Lifeline is a Christian charity founded by Carl and Georgie Good to help homeless people in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The idea to establish the charity emerged in the winter of 2011/12 when the couple met Martin, an alcoholic homeless man, in the tunnel in Bower Road. Martin needed £14 to get into a hostel and was dishevelled, cold, and in low spirits. This encounter moved Carl and Georgie to think deeply about the issue of homelessness.
Later that year, Carl met ‘Pastor Pete’ of Green Pastures, a national Christian housing social enterprise who buy property and work in partnership with local churches and charities to house the homeless. Realising that by partnering with Green Pastures, they could get a house for the poor and marginalised to live in, Carl and Georgie decided to approach with Harrogate Homeless Project, who were supportive of the idea. In July 2012, they held a 'Launch the Vision' meeting which was attended by 30 people from 9 different churches. From that meeting, a team of committed volunteers and a board of directors was gathered, and the message about Lifeline began to spread.
After searching for a house, Lifeline finally found the right one in October 2012. Volunteers came in and helped to bring the house up to an exceptional standard, and a Christian builder was found to help convert the house into a house of multiple occupancy. On 19th February 2013, the first three residents were housed, and since then, Lifeline has completed five more houses, which are all three-bedroom houses, allowing them to house up to 18 residents at any one time.
Lifeline became a Registered Charity in 2012 and has received support from churches and individuals in Harrogate. Since its inception, Lifeline has provided over 31,000 nights of accommodation for 104 men and women. Of these, 62% have gone on to live independently, 61% have found paid work while with Lifeline, 71% have actively engaged with their support plan, and 75% have engaged in meaningful activity. In addition, they have provided over 32,000 nights of supported accommodation across their six houses since 2013.
Lifeline's residents are encouraged to engage in at least 10 hours of meaningful activity per week, such as education, training, volunteering, attending support groups or social events. They also provide a fortnightly lunch club for residents to attend with staff and volunteers. According to their latest resident questionnaire, 83% reported an improvement in their mental health, 78% reported feeling less isolated, and 91% reported feeling more positive about the future. All residents were satisfied with the services provided by Lifeline.
Lifeline's success can be attributed to their partnership with Green Pastures, their dedicated team of volunteers and staff, and their commitment to providing safe and secure accommodation for the homeless. As their legacy of lives changed testifies, Lifeline’s focus on supporting their residents' physical, emotional, and spiritual needs has resulted in positive outcomes and improved quality of life for those they serve.