Annual
Report
20-21

Seeing God transform the marginalised
in Tower Hamlets, for His glory.

33

Guests in the shelter

16

Residents in the housing

Table of Contents

Introduction from GrowTH’s director

The report below outlines what has been a challenging yet exciting year for GrowTH. After ten years of running a rolling church night shelter, due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19 in communal spaces, the shelter was this season based from a local hotel. 

This was a great opportunity for GrowTH to try something new, and there were many invaluable lessons learned, which we will reflect on as we dream of the next ten years for GrowTH.

We were pleased that five shelter guests were able to be accommodated within our own housing project. GrowTH housing has moved from strength to strength since Nicky our Housing Manager took the helm. The future of the housing is secure indeed, thanks to a hugely generous donation of a property. “Those who honour me, I will honour,” (1 Samuel 2:30) is the scripture that has resonated with me as I have pondered on this staggering investment into GrowTH and our future.

I want to thank the wonderful staff team for their support since I became Director last year, our board of trustees for their wise advice and encouragement and our partner churches and volunteers for adapting so willingly during difficult times indeed.

We hope you will rejoice with us and thank God for His faithfulness and provision as you read of how He has used so many people in so many ways to bring light to the darkness and hope to the hopeless.

We love, because He first loved us.

Naomi

Night
Shelter

"For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.
He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight"
— Psalm 72:12-14

Different model, same God!

The same God that breathed GrowTH into existence in 2009, (read the story of how GrowTH began in our 10th annual report ‘A Decade of GrowTH’), is the same God that we put our trust and hope in when providing a shelter for the 11th year seemed an impossible feat. Let us take you through the timeline of events of the last year, through the highs and the lows, which culminated in a fantastically run shelter.

The country enters lockdown due to COVID-19. GrowTH transforms overnight into a day and night shelter until guests are moved into hotels a week later under the government’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme.

Housing Justice advise all night shelters to change their model for the upcoming winter

The team and some volunteers explore alternative provision

Church leaders gathered to pray for the shelter.

More specifically, for individual accommodation for 15 guests.

Operating Principles are released by the government, giving guidance around the provision of night shelters. It is clear that communal spaces cannot be used.

A ten bed house is viewed with LBTH’s Public Health team. The response appears positive.

NEWdawn night shelter suggest using the same hotel as them

  • Funding application submitted
  • Local authority express concerns around the model being proposed

LBTH hotel agrees in principle to host the shelter

Local authority are unable to endorse the funding application due to concerns around managing an outbreak

LBTH hotel withdraws offer of use

Discussion commences between GrowTH, the local authority and MHCLG to find a way forward

The team visit the hotel which will subsequently act as our night shelter.

Funding application approved with endorsement of the local authority

  • First draft of risk assessment submitted
  • Volunteer online training

Second draft of risk assessment submitted following feedback from public health

Risk assessment approved by LBTH’s public health department

  • Contract is signed with the hotel.
  • GrowTH night shelter opens!

GrowTH night shelter closes having hosted 33 guests.

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March 2020

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Why
Where
What

Why did our guests become homeless,
Where are they from and what happened
to them after they left the shelter.

The importance of church partnership

For any organisation or charity to succeed in fulfilling their mission there must be partnership! For GrowTH, church partnership is not optional its essential. Our vision to see people transformed by God is only possible when the church gets involved. The church is to be Jesus’s hands and feet. It is to be his very mouthpiece, loving the guests and tell them of the wonderful love that Jesus has for them. Simply put, the shelter could not exist without church partnership. This year, despite the pandemic, amazingly 11 churches were able to partner with us to help run the shelter.

Why do you volunteer with your church each year?

- Christ Church London volunteer

A few years ago I asked the folks in my church where I might go volunteer, and they kindly pointed me to GrowTH. I mostly wanted to connect with like-minded people, do something for others and for God. But I didn't expect to learn so much. Since then, it's become a vital part in my spiritual diet. I've found there's plenty ways to practice what I learned about Jesus, and with practice it sticks so much better! There have been so many great examples to imitate. Whenever I am confronted with my shortcomings, I meet grace and kindness. That makes you relax and get more real. Every shift is a little different: Sometimes it's almost like hanging out with a bunch of friends, and hearing the most amazing stories, maybe getting to share something. And sometimes it's frustrating and sad, to see broken lives and no connection. Sometimes the answer seems clear but I have to stand back and respect other people's choices. Seeing all that forces me to think hard about what's important and what they need. And that reminds me of what Jesus did in my life. It makes me wonder what I need and what God wants to do in our lives, and how I can play my part. I learn so much from everybody involved, I get to see guests come out of poverty, and I've even made a bunch of friends around the city.

