Bethany Community Outreach was originally the humanitarian outreach arm of our small church in South Road in Erdington.
It was formed to help those suffering deprivation at home and abroad. We supported many outreaches abroad and looked to what was needed locally. We live in a great community and as many will know Erdington is vibrant, multi cultural but it is also one of the most deprived areas in the country. Looking to see how we might help, we formed a Mothers and Toddlers Group and Lunch Club for Elderly particularly the infirm or those living alone. Throughout the year we would provide fun days for the community with free food and drinks included, Saturday club once a month in the school holidays and anything else when we could.
As the downturn in the economy became worse, unemployment rose again, changes to the benefits system began to bite and we saw the adverse affect it was having on our already stretched community. Therefore we looked for ways in which we could help. Initially, we paid a Financial Adviser and Debt Counsellor to provide free surgeries for those experiencing financial difficulties but despite being widely advertised it was not taken up. So we kept looking and decided to open up one day a week from the church premises as a foodbank.
It soon became apparent one day per week and our church premises were nowhere near enough to meet the community need. We needed bigger premises and David and Mary Millward who voluntarily took on the growing foodbank needed help with the day to day running of it to continue.
We were also overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the businesses, shops and folk in our community who wanted to partner with us and donate of their goods and time. It became abundantly clear that working with so many professional organisations, businesses and partners that we needed to provide absolute clarity of audit and a standard of excellence that would honour their trust in. The church leadership, therefore, took the decision to seek suitable Trustees and apply for separate independent charitable status. On the 16th January 2017, it was granted by the Charity Commission and Bethany Community Outreach Trust was born Registration 1171133.
Our mission has never changed nor will it – it is to Love our Neighbour as ourselves.