Restoring dignity and reviving hope...
The recession may be over but for many people across the UK, poverty is part of their daily lives. A lack of jobs, rising living costs, mounting debts, confusion over benefits, poor money management skills – it is all too easy to find yourself in severe trouble and very difficult to get back out of the red.
Established in 2005, REACH Community Projects was initially set up to provide free debt counselling; however, it was soon clear that many Haverhill residents needed more immediate support. Founder and Projects Director, Henry Wilson, explains:
“We realised very quickly that people needed much more than debt counselling and money management courses. People were struggling to get from one week to the next, with no job, a benefits system that doesn't help in the interim, banks taking money out of their account for going over their agreed overdraft, and a family to feed. It was getting to the point where families were struggling to buy the absolute essentials such as food.
“A prime example of this was a lady who contacted us in 2006.” Henry continues. “She was a single parent who had started a job to better herself but three months later, was laid off. She had to reapply for her benefits and wait for at least four weeks for any money to come through. In the meantime, what was she meant to do? How was she going to feed, clothe and shelter her children?
“It really hit home and made us wonder how many other families were struggling with the same problems in Haverhill?”
In 2008, REACH launched The Haverhill Foodbank in partnership with the Trussell Trust and Haverhill and District Churches Together (HDCT). The Foodbank is a vital safety net for unexpected crises, such as the loss of a job, cut or delay in benefits.
In September 2009, the REACH Furniture Bank began re-distributing essential household items to families in need in and around Haverhill. Sofas, bed bases and mattresses, cots, wardrobes, chest-of-drawers, freezers, fridges, microwaves – all furniture and white goods that we rely on to live in comfort and dignity.
Other projects launched include:
REACH Resource Centre
Located on Leiston Road, Haverhill, the REACH Resource Centre was officially opened by Cllr Anne Gower in 2010 and has become the central hub for all of REACH's community projects.
“Many of the people who contact us have reached rock bottom,” says Henry. “They desperately need help but also deserve our respect. We wanted to create a drop-in centre that provided a range of support services under one roof, such as free debt counselling, money management advice, help with housing, filling out Job Centre and Tax Credits forms and benefits advice.
“However, just as importantly, we wanted to create a warm, relaxed, supportive and respectful environment, in which people could come, share their problems and feel that they are being heard.”
Can you help?
REACH Community Projects is making a massive difference to individuals and families living in poverty in our area. However, in order to continue providing such life-changing help, it needs your support.
You can donate food and furniture to the Foodbank and Furniture Bank; further information about the kind of donations required can be found on REACH's website.
You can also donate financially. Whether it's a single donation or a small monthly contribution, you will be making a massive difference to struggling families in and around Haverhill. Please click here to donate online.
You could become a volunteer or alternatively, hold a sponsored event to raise funds for REACH.
If you have an idea for an event, or would like to help out at the REACH Resource Centre, Foodbank or Furniture Bank, please call 01440 712 950.
Get in touch
For general enquiries, please call REACH Community Projects on 01440 712 950.
Alternatively, you can call the REACH Resource Centre direct on 01440 268 003. The Resource Centre can be found on Leiston Road, Haverhill, and is open from 2pm until 5pm on weekdays, plus from 10am until 1pm on Tuesdays.
Please remember to mention The Best of Haverhill when contacting local charity, REACH Community Projects – thank you.
© The Best of Haverhill
Very helpful and friendly. If anyone I know needs help, I will give them a glowing recommendation.
I found the service and the staff at REACH to be very friendly and helpful.
I think this service is perfect and there should definitely be one in every town.
Very helpful in my time of need, I always experience a friendly service with a smile.
Very helpful company. I would be lost without their help. They are excellent!