Part of the preparation for developing God’s Lily Training was doing part time work that brought God’s Lily into contact with a lot of people who had hit hard times. She wanted to do more but wondered what. Then She realised that she could organise a short series of workshops looking at mental health issues from a faith based perspective. She had a go and learnt a lot in the process. Primarily about what did not work!
It became a disaster zone. Looking back it is hard to work out what could have gone wrong that did not. It was time for a different approach. This time though she set up a social enterprise called Lily the Pink Education Community Interest Company.
The aim was to meet the needs of people in mental distress. In other words people who had hit hard times and the changes in their circumstances affected the way they thought and behaved.
After she set up this legal structure I decided to let God in on the act. So shortly before she went to bed one night she said “God what do you want this to become”. In the morning she woke up seeing a diagram. She quickly scribbled it down. You can see the neatly typed version below.
It was a hexagon that was divided up into six triangles. Each triangle represented an area of activity. There was
- A quiet area for reflection and to aid recovery
- A social area to give the opportunity to make friends over a meal
- A living area to gain the skills required for everyday life like ironing
- A study area offering the chance to catch up on basic skills as well as offering the chance to do some academic study to prepare people to go forwards into a new and better future
- A practical helps area offering support with things like moving house and making homes more comfortable to live in
- A business and employment area offering support to those looking for work as well as those who want to build businesses that will create jobs.
You can see the sort of projects that it would be necessary to develop for each area to function in the diagram below.
She was shocked. The ideas for projects in each area reflected the things that she knew were needed. You see she had been through hard times herself and she knew what it was like to wonder where to turn when she wanted to make my home more comfortable. She had met many people recovering from a mental health crisis as part of her job so she had seen the issues they had faced.
Other things that showed God’s Lily why this was needed
It was not just the job but personal experience and even experiencing life in an area that was somewhat down at heels. Her personal experience included having to make a fresh start after divorce. Looking back she is thankful that Prince Charming chose to give her the order of the boot. Life is so different today to what it was then. Yet at the time it was not easy as there were quite a few practical challenges.
One practical challenge was physically moving her stuff out of the house that she left Prince Charming in. Many things were put on a trolley and pushed to the new place. They were the only wheels that she had. Another lady did offer to laod some things in her car one evening and those few trips were a blessing. Then there was the man and the van who were paid to help move the biggest things that could not be moved any other way. What do you do when you do not a have a car and very few of the people you know have a car?
Some of the practical things that are listed as needs that a community hub like Lily’s Place were also things that working as a tutor had made her realise were needed. This included stints as an IT tutor and a basic skills support tutor. After that background many of the training things made sense to her as well.
Another thing that she experienced was how living in different places can affect your life. Some places have a poor reputation or sturggle economically. Then there is the question of what happens to a community when the largest employer decides to move on and there are simply no more jobs?
That is just a flavour of why God’s Lily sees the importance of developing community hubs like Lily’s Place. I wonder what have you seen and expereinced that makes you realise that such places are needed in your community?