STILL WATERS HOUSE
'SOMEWHERE TO CALL HOME'
Still Waters House is a ministry of Birmingham Central Baptist Church.
Birmingham Central Baptist Church have a long history of caring for the poor and marginalised in our society. From its earliest days (with a history of over 150 years) BCBC has in many different ways sought to alleviate poverty, provide opportunity, and tackle issues of justice in society.
From those early Sunday Schools providing education for children who had no access to formal learning, through huge engagement with young people through Youth Movements, through community activities for older people, through job clubs, debt counselling centres, night shelters for the homeless, all of these and more have been an expression of BCBC's God given heart for the people around us.
Still Waters House is the latest expression of love born from our passion for people and desire to see society changed for good.
Birmingham Central Baptist Church have been involved in The Birmingham Churches Night Shelters since the very beginning, taking part in the initial pilot Shelter and making provision every year the Shelters have run.
Our experience of the Night Shelters left us asking questions about what more could be done to alleviate the issues of homelessness in our communities.
In July 2018 Pastor Paul received a telephone call from an organisation by the name of Green Pastures. The telephone call led to an invitation for BCBC to explore what it might mean for us to become an accommodation provider offering support to people as they strived to transition for homelessness to independent living in their own homes. BCBC as whole required very little convincing that this was exactly where God was leading us.
With great excitement BCBC made its application to Green Pastures to be accepted as Partner Church. In January 2019 Green Pastures approved our application. To our surprise and delight we found that Green Pastures had already obtained a property in the near vicinity of BCBC's church building. We immediately began the process of establishing the Still Waters Project and bringing the house up to the required standards. If you want to know more about our property take a look at our Property page.
As you will appreciate the decision to move from short term Night Shelter provision to becoming a permanent accommodation provider took us on a steep learning curve.
One of the first things we realised was that we can not do this alone, so from day one we began to build relationships with the wider Church and other like minded organisations. to find our more about those we work alongside visit our Partners page.
We are the first to recognise that were it not for these amazing partners Still Waters House may very well not exist at all.
From our experience through the Night Shelters we were already aware that there are significant challenges for those who found themselves faced with homelessness, aside from the obvious issues of not having a secure shelter or access to regular food or income that every rough sleeper faces.
As we explored what it would mean for us to become a Supported Accommodation Provider we began to realise, to our horror, that provision such as this had a terrible reputation in our city. So called 'Supported Accommodation' has become a much abused means for landlords to make a lot of money on the backs of those who find themselves in real difficulty. We heard horror story after horror story of rogue landlords, squalid and dangerous living conditions, abuse and manipulation, and more. It is a sad truth that a significant percentage of Supported Accommodation in our city appears to create more problems that it solves.
Very early on Still Waters House realised that we had a role not only to provide good quality Supported Accommodation, but to be actively involved in challenging the problems, and redeeming the name.
Our voice may well be very small in what is a huge 'industry' (a carefully chosen word), but we intend to use it and grow it as we increasingly work with other like minded groups and individuals to bring essential reform to this much abused sector of housing in our city.
Still Waters House commits to providing excellent support from high quality accommodation. We refuse to be finance driven and as a charity we will always be 'not for profit', every penny received is used to enable the Still Waters House work to ensure we always offer the best for our residents.
Still Waters House is striving for excellence in every area of our work. We aim to train our staff and volunteers to a high standard continually developing our capacity to support. We aim to adopt or create robust and workable procedures and structures which always hold the good of the resident as much as the Support Team at heart.
Still Waters House is eager to work alongside other Supported Accommodation providers who model good practice and are determined to provide the very best for those they accommodate and support. We humbly seek to learn from others and in time to bring our own experience to them in order to inform and shape the sector in positive ways for the future.
Still Waters House is determined that we will bring hope and dignity back to the lives of those we seek to serve. This means we seek to ensure that resident voices are heard in real and appropriate ways as we plan for the future. We intend to listen to our residents when it comes time to improve our property, when it comes time to reshape our support structures, when it comes time to expand our work. Who better to tell us what we can do better than those who receive that which we aim to do?
This is only the beginning of the Still Waters House story and we have a long journey ahead of us. We are committed to the journey. Through our work we hope to enable those who are prepared to make their own personal journey move back from homelessness to independent living. Our aim is to help people find fullness of life.
Could you be a part of the Still Waters House story? If you are interested in working with us or alongside us then get in touch.