Archbishop: Victory Outreach gives people 'confidence in themselves before God'
Wednesday 21st July 2010The Victory Outreach charity, of which the Archbishop is patron, provides homes and life skills for young people with great needs. The Archbishop welcomed a group of residents and staff to Lambeth Palace.
The Victory Outreach UK Christian charity was founded in the 1960s by David and Dinah Sansome. It provides accommodation for people from all over the UK who may have been abused, had addictions or been homeless. It has helped thousands of young people, providing opportunities to study for qualifications such as catering, computing and mechanics. The programme provides basic life skills and a work ethic, which helps the residents get back on track to lead a normal life.
Revd Richard Taylor, a former criminal who rebuilt his life through Victory Outreach, was inaugurated as Director of the charity by the Archbishop of Canterbury last year. He has started a project with the charity and its residents to build a new church called Victory Church in South Wales.
Victory Outreach UK dramatically changes lives. Neil Williams, who has been with them for eight months, explains how the charity has turned his life around: "It's given my real feelings and emotions back and I'm happier now..it's changed my life."
Most residents gain responsibilities if they choose to stay on beyond the recommended minimum of one year. Abi Gotts, who has been there for two years and is now a senior resident, gives support and encouragement to new girls who have just entered the programme. June Oates, who has been off drugs for ten years through the programme, now manages one of the men's homes.
Simon Styles-Bowen, who was introduced to the charity by the pastor of his family's local church, has been able to reconnect with his family who now see him as a completely different person. He has been able to make up for lost time by gaining qualifications and skills, and has never looked back. He says: "I invited the Lord into my life and I haven't been the same since."
The Archbishop expressed how special the charity is for him: "It's been for me a really important friendship and connection, reminding me of not only the enormous needs that a lot of young people in penal institutions face, but also the transformation that Christian faith can bring for them...They shared some of their experience with me today, they've shared in the past many, many aspects of really difficult lives and it's wonderful to see people recovering a sense of proper confidence in themselves before God."