SOUL FOUNDATION LOCAL
Norwich is known as ‘A Fine City’ and we agree! But there’s still so much need here, with children going hungry, people living on our streets, others abused, struggling with addiction, lonely and hurting. The church is called to be a light in the darkness and here at SOUL Church, we’re passionate about reaching the lost.
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
I had a chaotic childhood where violence and abuse was the norm. I started self harming and developed depression, anxiety, trauma, complex PTSD and OCD. I spent time on the streets and fell in with a crowd of children like me, using drugs from age 10, progressing to heroin and crack cocaine and becoming involved with organised crime and gang warfare.
I saw people overdosing, dying due to gang violence, or ending up in prison and when I myself was attacked, I knew something had to change. I packed a bag and moved to Norfolk, detoxing, joining a gym and improving my overall health. I saw a therapist who was very kind to me and was then referred to a clinical psychologist, finding there wasn’t anyone in the area who dealt with my issues. I fell between the cracks.
I relapsed and slipped back into old habits, narrowly avoiding prison. To turn things around, I started to visit mental health support groups and found these helpful but things still weren’t right. After years of struggling and being bounced around the health service, I was finally diagnosed and received the right medication. It had taken ten years.
It made me realise there were huge gaps in the system, so I started working voluntarily with the NHS and council to improve things and I’m still doing that to this day, with clients such as the police and the N&N Hospital. We all have it in us to be agents for change and I’m privileged to be able to help others, just as others have helped me.
I’ll always need medication but I’m no longer defined by my illness. I have a meaningful life and a purpose. I’ve rediscovered my childhood faith – I know who I am in Jesus and I love coming to SOUL Church, listening to God’s word and worshipping. I’m living life fully and fruitfully in the light of God’s grace.
Heart for the House continues to extend our reach far beyond the four walls of the church building and makes Jesus tangible to those in desperate need.
Through this year’s giving we want to step out and trust God for a building in the centre of our city to be a refuge for those who need support, nourishment, a clothing bank and a safe place to belong. Our dream is to be able to run an ALPHA course and other midweek outreach programmes through the Refuge.
We believe we have a responsibility as the church to care for the most vulnerable, destitute and marginalised in our city.