History of CARE & The CARE Shop
David Robinson, our Charity founder has recently had his autobiography published 'Following the Still Small Voice, I was the man from the prudential until I found my voice’ “Read, enjoy, laugh and cry as the anecdotes keep coming. Be ready to be inspired and challenged and brace yourself for a tale of adventure with God that can be your experience too.” - David Jones (Chair of Board of Trustees of CARE. (Christian Action and Resource Enterprise Ltd.) It is available from Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.
Christian Action Resource Enterprise was launched in 1992 and became a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee in 1993.
Our founding member David Robinson (now trustee) began our mission in 1992. David had a desire to help local disadvantaged people, which he started to do by recycling furniture to donate out to people in need. Building up a small army of volunteers, he took over large empty premises in Cleethorpes to use for furniture recycling and this evolved into our CARE Shop. CARE became a registered charity in 1993. During his work with furniture donations, he found himself witnessing the effects of debt, especially its destructive effects on family relationships. As a response CARE offered free shop space to Citizens Advice between 1993 and 2001, to help and advise people, so began our enduring partnership working with Citizens Advice.
To this day it continues to be a thriving charity shop, but also provides a means to donate second-hand furniture, clothing and other essential items to those in need. Beneficiary individuals are from agencies as widespread as Women’s Aid, Citizens Advice Bureau, Social Services, Probation Service, we are with you, local Churches, Local Schools, Lincolnshire Housing Partnership, Longhurst Group, YMCA and Salvation Army Hostel.
During 2009 the shop underwent a major refurbishment providing an up to date, high standard working and shopping facility for customers, volunteers and employees.
During 2001 the CARE Shop premises along with seven flats above became available for purchase and with the aid of local supporters enough guarantors were found to enable the raising of a mortgage and the buying of the freehold on a mortgage of the two addresses in Cleethorpes that CARE had rented for nine years previously. CARE became a landlord themselves.
Further inequality was observed as people needed homes but could not access the Private Rental Sector because finding the deposit and rent in advance was an insurmountable barrier. This barrier started to be brought down alongside our local authority who donated £2500 in 1994 to get a unique to our area housing project started where no deposit or rent in advance was required. This was the birth of CARE Housing. The scheme gained popularity amongst landlords and local agencies that saw the need and benefits.
Still today, CARE works alongside landlords with a social conscience and good quality property, who are prepared to accept a £500 paper bond from CARE in lieu of a damages bond with are no other costs. We can offer the most vulnerable members of our community help through CARE Housing, even those with the most troubled and chequered pasts such as addictions, domestic violence, and debt that resulted in eviction or bankruptcy.
We work intensively to set up and sustain tenancies that work long-term. It is our policy to charge no more than £5 top up as we know people on benefits cannot manage a greater top-up. We explain this to landlords who wish to join our scheme. We charge landlords 4% of yearly rental income for our services to them. As we are totally independent, we can manage our housing applications on a case-by-case basis, we do not have a one size fits all approach and instead we are flexible and creative in the ways we can manage risk in order to house people. We could not do this without the backing of our landlords, so we endeavour to give them a quality of service that cannot be matched elsewhere for value. Landlords report to us that the supportive services we give their tenants mean that they will take a risk on people they would not otherwise house.
CARE Support volunteer programme provided low-level support to people CARE housed. However, over time volunteers noticed that people’s needs were becoming more complex, and more intensive support would better meet their needs. In 2003, CARE Support was born through Supporting People Housing Related Support funding to support the people CARE housed. This began to make an enormous difference to tenancy sustainment and very few damages bonds needed to be paid out by CARE due to the support our tenants were receiving."
Both the Grimsby and Immingham access points have now fully developed into “one-stop” drop-ins where additional services can be accessed, being the first point of access to our services. These crisis moments in people’s lives provide us with a unique opportunity at a time of great need and it has proved a privilege on thousands of occasions to stand with people and help, support, and encourage them on their journey.
Our holistic intensive support programme consists of regular face-to-face work with people in their homes or a place they felt safe in the community, with the consistency of the same-named worker. This built rapport and trust quickly, especially as we are a non-statutory agency, which means people offer greater honesty about what is really going wrong. Our support is non-prescriptive, which alongside the trust built and our wide remit, means that we have been able to reach corners of people’s lives no other service has been able to reach. Our abilities with people have become well-known, leading local key agencies to depend on us as an organisation they can refer people with complex issues into, because only our broad remit can get into the cracks to resolve the problems with the person.
During 2005/2006, as a result of meeting some of the above needs of disadvantaged families and individuals, it also became clear that there was a need to address ‘temporary’ and ‘short term’ poverty and in conjunction with Churches Together in North East Lincolnshire, the CARE Daily Bread Food Larder was developed as a means of donating emergency food parcels to those in temporary difficulty. These will be, for example, those who are experiencing a change in benefits due to an alteration in circumstances, those leaving hostel accommodation, and those experiencing debt problems."
It became evident that people in need of food were also often without the means to attend the Grimsby Access Point to access the food provisions. In August 2014 we launched a further Access Point in Immingham by securing funding from North East Lincolnshire Council, over years funding has also been secured from the Bishop of Lincoln’s Social Justice Fund.In 2019,
In July 2019, we changed the way that CARE operates its Food Provision in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. This was to give people in food poverty vouchers from local supermarkets to purchase and chose their own food.
Toys for Joy
Our first 'Toys for Joy' began in December 1996, in partnership with a local school. The children there would bring a toy, knowing that it would be given to 'Santa' to deliver to a child that would have been likely to receive nothing at Christmas.
Over the years this project has grown each year around 700 children are helped through this service. We now receive the support of brand new toys from many schools, supermarkets, churches, organisations, businesses and members of the public support 'Toys for Joy' every year.