Unlocking people... releasing potential
• Employment & Education for Residents • Open for 30 Years this May!
• Lally’s Story
RESIDENTS’ STORIES EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION FOR JADE “ AND SHARON It was a difficult decision for me to apply to Gilead. It followed years of mental health problems and an increasing addiction to alcohol. A series of stressful life events made me lose sight of myself and I was not coping with everyday life. Leaving my children and my home of 25 years in London was a tough choice to make but I had got to the end of the road of what I could do for myself and was struggling to manage even basic living. I was not eating or sleeping and all my relationships were suffering. The vicar’s wife of our local church identified Gilead as a possible place to recover so I discussed this opportunity with my family and close friends who were all unanimously in support of me coming here. It wasn’t easy, particularly in the beginning, I had completely lost all my selfconfidence, was physically fragile, underweight and emotionally numb. I suffered extreme mood swings and at times felt absolutely paralysed by anxiety. A few weeks into my stay I was described as having been a ‘broken shell’ when I arrived, by a support worker who said that she saw a big difference in me already. Another support worker said she saw changes in me every week. Friends and family were also saying they could hear a difference in me when we spoke. Although I couldn’t recognise it in myself at the time, I was encouraged by these positive comments. Gradually with the help of the support workers I began to put together a program of activities that would help me address the difficulties I had been experiencing. Bit by bit with the gentle encouragement of the staff I was able to put together strategies which will help me to return home stronger and able to cope
with whatever life throws at me. They kept me safe in the early days, facilitated treatment from a local GP, counselling and therapy and provided activities to keep me occupied. The staff were very receptive to address any problems I had and helped me in any way they could. I am grateful to them for their patience and compassion during my darkest moments and their advice and practical support as and when I need it.”
Both Jade and Sharon are participants on our Horticulture Project funded by the European Social Fund and The Education and Skills Funding Agency. Both have thoroughly enjoyed the gardening and can be seen here.
From a lifetime of drugs and crime I was chaotic! I learned to survive by whatever means possible. I went into selfdestruct at an early age, reaching out for more of anything to numb my pain. My drug of choice being heroin. This drug became my best friend. Sacrificing everything for it, my once warm heart grew dark and cold. Happiness became to me only a smile I wore as I raised my head higher trying to hide my shame from the world. God set me free from all my addictions, my shame and guilt before coming here to Gilead as I had already been in a strict Christian rehab, but wisdom told me I wasn’t ready for the outside world. I came to Gilead as a stepping stone to deepen my relationship with God and get ready for my next season. I was shocked to be so accepted by the staff who have treated me like family and been so patient with me. I was even more shocked to find out I have a great love for horses and as you can see the cover photo speaks more words than I ever could. Just like Jesus, their love is unconditional.
Jade spacing out planting
The decision to leave my London based life to move to supported housing on a farm in rural Devon was a huge and terrifying one, although with hindsight it shouldn’t have been. The life I left behind was chaotic at best and traumatic at worse. Through mistakes that I had made and events that I had no control over, life had become a constant struggle. Violence, drug taking and drinking to obliteration a daily occurrence. But taking that leap of faith, making the choice to try something different was still so overwhelming. I can honestly say I am thankful every single day that I came to Gilead. From nearly the moment I arrived at Gilead I knew this was a special place, it helps that its surroundings are beautiful, we have work therapy on a farm
with animals and plants, we have acres of farmland and woods to explore by foot or bike and group outings to swim in lakes or find waterfalls. But the reason Gilead has been truly transformative for me is the constant support I have received, there is always someone willing to listen, advise, encourage and push you towards reaching your full potential. I have been here for 7 months now, I was a shell of a person when I arrived. I have a part time job in a local supermarket now, I can’t decide what A levels to take because I’m not sure what I’d like to do as a job yet but I do know I’d like to work with animals. I also know I’ve been given the perfect opportunity to make something of myself, to live a happy life. That’s what Gilead has done for me, given me the chance to make the right choices.
WORK PLACEMENTS FOR OUR RESIDENTS!
SHARON Sharon and her plants
I have been at Gilead almost nine months, and the personal growth I have experienced within myself is an achievement in itself. I had been in and out of addiction to heroin and pills for 27 years, suffering badly with depression, which at times would result in suicide attempts, homelessness, abusive and codependent relationships. I tried moving away to different areas, and would find things ok for a while, but eventually, I would find myself in the same position that I had escaped from. In the past nine months here at Gilead, I’ve built up a really good routine and
work ethic, some mornings getting up early to milk cows, which I absolutely love! I have attained various certificates through online training, from first aid to manual handling. Now I’m currently studying a Theo-Therapy course which is a module of counseling and look forward to the future and helping others like me. Gilead Foundations is more than this house, I believe, it’s every prayer, it’s every tin that’s donated, it’s every person that pours into this organisation, showing us that we are loved and valued.
