‘Our programme managers actually embody the hope they talk about offering.’
‘Pecan was started by a group of churches,’ Ben explains, ‘driven by a passion to bring hope to local people in seemingly hopeless situations.’ As Pecan’s former Chief Executive, Ben believes it’s ‘this same passion which sustains them today.’
For many of the staff, it was a journey that began on the other side of the table, as Pecan clients. This is unusual for an organisation like them and Ben believes it’s key.
‘They understand the obstacles and complex needs that our clients face,’ he says, ‘and they actually embody the hope they talk about offering.’
This authenticity means we are trusted within the community, and has led to regular interactions with local and central government. ‘By sharing real life stories with those who shape policy,’ Ben explains, ‘they can give a voice to those who are often excluded. It is increasingly allowing them to become a connection point between the community, the church and local and central government.’
‘But it isn’t just the integrity of the staff that sets them apart,’ says Ben. ‘It’s their empathy and compassion, as they continually go the extra mile to build relationships.’ David is the perfect example.
‘Peter manages the mental health project,’ Ben explains. ‘David is one of his clients. Peter has arranged for David to go on a public speaking course. He’s been to speaker’s corner with David and to classes with him in the evenings. David is loving it. It is having a massive impact on his life.’
It’s this refusal to ever give up believing which gets Ben excited. That and, in his own words, ‘the staff enabling people to reach their God-given potential.’