Carriers of Hope started in May 2009 when it was noticed that there were a number of families in the Coventry area who were experiencing extreme poverty and lacking the most basic personal and household facilities. Most of these were asylum seekers, refugees or recently arrived Eastern European migrants (primarily Roma people from Romania).
We started by preparing and handing out carrier bags of ‘useful things’ and also encouraging friends and supporters, mainly from the local churches, to join in and help provide them. These carrier bags gave the name to Carriers of Hope.
The size of the problem quickly became apparent and we soon moved to having an open morning in a church hall where these families could come and receive a welcome. At the same time they could be offered support, refreshments and also have opportunity to collect items of food, clothing and other essential items, that had been donated.
In June 2012 we outgrew that church hall and now use our current venue Hillfields Evangelical Baptist Church. We also have a warehouse 3 miles away as an equipment and furniture store.
Our average weekly attendance at Circle of Friends has continued to increase with new families coming every week. It averages 130 per week. We don’t advertise our services, people hear about us by word of mouth and just come. At this point over 1300 families have registered with our service. Since Carriers of Hope was established we have worked with families from over 56 different countries, with the majority of new families coming from Romania.