new area and for God’s wisdom in bringing it to pass!
To keep the financial wheels turning in all this, we are planning smaller fundraisers throughout the year, rather than one big event – save the dates, more details will follow:
Saturday 23rd April 2022; Saturday 23rd July 2022; Saturday 1st October 2022
We are SO grateful for all of the support we have received this year; for all your encouragement in person or in spirit and all the donations that people have lovingly worked for, walked for, run, swim or kayaked for; collected or gifted; for our volunteers, fundraisers and our Instagram friends with their kind shares and gifts – you are all with us in our determination to make a difference to those battling with invisible trials and tribulations in their minds and thoughts and we couldn’t do it without any of you!
Wishing you a healthy Christmas and a prosperous 2022
Ruth Grant and all the team
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 NIV