Minolta DSCHere are a few of the many stories that form part of the Vineyard Community.
(real names not used)

Peter: Evicted from a single parent home at 16 Peter was vulnerable and street homeless. We provided temporary accommodation and support for several weeks until statutory obligations were implemented.

Ian. A businessman who is the only tsunami survivor of his extended family of 13. Ian had arranged a holiday them in Indonesia but was visiting another village when the tsunami struck. Ian was repatriated as a medical casualty after scavenging and searching for his relatives for two and a half months. Ian abandoned his previous successful business life and spent 8 years just walking the country without money or any form of support or even a watch. He was spotted sitting near Richmond Bridge by someone who suggested he might visit the Vineyard.  He came to us for just a few days in need of shoes, some talk and some comfort before leaving again. He was not yet able to take a step back into society.

George. A man who suffered sever breakdown following bereavement. He found community, volunteering and part time employment with us until resettlement locally.

Derek. A manager of a top UK hotel who developed manic depression and lost his job. Derek came to us during a period of rough sleeping until we could support him into local social housing.

Mary. A lady we helped flee from years of domestic abuse and with the help of a partner agency, placed in a safe house with our ongoing support and confidence building. When Mary was given a key to her new home she was unable to open the door because of trauma induced fears of what might lie within, and she was unable to walk much distance because of  deteriorating health. Now she can venture out for several miles and is growing in confidence and recovery.

Anthony continued his volunteering for a local charity when he became a homeless rough sleeper and needed to access the services of the Vineyard. He did not tell his workplace colleagues and when the charity was chosen for a presentation award by the Queen Anthony was among those chosen to receive the award. Our charity shop dressed Anthony in suit and tie for the occasion. Only we know that  our shop is now ‘by appointment to her Majesty.’

Kazima, a torture victim and asylum seeker from Sudan was granted asylum accommodation in the borough but statutory benefits would not meet the cost after her asylum status was approved. We supported Kazima for six months while she slept in Ham woods, during which time she had two hospital operations. Kazima needed our extensive advocacy before being housed and helped into part time employment.

200 Each year we could tell about 200 other stories like the ones above. Each is unique and each is in need of help in crisis and hope for life. Most do find this at the Vineyard, though each year some do die and one or two may take their own lives.