The importance of church partnership

For any organisation or charity to succeed in fulfilling their mission there must be partnership! For GrowTH, church partnership is not optional its essential. Our vision to see people transformed by God is only possible when the church gets involved. The church is to be Jesus’s hands and feet. It is to be his very mouthpiece, loving the guests and tell them of the wonderful love that Jesus has for them. Simply put, the shelter could not exist without church partnership. This year, despite the pandemic, amazingly 11 churches were able to partner with us to help run the shelter.

Why do you volunteer with your church each year?

- Christ Church London volunteer

A few years ago I asked the folks in my church where I might go volunteer, and they kindly pointed me to GrowTH. I mostly wanted to connect with like-minded people, do something for others and for God. But I didn't expect to learn so much. Since then, it's become a vital part in my spiritual diet. I've found there's plenty ways to practice what I learned about Jesus, and with practice it sticks so much better! There have been so many great examples to imitate. Whenever I am confronted with my shortcomings, I meet grace and kindness. That makes you relax and get more real. Every shift is a little different: Sometimes it's almost like hanging out with a bunch of friends, and hearing the most amazing stories, maybe getting to share something. And sometimes it's frustrating and sad, to see broken lives and no connection. Sometimes the answer seems clear but I have to stand back and respect other people's choices. Seeing all that forces me to think hard about what's important and what they need. And that reminds me of what Jesus did in my life. It makes me wonder what I need and what God wants to do in our lives, and how I can play my part. I learn so much from everybody involved, I get to see guests come out of poverty, and I've even made a bunch of friends around the city.

Reflection from Wioleta our Advocate Worker​

The report below outlines what has been a challenging yet exciting year for GrowTH. After ten years of running a rolling church night shelter, due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19 in communal spaces, the shelter was this season based from a local hotel. 

This was a great opportunity for GrowTH to try something new, and there were many invaluable lessons learned, which we will reflect on as we dream of the next ten years for GrowTH.

We were pleased that five shelter guests were able to be accommodated within our own housing project. GrowTH housing has moved from strength to strength since Nicky our Housing Manager took the helm. The future of the housing is secure indeed, thanks to a hugely generous donation of a property. “Those who honour me, I will honour,” (1 Samuel 2:30) is the scripture that has resonated with me as I have pondered on this staggering investment into GrowTH and our future.

I want to thank the wonderful staff team for their support since I became Director last year, our board of trustees for their wise advice and encouragement and our partner churches and volunteers for adapting so willingly during difficult times indeed.

We hope you will rejoice with us and thank God for His faithfulness and provision as you read of how He has used so many people in so many ways to bring light to the darkness and hope to the hopeless.

We love, because He first loved us.

Naomi

What guests said . . .

It was great and made me feel a little more secure other than being on my own dealing with my problems
Very positive. Without this place I don’t know what happened in my life
The volunteers were amazing. Always available if you needed something or a chat
Once again I can only speak for myself. They have done a wonderful job in helping me through this difficult time.
I’m more open to fellowship and Bible study
I’ve had a wonderful 3 months. And wouldn’t wish for you to change anything
I’ve started reading bible and attending church. If it wasn’t for GrowTH and all the members of GrowTH I’d still have the same beliefs as before ...
The best way to help homeless people back on the track

Proclaiming Christ
in the pandemic

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? 
And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?
And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
– Romans 10:14

Proclaiming Christ
in the pandemic

“I’ve started reading bible and attending church. If it wasn’t for GrowTH and all the members of GrowTH I’d still have the same beliefs as before…”

In the shelter ...

9 guests attended a Bible study at least once

18 guests had at least one faith conversation

16 guests received prayer at least once

In the housing ...

26 residents received a Bible

21 residents had at least one faith conversation

13 residents received prayer at least once

GrowTH
Housing

"Staff are amazing and very helpful. I thank for all the assistance they offfered for me"

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Resident story

Zeyna

Thank you

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