Made-Well is a community interest company just up the road from Gilead. The residents of Gilead have enjoyed many days out there to look around their raised beds and poly tunnels. Their cafe serves wonderful breakfasts which set us up for the day! We particularly loved watching the huge pigs, stroking the ponies and donkeys and watching the piglets running around. Made-well also provides many volunteering
and work placement opportunities. One resident, who has developed a passion for gardening during her time at Gilead, has been helping out 2 days a week in the veg gardens there. She has also visited Rosemoor with the group and helped to look after the animals. Made-well is a wonderful place for our residents to build up their skills and to enjoy a wide variety of activities.
LINDA AND STEVE
and began to connect more and more with both the staff and residents over the year until March 2020 when lockdown happened and Gilead changed from male to female residents.
A chat with a former resident inspired us to find out more about Gilead. We had both taken early retirement and come from backgrounds in engineering (Steve) and I in banking. During 2019 we trained with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) on behalf of New Life Church, Okehampton to provide Money Courses and Life Skills Courses out in the community. We did a CAP presentation here at Gilead with a view to running the courses to the residents
Fast forward to June 2020 and I became a part time support worker and Steve began to volunteer within maintenance and renovations. We both consider it a privilege to be involved in the lives and journeys of the residents here at Gilead. Between us we have worked with the residents doing things like art and craft therapy, developing their creativity as well as encouraging them on their individual journeys. Steve is involved in refurbishing a building to create areas for the residents to use for horticultural training, I.T. training and a craft room.
August trip to Madewell
I started here at Gilead as a support worker 8 months ago and fell in love with the place immediately. The love and support that is all around is so inspiring to be a part of. Working alongside the women here and being a part of their journey through recovery and into their new lives fills me with joy and makes me feel incredibly blessed to be a part of Gilead.”
A BIG thanks to Charitable Trusts, Foundations, Community Grants, local organisations and YOU for giving to us during this Winter. Christmastime can be difficult for our residents and with the pandemic it was extra hard. We are thankful for your prayers, presents, cards and financial gifts.
A special thanks to; CAF (Charities Aid Foundation), The Lottery Community Fund and Devon County Council funding support worker costs and IT equipment. Okehampton Cooperative who raised over £3000 last year for our gardening and horticulture training area. Thank you to the public who chose Gilead as their charity to support while shopping at Coop!! Co-op Community Fund
Exercise equipment donations
Local Giving – This organisation created a match funding campaign of which we were part. We raised over £1000 through this site to pay for exercise classes and equipment. Our magic little grant had just ran out so this has meant a steady continuation of physical exercise for our residents.
Okehampton and District Lions Club gave some money for us to buy tools for our Residents to use in the gardens and poly tunnel.
As I write this newsletter I recall my arrival at Gilead as an 18 year old last year college student studying Social Care. I am now 47! I have fond memories of my last work placement from my course. I worked for two weeks on reception packing newsletters! Previously I chose a homeless night shelter in Preston, Lancashire run by the Methodist church in their basement and my desire to help those who were hurting in this way grew stronger. At 14 years old I read books by David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz, a Rev and a drug dealer who in the end had the same goal of helping the addicted and the broken to find a future and a hope. I felt then I was to work in some kind of organisation who supported this group. I later found out that Teen Challenge were thinking of buying Risdon Farm but didn’t and Ian and Bronwen did! They took people into their home way before establishing the charity. So I applied to work at Gilead and started the summer I left college. I have cleaned toilets, managed the catering, house parented and finally worked in P.R. I also have had challenges in my life and left to go through a divorce, raise my children and had a few other jobs in between. I have seen so many people helped by the staff here and love to find funds to help our residents on their journey to restoration. My goal is to see the remaining 2 bungalows built – a mere 500k each needed to build and furnish, accommodating another 20 residents. I look forward to launching this project in the next few years. Can you help me? As I concentrate on applying and reporting to funders I need help with the Marketing and Social Media. All our current job vacancies are on our website. 30 years!! In May this year Gilead will have been established for 30 years!! Beginning with both men, women and families, later concentrating on just helping men. In early 2020 we became a women’s centre adapting to respond to the many calls we were receiving. We have been full for many months during this last year. 30 years is huge and we want to celebrate. However we can’t plan much at the moment, but we remain grateful for every single person who has accompanied us on this journey and for the many lives reached by the charity and the dedicated staff.
THANKYOU!!!! Lions club tools
Ways you can support vulnerable women in crisis. We are grateful to our supporters who bought items from our Amazon Wish List. Baking trays, weights and gardening books. www.amzn.to/2AEMzC5
Contact us 01837 851240 www.gilead.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Risdon Farm, Jacobstowe, Okehampton EX20 3AJ
Fundraising & Marketing Manager