by Sharon Fear, Project Manager at Tabor House

On the evening of Friday 28 September 2018, volunteers, guests, staff and stakeholders (and a dog called Poppy!) came together in Digbeth, Birmingham, to celebrate the first anniversary of Tabor House.

This facility is the first permanent night shelter in Birmingham and caters for people who need a safe space to get their lives back on track.

In the short time that Tabor House has been open, it has welcomed over 30 guests, many of whom were rough sleeping before they came to the project.

With the support of mentors and volunteers, many guests have since gained employment and their own accommodation.

Tabor is blessed to have corporate sponsors who are very supportive, and this has led to the opportunity of work for many guests.

The anniversary event was a wonderful space to say a big ‘thank you’ to them.

Around 40 volunteers came to the celebration, taking the opportunity to meet other volunteers and talk about their experiences.

Before the huge cake was cut, board member Ben Rafiqi thanked everyone for their commitment to Tabor and told stories about his time at Tabor from its conception.

He spoke of the dedication of volunteers, giving the example that, even during the harsh winter of 2017-18, Tabor House remained open.

Ben also took the opportunity to introduce the new staff team – Sharon Fear, the new project manager; Sharon McCall, the new volunteer co-ordinator; and Herman Norford, the new coach co-ordinator.

One of the guests gave a moving and emotional speech, thanking all the staff and volunteers and calling them his family.

An important part of the evening was ensuring the guests at Tabor also had a good time and joined in with the merriment.

The party ended at 8.30pm so that beds could be made and guests could have their space back to relax.

The volunteers, staff and guests then cleared up, getting everything ready for a ‘normal’ evening.

Those present were encouraged to give feedback on their thoughts of Tabor House.

A guest said: “Thank you to Tabor House for getting me off the streets. I am eternally grateful. You have changed my life.”

A volunteer said: “As I love myself, I love all; as I love all, I love myself.”

Another volunteer added: “One year down… Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and guests who have shared the journey, for all the blessings of the past year and for those who ‘graduated’ as success stories of Tabor House.”

The evening concluded with a prayer from the Vicar General, Monsignor Tim Menezes.