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5 heartwarming and inspirational stories you need to hear today

Abby Guinness

Do you dread the sound of a news app ping? Or have you started trying to avoid the news altogether? Me too. I don’t think another depressing and gloomy update will help my January blues. At the start of 2023, I think we would all benefit from a dose of positivity and some encouragement.

In a world that seems full of bad news, Spring Harvest can bring you some good news! Everyday God is working across our nation, through people young and old, to change their communities, schools and workplaces; ordinary people are doing extraordinary things.

We are privileged to hear so many stories of inspirational people and organisations that are busy doing incredible things all year round. Here are just some of them. We hope they make you smile.

1. Wonderfully Made Messy Church

Wonderfully Made Messy Church is a new project set up by a small group of people in South Shields. They have set up ‘Messy Church’ sessions specifically for children with additional needs.

Recently, at their first session, 22 people attended, with several children joining with sensory play, story reading, sharing a meal together and ending the session with the UK Makaton blessing.

Kathy Robinson, who runs the sessions, said, “We were able to do so much with the children and their families - from making wordless books and worship ribbons, to children reading their books to their families and even to one of the support dogs! We also made a collage of the Queen and participated in a tea lights remembrance ceremony.  The sensory room was also very popular, the children loved the peaceful atmosphere.”

2. Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) Northern Ireland

In 2019, Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) Northern Ireland set up their first school uniform project in west Belfast, supporting more than 80 families. The charity now has four School Uniform Projects across the Greater Belfast area with local churches at the centre of these schemes. Last summer, they provided uniform items to more than 500 children in Belfast.

The concept of the School Uniform Project is very simple but the impact it has is great. Pre-loved, good-quality uniform items for local nursery, primary and post-primary schools are donated by families in the local community and are then made freely available for families who are struggling to afford new uniforms.

School uniforms can be expensive, especially as the cost of living goes up. ROC Northern Ireland’s work is helping families through the community’s generosity and kindness.

3. Share Bracknell

Share Bracknell is a Berkshire-based charity started by local Christians. The group collect donations of food from local supermarkets, bakeries, wholesale companies, and distribute them to the local community. There are a team of volunteers who collect the food and give their time twice a week to serve those people who come along to the church or school to collect the food, toiletries, and clothing.

They also invite their guests to stay for tea or coffee, cake, and biscuits, and for a chat or prayer with team members.

Yvonne Scott, a Share Bracknell volunteer, says, “I have served on the team for a year. I am so blessed by the responses of those coming along. I’m thankful for the opportunities to pray with them, invite them to Alpha, and build relationships with them. Some of our team are Christians, others live in the area and want to help the community. It is an amazing outreach touching the lives of hundreds of people.”

4. Wiltshire Hope and Harmony

Wiltshire Hope and Harmony is a project run by Lisa Williams, a qualified Music Therapist. She has a passion for bringing together vulnerable children and families, with local organisations, churches, and businesses to enjoy song, percussion and dance.

Since November 2022, the project has run several musical events in the community that have included forging links with the local dementia provision and engaging them in participating in a choir.

Part of Lisa’s vision is to work with non-verbal children. Speaking about the choir, Lisa said: “The Name ’Hope and Harmony’ was given to me by a mother who I had the pleasure of working with on this project. Her non-verbal son turned out to be very much not! Through working together, this little boy’s voice was unlocked through music therapy, inspiring the vision for more musical choirs.”

During Christmas 2022, Lisa was able to realise a small part of her dream when she put together her first choir to sing Christmas carols in the community.

5. Sarah Wright and her young family

Sarah Wright and her young family came to Spring Harvest 2022. She sent us this story a few months later…

“Our daughter is in Year 6 at Primary school, and she decided that she really needed to share the good news about Jesus with her school. So, when the new term started, she asked her headteacher if she could start a lunch club for the younger children called GIF (Growing In Faith).”

“The GIF club has been a huge success, so much so that she now has to run it twice a week to fit everyone in. In total there are about 40 children a week who attend....and no adults at all involved. She uses materials from the Cheeky Pandas to share a Bible passage, discussion, craft, and short prayer time. The stories that I hear are so encouraging, parents telling me that their 7- and 8-year-olds are asking them about faith for the first time ever.”

“A team of adults from our church are praying for her each week.”

Which one is your favourite? We love them all – like a bowl of warm Ready Brek on a cold day. You may already know some people that are doing something amazing to help their communities. If you do, we’d love to hear about them. Email us their stories by clicking this link


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