As a Horsham charity nears the date it could lose its home, some of its volunteers are speaking out about how its services saved their life.
The ARK Horsham, currently based at Horsham United Reformed Church in Springfield Road, helps people struggling through unemployment, addictions, debt and homelessness.
But in little over a month the charity’s lease will come to an end. In a fresh appeal as part of the County Times campaign to help them find a new home, some of the ARK family are sharing their stories.
This week Lyn Light, 49, speaks about how she found ARK when she hit rock bottom.
She said: “I came here because I nearly died. This place saved my life.
“I was an alcoholic for 20 years on and off and three years ago I got rushed into hospital with pancreatitis. I was told I had three months to go.
“When I was drinking I was getting into debt and I needed help to sort my debts out. The doctor said ‘if you carry on, you will die’.”
She started working with ARK director Lisa Burrell, who helped her tackle her addiction. She has now been dry for three years.
Lyn continued: “I had to give up, but I didn’t know how. You can’t just stop it. The shock of it will kill you.
“I went home and had a drink and then I came in here to ask Lisa for help. I was in an appalling state.”
Lisa helped Lyn wean herself off the alcohol, relying on weaker drinks, going dry for a few days at a time and gradually becoming less dependent on having a drink.
Lyn said: “Even though I did that, I still had the shakes, but I had to do it. It was scary going cold turkey. You think you’re going to die.
“The first 48 hours is the worst of it. You’re hallucinating, sweating, your brain’s not right. You’re craving sugar. My body took a year to get the whole lot out.”
Today though, she is a role model for people coming through ARK’s doors struggling with their own addictions and has been volunteering there.
“I think it was Lisa’s way of giving me something else to think about. No one was giving me a chance,” she said.
“I really enjoy it and it made me feel good being part of the team.
“I was over the moon that she trusted me to do this. It was a big thing in my life.”
The charity is looking for a place it can hire up to seven days a week where it can run its drop-in service. It is appealing to businesses and individuals to think about supporting them regularly through a donation so they can approach a bank for a mortgage or secure a lease.
Any offer of a property they could use temporarily or on a permanent basis, will be gratefully considered. A town centre location would be preferable.
The charity needs access to a kitchen to make hot lunches and storage for its foodbank and activity materials.
Anyone who can help financially or providing a new home canto call Lisa on 07825 284054, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to thearkhorsham.org.uk
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