Since opening its first home in partnership with Hope into Action in June 2017, The Selig (Suffolk) Trust has opened two
new homes in the area, supporting people to get their lives back on track when things have gone wrong. Julia Hancock,
Charity Manager at The Selig (Suffolk) Trust, beams with pride as she reflects on the dramatic transformation achieved by Mark, who became a tenant just over a year ago:

We should look at everyone with God’s eyes; look beyond the labels society puts on them and see what they were born to be. Only then can we empower them to fulfil their God-given purpose and potential.

‘Mark is a prime example of someone who has grabbed every single opportunity he’s had and totally transformed his life. He’s an inspiration to everyone. Even the way Mark arrived in Ipswich shows his determination to make positive changes. We first met on a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales run by Housing Justice. As I listened to him speak about having used a church based winter night shelter, I could see how much being in the shelter had meant to Mark – especially the connection with the church. I had a feeling we had a vacant room in one of our Hope into Action homes in Ipswich so, after talking with Mark and the staff from the shelter he had used, we put the wheels in motion.’

Mark:
‘I went through a really rough patch. Everything just got worse and worse, I lost my job, my relationship and my kids and I ended up sleeping rough. I was addicted to cocaine and spent time in prison. My own parents turned around and said ‘I wish you were dead’. Life felt incredibly dark and I just knew I had to get away. There was no going
back. Thanks to God, everything lined up; I ended up having a conversation with Julia about going to Ipswich and the rest – as they say – is history!’
Julia:
‘Standing on the train station platform less than a week later, I felt so responsible. I remember it vividly; Mark was walking towards me, really sunburned, holding nothing but a carrier bag. It was profoundly moving to realise how much trust he’d placed in me; literally leaving everything behind to start his new life here with Hope
into Action in Ipswich.’
Mark:
‘I haven’t looked back since! If it wasn’t for organisations like this, I’d still be on the streets – or worse. When you think you’re low, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel; but when something like this happens to you, it gives you hope. My life’s completely different now. I’m working full-time and I volunteered at the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, because I
wanted to give something back.’
Julia:
‘Mark’s put a lot into the volunteering; he really cares about our night shelter guests, because he’s been in their shoes. Not many people are brave enough to do what Mark did – moving to a new place to leave temptation and unhelpful influences behind. Mark’s courage, compassion for others and the strength, grit and determination he’s
mustered to change his life won him the Andy Lanning award, which was presented to him at the Hope into Action Conference.’
Mark:
‘Anyone can change with the right help – you’ve just got to put your mind to it. With Hope into Action’s support, I’ve worked really hard to repair my relationship with my family – I’ve even been home for a visit and have another visit planned. I know I can’t just jump back into the role of being ‘Dad’ – I’ve got to build trust up again. I can’t thank
Julia and Hope into Action enough – I mean, where would I be now? What they do is incredible; they’ve opened the door and shown me the light.’

If you enjoyed reading this why not come to our Conference on the 20th of March next year for more inspiring stories like this.

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