A Nottingham man has ‘changed his life forever’ after living on the streets and battling an addiction.
Alex Stibbard has reformed his life after he was ‘homeless, a drug addict and broken’, until someone reached out to him from a charity and welcomed him with ‘open arms’.
Betel UK is a Christian recovery project and an independent homeless charity, designed to accommodate men, women and families ‘who are broken from life, due to addictions of drug and drink, homelessness, and from hurts and depression’.
“Betel is here to help so that they can come and live for free in one of our communities,” says Alex.
“We see people absolutely smashed to pieces from life, from the streets, prison, growing up in care, fatherless or grown up in an abusive environment – we can change this.”
“We reach out to the lost and broken, give a warm place, food and a place to stay”
Betel UK is not just a Nottingham-based charity, it has communities all over the UK and the world. Its main base began in Madrid, Spain, and then came to Nottingham just under 20 years ago. They have residential homes that involve a warm and hospitable environment to get people back on the right track.
More than 250,000 homeless or deprived people have come through Betel UK, showing how serious homelessness is around the world.
“We reach out to the lost and broken, give a warm place, food and a place to stay,” says Alex.
Alex is now one of the members of the leadership team: “It’s the best place ever,” he said.
The charity is funded by smaller businesses run throughout the charity by the residents themselves. This gives them a ‘sense of purpose and develop valuable skills’, say the charity.
The businesses include: restoring furniture, running a garden landscape business, house removals, catering, retail sales, flyer distribution, and preparing meals and cleaning.
In the evening Betel offers worshipping services, group bible discussions and recreation games to build team-working skills.
Around Christmas time the weather has extreme cold conditions which can be a huge threat to the homeless.
“Betel is always open but there should always be more support over Christmas,” added Alex. “A lot of churches I know open their doors so that men and women can come in grab a bed, some food and have a game of Scrabble.”
He has completely transformed his life for the better from becoming one of the members on the charity’s leadership team to getting married this year.
He said: “I never dreamt these things would happen in my life; I have a wife now, a home, the most amazing job I could have ever dreamed of, I have friends.
“I have all these things in my life that I never thought I’d have.”